Who Knew Feygin Was a Serbian Nationalist?

Dear Readers:

Continuing along yesterday’s theme about lawyers, but this time a Russian lawyer, Mark Feygin.  (I’ll go ahead and use the spelling they use in wiki.)  Feygin is the defense attorney who defends Russian dissidents such as Pussy Riot, and also recently lost the Savchenko trial.  As far as I am aware, his record for losing cases, remains unblemished.  But that might just be because he is attracted to hopeless causes.

Speaking of which, there is something in Feygin’s past which is not exactly a secret.  But I, for one, did not know about it until I saw this expose  yesterday, in PolitNavigator.

“Scandalous anti-Sovietchik and Vlasovite”

is how the piece refers to the political leanings of a young Mr. Feygin.  Maybe my thinking is a tad linear, I would have expected such a man to fight on the side of the NATO rebels in Yugoslavia.  But no…  Reality is apparently more complicated than I think:  Feygin fought on the side of Serbian nationalists.  He fought under the command of General Ratko Mladić.

This era in Feygin’s past life was pointed out by a well-known Russian historian and archivist named Alexander Diukov, who posted this expose on his Facebook. Diukov, in turn, was quoting from this lenta.ru piece from around Pussy times.  Here is my translation of the paragraph cited by Diukov:

If your puss is in trouble, Better Call Feygin.

Together with his comrades in the NTS Feygin set off to Bosnia to fight for the Serbs.  About which, to this day he is reluctant to speak.  Last year Feygin admitted, that he fought under the leadership of the recently arrested General Ratko Mladić; and he posted photographs of his military ID (tags).  “During the war itself I did not particularly distinguish myself, I was a rank-and-file soldier, and just carried out orders, like the others.  I naturally believed that Serbs had the right to their own state in Bosnia, but I was there mainly for the company, since I could not abandon my friends,” Feygin admits modestly.  The Pussy Riot lawyer served as a sniper in Bosnia.  To the question, whether he killed anyone, he responds evasively.  “It’s best if we don’t talk about that.  But remember that this was a real war, I tossed grenades, we had rocket launchers, rifles.  It’s like, you can’t just scare the enemy by making faces at him.  Our positions were only 100 meters apart,” Feygin adds reluctantly.  In his words, because he is an attorney, it is not appropriate for him to discuss his service in the army of the Serbian Republic.

What is NTS?

The political party that was referred to, to which Mr. Feygin belonged in the early 1990’s, and even led their Samara branch, was the NTS (Народно-Трудовой Союз российских солидаристов National Alliance of Russian Solidarists).  I never heard of these guys but, amazingly, wiki says they have been around since the 1930’s.  Quoting wiki:


NTS trident symbol

(НТС) is a Russian anticommunist organization founded in 1930 by a group of young Russian anticommunist White emigres in Belgrade, Serbia (then part of Kingdom of Yugoslavia).
The organization was formed in response to the older generation of Russian emigres (veterans of the White movement) who were perceived as being stagnant and resigned to their loss in the Russian Civil War. The youth which formed NTS decided to take an active role in fighting communism by studying the newly emerging Soviet culture, the psyche of a person living in the Soviet Union, and developing a political program based on the concept of solidarism

Okay, so what is this ideology called “Solidarism” ?  Funny you should ask:

The solidarist ideology of NTS was built on the Christian understanding of people’s collective social responsibility for each other’s welfare, and the voluntary cooperation between the different layers (as opposed to classes) of society, in opposition to the Marxist concept of the class struggle. It also believed strongly in the “sanctity of the individual”, in contrast to Marxist collectivism.

Was a Christian Feygin removing kebab?

Christian?  That’s funny too, because I always assumed that Feygin is Jewish.  Maybe just based on his name.

Just goes to show, one should never ASSUME.

In any case, the PolitNavigator piece goes on to point out a copacetic relationship between Feygin’s Serbian exploits and his client Savchenko’s experiences.  The supposed similarity is that both are fighting for nationalist causes, within the ranks of irregular militias.

