This article focuses on what appears to be a turning point in the complex relationship between the political leadership of post-Soviet Russia and the new generation of Russian nationalists, who are increasingly setting the tone in the nationalist movement. My objective is to explore how this nationalist “New Wave” critiques the Russian nationalist tradition – not least the relationship between Russian nationalism and the Russian state – and to discuss nationalists’ views on how Russian nationalism should be reinvigorated so that it can become a truly influential popular movement. I argue that the moral and political revulsion of nationalist thinkers at the Kremlin’s attempt to masquerade as a nationalist force marks a crucial watershed in contemporary Russian history – namely, a definitive parting of ways between the new-generation democratic-oriented Russian nationalists and the Kremlin leadership.