|Leader Aleksey Zhuravlyov|
Membership (2006) 135,000
|Headquarters Moscow, Russia|
Political position Far-Right
|Founded August 2003, founded in 1998 as the Party of Russian Regions
Ideology Russian nationalism National conservatism Revolutionary Socialism
Rodina or Motherland-National Patriotic Union (Rodina - Narodno-Patrioticheskiy Soyuz, Партия "РОДИНА") is a political party in Russia. It was a coalition of 30 nationalist and left-wing groups that was established by Dmitry Rogozin, Sergey Glazyev, Sergey Baburin, Viktor Gerashchenko, Georgy Shpak, Valentin Varennikov and others in August 2003. The party's ideology combined "patriotism, nationalism, and a greater role for the government in the economy", and is described as "far-right". It has been banned in the past from taking part in elections after complaints that its advertisements incited racial hatred. The most notorious showed people eating watermelon and throwing the rinds to the ground, then called for Russians to clean their cities of rubbish.
Its headquarters were located in Moscow. In the 2003 Duma elections, Rodina won 9.2 percent of the vote and ended up with 37 of the 450 seats in the Duma. Novaya Gazeta liberal journalist Anna Politkovskaya stated that the Rodina Party was a chauvinistic organisation that had been "created by the Kremlin's spin doctors" for the 2003 election; the "aim was to draw moderately nationalist voters away from the more extreme National Bolsheviks." The Guardian claims that Rodina was "set up by President Vladimir Putin's allies" in 2003 "to leach votes from the Communist party."
Following allegations brought by the Communist Party and ousted reform-oriented liberal parties such as the Union of Right Forces and Yabloko that President Vladimir Putin's United Russia had manipulated elections to ensure a favorable outcome, Rodina declined to field its own candidate in the 14 March 2004 presidential elections. This created a schism within Rodina: Glazyev insisted on running for President under the banner of an officially separate Rodina party, but Rogozin was able to consolidate his support and defeat Glazyev.
In the aftermath of the 2003 elections, the party mostly supported the policies of President Putin. However, in February 2005 four Rodina deputies, including Dmitry Rogozin, went on a public hunger strike and locked themselves in their offices at the State Duma to protest the welfare reforms being pushed through by Putin's Government. The bloc since increasingly adopted the slogan "Za Putina, Protiv Pravitel'stva" (For Putin, Against the Government), and stated that its immediate goal was to win a parliamentary majority in the 2007 State Duma elections.
On 27 January 2005, nineteen members of the State Duma, including members of Rodina and the Communist Party, signed a petition to the prosecutor-general demanding that Jewish organisations be banned in the Russian Federation. This caused a political scandal, with then-president Putin (who was participating in commemorations for the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on the day that the petition was issued) expressing shame over the petition's content and the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews issuing a statement roundly criticising the petition and its signers. The prosecutor-general, in a later investigation, declined to charge the signatories of the petition with fomenting racial hatred.
In July 2005 the party's co-leader Sergey Baburin left the bloc, taking nine Duma deputies with him and forming an alternative group in the State Duma, which also calls itself 'Motherland'. The split led to a reunification of Dmitry Rogozin's and Sergey Glazyev's supporters.
Dmitry Rogozin had in recent months accused the Kremlin of waging a dirty war against his bloc, which he claims is feared by the United Russia party because of its potential electoral support. Rogozin had also announced intentions to take legal action against the State Duma for allowing Baburin to register his bloc in the Duma as "Motherland", creating a potential for confusion within the electorate.
On 6 November 2005, Rodina was barred from taking part in the December elections to the Moscow Duma following a complaint filed by the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia that Rodina's advertising campaign incited racial hatred. The advertisement in question showed dark-skinned Caucasian immigrants tossing watermelon rinds to the ground and ended with the slogan, "let's clear our city of trash". It garnered much controversy and opinion polls predicted that Rodina would come second with close to 25% in the December vote. Rogozin appealed the decision, but the ban was upheld on 1 December 2005.
Rodina's difficulties continued into 2006, when it failed to obtain permission to contest local elections in a number of regions. It did, however, come third in the regional elections in Altai Republic.
Dmitry Rogozin unexpectedly stepped down as party leader in March 2006, and was replaced by the less known businessman Alexander Babakov. Many suspected this was a tactical decision on Rodina's part to ease pressure from the Kremlin, although a small number of party members in Moscow had been vocal in their criticism of Rogozin's more outlandish nationalist rhetoric.
Rodina merged with the Russian Party of Life and the Russian Pensioners' Party into a new party, A Just Russia, on 28 October 2006. Many of Rodina's Parliamentary faction joined the new party except for Dmitry Rogozin, Andrey Savelyev and Sergey Glazyev, who at present does not belong to any party.
In 2007 Dmitry Rogozin was appointed Russian Ambassador to NATO. Rodina was reinstated on 29 September 2012. Aleksey Zhuravlyov, formally a member of the ruling United Russia, was unanimously voted to lead the party.
The term rodina (Russian родина) means motherland. It is one of three words in the Russian language that express the concept of "native land". Otechestvo (отечество) and оtchizna (oтчизна) both translate into English as "fatherland" and "relate to the country in which one is a citizen". Rodina means one's birthplace, and is identified with the nation's soul.