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Far-Right, Pro-Kremlin Rallies Vie On Russia's Unity Day

Ultranationalists march during a demonstration on the outskirts of Moscow.
Thousands of pro-Kremlin youths and far-right nationalists have massed in competing rallies to mark a new Russian national holiday.

The pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi (Ours) said it had mobilized more than 15,000 people for its rally on the banks of the Moscow River, while the far right attracted at least 5,000 for an anti-immigrant rally on the city outskirts.

In one of the largest far-right demonstrations in years in Moscow, activists shouted "Russia for the Russians," and carried banners calling for "White power" and "Orthodox faith or death" in a march held with official permission in a suburb in the south of the capital.

National Unity Day has been marked on November 4 since 2005, when Russia's then-president, Vladimir Putin, created the holiday to replace the November 7 commemoration of the 1917 October Revolution.

The date marks the repulsion from the Kremlin of an invading Polish force in 1612.

compiled from agency reports