MOSCOW — Moscow City Court said yesterday that it had outlawed one of Russia’s largest ultranationalist groups for the promotion of neo-Nazi ideology.
The Slavic Union, whose Russian acronym, SS, intentionally mimicked that used by the Nazis’ infamous paramilitary, was declared extremist, the court said in a statement.
The group’s leader said it has tried to promote its far-right agenda legally, and warned the ban will embolden Russia’s most radical ultranationalists.
“They will burn cars, blow up power stations, kill officials, and commit other resonant crimes,’’ Dmitry Demushkin said. “All this will be the result of stupid government policies to eliminate legal nationalism.’’
Recently, four former Slavic Union activists were sentenced to life in prison for a 2006 explosion targeting non-Slavic traders at a Moscow market that killed 14, including two children, and wounded dozens.
The ban is part of a Kremlin crackdown on far-right groups that intensified after the January 2009 slaying of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasiya Baburova. Two activists of another ultranationalist organization, Russian Image, were charged.
Earlier this month, a judge was gunned down in Moscow several months after handing down long prison sentences to members of another white supremacy group, the White Wolves, for assaulting and killing non-Slavs.
Russia’s ultranationalist movement is so deeply embedded in the country’s culture that militant groups have sprouted up around Russia to fight against it. Antiracist groups regularly spearhead attacks on ultranationalists, sparking revenge assaults. In November, the leader of one such group, Ivan Khutorskoy, also known by the nickname Bonebreaker, was fatally shot on Moscow’s outskirts.
Neo-Nazi and other ultranationalist groups mushroomed in Russia after the 1991 Soviet collapse. The Moscow Bureau for Human Rights estimated that some 70,000 neo-Nazis were active in Russia.