Overview

Also Known As:

Executive Summary:

The Nordic Resistance Movement (Nordiska motståndsrörelsen, or NRM) is a transnational, neo-Nazi organization with official chapters operating in Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The NRM also draws support from neo-Nazis in Denmark and Iceland, though the group has failed to establish formal branches in those countries.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/;
“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf;
Bradford Hanson, “An Interview With Simon Lindberg, Leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement,” National Vanguard, June 7, 2016, http://nationalvanguard.org/2016/06/an-interview-with-simon-lindberg-leader-of-the-nordic-resistance-movement/.

NRM-Sweden has grown more than one-third in size since 2015.

Formed by neo-Nazi nationalists in Sweden in 1997, the NRM seeks to merge all Nordic countries into a single, nationalist-socialist state, either by elections or through revolution. The group is openly racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and pro-Hitler—and has carried out violence targeting gay people, ideological opponents and, more recently, Muslim refugees. Since the start of 2015, NRM’s branch in Sweden (NRM-Sweden) has grown more than one-third in size by advocating against Sweden’s open-door policy to Muslim asylum seekers. That chapter registered as a political party in July 2015, and held its largest rally in November 2016—convening approximately 600 demonstrators in the streets of central Stockholm.“Registrerade partibeteckningar,” Valmyndigheten, accessed May 26, 2017, http://www.val.se/det_svenska_valsystemet/partier/lista_registrerade_partibeteckningar/kontaktuppgifter.html; “Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf;
David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g;
“Så våldsamma är nazisterna i Nordiska motståndsrörelsen,” Expo Idag, December 9, 2016, http://expo.se/2016/sa-valdsamma-ar-nazisterna-i-nordiska-motstandsrorelsen_7198.html.

Many of the NRM’s co-founders and early members came from the now-defunct White Aryan Resistance (Vitt Ariskt Motstand, or VAM) and its offshoot National Youth (Nationell Ungdom). The VAM, a network of Swedish neo-Nazis formed in the early 1990s, was notorious for carrying out attacks against immigrants and gay people and for funding its violence through bank robberies. The group splintered into several white-power groups in or around 1995, among them National Youth, which would go on to serve as the NRM’s youth movement.Stieg Larsson, “A Study on Racially Motivated Crime and Violence in Sweden,” The Expo Foundation, September 2002, 34, http://expo.se/www/download/final_sweden_racialviolence_raxen3.pdf.

NRM [has] carried out attacks targeting gay people, Muslims asylum seekers, and [others]... using smoking flares, pepper spray, tear gas, knives, and guns.

At its founding in 1997, the NRM was known as the Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska motståndsrörelsen)—though the group expanded from a Swedish-centered group to one spanning the Nordic region and adopted the name NRM after establishing Finnish and Norwegian chapters in 2008 and 2011, respectively.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/. Media outlets and government officials, however, at times refer to NRM-Sweden as the Swedish Resistance Movement; NRM-Norway as the Norwegian Resistance Movement; and NRM-Finland as the Finnish Resistance Movement.For clarity and consistency, this report will use “NRM” to describe the larger organization, and “NRM-Sweden,” “NRM-Finland,” and “NRM-Norway” when referring to country-specific branches. The group itself identifies as the “Nordic Resistance Movement,” and may refer to its various chapters as the “Swedish branch of the Nordic Resistance Movement,” for example.“Repentant Nazi: ‘What I was doing was crazy,’” Yle Uutiset, May 15, 2016, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/repentant_nazi_what_i_was_doing_was_crazy/8881468;
Jamie Bullen, “Masked mob rampage through Stockholm train station 'looking to attack refugee children,’” Evening Standard (London), January 30, 2016, http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/masked-mob-rampage-through-stockholm-train-station-looking-to-attack-refugee-children-a3169061.html;
Ståle Hansen, “Nå marsjerer de i gatene igjen,” NRK, February 27, 2017, https://www.nrk.no/dokumentar/xl/na-marsjerer-de-i-gatene-igjen-1.13394305;
“Welcome to the English section of Nordfront,” Nordfront, accessed June 2, 2017, https://www.nordfront.se/english.

