Prominent nationalist groups such as the Slavic Union and the Movement Against Illegal Immigration were banned for extremism. Mr. Krylov is trying to start the National Democratic Party, which he claims is modeled after “not even that conservative” center-right parties in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Sunday’s march in Moscow was subdued compared with previous years, when skinheads attacked migrants and clashed with police. Speakers’ most common demand was for the body of the late Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin to be removed from a mausoleum near the Kremlin, in contrast to the xenophobic rhetoric that colored past rallies.
Nonetheless, Russian nationalism’s future may lie with its crude rank and file rather than leaders who pepper their conversations with literary quotations and historical references, Sova’s Natalia Yudina said.
“They’re not good at speaking to the young, shaven-headed activists,” she said. “If you try to ban Nazi salutes and racist chants, you’re never going to be popular with this crowd.”
Although Sunday’s organizers said most participants in the march were ordinary people, skinheads with covered faces and neo-Nazis were highly visible. When a regional nationalist activist gave several fascist salutes, Mr. Belov rushed onstage and awkwardly hugged her to stop her from raising her right arm.
Though no violence was reported at the Moscow march, at least 100 people were involved in a brawl in a subway station between nationalist and anti-fascist activists shortly after it ended, the Interfax news agency reported. Police also detained 25 men wearing overcoats emblazoned with swastikas.
About 200 people were arrested for participating in unsanctioned Russian Marches in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Kazan.
The rise in nationalist sentiment since the 2008 financial crisis should gather pace if economic conditions worsen in Russia, which relies heavily on oil and gas revenue, said Nikolai Petrov, an analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“This is the tip of the iceberg,” he added. “The Kremlin is worried that nationalist sentiment will become uncontrollable.”