CEP Statement On U.S. Designation Of Russian Imperial Movement As A Foreign Terrorist Organization

(New York, N.Y.) – Counter Extremism Project (CEP) Executive Director David Ibsen released the following statement today upon reports that the U.S. Department of State will designate the extremist white supremacist group Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and members of its leadership. Such a move would put RIM on the same footing as other terror groups—such as ISIS and al-Qaeda—and the State Department indicated further sanctions may be forthcoming for other similar entities or individuals.

“Designating RIM is an important step forward in curbing violent ethno-nationalist and white supremacist movements, which are thriving in Europe and the United States. RIM in particular is known for running a paramilitary training camp in Russia that trained two of the three bombers responsible for the 2017 Gothenburg attacks in Sweden. Russia has also become a source of financial and logistical support for some U.S.-based white nationalist groups such as The Base, a neo-Nazi, white-supremacist network that seeks to train their members for fighting a race war. The Russian government should not be permitted to support groups that stoke racial tensions in the United States in order to sow public discord.”

CEP’s U.S. White Supremacy Groups report provides an overview of the history, propaganda, violent activities, and notable rhetoric of the most active and virulent white supremacist groups in the United States, as well as several prominent white supremacist media outlets. Eight especially virulent white supremacist groups espousing white ethno-nationalism and/or National Socialism (neo-Nazi) are identified, including The Base. In January 2020, media reports revealed The Base’s leader, Rinaldo Nazzaro, to be a U.S.-born military contractor living in Russia. Russia scholars accuse the Russian government of supporting white nationalist extremist groups in the West in order to weaken Western governments and sow division within Western societies. U.S. intelligence officials have accused the Russian government of seeking to stir racial tensions in the United States in order to influence the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

CEP’s European Ethno-Nationalist and White Supremacy Groups report outlines the history, propaganda, violent activities, and notable rhetoric of some of Europe’s most active ethno-nationalist and white supremacist groups. They include far-right political parties, neo-Nazi movements, and apolitical protest groups. Some groups openly espouse violent white supremacy, while others have propagated their radical stances under the guise of populism. Such populist groups claim that they are striving to protect average hardworking Europeans by preserving their livelihoods and heritages from economic and cultural threats posed by immigrants and ethnic minorities.

To read CEP’s U.S. White Supremacy Groups resource, please click here.

To read CEP’s European Ethno-Nationalist and White Supremacy Groups resource, please click here.

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