NRM members have been responsible for the murder of at least three individuals—two in Sweden and one in Finland. Future NRM-Sweden co-founder Klas Lund was convicted in 1986 of killing anti-racist campaigner Ronny Landin who, according to authorities, had intervened to stop an assault on three immigrants by Lund and other neo-Nazis.Nick Fagge, “Neo-Nazis thugs warn of a 'year of violence' following attacks on child migrants at train station in Sweden,” Daily Mail (London), February 3, 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3426413/Neo-Nazis-warn-year-violence-following-attacks-child-migrants-train-station-Sweden.html;
“Fängelse för Klas Lund,” Expo Idag, May 13, 2004, http://expo.se/2004/fangelse-for-klas-lund_1074.html.
In 1999, three men connected to National Youth, NRM-Sweden’s youth movement, shot to death trade unionist Björn Söderberg outside of his Stockholm apartment. According to reports, the shooting was revenge for a tip Söderberg had given a local newspaper regarding the identity of one of the NRM members.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/;
“Omfattande bevis mot nazisterna,” Aftenbladet, February 11, 2000, http://wwwc.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/0002/11/nazmord.html.
More recently, in December 2016, key NRM-Finland member Jesse Torniainen was convicted of aggravated assault in connection to the murder of 28-year-old Finnish man Jimi Joonas Karttonen. According to reports, Torniainen and others had violently beaten Karttonen that September after the latter openly expressed disapproval of the group during one of its rallies. Karttonen died one week later from his wounds.Sylvia Bjon, “Misshandlad man dog efter våld på ­nazidemonstration,” HBL, September 17, 2016, https://www.hbl.fi/artikel/slagen-av-nazister-mitt-i-helsingfors-offret-dog-av-sina-skador/;
“Neo-Nazi group member gets 2-year prison sentence for Helsinki Railway Station attack,” Yle Uutiset, December 30, 2016, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/neo-nazi_group_member_gets_2-year_prison_sentence_for_helsinki_railway_station_attack/9379918.
In November 2017, a Finnish district court banned the NRM and its affiliated chapters. An appeals court upheld the decision in September 2018, but the NRM remains legal in Finland until all options for appeal are exhausted.“Ban on neo-Nazi group upheld by Turku appeal court,” Yle Uutiset, September 29, 2018, https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/ban_on_neo-nazi_group_upheld_by_turku_appeal_court/10429858.

NRM-Sweden’s co-founder was convicted of manslaughter.

NRM leaders and members have also carried out attacks targeting gay people, Muslims asylum seekers, and the group’s ideological adversaries using smoking flares, pepper spray, tear gas, knives, and guns. Some of these attacks have been carried out by top NRM-Sweden leaders, including the chapter’s current leader Simon Lindberg—who was previously convicted of threats and aiding and abetting assault—and its spokesman Emil Hagberg, who was convicted on weapons and rioting charges related to a fight between NRM-Sweden members and anti-racist campaigners in the Stockholm suburb of Kärrtorp.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/. That fight occurred in December 2013 when demonstrators at an anti-racism march retaliated after NRM-Sweden members attacked their rally with smoking flares. The fighting moved into the nearby woods, according to reports. Four people were injured—including two who were stabbed—and 28 others were arrested.Hampus Anderson, “Swedish Neo-Nazis Had a Fight in the Woods,” Vice, December 17, 2013, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/watching-swedish-neo-nazis-fighting-in-the-woods;
“Kärrtorp clashes: Four neo-Nazis jailed,” Local (Stockholm), June 5, 2014, https://www.thelocal.se/20140605/karrtorp-clashes-four-neo-nazis-jailed;
“De leder den svenska naziströrelsen,” Expressen (Stockholm), February 9, 2015, http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/de-leder-den-svenska-nazistrorelsen-1/;
“Nazi group attacks peaceful rally: two stabbed,” Radio Sweden, December 15, 2013, http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=5734086.

Since at least November 2016, NRM-Sweden members in the western city of Gothenberg have carried out three improvised explosive device (IED) attacks, according to Swedish authorities. The bombs—one of which failed to detonate—targeted a far-left café and two refugee lodging centers. The first incident occurred on November 11, 2016, when a bomb exploded at the Syndikaliskt Forum Kafe, though no one was hurt. NRM-Sweden member Viktor Melin was later arrested in relation to the bombing.“Neo-Nazi held over Gothenburg bomb,” Radio Sweden, January 20, 2017, http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=6612911;
“Ledande nazist häktad för sprängattentat,” Expressen (Stockholm), January 20, 2017, http://www.expressen.se/gt/ledande-nazist-haktad-for-sprangattentat/.
Then, on January 5, 2017, NRM-Sweden members detonated homemade bombs outside of a refugee lodging center, injuring one immigration officer.Agence France-Presse, “Swedish neo-Nazis held over Gothenburg refugee centre blast,” Local (Stockholm), February 3, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170203/swedish-neo-nazis-held-over-gothenburg-refugee-centre-blast. Authorities later arrested three men in connection to that bombing, noting that the suspects “are or were in the past members of the Nordic Resistance Movement.”Agence France-Presse, “Swedish neo-Nazis held over Gothenburg refugee centre blast,” Local (Stockholm), February 3, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170203/swedish-neo-nazis-held-over-gothenburg-refugee-centre-blast. On January 25, 2017, Swedish authorities discovered an IED—which had failed to detonate—outside of another refugee housing compound. Officials said that the incident was linked to the Syndikaliskt Forum Kafe and refugee center attacks.Agence France-Presse, “Swedish neo-Nazis held over Gothenburg refugee centre blast,” Local (Stockholm), February 3, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170203/swedish-neo-nazis-held-over-gothenburg-refugee-centre-blast. In June 2017, Swedish prosecutors charged three men in connection to the far-left café and refugee lodging center attacks, revealing that two of the men had received military training in Russia before returning to Sweden to execute the bombings. There is little publicly-available information regarding who provided training to the men.“Sweden charges right-wing extremists over bomb attacks,” Associated Press, June 9, 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/09/sweden-charges-bomb-attacks/102662582/;
“Two men charged over refugee home blast ‘received military training in Russia,’” Local (Stockholm), June 9, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170609/gothenburg-sweden-two-men-charged-over-refugee-home-bomb-attack-received-military-training-in-russia.

