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Russian Authorities Move To Evict National Bolsheviks

National Bolshevik leader Eduard Limonov (file photo) Moscow, 17 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Interior Ministry troops used heavy equipment to cut their way into the Moscow headquarters of the unregistered National Bolshevik Party today, implementing a court order for the group's eviction, RFE/RL's Russian Service reported.

Olga Shalina, a leader of the National Bolshevik Party (NBP), said that around 30 troops arrived at the NBP's headquarters and broke through the doors with a power saw.

The leader of the Russian Youth Yabloko youth organization, Ilya Yashin, witnessed the police forcing their way into NBP headquarters and described injured people being carried out of the building, although he suggested that some of the NBP members had inflicted their wounds themselves.

"As OMON soldiers [special police forces] forced their way into the building, the NBP members inside started cutting their veins," Yashin said. "Some of them were carried away in ambulances, others were put into police cars and taken to the Lomonosovskii police department [a local police station]. It is not yet clear what they will be charged with. Most of them had blood on their heads as they were taken out of the building; it must have been quite a violent arrest."

The nature or extent of any possible injuries could not immediately be confirmed.

The NBP has mounted various political stunts in the past, including occupying government offices in the Kremlin.

"There were reporters on the scene, but the FSB [Federal Security Service] and the police refused to speak to them, they spoke only to each other," Yashin told RFE/RL.

Today's move came after a Moscow court ordered the eviction of the group on the grounds that it violated occupancy rules by posing as a commercial organization.

The NBP's leader and cult figure is Eduard Limonov, 62, a man with an unusual history and one of the few Russian politicians with no links to the Soviet and post-Soviet ruling elite. His ambition was to create a "revolutionary party of a new style" that could attract young people with a combination of extremist ultranationalist propaganda and "direct action" as practiced during the Maoist student protest in France and other European countries in 1968. (For a profile of the National Bolshevik Party and its outspoken leader, click here.)

(with additional wire-service reporting)

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