Supreme Court Bans Bolsheviks
The Supreme Court on Tuesday re-imposed a ban
on the radical National Bolshevik Party, or NBP, reversing its
own decision earlier this year to cancel a ban imposed by a
"This was a historic humiliation for the
Supreme Court," NBP leader Eduard Limonov said after the
verdict. "Big players such as the Prosecutor General's
Office intervened and pressed the judges to discard their previous
The court did not publish any reason for Tuesday's
decision, and no one answered the telephone at the Supreme Court's
press office on Tuesday afternoon.
The NBP, whose nonviolent, theatrical protests
against President Vladimir Putin have prompted a harsh crackdown
on its activists, has been fighting a legal battle against attempts
to ban it since March 2004.
In June, a Moscow region court ruled that the
NBP must disband, but five weeks later, the Supreme Court upheld
the NBP's appeal and sent the case back to the lower court for
The Prosecutor General's Office filed a protest
against the decision, and the presidium of the Supreme Court
ruled last month to cancel its August ruling and ordered the
full court to reconsider its decision.
A representative of the Moscow region prosecutor's
office, Natalya Mikhlina, told the court Tuesday that she was
satisfied with the verdict.
He said that he would apply to register a new
organization, the National Bolshevik Party of the Russian Federation,
with the Justice Ministry as a fully fledged political party.
Over the past two years, the ministry has rejected
several applications by the NBP to register as a political party,
citing what it said were mistakes in its applications. The NBP
first registered in 1993 as a nongovernmental organization and
by law cannot run in elections.
Vladimir Pribylovsky, head of the Panorama
think tank, said that the authorities had singled out the NBP
for its bold challenge of the political status quo.
"When everyone is doing their best to
show how much they respect Putin, the NBP is among very few
organizations that are doing their best to show how little they
respect the president," he said.