[NRM members are] strong in the streets, they dare to fight back the scum.Simon Lindberg, leader of NRM-Sweden

The attacks perpetrated by NRM members reflect a deeper, systematic allegiance to—and propagation of—the group’s extremist, violent ideology. According to reports, members receive martial arts training and are educated on how to respond if violence arises in the streets.David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g;
Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/.
The group previously sold a knife inscribed with the maxim, “The struggle demands more than only words.”David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g. While the group is not believed to currently produce or sell personalized weaponry, a former NRM member told the BBC in late 2014 that he was encouraged by the group’s members to carry a weapon on the streets.Stuart Hughes, “Swedish neo-Nazis: moved to de-radicalise amid far-right rise,” BBC News, December 19 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30528918. Such an ethos has had a widespread effect on level of violence among the group’s members. In February 2017, the Norwegian government-owned broadcasting company NRK revealed that of the top 30 NRM-Norway leaders and supporters, 17 had been sentenced a total of 24 times in Norwegian courts in the past decade. According to NRK, six of those sentences involved severe acts of violence.Ståle Hansen, “Nå marsjerer de i gatene igjen,” NRK, February 27, 2017, https://www.nrk.no/dokumentar/xl/na-marsjerer-de-i-gatene-igjen-1.13394305. And in 2016, Swedish anti-racism organization Expo found that of 159 of NRM-Sweden’s most active members, 26 percent had been sentenced or prosecuted for violence- or weapons-related charges in 2015 alone.David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g;
“Så våldsamma är nazisterna i Nordiska motståndsrörelsen,” Expo Idag, December 9, 2016, http://expo.se/2016/sa-valdsamma-ar-nazisterna-i-nordiska-motstandsrorelsen_7198.html.

NRM-Sweden has carried out at least three IED attacks.

Despite its ties to violence, NRM-Sweden officially registered as a political party in July 2015.“Registrerade partibeteckningar,” Valmyndigheten, accessed May 26, 2017, http://www.val.se/det_svenska_valsystemet/partier/lista_registrerade_partibeteckningar/kontaktuppgifter.html. The group was inspired to enter politics after one of its key members, Pär Öberg, was elected in 2014 as a write-in candidate for the Sweden Democrats party in the Ludvika municipality’s local elections.“Nazister bildar parti,” Expo Idag, October 2, 2014, http://expo.se/2014/nazister-bildar-parti_6663.html;
Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/.
There is little publicly-available information on NRM-Sweden’s political party, which is registered by the Swedish government as “Nordiska motståndsrörelsen”—the same name used for the larger NRM-Sweden movement. There is also evident confusion in mainstream media regarding the group’s political status. In December 2016, in an article about NRM-Sweden’s growing popularity, London’s Sunday Times wrote that the group “plans to launch a political party [emphasis added].” NRM-Sweden is not believed to have made political gains, and is reported to lend most of its efforts to extra-parliamentary activities, such as violence, intimidation, and crime.Nick Fagge, “Neo-Nazis thugs warn of a 'year of violence' following attacks on child migrants at train station in Sweden,” Daily Mail (London), February 3, 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3426413/Neo-Nazis-warn-year-violence-following-attacks-child-migrants-train-station-Sweden.html.

Doctrine:

The NRM subscribes to a nationalist socialist, or neo-Nazi, ideology. To that end, the group is avowedly anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-immigrant, pro-white, and pro-Hitler. In its 2015 party platform “Our Path,” the NRM warns that the Nordic states—as well as the entire Western world—are controlled by the “global Zionist elite.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf. The NRM thus seeks to “regain power” from that elite and unite the Nordic states into a “Nordic Nation” able to “assert itself militarily, economically and culturally.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf.

“We are National Socialists [Nazis]. Our main aim is the protection of Sweden’s [white] people and culture. - Emil Hagberg, NRM spokesman

Neo-Nazi

The NRM has openly expressed support for Nazi Germany. As the group said in its 2015 party platform “Our Path”:

“From our point of view, National Socialism [Nazism], [as] proven during the short time it held power in Germany, has been the only form of government that has significantly threatened the destructive forces [i.e. Zionism] that rule the world. From 1945 until today, these same destructive forces have continually conducted political genocide against the Nordic and ethnic peoples of Europe. They recognize National Socialism as the chief enemy of their worldview, because it delivers a strategy of survival for our race….”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf.

