Eduard Limonov

Eduard Limonov ( _ru. Эдуард Лимонов, real name Eduard Veniaminovich Savenko, _ru. Эдуард Вениаминович Савенко; born February 22, 1943) is a Russian nationalist writer and political dissident, and is the founder and leader of Russia's unregistered National Bolshevik Party. He was convicted in 2002, despite the protests of several State Duma members, for illegally purchasing weapons, and served about 2 years in jail.

Early life

Limonov was born in Dzerzhinsk - an industrial town on the Oka River, near the major city of Nizhny Novgorod (Gorky during Soviet Rule). In the early years of his life family moved to Kharkov, Ukraine where Limonov grew up. In the early 1970s he was a poet in Moscow, and achieved a degree of success before being stripped of his citizenship and expelled from the Soviet Union. He arrived in New York City in 1974 as an émigré and began writing novels. He fell in with the New York punk and avante-garde scene, acquiring an admiration for Lou Reed, as well as such American writers as Charles Bukowski. In 1982, he moved to Paris with his lover Natalya Medvedeva, and quickly became active in French literary circles. He was also granted French citizenship, and his Soviet citizenship was restored by Mikhail Gorbachev. Limonov and Medvedeva married but were divorced in 1994.


Limonov's works are noted for their cynicism. His novels are also memoirs, describing his experiences as a youth in Russia and as émigré in the United States.

Russian film director and screenwriter Aleksandr Veledinskii's 2004 feature film "Russkoe" ("Russian") is based on Limonov's writings.

Since the late 1990s, Limonov has been a regular contributor to "Living Here" and later to "the eXile", English-language newspapers in Moscow. These are the only known sources where Limonov has written articles in English. When he joined as a contributor, he specifically asked the editors of the paper that they preserve his "terrible Russian English style." Although most of his featured articles are political, he also writes on many topics, including "advice for ambitious youngsters."

Political career

In 1991, Limonov returned to Russia and became active in politics. He founded a newspaper called "Limonka" (Russian nickname for the modern lemon-shaped F1 hand grenade; presumably, a play on his pen name Limonov [Lemon] and the explosive nature of the material), and a small, equally political party called the National Bolshevik Party . This party's views are a mix of leftist socialism and Russian territorial nationalism. Although the group never managed to obtain an official party status, it remains active in protests on various social and political issues, in particular harshly criticizing the regime of Vladimir Putin. In the 2000s Limonov's NBP has liberalized to an extent, even denouncing all xenophobia and antisemitism on its official website. The party is part of Garry Kasparov's United Civil Front that consists of liberal, democratic, and leftist/nationalist opposition to the Putin government. During the 1990s, he supported Bosnian Serbs in the Yugoslav wars; and Abkhaz and Transnistrian secessionists against Georgia and Moldova, respectively. [Meier, Andrew (March 2, 2008), [ Putin’s Pariah] . The New York Times. Retrieved on 2008-07-10.]

In 1996 a Russian court judged in a hearing that the NBP paper "Limonka" had disseminated illegal and immoral information: "in essence, E. V. Limonov (Savenko) is an advocate of revenge and mass terror, raised to the level of state policy." The court decided to recommend issuing an official warning to Limonka, to investiage the possibility of examining whether Limonov could be held legally responsible, and to publish its decision in "Rossiiskaia gazeta". []

Limonov supported the November 2000 NBP occupation of St. Peter's Church in Riga after the event, in an article in "the eXile". [] . Specifically, NPB activists had barricaded themselves in the church's belltower after brandishing a fake grenade, and threatened to blow up the building in attempt to draw attention to alleged mistreatment of Russian minorities in Latvia. While no injury or property damage occurred, this action has been referred to by some media outlets as terrorism. [] Three NBP member were convicted and sentenced to 10-15 years in jail. Four other NBP members, who were captured before the attack, served short sentences and were deported.

