Shura of the United Forces of the Mujahedeen of the Caucasus
People’s Congress of Ichkeria and Dagestan
Islamic Group (Al -Jamaa al -Islami)
Muslim Brotherhood (Al-Ikhvan al-Muslimun)
The Party of Islamic Liberation (Hizb ut-Tahrir al-Islami)
The Islamic Group (Jamaat-e-Islami)
Islamic Party of Turkestan
Society of Social Reforms (Jamiat al-Islah al-Ijtimai)
Society for the Revival of the Islamic Heritage (Jamiat Ihya at-Turaz al-Islami)
House of the Two Holy (Al-Haramein)
First, carrying out activities that set to change the Constitution of the Russian Federation by violence, armed methods, which include a number of terrorist methods.
Second, relations with illegal armed organizations and other extremist groups that are active in the North Caucasian region.
Third, accessories to organizations linked to an international network of terrorists or connections with them.
Many news organizations were quick to note the absence of Hamas and Hezbollah from the list. When asked why they were excluded, Sapunov had this to say:
First, these organizations are not accepted as such the world over, and second, the “List of 17” is a national list of terrorist organizations. And this means that only organizations which present the gravest threat to the security of our state go on it.
Yes, you have named two organizations which fall under the third category, and they are included on many national terrorist lists of a variety of countries. But they don’ apply to the first two criteria.
I give you the following example: It is certainly known to us that at the present time leaders of terrorist movements in North Caucasus Basaev and Khattab actively attempted to persuade the leaders of Hamas and Hezbollah to take part in military actions in Chechnya, that is to say, on a reciprocal basis. Envoys of Chechen fighters proposed to them military aid and participation in the struggle against Israel in the winter when fighting in Chechnya is difficult and in return Hamas and Hezbollah would send their fighters to Chechnya in the summer. But neither Hezbollah or Hamas went for this. Not a single terrorist act or a single fighter which carried out terrorist acts in Russian territory was from these organizations.
One also suspects that the fact that Russia recognizes both organizations as legitimate members of the Lebanese and Palestinian governments is another reason. The EU, however, lists Hamas, but not Hezbollah as terrorist. One, then, cannot discount the role of politics on all sides as to which group is terrorist or not. Such recognition for sure doesn’t sit well with Israel or the United States, which sees both as terrorist organizations.
Russia’s political recognition of Hamas and Hezbollah also explains Russia’s criticisms of the scale of Israel’s campaign in southern Lebanon. Though as Yuri Mamchur of Russia Blog points out, Israel did view Putin’s recent condemnation of Hezbollah as encouraging.
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By Sean — 12 years ago
Anne Neistat, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, has written a must read in the new issue of the London Review of Books on her recent visit to Grozny. She notes that amazement was her first impression of the capital’s main drag, Prospekt Pobedy (Victory Avenue). The streets were clean. Buildings were painted. The blown out windows were all replaced. It looked as if the war torn city was finally getting back on its feet. However, amazement turned to disappointment as Neistat took a closer look. The reconstruction was nothing but a fa?ade. A n urban Potemkin village. A historical symbol that is fitting for the whole region. “Only when I got closer,” she writes, “did it become clear that these buildings were uninhabitable. There was nothing behind the painted fa?ades: no roofs or floors, no internal walls, just piles of rubble and broken steel supports. A ‘Potemkin village’ is usually no more than a metaphor. In Grozny, the Potemkin villages are real, but it’s not clear who they’re meant to impress, apart from the TV cameras.”
Such is the state of the Chechen War. Declared officially over, though unofficial persists in the form expect for sporadic attacks by Wahhabi militants and hold out nationalists and terror perpetrated by pro-Russian forces. What is really happening is that it is spreading to neighboring Dagestan, North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Kabardino-Balkaria. The Russian puppet, Ramzan Kadyrov, “seems” in control. But the amount of control is in direct proportion to the amount of blood that flows.
Neistat’s piece is good timing. It ads some much needed perspective on recent events. A week ago, Russian forces killed Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev, though some feel his death won’t make much of an impact. The new leader of the Chechen separatists, Doku Umarov, recently denounced Shamil Basaev’s use of terrorism (though never directly names him) in an interview with Andrei Babitskii. All of this seems to not have meant much because Umarov turned around and named Basaev vice-president of the separatist government.
For the Putin Administration, Chechnya is becoming a political success via Chechenization. Any talk of Moscow’s or its proxy’s brutality by the United States is quickly shot down with pointing out the utter failure in Iraq. Putin has become so emboldened that Nashi spent $400,000 to organize rallies at the UN in New York calling for the extradition of Chechen rebels to Russia.