Well, maybe.  And I couldn’t help but notice, that the NTS pin uses the “trident” symbology so beloved by Ukrainian nationalists.  However, the differences are also pretty stark:  Ukrainian nationalists are pro-NATO.  Serbian nationalists, not so much.  But even that is not the main point.  For me, the problem with any nationalist ideology, is that it is always specific to the “nation” in question.  Being a Ukrainian nationalist is a very different animal from being a Serbian nationalist.  Or a Russian nationalist, for that matter.  All Nationalisms have certain ideological points in common – like a hatred of communism, for example.  And Nationalisms can form temporary alliances with each other, but never permanent bonds, since they each believe that their own blood is more sacred than the other guy’s.  Which is why the concept of a “Nationalist Internationale” in a logical paradox.

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40 Responses to Who Knew Feygin Was a Serbian Nationalist?

  1. Mao Cheng Ji says:

    This is interesting, and very puzzling to me: I get the impression that a lot of Russian (ethnic) nationalists are fighting on the Kiev’s side. Maybe their struggle is still, fundamentally, the anti-communist struggle? The Russian Federation, and especially the new republics in eastern (former) Ukraine, symbolize the ‘sovok’ to them, not anything ‘Russian’ in any spiritual sense. I don’t know, this is just a hunch.


    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, Mao, good point, I have same hunch. In the final analysis, I think, it’s all about communism vs. anti-communism.
      And by the way, this “Solidarist” ideology sounds really lame. It doesn’t even sound like a real ideology to me, just like somebody who watched Fritz Langs’s “Metropolis” one too many times. Of which, the basic ideology is:
      The workers are the hands.
      The intellectuals are the head.
      The artists are the heart.
      And each “layer” must know its proper place in the scheme of things.


      • Jen says:

        The script for “Metropolis” was written by Fritz Lang’s wife at the time, Thea von Harbou, who later joined the Nazi Party and remained devoted to it until her death in the 1950s. BTW, Lang and Harbou’s marriage didn’t last long and ended some time in the 1930s when Lang fled to Paris and then to the US.


        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, Thea’s Nazi leanings showed up earlier on, when she was writing the script for Lang’s “Germanic” masterpiece, Die Nibelungen, from the 1920’s.
          I don’t remember if we discussed this film before, or if you have seen it. I adore this movie, I have seen it many times, and am always mesmerized particularly by Part II, Kriemhilds Rache. In fact, you HAVE to be mesmerized to watch it, because it is very long and slow-moving. Lang directed the film in very slow-moving fashion, without a lot of cuts. For example, when Kriemhild says she is going down to the river to collect a clod of eath where Siegfried was stabbed, we viewers watch her do this, step by step, in real time. The best way to watch this film is with a beer in hand, and put yourself into a trance.

          Lang’s 2-part saga sticks closely to the original German story Nibelungenlied.
          Unlike in Wagner’s version, there is no magic ring. Instead, the conflict between the two women, Kriemhild and Brunhilde, is caused by an armlet, i.e., a bracelet worn on the upper arm. Siegfried steals this armlet from Brunhilde when he is wrestling her in the bedroom (long story), and then gives it to his wife, Kriemhild. He tells her never to wear it in public, but of course she does. And this causes a social sh*tstorm and the rest of the action, which ends with almost everybody getting brutally killed one way or another.

          But anyhow, my point is that the proto-Nazi, Thea van Harbou, when telling this bloody story of revenge and genocide, then just egregiously tosses in some nationalist slogans about how great Germans are. And it’s kind of funny too, because the story already established that Hagen and Kriemhild’s brothers are the bad guys – they plotted to kill her hubby Siegfried, and then stole her bride gift, the treasure hoard, and hid it in a cave in the river. So, they are the bad guys. And it is also established that Kriemhild’s new hubby, Etzel (Atilla) is a good guy. Even though he is an appallingly ugly barbarian, and not a handsome blonde-haired Aryan. He is in fact, along with the knight Rüdiger, the only truly decent character in the whole story. And yet, when the big battle begins, Thea makes it look like the Germans deserve to win, and there are subtitles like “Glory to the brave German knights!” And at the end the subtitle says, “This film is dedicated to the great German nation.”


