Edward Limonov – ghetto thug, vagabond, writer in Parisian salons, irresistible seducer, sniper, and founder of the party The Other Russia – on the war in Ukraine.

An Interview with Edward Limonov

The premier Italian daily, Il Corriere Della Serra, published a long interview with Edward Limonov by Paolo Valentino on two pages in its Sunday supplement, La Lettura, on 8 February 2015. The following was translated by Eugene Montsalvat from the French version.

In a year, Russian society has radically changed. We have lived with more than 20 years of humiliations, as a country and as a people. We have submitted to defeat after defeat. The country that Russia constructed, the Soviet Union, committed suicide. A suicide assisted by greedy foreigners. For 23 years we have remained in a full collective depression. The people of a great country constantly needs victories, not necessarily of a military nature, but it should see itself as a victor. The reunification of Crimea with Russia was seen by the Russians as the victory that we had lacked for so long. Finally! That was something comparable to the Spanish Reconquista.
– Edward Limonov

He has done everything and been everything in his life. Edouard Veniaminovitch Savenko, alias Edward Limonov. Ghetto thug, maybe KGB agent, beggar, vagabond, butler of a progressive American mogul, poet, writer in Parisian salons, irresistible seducer, sniper with Arkan’s Tigers at the time of the collapse of Yugoslavia, political leader, founder of the National Bolshevik Party before it dissolved, and he created the party The Other Russia.

But Limonov, sour as the citrus from which he takes his pseudonym, is above all an anti-hero, an aesthete, an outsider who has always chosen, voluntarily, the camp you shouldn’t choose, without ever being a loser for all that.

Basically, Edouard Limonov is a grand exhibitionist, who never feared the risks and paid the heavy price for all his adventures: for example, with two and a half years in prison, of which a dozen months were spent in Penal Colony Number 13, on the steppe near Saratov, in 2003.

It can seem paradoxical that for the first time in his life full of dangers, the personality made famous by the eponymous book by Emmanuel Carrère found himself more marginalized, in the catacombs of Russian national history, as a charismatic eccentric capable of leading a few dozen desperadoes. Fully on the contrary, he is today clearly in the mainstream, a champion of nationalist inspiration, which has spread in the collective spirit of the Russian nation due to the events in Ukraine and the reaction of the Western countries.

Limonov received us in his little apartment in the center of Moscow, near Mayakovsky Place. A large and robust young man picked us up a few streets from there, and led us to the building. Another beefy guy opened the armoured door. These are his militants, who serve as his bodyguards.

He will soon be 72, and, despite his silver hair, seems twenty years younger. Thin, narrow-faced with his famous goatee, and wearing a small earring, he is dressed all in black, with tight pants, a sleeveless vest, and a turtleneck sweater.

He spoke in a soft voice, slightly hoarse. He had a calm demeanour and a certain gentleness, in apparent contradiction with the furor that has marked his life.

‘You Westerners, you understand nothing of what happened’, he began, offering a glass of tea.

What don’t we understand?

That Donbass is populated by Russians. And that there is no difference with the Russians who live in the neighbouring regions, in Russia, like Krasnodar or Stavropol: the same people, the same dialect, the same history. Putin is at fault for not saying it clearly to the USA and Europe. It is in our national interest.

So for you, Ukraine is Russia?

No, not entirely. Ukraine is a little empire, composed of territory taken from Russia, and others taken from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Its borders were the administrative frontiers of the Soviet Socialist Republic of Ukraine. Borders that never existed. It’s an imaginary territory, that, I repeat it, only exists due to administrative decrees.

Take Lviv, the city that is considered to be the the capital of Ukrainian nationalism: you know that Ukraine received it in 1939 with the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. At that time, 57% of the population was Polish, the rest principally Jewish, and there were practically no Ukrainians. The south of the country was then given to Ukraine after having been conquered by the Red Army. That’s history. But then, when Ukraine was separated from the Soviet Union, it did not return those territories, beginning with Crimea, which was given as a gift by Khrushchev in 1954. I do not understand why Putin has yet to say that Donbass and Russia, they’re the same thing.

Maybe because they are territories recognized at the international level.

When the territory of the Soviet Union was dismembered, in 1991, the international community mocked it. Did anyone say anything? No. That is what I reproach the West for: applying a double standard to international relations. There are certain rules for a country like Russia, and others for the West. There will not be peace in Ukraine so long as they won’t liberate their colonies, I mean Donbass. Putin is at fault for not saying it directly.

