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© RIA Novosti. Iliya Pitalev

Ultra-nationalist group banned by Kremlin

by Tom Washington at 18/02/2011 16:52

 

Russia’s far right has lost another official mouthpiece, as the government took a prod at the country’s murky nationalist currents and banned the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI).

The Kremlin has been widely criticised for its inability to cope with the eruption of nationalist violence, with rumours of police sympathies providing further ammunition against the authorities.

Banning the ultra-nationalist group is a decisive action but its members warn of dark times ahead, when hard-liners cannot find an officially sanctioned forum to air their views and are left to simmer underground.

 

Extremist

The Moscow Prosecutor’s office has concluded that the DPNI “pursues extremist goals and objectives.” Prosecutor Yury Semin subsequently signed a ruling that suspended the group’s activities, his next move will be to get a court to ban it, Gazeta.ru reported.

The violent rising on Manezhnaya Ploshchad on Dec. 11 last year has added another pressing task to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin’s to-do list and his is one of the many powerful heads that has been scratched over the problem.

“The Manezhnaya phenomenon, this is not politics, but teenage hoodlums and those who stand behind them, this is extremism,” he told Ekho Moskvy.

“The level of extremism has undoubtedly increased, and it is not at the same level it was at three or five years ago. This matter must be dealt with seriously and in homes and schools,” he said.

 

‘Masked men on the streets’

The DPNI predictably objected to the ban and threatened an upsurge in uncontrolled activism.

“The DPNI ban will undoubtedly lead to an increase in radicalisation among young people, just increasing the number of protests,” Alexander Belov, DPNI leader told Interfax.

“The authorities will have no-one to negotiate with. No-one will warn them about forthcoming events. There will be ranks of young masked men on the streets, beyond the control of anyone or anything,” he said.

He said his organisation had never lied and that it was being blamed for the troubles on Manezhnaya.

And he threatened that this could be the end of cooperation with the powers that be.

Gatherings “will be still bigger and we will no longer agree on them with the authorities. We will simply go out onto the streets and conduct them where we want. I see no point in working with a legal body that will not cooperate.”

 

Troubling signs

His comments echo remarks from Slavyansky Soyuz, another far-right group which was banned last year.

“We will simply stop reining in the ‘autonomous’ gangs, who knife Tajiks and blow up markets,” the band’s former leader Dmitry Demushkin told Gazeta.ru after the April 2010 banning order.

The number of racially motivated attacks since then has not gone up, reported Gazeta.ru. But a spate of massed violence has broken over Moscow and rippled to the rest of the country since then.

 

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