          • Jen says:

            Have not seen “Die Nibelungen” but it sounds like a great experience.

            The issue with “Metropolis” is that its message puts forward an essentially conservative and hierarchical view of society with the elites (represented by Freder’s scientist father) at the top designing and building the factories, their work routines and their outputs, and performing all the intellectual and rational work; the workers at the bottom, governed by their passions and irrational instincts, slotting into the work routines and doing as they’re told; and both groups connected together by the artists, dominated by love, emotions and passions of the heart, who direct and sublimate social tensions and conflicts into love of land and soil, and awe and reverence for the nation’s leaders.

            The film has anti-Semitic overtones as well in the portrayal of Rotwang, the evil scientist who lusts after Maria. The film suggests that those people who are governed solely by their intelligence end up corrupted like Rotwang.

            You need to watch the fully restored version of “Metropolis” (including the bits found in Buenos Aires that were presumed lost forever) to realise all this.


            • yalensis says:

              Excellent analysis of Metropolis. I saw the restored version, and it’s awesome.
              I think this masterpiece of a film does indeed encapsulate the proto-Nazi ideology which sort of recognized the class struggle as an actual thing (which puts it a notch above neo-liberalism, which attempts to conceal the fact that classes exist).
              But then the proto-Nazis, while admitting the class structure, attempt to sublimate it, like you say, by pretending that all the classes are just various organs of the same body. Which is “the nation”, of course.

              Returning to Lang/Harbou’s other masterpiece, the 2-part “Die Nibelungen”, I suggest you watch it thusly: Watch it on 2 consecutive nights, watch it with a friend or partner (if possible), and watch it with a glass of beer or wine in hand. Having a buzz-on intensifies the intellectual experience. And be aware in advance that is very long and very slow, so don’t become impatient for the main action to happen. Don’t worry, you will see all the blood and gore, eventually..

              Also be aware that the people who put it on DVD for English speakers decided to torture the viewers by printing the subtitles (remember trhat this is a silent film) in Gothic font! Which makes the subtitles harder to read, so if you plan to watch it in English, bone up on your Gothic letters first.


            • yalensis says:

              And the Oscar for “Spookiest Eyes” goes to ….



            • yalensis says:

              “Who? Me? I would like to thank the Academy… Oh, and Fritz of course…. And Thea… and Atilla the Hun and…”


            • Jen says:

              Yes the spooky eyes were all the fashion in those old 1920s silent films.

              Stills from the 1924 Soviet film “Aelita”:

              One of the actors in the third still is Konstantin Eggert who I think was the grandfather of Konstantin von Eggert the kreakly journalist and commentator.

              The sets and costumes in “Aelita” were designed by Construktivist / Suprematist avantgarde artist Alexandra Ekster and these helped influence the set design of “Metropolis”.


    • Pavlo Svolochenko says:


      A compilation of Russian ethnic nationalist thinking on the subject.

      Not all of them sympathise with Kiev, which is unfortunate because who wants allies like these?

      ‘Yes, Russians living on the East are really dumb. Yes, they’re praying for Putin, Stalin, Red army and other ****. But we need to save them, if we concider ourselves as nationalists. We should take these dumb Russians to us, propagand our ideas and create a new generaton of Russian nationalists in this area. We already have the whole country of mental soviets, but they’re our people, and we should save them. And who knows, may be the next generation living here will be full of Russian nationalists? There are groups, who are against Ukrainian nazism and against Yanukovich but don’t make up fairytales about Putin, but they’re small and there is no time for them to take part in this controvercy now. Later – yes’


      • yalensis says:

        Oi yoi yoi – reading Stormfront blogs is like peering into a teeming sewer…. Whose denizens believe that they are presenting cogent arguments.

        On the other hand, as a big Wagner fan, I do like that one Nazi slogan Töten für W.O.T.A.N – that’s pretty cool!