Maybe Putin does so because he doesn’t want to annex Donbass, as he did with Crimea, because that can only create problems?

Maybe you are right. Maybe he didn’t want to annex Crimea. That was his duty, whether it pleases him or not. He is the President of Russia. And he risked a lot.

A limited risk all the same, because his popularity remains above 80%.

He still benefits from the effects of the inertia created by Crimea. But if he abandons Donbass, by leaving it to the government of Kiev, with the thousands of Russian volunteers who risk being killed, his popularity will melt like snow in the Sun. For the moment, that doesn’t seem to be the case, but Putin is stuck.

What will he do, according to you?

He reacts well. He is in the process of radicalizing. He understood that the Minsk accords were a farce. They only aid the Ukrainian President, Poroshenko. Even if he doesn’t want to, he must act. A year ago, when the problem of Crimea arose, Putin was obsessed with the Olympic Games, which he considered as his great work. He was happy. He was obliged to put in practice the plans prepared by the Russian Army, that have evidently existed for a long time. Crimea was a victory for Putin, although despite himself. Donbass was not absolutely on the horizon. The Western countries accuse him of wanting to annex it, but in fact he is very hesitant.

After Ukraine, what will be the next territories that will be reconquered? The Baltic countries?

No, evidently not. To return to Ukraine, I believe that it should exist as a state, composed only of the Western provinces that can be considered as Ukrainian. It’s not that I want to deny their culture and their beautiful language. But I repeat it: on the condition that they liberate the Russian territories.

You have attacked Putin many times in the past. So is he the leader Russia needs, yes or no?

We have an authoritarian regime. And Putin is the leader that we have. There is no means to escape it. But there is a difference between the Putin of the first two elections and that of today. The first was catastrophic, given his inferiority complex of an old KGB petty officer. He liked the company of international leaders: Bush Jr., Schröder, Berlusconi. But he learned over time. He improved. He said goodbye to the glitter and began serious work. He is in a difficult time, and he does what is necessary. It is impossible today not to ask him to be authoritarian.

Can Russia be a non-authoritarian country?

If Obama continues to say that he must punish us, then this obliges us to have authoritarian leaders.

What does Russia represent for you?

The greatest European nation. We are twice as numerous as the Germans. Truly, we are Europe. The Western part is a little appendix, not only in terms of territory, but also in wealth.

In truth, the European Union is the number one commercial power in the world.

There are things more important than commerce and markets.

If you the the greatest European power, why are you also nationalists?

We are no more nationalists than are the French or Germans. We are a power more imperial than nationalist. I recall that more than 20 million Muslims live in Russia, but they are not immigrants, they have always been there. We are anti-separatist. Certainly, there is still an ethnic nationalism in Russia, luckily in the minority, and that creates problems. I am not a Russian nationalist and I have never been. I consider myself to be an imperialist. I want a country with all its diversity, but rallying to Russian civilisation, culture, and history. Russia can only exist as a mosaic.

But are you, or are you not, part of the Western world?

That is not important. It’s a dogmatic question, without real meaning. Is South Korea part of the Western world? No, and yet it is considered as such. Where is the border of the West? That is not important for Russians.

What distinguishes Russian identity?

Our history. We are not better than others, but not worse either. We do not accept being treated as inferiors, left to the side and humiliated. That enrages us. It’s our spiritual state today.

The West claims the values of the French Revolution: democracy, separation of powers, the rights of man. Is democracy part of your values?

For Russians, the most important and fundamental notion is that of spravedlivost. This means justice, in the senses of social justice, equity,and aversion to inequalities. I think that our spravedlivost is very close to what you call democracy.

The sanctions and the economic crisis, could they threaten Putin’s position?

I think that in the world today, economics is overvalued. It is the passions which are the motor of history. We can resist economic pressure, and we will resist. But will Putin do what he must do in Donbass? Look at our history: the Siege of Leningrad, the Battle of Stalingrad. We can do it. There were many throughout history who tried to beat us, from Napoleon to Hitler. But Russian national pride weighs more than political economy, and I think I know the character of my people well.