NRM members are believed to have used techniques practiced by the Nazis during World War II. A former NRM-Sweden member using the pseudonym “Johan” told the BBC in late 2014 that he left the group when he realized that his fellow members were “measuring skulls…to decide who was Aryan and who wasn’t.”Stuart Hughes, “Swedish neo-Nazis: moved to de-radicalise amid far-right rise,” BBC News, December 19 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30528918. In January 2018, a Swedish court convicted NRM leader Simon Lindberg of “contempt for groups based on their race, skin color, national or ethnic origin by shouting ‘Sieg Heil’ while raising his right arm upwards” during a November 2016 rally. The court initially recommended one month in prison but reduced the sentence to an 800 krona ($98) fine because the NRM had a legal permit for the rally.Agence France-Presse, “Sweden convicts neo-Nazi leader of inciting hatred at rally,” Times of Israel, January 2, 2018, https://www.timesofisrael.com/sweden-convicts-neo-nazi-leader-of-inciting-hatred-at-rally/.

Anti-Semitic

NRM members believe that Jews are racist as they consider themselves the “chosen people.” According to the NRM’s party platform, these Jews lead the “global Zionist elite,” which seeks “not only to promote the state of Israel, but also to contribute to long-term instability in all nations who may pose a threat to their power structure.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf. In addition, the NRM believes that Sweden’s media is “Jewish owned.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf. According to the dissident former leader of NRM-Finland, Esa Holappa, NRM members who share nonconforming views are often branded as “Jews” or “Zionists” in order to silence and delegitimize them.“Repentant Nazi: ‘What I was doing was crazy,’” Yle Uutiset, May 15, 2016, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/repentant_nazi_what_i_was_doing_was_crazy/8881468.

The NRM’s official website, Nordfront.se, features a section dedicated to what the NRM perceives as the dangers of Judaism and Zionism. Articles in this section, titled “The Jewish Question,” include: “The EU is Taking Further Censorship Measures to Protect Jewish Power;” “Israel Undermines the American Electoral System,” and “Jewish Feminist Celebrates the Extinction of White Men.” Through the articles, the NRM seeks to propagate anti-Semitic messaging and draw supporters to its cause.“JUDEFRÅGAN,” Nordfront.se, accessed June 4, 2017, https://www.nordfront.se/varldsaskadning/judefragan.

NRM has carried out IED attacks against Muslim asylum seekers.

Anti-Immigrant and Pro-White

The NRM is vehemently opposed to foreign immigration to the Nordic states. The group believes that the arrival of “foreign races” in Nordic nations has resulted in the “physical displacement and genocide” of the Nordic people, who have a “unique gene pool.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf. In its 2015 party platform, the NRM writes that it seeks to not only “stop mass immigration,” but to repatriate ethnically non-Nordic people. If granted power, the NRM says it will: 1) “Introduce a complete halt of all non-Nordic immigration;” 2) “Establish a government institution that will efficiently and with the aid of modern genetic profiling, racially asses [sic] all people who have acquired citizenship after 1975 and their descendants;” 3) “Promptly begin retuning the majority of racial foreigners situated within the borders of the Nordic region.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf.

According to Swedish authorities, NRM-Sweden members carried out two IED attacks against Muslim asylum seekers in January 2017 in the Swedish city of Gothenberg. In the first attack, on January 2017, suspected NRM-Sweden members detonated homemade bombs outside of a refugee lodging center, injuring one immigration officer.Agence France-Presse, “Swedish neo-Nazis held over Gothenburg refugee centre blast,” Local (Stockholm), February 3, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170203/swedish-neo-nazis-held-over-gothenburg-refugee-centre-blast. Authorities later arrested three men in connection to that bombing, noting that the suspects “are or were in the past members of the Nordic Resistance Movement.”Agence France-Presse, “Swedish neo-Nazis held over Gothenburg refugee centre blast,” Local (Stockholm), February 3, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170203/swedish-neo-nazis-held-over-gothenburg-refugee-centre-blast. Then, on January 25, 2017, Swedish authorities discovered an IED—which had failed to detonate—outside of another refugee housing compound. Officials believe that both incidents were linked to a third bombing at a far-left café in Gothenberg in November 2016.Agence France-Presse, “Swedish neo-Nazis held over Gothenburg refugee centre blast,” Local (Stockholm), February 3, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170203/swedish-neo-nazis-held-over-gothenburg-refugee-centre-blast.

