Konstantin Malofeev has been around in Russian politics since at least 2014 when he gained notoriety for the vital role he had played in financing separatists in Crimea and Donbas. Now he is setting his sight on forming a social movement, possibly to help monitor far-right moods that have been on the rise in Russia. This is all the more probably as Malofeev is befriended with Russia’s siloviki.
Businessman Konstantin Malofeev, known for his role in the annexation of Crimea and events of 2014 in Donbas, announced the creation of a new public movement named Tsargrad. It was formed in Moscow at the November 22 congress of the “Double-Headed Eagle” society that Malofeev heads. According to an estimate by Malofeev, the new movement has almost a million supporters throughout Russia. Malofeev said that his Tsargrad would take part in the 2021 State Duma election, serving as a “public controller.” The organization hopes to survey all deputy candidates in the 225 single-member districts and all candidates of the political parties regarding their adherence to “traditional family, religious, and cultural values of the Russian people.” According to Malofeev, candidates who are discovered to be guilty of Russophobia, offending the feelings of believers, and distorting historical truth will be opposed in every legal way to prevent them from getting into power. Tsargrad will not be able to nominate candidates, as this is the exclusive right of political parties. Malofeev adheres to right-wing traditional and imperial views, and his Double-Headed Eagle society promotes monarchist ideas. His movement will thus wave far-right and traditional agenda referring to tsarist Russia. Konstantin Malofeev was elected president of the Tsargrad movement. Among its high-ranking figures are ideologists holding links to what is known as Novorossiya (New Russia), supporters of the war with Ukraine. Members of the supreme council of the movement include State Duma deputies Oleg Nilov and Nikolai Zemtsov, Evgeny Savchenko, senator from Belgorod oblast and its former governor, former prosecutor general Yury Skuratov, former presidential aide Sergei Glaziev, philosopher and chief ideologists of Eurasianism Alexander Dugin, conservative publicist Yegor Kholmogorov, and Metropolitan Kirill. Members of many social organizations joined the movement, among which were members of the Union of Volunteers of the Donbas who hosted Vladislav Surkov, a former top Kremlin official, at their meetings. Many signs are that both the new movement and Malofeev’s growing involvement in Russia’s domestic affairs seek to serve the Putin regime. The goal is to win influence and as much control as possible of far-nationalist milieux in Russia that are now rising in power.