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About The Author

Profile photo of Edward Limonov
  • Maxim

    Donbass has a large Russian minority, much because of Russian immigration during the Soviet Union, but to say that practically everybody living there has a Russian identity and wishes to be liberated by Putin is a lie. And it’s definitely not like that in the rest of the territory which is considered to be Novorossiya. For example regions like Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk and Kherson in the East of Ukraine are highly patriotic. You can go there yourself and interview people if you want to find out about their loyalites. Except Donetsk and Luhansk which are now under control of insurgents, Kharkiv and Odessa are probably those regions with highest amount of pro-russians, but these people are still in minority. It would never have been any uprising in Donbass without Russian involvement and those insurgents had been easily defeated if they had not got support from Russian army. Those soldiers who supports the separatists as “volunteers” are in most cases paid professional soldiers from the Russian army.

    There is a census of 2001 where it is clearly stated which nationalites actually live in each region. Red is for russian, yellow is for ukrainian. Many ukrainians speak russian language which can lead into confusion among russians themselves.

    And these discussions about whether Ukraine is a real nation or a “construction” are so tiresome. Like many other countries of today Ukraine have throughout history been a part of empires and did not have any independence until the 20th century. However there has for a long time existed a distinguished Ukrainian people and the Eastern territories which became a part of Ukrainian SSR when Soviet Union was created was mainly land which had been colonized by Ukrainians under the rule of Russian crown. If there is no real Ukrainian nation you can say the same about Czech Republic, Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Finland etc.

    Lviv is the center of Ukrainian nationalism simply because it’s the biggest city in West Ukraine, which was ruled mostly by Austria-Hungary, which did not suppress Ukrainian identity as the Russian rulers in the East did and therefore made it possible for the national idea to flourish. If you include rural areas Ukrainians were in majority in East Galicia also before the annexation by Soviet Union. After WW2 both Poles were deported from Ukraine and vice verca, and many Ukrainians from rural areas moved into cities which changed the population makeup.

    Ukraine got Crimea for economical reasons in the 1950s. The peninsula heavily relied on immigation from mainland and needed extensive workforce investments, which allowed its population to triple in 4 decades. Belgorod and Taganrog had earlier been taken from Ukraine and transfered to Russia so it evens up.

    There are Helsinki Accords which should be respected by any state. When you start speculating on “Historical right” you open a Pandora’s box, where Chinese will start war for Vladivostok, Finnish for Karelen, Swedish for Aland, British for India and so on. In other words, you get world back to 1st half of 20th century.

    Ukrainian nationalists are criticized for being too anti-russian, but it’s the attitude of men like the one interviewed above which fuels such sentiments. If Russia respects Ukraine as an independent nation and don’t make claims on Ukrainian territory then there will be no reason for conflicts. Why Ukraine is drawn to the West is much because of the Russian attitude to Ukraine as being merely a Russian province.

    • machiaevil

      Ukraine is not an “independent” nation. It is a hellhole run by Neocon Jew and Soros puppets with the sole purpose to isolate Europe from its natural ally, Russia, invent a fake “Russian threat” in order to justify the continuation of the ideological, political, economic and military occupation of Europe by the US. Europe has been destroyed economically by being exposed to US toxic banks. Europe has been destroyed demographically by having to deal with millions of third-world invaders created by the US policies which Europe foolishly followed. Europe will be destroyed by a major war if it allows itself to become a battlefield of the US war agenda and aggression against Russia, while the US sits backs and watches as usual, unaffected by the disasters it has caused.

      • Lawrence

        Look, this lemon fella talks like a Soros shill:

        “We are no more nationalists than are the French or Germans. We are a power more imperial than nationalist. I recall that more than 20 million Muslims live in Russia, but they are not immigrants, they have always been there. We are anti-separatist. Certainly, there is still an ethnic nationalism in Russia, luckily in the minority, and that creates problems. I am not a Russian nationalist and I have never been. I consider myself to be an imperialist. I want a country with all its diversity, but rallying to Russian civilisation, culture, and history. Russia can only exist as a mosaic.”

        • machiaevil

          No actually he is right about that. In Russia’s case diversity IS strength which is why the Soros controlled liberals and “nationalists” have created an unholy alliance. They want a small “ethnic” Russia that will eventually be assimilated by their beloved west, serving the interests of their Jew masters in weakening and eventually removing the alternative paradigm of civilization that Russia offers and is an obstacle to their plans for world domination.

