This article discusses how two similar far right movements in different political systems – Golden Dawn (GD) in democratic Greece and the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) in authoritarian Russia – adapted their strategies and claims to better fit existing political contexts and how this affected the institutionalization of these movements. GD, a neo-Nazi movement formed in the 1980s, entered mainstream politics during the deep financial crisis of 2010, and since 2012 has consolidated its position as the third major opposition party. DPNI was founded in 2002; it had close connections with governing politicians and mobilized large xenophobic protests until it was banned in 2011. It then entered into a coalition with other far right groups under the banner of Russkie, cooperated with the liberals in the massive anti-fraud protests during 2011–2013, and tried to register as the Party of Nationalists, but failed and has now disbanded. While GD de-radicalized its anti-immigration claims to fit with the dominant discourse and exploited the financial crisis for its grass-root mobilization, DPNI changed its strategies and collaborated with its ideological opponents only after it had become very popular and faced with severe state repression. Our comparative analysis shows that far right movements adapt to their diverse environments in a manner similar to that of other anti-establishment movements regardless of context – whether within a democratic or non-democratic regime.
- far right movements
- Golden Dawn
- Movement Against Illegal Immigration