But back to Neistat’s article. Especially enlightening are her findings on the Kadyrovtsy, or Kadyrov’s anti-terrorist security forces:
Remaining silent is no guarantee against abuse, however. The members of the anti-terrorism unit are eager to prove their industriousness. ‘When I first joined them,’ a former member of Kadyrov’s security service confided to me, ‘I kept asking: “How are we going to find the rebels or their caches of ammunition?” And they told me it was a “chain”: we go after someone, and “work” with him until he gives us names, and then we follow up, and so on, until someone confesses. Eventually someone always confesses.’ In villages across Chechnya we found evidence of this strategy in action. Young and old, men and women, healthy and disabled: no one is safe from being made a link in the ‘chain’. You don’t have to look very far to find a torture victim in Chechnya. I spoke to dozens.
Ruslan R., an elderly construction worker, was shaking as he got into our car. Two weeks earlier, a group of armed, masked men had broken into his house in the middle of the night and taken him away. He spent a day at the local base of the Anti-Terrorism Centre – followed by nearly two weeks in hospital. The interrogators accused him of supporting the rebels, kicked him violently, and then used an ‘infernal machine’ to give him electric shocks. ‘They attached the wires to my toes, and kept cranking the handle to release the current. I couldn’t bear it. I was begging: “Give me any paper – I’ll sign it, I’ll sign anything; if you want I’ll confess I sold the rebels a tank or a MiG, anything.”’
A refusal to confess often results in even worse treatment. Khasan Kh., who is 19, refused to confess or incriminate others. He was tortured for 13 days in a row. He thinks he was held in the basement of the local commander’s house, one of the secret prisons the Kadyrovtsy have established all over Chechnya. In the middle of winter, they kept him in the cellar wearing only his underwear. His captors said they would give him food if he started to talk. Day after day they suspended him by his feet from a tree, and beat him with shovel handles. On the 13th day they told Khasan they were taking him out to execute him, but instead dumped him in the forest, bound and blindfolded. Villagers found him and took him home. His mother fainted when she saw him: he looked like a skeleton, she said. He had an open fracture on his arm and was in the early stages of kidney failure as a result of the beatings. Khasan’s arm is now permanently disfigured: the family was too frightened to take him to hospital.
Read on. I implore you.
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By Sean — 12 years ago
Aleksandr Potkin, 30, changed his name a few years ago. The name change had a double effect. It was at once an gesture to distance himself from his past and an act of rebirth for the future. You see, until 2002, Potkin was a member of a little known nationalist group in
named Pamyat (Memory). Its roots date back to the 1970s but was founded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a time where Russian nationalism was emerging from the ideological blanket of Communism. Pamyat, however, collapsed in the late 1990s after several of its leaders were jailed for anti-Semitic activities. Not wasting much time on finding another group to devote his nationalist energies to, Potkin decided to establish his own. Moscow
Most now know Alexandr Potkin as Alexandr Belov. His new name, which means “white” is well suited. It is unknown if his choice was conscious or unconscious. It is appropriate because Belov is the founder and leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI), a xenophobic Russian nationalist group that he formed four years ago. DPNI came to national prominence during last year’s Aleksandra Ivannikova case. If you remember, Ivannikova stabbed an
taxi driver to death. She claimed the stabbing was in self defense because the driver tried to rape her. Her defense didn’t sway the court and she was convicted. Armenia
Enter Belov and his new, and then online, organization. Thanks to his agitation, the conviction was overturned on appeal. The DPNI later gave Ivannikova an “award” of 50,000 rubles (about $1850 at today’s rate). Since then, DPNI has entered the political fray over illegal immigration on many fronts.
When ethnic violence broke out in the Karelian town of
in August, Belov mobilized his members north to protest the town’s Chechen residents. When Kondopodga Moscowpolice decided to raid Georgian businesses in a few weeks ago, Belov made a call on the group’s website for nationalists to report on illegal Georgians. “When we receive a notification of discovering illegal migrants, our public control service will check the information,” he then told Kommersant. “If it is confirmed, we will summon law-enforcement officers and demand they apply measures such as deportation from Moscow , or closing the store, or collecting a fine.” Now they are planning a major demonstration for Day of National Unity (formerly Revolution Day) on 7 November. Russia
Belov represents part of the growing problem of “youth extremism”
. As the D. I. Aminov and R. E. Oganian, the authors of a recent sociological study called Molodezhnyi ekstremizm (2005), “The appearance of extremism among youth at the present time carries a more dangerous character for society than in all past periods of the state’s existence. The results of criminal investigations testify to the profound failure in the social policy and educational-preventative work with youth” (3). Russia
One can accept or reject the authors’ characterization. I can’t help to view it as a bit hyperbolic since most adults think that their youth is worse than any other previous times. Generational conflict works both ways.