        Although I am not sure that Wagner’s Wotan deserves that level of devotion, since He is a bit of a prick.


        • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

          “And once we started talking about nations and, by the looks of it, they really worship Germans. It was the Germans after all who invented their ideology, and you, of course, know, what I‟m going to tell you,‟ Mikhail Porfirovich added quickly and Artyom vaguely nodded even though he didn’t actually know, but he didn’t want to look like an ignoramus.

          “You know, there‟s German eagles hanging everywhere, swastikas, which are self-explanatory, and there are various German phrases, quotes from Hitler: about valour, about pride and things in that vein. They have parades and marches. While we
          were there, and I was trying to persuade them to stop antagonizing Vanechka, they were all marching across the platform and singing songs. Something about the greatness of the spirit and contempt for death. But, generally, you know, the German language was perfectly chosen. German was simply created for such things. I can speak a little of it, you see . . . Here, look, I have something written somewhere here . . .‟

          And, breaking step, he extracted a dirty notebook from his inside pocket. “Wait a second, put your light here, if you don‟t mind . . . Where was it? Ah, here it is!‟ In the yellow circle of light, Artyom saw some jumping Latin letters, carefully drawn on a page of the notebook and even thoughtfully surrounded with a frame of drawn vine-leaves:

          Du stirbst. Besitz stirbt.
          Die Sippen sterben.
          Der einzig lebt – wir wissen es
          Der Toten Tatenruhm.

          Artyom could also read Latin letters. He had studied them in some textbook for schoolchildren that they dug up at the station library. He looked behind him and he pointed his torch at the notebook again. Of course, he couldn’t understand a thing.
          “What is it?‟ he asked, again helping Mikhail Porfirovich along, and quickly pushing the notebook into the man‟s pocket, and trying to get Vanechka, who was rooted to the spot and growling unhappily, to move forward.”It‟s a poem,‟ the old man replied, and he seemed a bit offended. “It’s in memory of those that perished in war. I, of course, am not planning to translate but broadly speaking, it means this: “You will die. All those close to you will die. Your belongings will disappear. But one thing will cross the centuries – glorious death in combat.” But it comes out so pathetically in Russian, doesn’t it? While it
          just thunders in German! Der Toten Tatenruhm! It just sends a chill through you. Hm, yes . . .‟ He stopped short, apparently ashamed by his outburst.”


  2. PaulR says:

    The NTS began life as the NTSNP – National Labour Union of the New Generation. It arose out of discussion groups among young White officers of Wrangel’s Army as they hung around in exile in places like Pernik, Bulgaria. Initially, the NTS had very close relations with the White emigre military organization, ROVS, until the two had a major bust-up in the late 1930s concerning the activities of a secret organization within ROVS’s Bulgarian department, known as the Inner Line. (You can read all about this in my book, ‘The White Russian Army in Exile’).

    Anyway, cut forward to the 1990s, and both the NTS and ROVS came to Russia. ROVS’s current head is one Igor Ivanov, who in 2014 played a prominent role as one of Igor Strelkov’s henchmen in Donbass. Ivanov’s face decorated an article in an emigre newspaper entitled ‘For Strelkov, Against Putin’, and he took time off from the war to pen a letter in reply describing Vladimir Putin as an ‘enemy’.

    The point here is the NTS, like ROVS, is a direct successor of Wrangel’s White army, and the modern day Whites like Ivanov don’t much care for the ‘Putin regime’ or for Putin, given his KGB background. The regime’s failure to distance itself completely from its Soviet legacy marks it out as untrustworthy. So, if Feygin really was NTS, then perhaps it makes some sense that he should have chosen to ally himself with whatever other anti-Putin forces he can find.


    • yalensis says:

      Dear Professor Paul,
      Thanks for info, extremely interesting! Okay, I promise I’ll read your book.
      So, these Whites are still around. Amazing. That would explain Strelkov.
      Although I am pretty sure that Strelkov and Feygin would not see eye to eye on Savchenko and Ukrainian issues.
      Inner contradictions of the Hegelian dialectic, I reckon.