“[We would] outlaw the homosexual lobby and other propaganda targeted at natural family unit [and] ban flagrant homosexuality in the public realm.” - NRM

Anti-Gay

The NRM is openly anti-gay. Its members believe that gay people are “perverts” aiming to destroy the concept of the nuclear family.Bradford Hanson, “Scandinavia: Media Firestorm After Patriots Monkeywrench Pervert Festival,” National Vanguard, September 13, 2016, http://nationalvanguard.org/2016/09/scandinavia-media-firestorm-after-patriots-monkeywrench-pervert-festival/;
Bradford Hanson, “Scandinavia: Media Firestorm After Patriots Monkeywrench Pervert Festival,” National Vanguard, September 13, 2016, http://nationalvanguard.org/2016/09/scandinavia-media-firestorm-after-patriots-monkeywrench-pervert-festival/.
According to its 2015 party platform, the groups seeks to ban gay marriage and “promote and elevate the natural family ideal between a man and a woman.” In addition, the group seeks to “outlaw the homosexual lobby and other propaganda targeted at natural family unit,” as well as “ban flagrant homosexuality in the public realm.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf.

The NRM often refers to the normalization of homosexuality as the “homolobby,” which it defines as “Jewish cultural Marxism…forces directly and indirectly leading to the philosophical ideas and ideals of the gay community in society.” According to a page on the group’s website, “The homolobby promotes popular enemy decadence and anti-culture, which helps to undermine and dissolve the natural structures of society. Thus, the very premise of a further existence for our people.”Redaksjonen, “Alt du trenger å vite om demonstrasjonen i Fredrikstad!,” Frihetskamp, June 6, 2017, https://www.frihetskamp.net/alt-du-trenger-a-vite-om-demonstrasjonen-i-fredrikstad/.

NRM members have carried out attacks on gay people, with numerous such attacks by the group’s members recorded in Sweden throughout 2005. In 2012, a member of NRM-Finland attacked Helsinki city counselor Dan Koivulaakso with pepper spray at a gay-rights event in the Finnish city of Oulu, and in 2013, members of NRM-Finland used tear gas and pepper spray to attack participants in the Helsinki Gay Pride Parade.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/.

Organizational Structure:

One NRM rally in November 2016 drew 600 demonstrators.

The NRM is believed to comprise between 250 to 300 core members spread throughout Sweden, Norway, and Finland—though the group may attract many more sympathizers.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/. In November 2016, NRM-Sweden alone drew a total of 600 demonstrators in its largest rally to date.David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g. According to a May 2015 estimate by the Finnish-owned media outlet Yle, NRM-Finland is comprised of approximately 60 to 70 core members.“Repentant Nazi: ‘What I was doing was crazy,’” Yle Uutiset, May 15, 2016, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/repentant_nazi_what_i_was_doing_was_crazy/8881468;
Fanny Malinen, “The Failure of The State And The Rise Of Fascism,” Novara Media, December 11, 2016, http://novaramedia.com/2016/12/11/the-failure-of-the-state-and-the-rise-of-fascism/.
The Norwegian-owned NRK media company reported in February 2017 that that country’s branch contains “a dozen” core activists.Ståle Hansen, “Nå marsjerer de i gatene igjen,” NRK, February 27, 2017, https://www.nrk.no/dokumentar/xl/na-marsjerer-de-i-gatene-igjen-1.13394305.

In a June 2016 interview on NRM-Finland’s radio station Riimuradio, NRM-Sweden leader Simon Lindberg revealed that NRM-Sweden is comprised of six distinct “nests,” or areas of operation, throughout Sweden. According to Lindberg, “in every nest, you then have [NRM] activist groups. So one nest could be many activist groups.” Lindberg noted that “nests” may not be utilized by NRM-Finland, implying that NRM’s chapters may not share identical organizational structures.“Studio 204 - jakso 14: Haastattelussa/Interview with Simon Lindberg Nordic Resistance Movement,” YouTube video, 28:40, posted by “Studio 204,” June 4, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsmiJ-FfFTA.

According to one far-right European group, the NRM offers four distinct levels of membership. In the first level of membership, members donate to the group but do not partake in organizational activities. In the second level, members are expected to donate money as well as participate in the group’s activities. In the third level of membership, members donate a larger amount of money than the previous two groups, and are required to pass a physical fitness test and receive martial arts training. In the highest level of membership, the most committed members swear an oath of allegiance to the group and its mission. These top members also carry out the responsibilities (donations and martial arts training) required of the lower member groups.“An overview of The Nordic Resistance Movement,” The Knights Templar Europe Archive, accessed May 25, 2017, https://sites.google.com/site/knightstemplareurope/documents/an-overview-of-the-nordic-resistance-movement.

Financing:

The NRM notes in its party platform document “Our Path” that all the funding it receives comes from “member donations and sympathetic individuals and organizations.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf. The group openly solicits donations on its various affiliated websites, noting that the “organization receives no state funding,” and asking potential donors to “consider [a donation as] an investment in a brighter future.”“Welcome to the English section of Nordfront,” Nordfront.se, accessed June 6, 2017, https://www.nordfront.se/english.

