A Russian national holiday created by the Kremlin to promote patriotism and solidarity is being hijacked by far-right nationalists. After 1991, Bolshevik Revolution celebrations on November 7th came to be marked by communist demonstrations against the government.
So President Vladimir Putin brought the holiday forward by three days, tying it to the 1612 expulsion of Polish and Cossack troops, and called it Unity Day.
Since 2005 Russia’s Unity Day has been seized on by the nationalists for their own demonstrations – this year calling for the expulsion of non-white immigrants.
Several attacks on immigrant businesses were reported and some arrests made.
Pro-Kremlin groups have reacted with their own rallies.
Organisations like the Yabloko party want to paint a different image of their country, one where Russia’s ethnic groups live happily side by side.
Other parties have followed suit hoping to counter the nationalist rhetoric.