          • Lawrence

            Demographic trends are favoring the muslims inside Russia, to the detriment of ethnic russians

          • machiaevil

            Russia’s society has been multi-ethnic for centuries with no problems and it developed organically, with Russian identity and Orthodox religion being at the core that all other minorities have to respect and adapt to. It wasn’t imposed violently from the outside in order to cause upheaval as in our case. Globalist-Jew subversion works according to the particularities of each society – looking to strike where its strength lies, in our case racial homogeneity and identity, in Russia’s case to destroy the organic mosaic and fragment it Middle East style, in order not to allow a civilization with conflicting values to become strong enough to oppose it.

          • Maxim

            What you say might be correct about Russia historically, but lately they also suffered from immigration, both by caucasians who moved within the Russian Federation, leaving their regions to settle in Russian cities, and asians who came from former Soviet republics. Look at Southern Russia today, it’s has similar problems as Western Europe. The same thing in all big cities, especially Moscow.

          • machiaevil

            Yeah, they’re Russia’s Mexicans. The quote was referring to the historic significance of Russia’s multi-ethnic composition so my response was relevant to that.

      • Paul Muad’dib

        Absolutely, I agree with your every word Machiaevil – if you’ve got Jews, you’ve got problems.

    • Robin Lidén

      I am afraid that discussing Ukraine with Daniel Friberg and his associates is like discussing Germany with Eisenhower… I write this as someone who otherwise greatly respects Friberg and the rest of his circle of identitarians, but I honestly find this a sad and frankly appalling position for someone to take who claims to be an ethnopluralist.

      On the Swedish site Motpol, there has been several articles on this issue, unfortunely, of which all are as propagandist, war-mongering and inflammatory as most pro-Zionist articles tend to be. Any form of critique, both positive and negative, have been labeled as “pro-American/pro-Zionist propaganda” by the writers and their colleagues…

      It’s a truely sad state of affairs when great people are dragged down by arrogance and greed. To blindly believe Putin to be our saviour, as many do despite their constant denial of this obvious fact, is about as idiotic as believing that electing Trump will magically make the US safer.

      (I have nothing against Trump, I just find the childish belief that he is the second coming of Christ to be frankly idiotic).

      I dearly hope that there will come a day when Friberg and the others realize the stupidity of trying to suck up to Putin and Dugin, but I guess that day won’t come soon…

      Unfortunely few people will read your post and not tirelessly whine about how you are a Zionist or a sheep or a pro-American shill etc etc. Even fewer will take the time to think about the possibility that Putin “might” be a pro-globalist shithead with his own little court of Jewish oligarchs and banksters…

      But that would of course be extremely silly and counter-productive.

      • Klas2

        You describe the gist of the articles on Motpol deceitfully. Besides, it is very bad form to make articles written in another language, not accessible to most readers of righton.net, part of your argument. Let the articles here stand on their own. Instead of making arguments that can neither be supported nor refuted in english.

        • Robin Lidén

          How was I being “decietful”? Have you read any Motpol articles on the subject, or are you just abusing the fact that most here don’t know Swedish to hide the pathalogically arrogant and narrow-minded behavior of the euro-asianists?

          In fact every sort of argument in favour of euro-asianism, even those in English, tend to follow the same line of appalling logic, like accusing every dissenter of having “russophobia”, or calling everyone who criticizes Putin for throwing nationalists in jail with dubious hate speech laws victims/perpetuators of “western propaganda”, or the fact that he and the euro-asianists happily call themselves “antifascists” and consider the red army “national heroes”, or calling nationalism a “disease” affecting the youth, whilst calling everyone else “stuck up chauvanists” because they dare oppose their very American style of warmongering against “fascists”…

          But I guess we should all just forget the past? We should just mindlessly embrace whatever new leader that is slightly controversial in the west just for that reason alone?

          Another childish “argument” from the euro-asianists is the constant reminders we get of how the nationalists in Ukraine are “controlled by the west”, of course with no evidence to back it up, because that would be demanding too much…

          The fact that there is economic western support for the Right Sector and other nationalist groups, does not mean that they are controlled by them. That is a, frankly, absurd leap to make, seeing as they are very clearly anti-Zionist, anti-liberal and anti-American, most of them atleast. The euro-asianists also must be pretty intellectually challenged to believe that the nationalists should just do a military coup against their liberal government, to prove how independent they are, and take the fact that they aren’t doing so in the current situation, to attack them for being “neo-nazi terrorists bought by the west to hurt the innocent Russians living in Ukraine”, whilst justifying supporting a proud anti-fascist and an red army admirer, without thinking twice about the flawed logic behind the “argument”…