  3. Lyttenburgh says:

    Mark ben Feyg was supporting (and even FIGHTING for!) Serbs in the 90s?!


    Good thing that he decided not to defend his former commander Mladić or Radovan Karadžić.

    Also – obligatory “Remove Kebab” clip:


    • yalensis says:

      Ha ha! that would have been ROFL-level funny if Feygin had gone to the Hague to defend his former comrades. If before, they got the death penalty, under Feygin’s curatorship, they would get “death with extreme prejudice”.


      • Pavlo Svolochenko says:

        Feygin is a deep-cover patriot – He takes on every case dear to the non-systemic opposition and deliberately botches the defence so badly his clients get the book thrown at them.


        • yalensis says:

          A plausible theory. Insane, but plausible.


          • Mao Cheng Ji says:

            Well, he’s also a lawyer, practicing lawyer. I’ve dealt with lawyers. According to my (admittedly limited) experience, the common stereotypes are mostly justified.


            • yalensis says:

              My favorite lawyer joke, forgive me in advance if you’ve heard this one before:

              A doctor, a preacher and a lawyer are the only customers on a 3-hour cruise of the harbor.
              A sudden storm overturns the boat, killing the skipper and his first mate.
              The 3 passengers manage to drag themselves onto the beach of a nearby deserted island. They are within visual distance of the shore, so they wait, but nobody comes to rescue them.
              A day goes by. They don’t have anything to eat, and their phones were swept away, so they can’t call for help. It is a ridiculous situation – they can see the lights on the shore.

              They are all strong swimmers, they consider just diving in and swimming for the shore – it’s not that far. But they are deterred by the sight of a big school of vicious sharks constantly patrolling the island.

              Another day goes by. They are getting really hungry. But there are more sharks than ever. Finally the lawyer says, “Screw it”, and he just dives into the water. The sharks ignore him, as he swims to land. He quickly gets help and a rescue boat arrives within an hour.

              As they pile onto the rescue boat, his grateful companions ask him: “But why didn’t the sharks attack you?”

              The lawyer replies: “Professional courtesy.”


            • Cortes says:

              Old joke:

              What’s the rarest creature on Earth?

              A one-handed lawyer.

              Feygin is that creature.


  4. Fern says:

    yalensis, this reply is nothing to do with your post but I’ve just seen your comment on KS that your arm is in plaster and just wanted to say I hope you’re OK – broken bones can be nasty.


    • yalensis says:

      Thanks, Fern, you are a very nice person, and I really appreciate your concern.
      Not to worry, my bone isn’t broken, just a torn ligament.
      I was in a accident and then I had surgery just a couple of days ago to repair the damage.
      I received wonderful care from the American docs, nurses and anesthesiologists. But they were all so focused on pain, they were, like, “We’ll give you a bunch of vicodin,” and I tried to tell them, “Pain doesn’t bother me, I’m Russian!”

      And sure enough, there was never much pain at all, and I was back to work the very next day. it’s just a bear when I try to type.
      Normally I am a touch typist (on both English & Russian keyboard), and I am pretty fast too, this is probably why it is doubly aggravating and frustrating for me trying to peck away slowly with just one paw — GRRRRR!


  5. Jen says:

    Hey, does anyone know what came of Mark Feygin’s defence of Ilya Goryachev for his part in the murders of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova?

    Goryachev was the fellow who testified against Nikolai Tikhonov and Evgenia Khasis even though Tikhonov claimed that Goryachev gave him the gun that killed Markelov and Baburova after the murders. Goryachev later fled to Croatia where he met local Croatian nationalists and also nationalists from Italy and Slovenia. He was extradited back to Russia by Belgrade in 2013.

    Also I’ve just found out that since mid-2014, Feygin has been working on Mustafa Dzhemilev’s behalf to contest the FSB’s ban on Dzhemilev entering Crimea.


    Good luck with that one, Feygin!


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