But still there might be something to their concern. At least, that’s how the Russian authorities are assessing the problem. According to Kommersant, the Russian Federation Council held hearings on “Condition and Problems of Legislative Guarantees for Combating Extremism in the Youth Sphere.” The hearings were a showcase of Russian security officials. Presenters included Sergey Mironov, Deputy Minister of the Interior Alexander Chekalin, Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin and head of the FSB anti-extremism department Mikhail Belousov. They all gave the Council recommendations on how to toughen laws to prevent youth extremism.
“Extremism is a painful problem that many do not understand,” Deputy Minister Mironov told the panel of parliamentarians, adding that youth extremist groups were “organizations with strict discipline and their own leaders.” Deputy Prosecutor General Grin concurred with “members of such informal groups of extremism inclination as skinheads, Russian National Unity and the National Bolshevik Party not only spread the idea of national, racial and religious enmity and hatred, they commit crimes on those grounds against the lives and health of citizens that cause public reaction.” Chekalin estimated that over 10,000 youths belong to about 150 extremist groups and crimes related to their activities skyrocketed by 84 percent in the last year. Finally, Deputy Interior Minister Ovchinnikov added that “The sharp rise in activities of extremist youth groups – skinheads, Russian National Unity, the National Bolshevik Party, the Red Youth Vanguard– poses a serious threat to the maintenance of law and order,” citing their “active participation in protests connected with the monetization of social benefits and housing utility reforms.”
Security organs’ testimony at the hearings signals a shift in authorities’ attention to radical youth organizations. The previous law adopted by the State Duma stiffed sentences for vandalism, which now gives an offender a maximum of three in prison. Other provisions specifically targeted racially motivated crimes and extreme expressions of nationalism. Serious acts of racial violence (I wonder how they determine “serious.” I would imagine that any form of racial violence is “serious”) carries a sentence of five years. The organization of an “extremist group carries a fine of 200,000 rubles (about $7,430 at today rate) or up to four years in the slammer. But now the radical Left is in their sites, with a special barrel aimed specifically at the National Bolshevik Party.
In fact, Limonov’s band of youth was given special attention in presenters’ comments. AS reports Kommersant’s Ekaterina Savina,
Advisor to the Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security Vladimir Trofimov said that the regular seizure of administrative buildings by the National Bolsheviks and the march last year at which member of national movements shouted “Heil Hitler” fall under the category of extremism. Thus, the National Bolsheviks and ultra-rightists who preach fascist views are treated identically. National Bolshevik leader Eduard Limonov was indignant over this. “We are fighting for freedom and against an actively antipopular regime,” he said. “We should not be confused with some sort of thugs.”
Stanislav Belkovsky, president of the Institute for National Strategy, also thinks that the measures suggested at yesterday’s hearing are directed against the National Bolsheviks and nationalist groups. “They are the ones that present a danger to the authorities,” he commented. “No matter how many National Bolsheviks they put in prison, the movement continues to gain in popularity, and the nationalists have grown from a pet project of the Kremlin, which wanted to show that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin was better than the fascists.” Dmitry Demushkin, leader of the nationalistic Slavic Union, opined that “the fight against mythical extremism indicates that they are trying to purge everybody before the elections.”
There are many causes of youth extremism and Aminov and Oganian cite many of the usual explanations in their study: poverty, social dislocation, broken families, despair, the lack of education, drugs, drinking, and the need of belonging. Russian youth are apparently no different than other youths around the world in this regard.
I find these explanations typical and rather flat. I don’t discount these as factors. However, many of the ills they cite are historically constant. Youth’s gravitation to radicalism is not. There have been only a few periods in modern history that have seen a rise in youth radical political activity: the 1900s, 1920s, 1930s, 1960s and 1990s. There are exceptions, depending on the specific country. These periods, however, match most explosions of youth political activity around the world.
Therefore I think that there is larger issue at work; one that gives voice to the particular ideological situation most youths find themselves in. Here I think the NY Times’ Steven Myers makes an interesting point. Youths, like Belov and perhaps most youths who join extremist groups, he writes are “part of the first post-Soviet generation in
, a country that is still struggling, in a way, to define itself and its ideology. The Russia Soviet Unionendeavored to erase ethnic and racial boundaries, at least officially. And its collapse gave rise to a new Russian nationalism, founded on the language, culture and history of the Russian Empire, on the Orthodox Church and on an abiding preoccupation with ethnic identity.”
