DURATION: 63 min.
The rise of neo-Nazis in Russia is more than a fact! The biggest part of the world's neo-Nazis are today concentrated in Russia. Extremist ideas about racial purity and the extermination of immigrants, homosexuals, drug addicts and all the "useless pests that pollute the Russian White Race" find an ever more fertile ground in a population whose national pride was wounded during the years that followed the fall of the Soviet Union. "The Pack of White Wolves" is a hair-raising documentary which records the deadly activities of Russian skinheads, the stories of their innocent victims and the terrible threat emerging at the North of Europe.
Written & Directed by Yorgos Avgeropoulos / Research Coordinator: Aggelos Athanasopoulos / Research Conducted by Georgia Anagnou, Aggelos Athanasopoulos / Production Manager: Anastasia Skoubri / Director of Photography: Yiannis Avgeropoulos / Original Music by Yiannis Paxevanis / Editing: Yiannis Biliris, Meletis Pogkas / Website Coordinator: Apostolis Kaparoudakis / Graphics: Sakis Palpanas / A Small Planet Production for Greek Public Television ERT © 2007 - 2008
Original shooting format: HD 1080p25 / Languages: Greek, Russian, French, English / Subtitles: Greek, English / Available Versions: Greek, English, International
It is one of this world's paradoxes. The country that stopped the Nazi war machine with the blood of 20,000,000 people is today home to the world's biggest number of neo-Nazis.
World War II veteran Mr. Boris Stambler cannot believe it. With all his medals hanging around his neck, he wonders how is it possible for neo-Nazis to exist "in the country that defeated Fascism"!
"It is a shame for Russia that these young people exist, defending such misanthropic ideas!" he says. "They kill people only because they are of a different nationality. What can you tell these youths?"
The numbers are shocking. Russia concentrates the biggest number of active extreme-right skinheads in the world, estimated at 50,000, while the total for the rest of the world is 70,000! By active, we mean those who belong to neo-Nazi groups, attend meetings, participate in marches and make propaganda, and above all execute violent actions against immigrants, dissidents, homosexuals, and generally those considered undesired...
However, what is most unsettling is that in 21st century Russia, the nostalgists of terror have hundreds of thousands of supporters. According to surveys, 60% of the population agrees with the slogan "Russia for the Russians". And many are prepared to justify even murders of immigrants, who they consider responsible for unemployment, criminality and all today's evils in Russian society.
During the 4 first months of 2008 alone, there have been 211 recorded neo-Nazi attacks against defenseless victims in the subway, on the street, in the markets. The attacks of these Hitlerian death squads left behind 53 fatal victims.
The SS (Slavic Union) organization is the biggest neo-Nazi group in Russia. Its leader is Mr. Demushkin, who speaks bluntly: "Look at what is happening, look at the situation in Europe! With all the damn immigrants that come here, they bring their whole village and spit out 15 offspring each... See how the Algerians behave in France, how the Turks behave in Germany. The same will happen here, if we tolerate them in similar quantities. There will be war. And so that Russia does not become a Muslim country, I don't give a damn how many we have to blow up, kill or burry. We'll burry them all. Only Russians live here and whoever wants to, will live by our laws or will not live at all".
Mr. Demushkin also proudly presented us with a DVD showing various achievements that Russian skinheads upload on the web. In one of them, two Nazi murderers slaughter two immigrants in the forest, with a swastika backdrop and, in another, they hang an immigrant from a tree and cheer as their victim's body convulses, leaving its last breath.
Despite all, Mr. Demushkin's organization continues to operate, provocatively, and organize marches of hate and racial purity on the streets of Moscow. When anti-Fascists get in their way, the police arrest... the anti-Fascists... "They were taken to the police station, where an official employee of the 18th section of the Ministry of Interior, which combats extremism, asked them ?why did you oppose normal Russian youths?' reporter Ruslan Linkov remembers... "Why don't you join them, chasing those damn Caucasians in the markets? This was literally said by a representative of the institution that should be fighting extremism!".
The SS meeting was to be held in a quiet railway station, two hours away from Moscow. By train, car, even by foot, tens of neo-Nazi groups started to arrive from all directions.
They run towards a forest... which is just beside a military base of the Russian infantry...
Mr. Demushkin warms up the atmosphere. "Sieg Heil" he screams and raises his hand in a Fascist salute. The rest, who have lined up around him, return the salute shouting "White Power".
They have gathered many poles and hanged photos of "The enemies of the people of Russia" on them. Apart from the country's president, Dmitry Medvedev, and Moscow's Rabbi, the rest belong to the anti-Fascist movement. Most have already been murdered.
Reporter Mr. Linkov has already been attacked with bullets and escaped by miracle. Mr. Evgenyi Proshechkin, president of the anti-fascist centre, never leaves his house without a short-barrel, plastic-bullet gun. "In the police, the FSB, in court, there are many people who sympathize with the fascists. Who hate people with a darker complexion or differently-shaped eyes. Why should they fight against someone they like?" he affirms.
Mrs. Galina Kozhenvikova of the Sova anti-Fascist organization has seen her photo appear in a Nazi website with the note "if you see her, kill her": "Teenagers who beat up a person with a non-Slavic appearance realize that no one will try to arrest them, that no one is interested in the victim", she stresses. "They go out and kill. And they are simply intoxicated by the thrill of their impunity".
The lists of hate are long, but the prosecuting authorities say there is no need for any action. "Anyway, these are websites someone might not enter".
In the forest, the neo-Nazis swear in two new members, fight and train in guns, martial arts and knives. "We must always be ready to clean the streets from these useless pests" says Dima, an unemployed 23 year-old. But they are not all like him. Amongst the members of the SS and other neo-Nazi groups can be found soldiers from the Chechnya war, but also respectable members of Russia's society, such as lawyers, local councilors, even Duma members. The SS itself spreads rumors about having people in the FSB (former KGB).
"The authorities turned out to be completely unready for such a threat, they wouldn't even admit it for a long time, they would do nothing, they wouldn't have any public reaction against the emerging Nazism" Alex Brod, head of the Moscow Human Rights Group, claims. "I am aware that, very often, Russian writers and intellectuals would write letters to the President trying to somehow draw his attention to the problem of the emerging Fascism, to which he would answer ?it is not time yet', ?let's not aggravate the problem'... To a certain extent there was deliberate plotting, when the Fascists were used as a threat, as a menace for the people, so that they would remain prisoners to fear and turn to the authorities, appreciate and respect the authorities... However, problems should not remain uncontrolled, because this genie that released itself from the bottle has now turned into a monster".