Alexander Porozhnyakov is a young, conservative grassroots activist in Russia. He’s been in the wider right-wing movement for a decade, which makes him a veritable veteran of right-wing Russian politics.
He runs a media project called “Tsar’s Cross” that promotes Orthodoxy, Russian nationalism and criticizes Liberals in both civil society and the government. We met near the American Embassy, funny enough, at a very pro-Tsar and pro-White Russian Orthodox Church.
Alex, can you tell us about yourself?
My name is Alexander Porozhnyakov and I am a Russian patriot. My organization and I stand for a healthy, positive form of Russian nationalism that includes other nations who have been historically part of the Russian project. We believe in friendship with other peoples, but also the self-assertion of Russian identity. Russianness cannot be denied as a form of appeasement or misplaced politeness to others. I come from an Orthodox background and that means that I am for an Orthodox monarchy, which I believe is the only legitimate form of government for Russia and the only kind of government that can stand against the power of the globalist agenda. The way I see it, Democracy is just rule by those who have money, the capitalists. It is an inherently corrupt system, and we deserve to live in a Russia without corruption.
Put simply, I want an Orthodox dictatorship. Everything that runs contrary to Christian morals should be banned. Here I am referring to everything including culture, medicine and so on. We want a restoration of pre-Revolutionary Russia. We want an end to the favoritism for non-Russians within Russia. We want the law equally applied to all. We want the reign of the security structures [secret police] to end.
When we last spoke, we discussed the curious situation surrounding pro-Russian activist and politician Alexey Silivianov in Donbass. Can you tell us who he is and what happened with him?
Alexey Silivianov is a Kievan. Back in 2014, he was an active proponent of the Russian Spring. Eventually, he became the deputy director of the MVD [Ministry of War Affairs] in the Zaparozhian oblast of Ukraine [now under control of Russian forces]. He is a true Russophile and suffered immensely for his outspoken position from the authorities who took power in Kiev. He served in the Kievan government at one point, but as the general situation worsened, his own situation became increasingly precarious. In short, he is one of us — a Russian patriot in Ukraine who worked for Russian interests.
Silivianov had enemies in Kiev, obviously, but things took a turn south for him when he started a fight with the narco mafia in his newly-liberated region, in Melitople. The mafias in our part of the world aren’t like the ones that you have in Mexico whose names and faces you know and who ostentatiously build their armies and states within states. These guys work quietly and with the help of the various police agencies, without whom they could not be able to operate as they do.
His fight against corruption and organized crime in his oblast attracted the attention of people who want to live by the old rules and who don’t take kindly to someone cutting into their profits. Recently, he disappeared. But this was in Russian-controlled territory. In other words, it wasn’t the Ukrainians who disappeared him.
Overall, this sends a bad signal to patriots in Russia. Someone who was on our side got nabbed by … well, we don’t know who, really, but someone with connections and power and working under the krisha [translates to “roof”, but means protection] of one security agency or another [secret police] for making too much trouble. For people who want to go to the Donbass and start building the “Russkiy Mir” [Russian world] this is a bad development.
A week ago, he resurfaced and was forced to record a video where he read from notecards, from a script, saying that he was okay and under arrest and not being mistreated. These kinds of video confessions mean literally nothing, I hope that you understand. And we found out that it was his boss who incarcerated him.
I believe that Silivianov got in trouble for his unabashed pro-Russian positions — that is, his explicit Russian nationalism. Many of the higher-ups in Moscow are now pushing a neo-Sovok strategy and remain leery of embracing Russian nationalism. We see this with the unfurling of Soviet flags and Soviet-sounding rhetoric in the newly-liberated territories of the Donbass. Silivianov’s biggest problem is that he is not a Red. He is an unabashed White who wants to see the Russian Empire, its system and values restored. His ideology is wrong, you see? He was pushing Orthodoxy and Russian nationalism — what we can call “the White Idea” and the idea that we want to be the governing ideology of the Russkiy Mir.
Can you tell us more about these narco mafias and the crime networks in the East?
The people who run the narco business in Donbass are all protected by people in the secret police/security apparatus. We don’t know exactly who, or what secret police agency and so on and we don’t know how high up it goes. We have the same problem with crime networks in Russia that are connected to the secret police.
I do know that Oleg Kavtunov, Silivianov’s boss and the new manager of the oblast, which is under the jurisdiction of the MVD, is directly involved in the arrest of Alexey Silivianov. Oleg is a strange character with many scandals under his belt.
He made his career in various security agencies, battling corruption, supposedly. Eventually, he was fired from his position in МУР [Moscow internal police] for taking a bribe and transferred to the front, as it were, to make up for his mistake. He is a Bolshevik by ideology who literally wrote theses about continuing the Red revolution in Russia. The conflict between the two of them cannot be understood without understanding this Red vs White divide in their worldviews. Within a month of his arrival to his new post in the oblast, he arrested Silivianov.
And to get a position administering the new territories, you need friends in Moscow — everyone knows this. So, the Silivianov story is really important, because it reveals a lot of the underlying problems that we have in our society.