          But I digress. You are right, I shouldn’t have criticized what Daniel and the Motpol authors have written in the past against them, seeing as they have only written those things in Swedish, so that OBVIOUSLY makes their arrogant behavior less childish, embarrassing, and appalling…

          (Here’s the articles and comment sections which I was talking about, btw. You can use Google Translate to get the general gist of them, if you don’t know Swedish. They are very clear in their message of how the people of Ukraine are not a people because the borders of Ukraine was created during the Soviet era, ignoring the fact that there has existed an Ukrainian people and nation before that, and so on and so forth…)


          These articles have been written from a euro-asianist perspective, I.E. the “Ukrainian neo-nazi ultra-fascists are killing innocent Russian children en masse!!!” or a “neutral” position, which basically is the same perspective except without the “neo-nazi ultra-fascists” line…

          • Klas2

            My main point was that you should show respect to other readers of an englishspeaking site by not bringing up examples in another languages that the majority of the people here can not take part of. But this was obviously beyond what you are capable of understanding.

          • Robin Lidén

            So, you didn’t read my reply, but still have the guts to write me off as a liar?

            I very clearly linked to the articles in question and gave the advice of translating it with Google Translate, which is not the best tool for the job, but nontheless a way of getting a gist of the articles. I also gave examples of “arguments” in English, which you can verify by looking at the article above which is rife with “arguments” like them.

            How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when all you do is whine about how I am being disrespectful for actually providing a source for my accusations? Why don’t you try to refute my assertions, instead, coward?

            I respect Daniel and the Motpol authors in general more than I suspect you respect them. I read all articles published on the Motpol site for the fact that I love their writing and, some, of their spin on things. That is the very reason why I am so appalled at their behavior and position on this topic! How is mindlessly defending them from critique, as you are doing, achieving anything but ideological retardation?

            I am sorry if you find any response longer than 3 paragraphs long to be too hard to read through, but that is entirely the fault of your abysmal attiontion span. Go back to masturbating to pictures of “Aryan womyns”, if you have the attention span for that and leave political/ideological discussions to your betters…

    • Klas2

      Presidential election in 2010 followed ethnic lines in a large degree:

      I know Ukrainians got an extraspecial horrible bad deal out of the USSR. However, it is not surprising that the eastern parts are more Russian. They would have been so even before the USSR. Furthermore, that the coast is more russian could be explained by that the Krimean Kahnate was finally defeated by Moscovy rather than Poland-Lithuania. And its lands thus settled by russians or were russified.

      And no. Us swedes would never start a war for Åland. The example is ludicrous.

  • machiaevil
  • Viktor Horvat

    1. First Limonov was a KGB agent and spy.
    2. Russians as a people do not exist !!! It’s a pure fiction ! The Russians are a group of hundreds of people: turmen-mongols and Finno-ungarian who are brought together geniocde Russian Orthodox Church.
    3. Russians are cowardly people who lost all the wars!
    4. Russians was committed genocide on the Ukrainian people and killed over seven million Ukrainians !!
    5. Before 150 years no Russian has not lived in the Crimea. Russian imperial gang planned inhabited Crimea and Donbas and committed genocide against the Tatars who were the majority people in Crimea. Planned ethnic cleansing by Russian criminals is not an excuse to plunder and occupation of the Crimea!

  • Triptolemus

    Please stop cucking for Putin and Dugin. Limonov is an anti-white, Stalinist degenerate. Do the editors of Right On like Dugin, et al, so much because they think it is edgy to be an “imperialist”? Imperialism is not in the interest of Europeans (nostalgic LARPing notwithstanding), especially not anti-European Russian imperialism, which threatens to swallow Eastern Europe AGAIN. The claim that multiracial Russia is the real Europe–when Russia was historically a cultural backwater of Europe–is beyond absurdity, it is a reverse image of reality. Limonov has zero credibility and should be shunned. Maybe you are just hedging your bets for when Putin becomes god-emperor, but this obsequiousness is an embarrassment. I do not see how anything Limonov, or Dugin, has to say is relevant to interests of indigenous Europeans. Dugin is a bad hack of Alain de Benoist, and he “hides his feet”, as Nietzsche said, under mountains of gibberish. Begone!

  • Svantovit

    Ukraine is a shithole doomed to failure. Only losers believe that a fourth reich will emerge there. Every day becomes more clear that neo-Nazis and white nationalists are unable to cope with the system.