Recruitment:

In or around 2003, NRM’s then-leader Klas Lund wrote in the group’s magazine Nationelt Motstånd that the organization did not seek to recruit “as many [individuals] as possible,” but rather to build “an inner core of fanatic activists who can increasingly bring the national message out to the masses.”Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/. This outlook may have changed in recent years, as the group now attempts to bring as many people as possible under its umbrella. An official NRM manual released in August 2016 states that the information within it is directed “not only to activists in the [NRM], but rather to all who can actively associate with the organization regardless of the level of engagement.”Redaksjonen, “Aktivisthåndboken er lansert og tilgjengelig for salg!,” Frihetscamp, August 26, 2016, https://www.frihetskamp.net/aktivisthandboken-er-lansert-og-tilgjengelig-for-salg/.

In recent years, the NRM has capitalized on the influx of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa in an attempt to spread fear, recruit, and further its agenda. According to anti-racism organization Expo, NRM-Sweden has grown more than one third in size since the beginning of 2015 by advocating against Sweden’s open-door policy to Muslim asylum seekers. The NRM has held numerous anti-immigration rallies, and has hung signs throughout Sweden, Finland, and Norway reading “Refugees Are Not Welcome.”Haakon Forwald, “– Et seiersår for Den nordiske motstandsbevegelsen!,” Friehtskamp, January 8, 2017, https://www.frihetskamp.net/et-seiersar-for-den-nordiske-motstandsbevegelsen/;
“Så våldsamma är nazisterna i Nordiska motståndsrörelsen,” Expo Idag, December 9, 2016, http://expo.se/2016/sa-valdsamma-ar-nazisterna-i-nordiska-motstandsrorelsen_7198.html;
David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g.
The NRM also produces manuals, stickers, leaflets, and flyers, which it distributes at rallies, on the streets, and in mailboxes.“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf;
Haakon Forwald, “– Et seiersår for Den nordiske motstandsbevegelsen!,” Friehtskamp, January 8, 2017, https://www.frihetskamp.net/et-seiersar-for-den-nordiske-motstandsbevegelsen/.

NRM-Sweden leader Simon Lindberg said in mid-2016 that the group had “recruited a lot of new members” since the start of the refugee crisis. However, Lindberg attributed much of this new recruitment to the group’s sturdy base. According to Lindberg, it would be “very unfair to only give the refugee crisis credibility for our growth, because we have worked hard for many[,] many years and gained a lot of experience during out struggle. Without having a solid ground…we wouldn’t have recruited a single person, no matter how many immigrants come flooding in over our borders.”“Studio 204 - jakso 14: Haastattelussa/Interview with Simon Lindberg Nordic Resistance Movement,” YouTube video, 28:40, posted by “Studio 204,” June 4, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsmiJ-FfFTA.

Training:

NRM members are trained in martial arts. Some have received foreign military training.

The NRM is reported to train members in martial arts, and members are taught how to respond if violence arises in the streets.David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g;
Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/.
The NRM openly advertises physical training sessions on its website, noting that the group “climbs mountains, arranges self-defense courses…and excursions in forest and land.”Haakon Forwald, “– Et seiersår for Den nordiske motstandsbevegelsen!,” Friehtskamp, January 8, 2017, https://www.frihetskamp.net/et-seiersar-for-den-nordiske-motstandsbevegelsen/.

In June 2017, Swedish prosecutors charged three NRM-Sweden members in connection to bombings targeting a far-left café and two refugee lodging centers in November 2016 and January 2017. According to prosecutors, two of the NRM-Sweden members had received military training in Russia just before returning to Sweden to carry out the attacks. There is little publicly-available information regarding who exactly provided training to these individuals.“Sweden charges right-wing extremists over bomb attacks,” Associated Press, June 9, 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/09/sweden-charges-bomb-attacks/102662582/;
“Two men charged over refugee home blast ‘received military training in Russia,’” Local (Stockholm), June 9, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170609/gothenburg-sweden-two-men-charged-over-refugee-home-bomb-attack-received-military-training-in-russia.

Key Leaders

  • Simon Lindberg

    Leader of NRM-Sweden
  • Emil Hagberg

    Spokesman of NRM-Sweden
  • Fredrik Vejdeland

    Editor of NRM-Sweden’s website
  • Haakon Forwald

    Leader of NRM-Norway
  • Tommy Olsen

    Deputy leader of NRM-Norway
  • Otto Rutanen

    Leader of NRM-Finland
  • Antti Niemi

    Deputy leader of NRM-Finland

History

 

Violent Activities

NRM leaders and members have carried out attacks against gay people, Muslims asylum seekers, and the group’s ideological adversaries—using smoking flares, pepper spray, tear gas, knives, and guns. Since the 1980s, NRM members have killed at least three people: anti-racist campaigner Ronny Landin, trade unionist Björn Söderberg, and passerby Jimi Joonas Karttonen, who were beaten or shot to death in 1986, 1999, and 2016, respectively.

