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Nationalists optimistic on new reforms
Anna Arutunyan - Moscow News - themoscownews.com - 4.9.12 - JRL 2012-66

Jokes about what to do, whom to hang, and whom to promote "once we take power" are common on Russia's political margins ­ but for writer and nationalist Konstantin Krylov, power may no longer be entirely out of reach ­ at least on paper.

He believes that a new bill signed into law last week that eases party registration requirements will help the country's marginalized nationalist community gain real representation. Immediately after the law came into force, Krylov began submitting documents to register his National Democratic Party of Russia (NDPR), a party that casts itself as one of the more moderate voices among a wide spectrum of groups. Krylov is cautiously optimistic that the party's registration will be accepted.

"They could still bar us for politically motivated reasons ­ there have been statements from officials that they won't allow nationalists to register ­ but it will be difficult for them to do that right now without a scandal," Krylov told The Moscow News.

Many key players in Russia's disjointed opposition have said that, far from unifying groups into strong parties, the new law will splinter the opposition into hundreds of small parties, none with enough power to exert any kind of political pressure.

Despite his optimism, Krylov seems to realize that the nationalists are no exception to this rule. He has already hit barriers in attempting to join forces with a slew of other nationalist groups, such as the semi-legal Movement Against Illegal Immigration and the radical Slavyansky Soyuz.

His bid to court popular blogger Alexei Navalny, who makes no secret of his nationalist tendencies, have also been politely rebuffed. Navalny turned down an invitation to join the NDPR's supervisory council, saying "it would be seen as though I'm joining the party," Moskovsky Komsomolets reported.

Krylov said he understands why figures like Navalny ­ who was once booted from the liberal Yabloko party over his nationalist views ­ would be cautious about associating with a nationalist party.

"Navalny is a nationalist, we maintain good relations with him," Krylov said. "The reason we are not formally connected is because this may be misunderstood."

Just like in the liberal and communist factions of the opposition, it is the extremity of some views that are causing the split within the nationalists. Krylov says it is impossible for his party to work with some of the more extreme activists in the nationalist contingent.

"Many nationalists driven crazy by the current situation are making calls for a nationalist dictatorship, a Russian Stalin," he said. "These dreams are harmful and stupid. Our party isn't about working with skinheads ­ we're oriented towards creating a situation where skinheads don't exist at all."

His party is modeled on the kind of nationalist movements that sprang up in Eastern Europe during the breakup of the Soviet Union, he said.

"We're oriented towards Eastern European countries. Western European countries have long resolved their nationalist issues."

Technically, nationalists are already represented in parliament, in the form of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, headed by controversial veteran politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky.

But the LDPR, which won a majority in parliamentary elections in 1993, has long been regarded as a puppet party by