Hasn’t this happened before? Many of the militia commanders in the Donbass were knocked off either by the SBU or someone in Donbass or even Russia.
In the past, Alexey Mozgovoi, a famous militia commander was killed because he openly declared that he was going to create a corruption-free, Orthodox, Russian nationalist government in Donbass. He ran afoul of the local oligarchs and, probably, their friends in Moscow. His death was ordered by organized crime to make an example of him — that no populist Orthodox leader popular with the people would be tolerated.
Nowadays, thanks to Telegram samizdat channels, it has become more difficult to kill Russia’s heroes. Word gets out and the patriotic community is larger and more organized. So, the mafia goons have to resort to softer methods.
We suspect that it was either a local oligarch who disliked Silivianov or the order came from someone higher up, maybe in Moscow.
Bad things may be in the pipeline for Silivianov. The situation is uncertain and I don’t want to comment on it now, but we expect a character assassination scandal to emerge in the coming days and weeks.
I see. How is the situation generally in Donbass?
You have to understand that Donbass is not Russia. They have lived in a wartime regime for 8 years. They are all armed and walk around with weapons. People are more honest and straightforward. They are more Russian than us Russians.
As for the future of Donbass, Moscow sends its people to take the reins and it seems like the Kremlin doesn’t know who they are going to put in charge of the newly-liberated territories. This is probably because the war has not taken the course that the Kremlin planned. They don’t know how to deal with the situation as it has unfolded. So, they are scrambling to find people to put in charge of the situation. There doesn’t appear to be a well-thought-out plan as things stand now.
And we need to consider: what exactly are we offering the people of Donbass?
How can we fix their mess when we have a mess in our home as well?
Can I ask your opinion on the general state of the Russian nationalist/patriotism movement in Russia?
In the past, Russian nationalism was suppressed by the secret police. Nowadays, progress has been made. The government is forced to reach out to patriots because they need their rhetoric and their ideas and their support base while the war is going on. This is a positive trend, but we have yet to see our people taking up important positions in the presidential administration or in other state organs. The situation may be comparable to Stalin having to bring back patriotism and Orthodoxy to defeat the Germans. That is, the state is forced by the West to start becoming more nationalistic and to start making much-needed changes.
The pro-Russian movement was quite strong in the 90s leading up into the early 00s. That was the high point in the independent pro-Russia movement. Since then, internal fights and pressure put to bear on them ended the movement. Now, we just have independent people and projects who promote the ideas, but there is no movement.
Luckily, there are no organized Liberal movements anymore either. The start of the special operation saw the state finally getting serious about dealing with the Western-funded opposition.
Unfortunately, we see that some members of the chinovnik [bureaucrat] and silovik [secret police/security apparatus] caste are pushing a neo-Sovok ideology, especially in Donbass. They are putting up monuments to Lenin now even though Lenin is the reason that we are in this mess to begin with. This is a top-down idea being forced on the people. They don’t have any better ideas and they’re deathly afraid of the alternative system proposed by the ideas of Russian nationalism.
Also, our groups and projects are constantly hampered by the tech companies, like [social media company] VK, which constantly covers up and bans our content. No one from the state, however, puts pressure on us now. We can speak freely, but any political organizing on our part will be looked at suspiciously.
The last three years have been rather difficult, but also interesting for the movement. We fought back against the Covid hysteria and this was difficult for us because many Orthodox people and right-wingers were split on this question. For this reason, conservatives were unable to close ranks and fight together against the WEF agenda. The wider right-wing movement was “anti-conspiracy” at the time for PR reasons and because of this, did not allow itself to believe that the Covid thing was part of a wider agenda.
If we had a unified front, we would have had more success pushing back against the Covid agenda.
What about the state’s support for Orthodoxy? Doesn’t the Russian government support Orthodoxy? There have also been positive changes in the Church recently, no?
You must be referring to Metropolitan Hilarion. Yes, there are rumors that Metropolitan Hilarion had become an asset of Western intelligence agencies. There are yet more rumors that his offices were raided by men from the secret police. It is very possible.
Our government has an interesting relationship with Orthodoxy. During the Corona hysteria, one could go out to the liquor store, but one couldn’t go to pray. The sacraments were violated when disinfectant was introduced into the Eucharist ritual. The government makes a big show of being pro-Orthodox, but just look at how they behave. There was talk of QR codes that would be instituted on Church grounds. Members of the clergy who were against the corona hysteria were kicked out of their posts. The health authorities put a lot of pressure on the Church.
I don’t know where the Patriarch or the Church stood on this question. But he made the decision that he made. That’s all we can say. The Church went along with the Corona agenda. That is a fact. Whether it was pressure from the government or a Church decision, I don’t know.
Are you optimistic in general?
Yes, cautiously optimistic, but optimistic nonetheless. As the situation gets “worse” for Russia in terms of pressure from the West, it will get better for us. We want to see lasting changes implemented and so far, we don’t know if the positive changes are temporary or permanent. The trend, however, is encouraging, yes.