Limonov was jailed in April, 2001 on charges of terrorism, the forced overthrow of the constitutional order, and the illegal purchase of weapons. Based on an article published in "Limonka" under Limonov's byline, the government accused Limonov of planning to raise an army to invade Kazakhstan. After one year in jail, his trial was heard in a Saratov court, [] which also heard appeals from Russian Duma members Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Alexei Mitrofanov and Vasiliy Shandybin for his release. He maintained that the charges were ridiculous and politically motivated, but was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment for the arms purchasing, while the other charges were dropped. [] He served almost two years before being parolled for good behavior. []

Limonov is a strong supporter of Serbia and achieved notoriety by joining a sniper patrol in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Bosnian war. BBC television showed Limonov with Radovan Karadžić, former Bosnian Serb president and accused war criminal for genocide against Bosniaks of Bosnia. The video featured Limonov firing a sniper rifle from a tank into the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo. [] [] [] [] He has at times controversially talked about the need for the use of "Serbian tactics" to regain areas of the former Soviet Union that have large Russian populations. Some people seeking to spread support for the NBP and minimize evidence of "extremism" say that the "Serbian tactics"simply means territorial assertion and perhaps military intervention. Others, either extreme nationalists or the opposite-people wanting to discredit the NBP- claim that he is referring to genocide.

Limonov has listed among his idols Joseph Stalin, Mikhail Bakunin, Julius Evola and Yukio Mishima [citation needed] . He has counted Alain de Benoist amongst his political allies. He was initially an ally of Vladimir Zhirinovsky and was named as Security Minister in a shadow cabinet formed by Zhirinovsky in 1992. However Limonov soon tired of Zhirinovsky's over the top political stunts and split from him, writing the book "Limonov against Zhirinovsky".

On April 1, 2005, the American newspaper "The Wall Street Journal" published an article about Limonov and his party, entitled "Extreme Movement: In Russia, Group Takes Radical Steps To Defy Kremlin". The article is anomalous, as Limonov and the National Bolshevik Party rarely get any press in the United States.

On March 32007, Limonov and members of his National Bolshevik Party together with other left and right-wing opposition activists took part in organizing Saint Petersburg Dissenters' March involving scores of people rallying against Vladimir Putin and Valentina Matviyenko's policies. Limonov was detained by police in the very beginning of the rally. []

On April 142007 Limonov was arrested after an anti-government rally in Moscow. []

He is married to actress Ekaterina Volkova and has a son Bogdan with her.

elected bibliography

*"It's Me, Eddie"
*"Memoir of a Russian Punk", Grove Weidenfeld, 1990.
*"Молодой Нeгодяй" ("A Young Scoundrel"), translated by John Dolan
* [ "My Political Biography"]
* [ "Another Russia"]
* [ "Russian Psycho"]
* [ "Control Shot"]
* [ "The Holy Monsters"]
* [ "Imprisoned by Dead Men"]
* [ "The Book of Water"]
* [ "The Wild Girl"]
* [ "American Vacation"]
* [ "The Great Mother of Love"]
* [ "Anatomy of a Hero"]
* [ "Disappearance of Barbarians"]

External links

* [ ALL eBOOKS OF EDUARD LIMONOV = сайт «Полное собрание сочинений Лимонова»]
* [ LJ-community: «Эдуард Лимонов вне политики»]
* [ Monumental Foolishness: The decline and fall of a man who once seemed poised to become the next great émigré writer] - "Slate" article by Keith Gessen
* [ Putin's Pariah] 2008 "New York Times Magazine" article by Andrew Meier
* [ nbp-info] - official web page of Limonov's political party. ( [ English version] )
* [] - essay about Limonov by his friend and editor, written while Limonov was in prison.
* [ Pravda] - article on the Limonov case, written in 2002.
* [ Sobaka] - article on the lack of Western press coverage of the Limonov case.
* [ The eXile] - report on the Limonov trial
* [ Johnson's Russia List] - article written about Limonov's release.
* [ Pravda] - interview with Limonov after his release.
* [ on the Russian elections] - Limonov compares elections to organised crime.
* [ "Each year I get closer to Islam"] - 16.11.2005 interview with Limonov.
* [ "On February 18, 1975, in the belly of a PanAm jet..."] - New York Press
* [ Video] of Limonov firing a machine gun into Sarejevo from an overlooking mountain (Youtube)

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