On Friday of last week the State Department announced its decision to designate the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization (SDGT) pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. The State Department has also designated Fredrik Vejdeland, the group’s leader and head of its national council, Pär Öberg, head of NRM’ parliamentary branch, and Leif Robert Eklund, coordinator for various NRM divisions in Sweden.

NRM is the largest Neo-Nazi movement in Sweden but also operates in Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland (where it has been banned since 2020). The group’s extreme ideology is defined by racism and antisemitism as well as anti-immigrant and anti-LGBTQI+ sentiment. Its violent activities have targeted gay people, ideological opponents, and Muslim refugees. 

The State Department designation will serve to block all U.S. property and interests in property owned by those designated and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with them.  

Expert Analysis: 

CEP Senior Advisor Alexander Ritzmann:

“The Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) has been a hub of violent right-wing extremism in Europe and beyond for decades, and its designation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Organization (SDGT) by the U.S. State department will be helpful in disrupting some of their activities. The EU should strongly consider designating the NRM as well and adding them to the EU terrorist list.

The NRM is part of a network that includes Russian violent extreme-right organizations like the SDGT “Russian Imperial Movement ' (RIM), which is affiliated with Russian military units like the ‘Rusich Sabotage Assault Reconnaissance Group—which has been a part of Russia’s war against Ukraine since 2014. The EU and its member states should therefore prioritize investigations into the NRM network and its collaborations with Rusich and similar militant groups. These actors could pose a high-level terrorist threat in the EU due to their access to combat-trained extremists and to state-of-the-art firearms and explosives.”

CEP Researcher and Content Review Specialist Joshua Fisher-Birch: 

Several U.S.-based extreme right groups and movements admire the Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM). Americans have previously traveled to meet NRM members, and it’s not uncommon to find the group’s propaganda on Telegram channels affiliated with the American extreme right. In 2022, an American neo-Nazi publisher dedicated a special issue of their magazine to covering the NRM and donated $1,000 to the group, which would now be prohibited following the SDGT designation. NRM’s SDGT designation is an important step toward severing some of the transnational links between white supremacist groups.”

Nordic Resistance Movement

The Nordic Resistance Movement’s forerunner, the White Aryan Resistance Network operated in Sweden throughout the early 1990’s, robbing banks to fund their violent activities, until the NRM was officially founded in 1997. Since then, the group has carried out violent attacks using smoking flares, pepper spray, tear gas, knives, and guns. Its members have killed at least three people since the 1980s. Its stated goal is to replace the Nordic democracies with a “united ethnic Nordic nation.”

Connections to Russian Extremist Groups

This is only the second time the State Department has applied the SDGT label to a white supremacist group. The first group to earn the distinction is the ultranationalist Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), which was designated by the Trump administration in 2020. RIM has worked to establish an international network of white supremacist groups, and is reported to have provided paramilitary training to two Swedish men with connections to NRM in 2016 at their Partisan Building in St. Petersburg. The two men and an accomplice were later charged in connection with three bomb incidents in Sweden: one at a refugee center, one at a far-left café, and a third at a campground which was housing migrants. 

More recently, the two groups have met and expressed shared values and support: RIM leader Stanislav Vorobyev has said both groups share a common enemy in “Jewish oligarchs in Ukraine,” and NRM leader Simon Lindberg has confirmed a friendly relationship between the two groups. NRM was also among the groups invited by RIM to join its “World-National Conservative Movement”—an effort that has also caused RIM to make contact with various U.S. organizations. 

CEP Resources: 
CEP’s Report on the Nordic Resistance Movement

Related Press Resources

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.


On May 8, 2019, Taliban insurgents detonated an explosive-laden vehicle and then broke into American NGO Counterpart International’s offices in Kabul. At least seven people were killed and 24 were injured.

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