Konstantin Krylov in Moscow, Oct 2018 (own photo).
2020 is becoming quite the bleak year for Russian nationalism in demographic terms. After Limonov’s passing on March 17, he is now followed by leader of the banned National Democratic Party (NDP) party Konstantin Krylov, who has just died at the age of 52 from stroke-related complications possibly aggravated by coronavirus.
He is survived by his wife Natalia Shalimova, who is the secretary of the NDP and a politician in her own right.
I am by no means a Krylov expert, and I only met the man about a couple of times in passing. My sole “involvement” with any of his movement’s political/media structures was a podcast with NDP-Streams a couple of weeks ago in which we discussed masks and IQ. Nonetheless, for Westerners for whom Russian nationalism begins with Dugin and ends at Putler, I hope the following may be nonetheless be informative.
Krylov was perhaps the leading intellectual/thinker of the national democratic/”liberal” wing of the Russian nationalist movement (as Egor Kholmogorov is to its conservative one), his main orienteers being the defense of ethnic Russian interests at home and abroad, and opposition to the “anti-national” policies of the Putin regime.
Quick rundown of his bio:
- He campaigned for a closed borders regime with Central Asia, guns legalization, and against electoral falsification.
- Was one of the main organizers of the “Russian Marches” in their halcyon days before increasing persecution and then Crimea made them irrelevant.
- Was famously convicted of “hate speech” (Article 282) for his statement that it is “time to do away with this strange economic system” at the “Stop Feeding the Caucasus” protest in 2011. It was overturned on appeal.
- In contradistinction to Western tropes that Russians who oppose Putin and entertain liberal social views are invariably their friends, he was nonetheless a strong supporter of Russian irredentism. The NDP was active in supporting the LDNR both materially and informationally, and Krylov himself sometimes visited and wrote about developments in the two insurrectionist republics.
- The human rights NGO ROD-Pravo (“Russian Social Movement”), headed jointly by him and Natalia Kholmogorova, highlights anti-Russian abuses on its website and provides legal help to its victims (e.g. DNR fighters facing deportation to the Ukraine).
- Aside from practical politics and political theory, he was also a sci-fi/fantasy writer, having been noticed and recommended for publication when writing under his nom de plume Mikhail Kharitonov by none other than Sergey Lukyanenko (he of Night Watch fame).
In terms of his outlook on history, Krylov was a staunch anti-Bolshevik:
What are the Bolsheviks? These are the people who killed tens of millions of Russian people (and deliberately so, precisely because they were Russian and the best), the rest they robbed, deprived of property, human rights, kept them in slavery, mercilessly exploited, tore the Russian people into pieces, created from wild tribes new peoples who were fed and entertained at the Russian expense. And in the end – they reassigned all the material assets created by Russians over seventy years of hard labor to a gaggle of foreigners, criminals and spies – and placed themselves on top of this pile. While generously rewarding non-Russians with their own statehood on stolen Russian soil or a privileged position within the so-called Russian Federation.
All this seemed to be done according to the plan and in the interests of the international terrorist organization the International, controlled from somewhere abroad… Note that I have listed well-known facts. The present Bolsheviks and Bolsheviks, of course, try to deny them – in the style of “here we have killed not a million, but only 700,000, you are lying, haha.” But any mentally healthy person understands that such excuses can be seriously considered only by people who are mentally ill. Well, or connoisseurs of Kharms’ work, brilliantly reproducing the Bolshevik logic: “I did not rape Elizaveta Antonovna: firstly, she was no longer a girl, and secondly, I had to deal with a corpse, and she does not have to complain.” (Тhe Bolsheviks say the exact same thing about the Russian Empire they killed).
Sometimes, it seems, his frustrations with the Russian people’s historical amnesia and perceived inability to affirm their own political subjectivity got sufficiently acute to the extent it metamorphosed into a kind of Galkovskian Russophobia. Here is an example of one of his more “powerful” takes in this genre: “In fairness, the Russian language should be forgotten just on account of Lenin having spoken it. As with Russian culture as a whole, which found itself unable to prevent neither 1917, nor 1991. All Russian history is rotten and irredeemable on account of 1917 and 1991, and we ought to entirely reject it, learn English, and consider ourselves historical infants, whom we in fact are.”
Yet even these meltdowns must have been accompanied by a wry self-awareness, given what he wrote about the role of the Russian intelligentsia in his seminal 1997 work “Behavior“, parts of the last chapter of which, “Civilization and its Enemies“, I translated back in 2009:
The “Russian intelligent” – is a person who solves his problems by way of bringing ill to society, if not by weapons, then by words. The intelligentsia behave towards Russian society (and especially towards the Russian state) as a scandal-maker in a queue – he insults everyone present, and expects that he will be allowed to move forwards in line just so that they’d get him to shut up.
This is the basic underlying point behind the intelligentsia’s total criticism of all aspects of Russian life and their purposeful foisting of an irrational sense of guilt on the Russian people… As a rule, this “criticism” uses an array of ideas, created in the West (e.g., liberal socio-economic theories), furthermore in many cases the people leaning on these ideas don’t actually understand them: this is another example in which the tools created by civilization, are used in the fight against civilization.
Therefore there’s no reason to be amazed that completely valid Western ideas acquire a “destructive force” when applied to Russia: they are used for explicitly deconstructive purposes.
We may view Konstantin Krylov as a barbarian under his own schema. But regardless of his eclectic philosophical views (Zoroastrianism) and playful trollishness, he was a barbarian who ultimately fought for Rome – the third and final one.
Konstantin Krylov. 1967-2020.