NRM members have killed at least three people.

NRM members are reported to receive martial arts training and are educated on how to respond if fighting arises in the streets.David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g;
Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/.
In addition, the group previously sold a knife inscribed with the maxim “The struggle demands more than only words.”David Charter and Isaak Bowers, “Neo-Nazis on the march in Sweden,” Times (London), December 12, 2016, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/dcnazi-3dwxnps2g. In a 2016 interview with NRM-Sweden leader Simon Lindberg, Lindberg said that he joined the group because its members are “strong in the streets, they dare to fight back the scum.”Bradford Hanson, “An Interview With Simon Lindberg, Leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement,” National Vanguard, June 7, 2016, http://nationalvanguard.org/2016/06/an-interview-with-simon-lindberg-leader-of-the-nordic-resistance-movement/. However, Swedish prosecutors believe that three NRM-Sweden members—charged in June 2017 in connection to three bombings on a far-left café and two refugee centers in November 2016 and January 2017—were “dissatisfied” that NRM leadership had not wanted to use violence “to the same extent” as the three men. Prosecutors believe that two of those men had received military training in Russia before returning to Sweden to carry out the bombings—though it is unclear from whom they received training.“Sweden charges right-wing extremists over bomb attacks,” Associated Press, June 9, 2017, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/06/09/sweden-charges-bomb-attacks/102662582/;
“Two men charged over refugee home blast ‘received military training in Russia,’” Local (Stockholm), June 9, 2017, https://www.thelocal.se/20170609/gothenburg-sweden-two-men-charged-over-refugee-home-bomb-attack-received-military-training-in-russia.

Designations

Some Finnish officials—including members of the National Police Board and Kari Harju, the head of the Finnish Security Intelligence Service—have urged their government to ban NRM-Finland, though Helsinki has not taken this step.“Security boss: Neo-Nazi group should be banned,” Yle, December 9, 2016, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/security_boss_neo-nazi_group_should_be_banned/9343026;
“Police move to shut down neo-Nazi Finnish Resistance Movement,” Yle Uutiset, March 2, 2017, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/police_move_to_shut_down_neo-nazi_finnish_resistance_movement/9488899.
Finland’s Pirkanmaa District Court banned the NRM in November 2017 and Finland’s Turku Appeal Court upheld the decision in September 2018. Nonetheless, the group can continue to legally operate until all avenues of appeal have been exhausted.“Finnish court bans Neo-Nazi movement,” Yle Uutiset, November 30, 2017, https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/finnish_court_bans_neo-nazi_movement/9956449; “Ban on neo-Nazi group upheld by Turku appeal court,” Yle Uutiset, September 29, 2018, https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/ban_on_neo-nazi_group_upheld_by_turku_appeal_court/10429858.

Associations

Ties to Extremist Entities:

NRM’s chapters in Finland and Norway are reported to communicate and cooperate with NRM-Sweden on common strategy and goals. According to the Finnish Security Intelligence Service’s communications chief, NRM-Finland works closely with NRM-Sweden to promote the concept of white supremacy and a unified Nordic nation.“Security agency: Finnish Resistance Movement well monitored, has little support,” Yle Uutiset, August 1, 2015, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/security_agency_finnish_resistance_movement_well_monitored_has_little_support/8197771. The Norwegian-owned media outlet NRK has also said there is “close cooperation” between the Norwegian and Swedish branches.Ståle Hansen, “Nå marsjerer de i gatene igjen,” NRK, February 27, 2017, https://www.nrk.no/dokumentar/xl/na-marsjerer-de-i-gatene-igjen-1.13394305. There may also be significant cooperation between members of NRM-Finland and NRM-Norway. According to Finland’s national broadcasting company Yle, “[all NRM members] keep in touch with each other, travel to meetings and participate in each other’s actions and activities.”“Repentant Nazi: ‘What I was doing was crazy,’” Yle Uutiset, May 15, 2016, http://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/repentant_nazi_what_i_was_doing_was_crazy/8881468. NRM also maintains ties with other neo-Nazi, ultranationalist groups outside of the Nordic states, most notably Golden Dawn in Greece, NPD in Germany, and the Russian Imperial Movement in Russia.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/;
Andrew Higgins, “Intent on Unsettling E.U., Russia Taps Foot Soldiers From the Fringe,” New York Times, December 24, 2016, https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/24/world/europe/intent-on-unsettling-eu-russia-taps-foot-soldiers-from-the-fringe.html?_r=0.

