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Sanna Turoma
sanna.turoma [at] helsinki.fi

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Kaarina Aitamurto
kaarina.aitamurto [at] helsinki.fi

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Maarit Elo-Valente
maarit.elo-valente [at] helsinki.fi

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Miikka Piiroinen
miikka.piiroinen [at] helsinki.fi

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The Aleksanteri Institute

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Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Jussi Lassila (Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland) & Tomi Huttunen (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Idols, Experiences and Catachretic Politics: Becoming a Natsbol in Nizhny Novgorod

The National-Bolshevik party (NBP, since 2007 Drugaia Rossiia) has been one of the most well-known and durable radical political movements in post-Soviet Russia. Besides its key founder, a 1943-born Soviet-era dissident writer Eduard Limonov, a 1975-born Nihzny Novgorodian Zakhar Prilepin, currently one of the most popular writers in Russia, is a visible representative in the NBP-movement. The paper examines views and justifications of joining the movement via interviews we made in 2013 and 2014 for Prilepin, Nizhny Novgorodian activists and instances closely associated with the movement. The study contributes to the previous research on NBP's political style (in particular Sokolov 2006) by focusing on Nizhny Novgorod as the movement´s particular locus. The well-known "senselessness" of the movement's symbolic repertoire can be seen, on the one hand, as a catachretic articulation of the culturally sensitive in the need of a political contribution, whose roots can be found in respondents' experiences of the 1990s. On the other hand, views illustrate particular longing for the lost, though at the same time, not-yet-born authority which is often related to the "father" figure of Limonov. Prilepin's role in Nizhny Novgorod partially coincides with this personalistic tradition.