If Myers is right, and I think he is, the rise in youth extremism also has to do with the ideological vacuum created and left by the Soviet regime. I say “created” because the sanctioning of only one ideology inevitably created an ideological hole when the system imploded. I say “left” because as the historian Shelia Fitzpatrick recently reminded us in her book, Tear Off the Masks!: Identity and Imposture in Twentieth-Century Russia, “Successful revolutions tear off masks: that is, they invalidate the conventions of self-preservation and social interaction that obtained in pre-revolutionary society. This happened in
after the October 1917 revolution which laid the foundations for the Soviet state. It happened again in 1991, when that state collapsed” (3). Russia
Here we might compare the 1920s and the 1990s as similar periods of ideological flux, if not a vacuum, as well as a period where one way youth dealt with this ideological fluidity by joining youth organizations. There was the Komsomol, of course, where would be revolutionaries joined to build socialism. But that wasn’t all. Russian youths were also forming or joining scouting, communist, anarchist, fascist, and religious sects throughout Soviet Russia. Political groups were not all, youth also formed sex and drinking clubs. These were usually places of innocent debauchery. And it was often created and maintained by using local Komsomol organizations as fronts. Political or not, they were all trying to navigate their way through a society that was in chaos. For the Soviet state and the Komsomol they were intolerable and treated equally dangerous. Either they encouraged anti-Leninist ideologies or promoted corruption and meshchanstvo among youth. And then, as it is now, the Soviet authorities tried, unsuccessfully by the way, to strike these groups down.
One can see a similar process in
today. Is it no wonder that the Kremlin is increasingly using nationalism and xenophobia to its advantage at the same time it attempts to crackdown on radical youth? Many suggest that Russia ’s use of nationalism attempt to inflame these extremist youth group to their advantage. I would suggest just the opposite. They are trying to win the ideological battle by attempting to control the political discourse of Russian nationalism. Russian nationalist discourse not only transcends the radical left and right, it is also currently lies outside of Moscow ’s hegemony. The problem is not with nationalism per se, the problem is who monopolizes its meaning. And radical youth can’t be trusted with it. Moscow
That said, I think the Kremlin, like the Soviets before them, is playing with fire. The Soviets too tried harness youth’s revolutionary romanticism to transform society to their own ends. The results of giving Komsomol youths a political mandate to smash the peasantry during collectivization led to an uncontrollable disaster. Presently, whipping up “official” nationalism as a means to combat “unsanctioned” nationalism inadvertently gives a similar mandate to groups like the DPNI and neo-Nazis to strike out thinking that it is with the Kremlin’s blessing. And that perceived blessing could exacerbate the very thing the Russian state is trying to tame.Post Views: 492
By Sean — 7 years ago
The Russian government indicated its increasing intolerance toward nationalist organizations today with the Moscow City Court ruling that the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) is an extremist organization. The verdict fulfilled of a request by Moscow city prosecutors and Prosecutors General Office to investigate the organization for inciting racial violence. “In the course of the investigation” a statement from the General Prosecutor’s office reads, “it was proved that the purpose and the activities of the organization is directed to carrying out extremist activities which incite the violation of people’s and citizens’ rights and freedoms, causes injury to individuals, the health of citizens, society, and the state.” The Moscow prosecutor’s office didn’t mince words in saying that the DPNI “mirrored the ideology of Nazi skinheads.” Yup, that sounds about right. This should have been said a long time ago, but better late than never.
Recent activities of DPNI members gave the court the ammunition to do so. In January, a group of DPNI members were tried for beating and killing immigrants in the Moscow suburb of Protivno. Ilya Boidakov, the leader of Protivno DPNI, pleaded guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence of five years in the slammer. The remaning members await sentencing. In December 2010, Ivan Mikheev, DPNI’s local leader in Kirov, was convicted along with two others to probation under Article 282: “inciting hatred, emnity, and humiliation of human dignity, and the public support for terrorism.” And lastly, Nina Zenkova, a DPNI activist in Tula, was convicted of distributing extremist literature and inciting hatred. And who could forget that DPNI’s leader Alexander Belov was jailed for six months in 2009 under Article 282.
What really brought DPNI under the state’s microscope, however, was the Manezh riots four months ago. After the riots President Medvedev sent a clear signal that the state’s tolerance of nationalist groups was waning with “Acts aimed at inciting racial, national or religious hatred…threaten the stability of the state.” To which Putin added, “It is necessary to crack down on any extremist acts.” A steady crackdown has commenced culminating in with DPNI, the largest nationalist organization thus far to feel the state’s wrath.
The ruling was hailed by government agencies and human rights groups alike. However, the hate group monitor SOVA, while welcoming the ban, argued that it won’t change much in the end. “DPNI activists who attack immigrants with continue without leading organ,” says Alexander Verkhovskii.
DPNI plans to appeal the ruling, but it will come to nothing. With the General Prosecutor’s weight behind this, you can be sure DPNI doesn’t have a chance.
But as SOVA attests, legal prohibition might be more symbolic than anything. Indeed, DPNI’s leadership vows to find “a new format” for its activities. According to DPNI’s leader Vladimir Ermolaev, DPNI has already set up a number of autonomous initiatives and clubs–“Russian People,” “National Interest,” and even a human rights group called “Russian power.” The task of these groups, in his words, “are to create something new, progressive, and interesting. We want to continue working and benefit society.”
You gotta love it when racists adopt human rights speak.
Image: RIA NovostiPost Views: 1,080