Golden Dawn

The NRM ideologically supports Golden Dawn, the Greek neo-Nazi political party that has grown to become the third most powerful party in that country. The NRM has publicly signaled its support for Golden Dawn since at least September 2013, when Greek authorities arrested more than 20 Golden Dawn members in a government crackdown. The following month, the NRM released an open letter to the Greek ambassadors stationed in Nordic nations. The letter referred to the Greek government as a “proxy government for the Zionist plutocrats,” and warned that the arrest of Golden Dawn members “is a heinous act by a dictatorial regime and constitutes a dire threat to the freedom of the Greek people.”“To the people of Greece and the Greek ambassadors in Stockholm, Oslo, Helsinki and Copenhagen,” Nordic Resistance Movement, October 4, 2013, https://www.nordfront.se/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Greeceembassyletter.pdf. In early November 2013, approximately 80 NRM-Sweden members marched through Stockholm toward the Greek embassy in support of the arrested Golden Dawn members.“Injuries at 'disgusting' neo-Nazi rally,” Local (Stockholm), November 10, 2013, https://www.thelocal.se/20131110/injuries-at-disgusting-neo-nazi-rally;
“20 members of neo-Nazi party arrested in Greece,” RNZ, September 29, 2013, http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/world/223130/20-members-of-neo-nazi-party-arrested-in-greece.
More recently, in July 2016, Golden Dawn released an interview with NRM-Sweden leader Simon Lindberg on one of its YouTube pages.“Nordic Resistance Movement Interview by Golden Dawn New York Division,” YouTube video, posted by Golden Dawn Dubs & Subs, July 22, 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QrZS_AtsG38.

National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD)

Members of the NRM have reportedly attended conferences hosted by the National Democratic Party (NPD), a far-right German political party that advocates racist, anti-Semitic, and revisionist views.Øyvind Strømmen, “New report: Neo-Nazis in the North,” Hate Speech International, March 24, 2017, https://www.hate-speech.org/new-report-neo-nazis-in-the-north/.

Rhetoric

View All

NRM Website, June 2017

“The homolobby promotes popular enemy decadence and anti-culture, which helps to undermine and dissolve the natural structures of society. Thus, the very premise of a further existence for our people.”Redaksjonen, “Alt du trenger å vite om demonstrasjonen i Fredrikstad!,” Frihetskamp, June 6, 2017, https://www.frihetskamp.net/alt-du-trenger-a-vite-om-demonstrasjonen-i-fredrikstad/.

NRM Manual, August 2016

“It is a battle of life and death, with the race's survival as an effort. It's time to take courage and move the sword out of the stone. The destiny is here and now! Do right- fear nothing!”Redaksjonen, “Aktivisthåndboken er lansert og tilgjengelig for salg!,” Frihetscamp, August 26, 2016, https://www.frihetskamp.net/aktivisthandboken-er-lansert-og-tilgjengelig-for-salg/.

NRM Manual, August 2016

“The [NRM] has gone to battle against the enemies of the Nordic region, and continuously fights for the freedom and survival of the Nordic people - in a future free and united nation-socialist Nordic region.”Redaksjonen, “Aktivisthåndboken er lansert og tilgjengelig for salg!,” Frihetscamp, August 26, 2016, https://www.frihetskamp.net/aktivisthandboken-er-lansert-og-tilgjengelig-for-salg/.

NRM Manual, August 2016

“The rapidly growing non-European population, which is within the borders of the Nordic region, will, in combination with race blend and low Nordic birth rates, effectively provide for the safe and secure death of the Nordic breed if something is not done.”Redaksjonen, “Aktivisthåndboken er lansert og tilgjengelig for salg!,” Frihetscamp, August 26, 2016, https://www.frihetskamp.net/aktivisthandboken-er-lansert-og-tilgjengelig-for-salg/.

Emil Hagberg, Spokesman of NRM-Sweden, February 2016

In an interview with London’s Daily Mail:
“We are National Socialists [Nazis]. Our main aim is the protection of Sweden’s [white] people and culture. We don’t want our [white] people to disappear from the earth. People come to us because they see the streets are full of Somalis and Syrians and they are starting to listen to us because we have been warning of the dangers of immigration for years.”Nick Fagge, “Neo-Nazis thugs warn of a 'year of violence' following attacks on child migrants at train station in Sweden,” Daily Mail (London), February 3, 2016, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3426413/Neo-Nazis-warn-year-violence-following-attacks-child-migrants-train-station-Sweden.html.

Official NRM-Sweden Statement, January 2016

Referencing a mob of Swedish nationalists who attacked asylum seekers in Stockholm’s central train station:
“[This mob attack] cleaned up criminal immigrants from North Africa that are housed in the area around the Central Station. These criminal immigrants have robbed and molested Swedes for a long time. Police have clearly shown that they lack the means to stave off their rampage, and we now see no other alternative than to ourselves hand out the punishments they deserve.”Samuel Osborne, “’Hundreds’ of masked men beat refugee children in Stockholm,” Independent (London), January 30, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/hundreds-of-masked-men-beat-refugee-children-in-stockholm-a6843451.html.

Simon Lindberg, Leader of NRM-Sweden, 2016

On why he joined the NRM:
“[NRM members are] strong in the streets, they dare to fight back the scum.”Bradford Hanson, “An Interview With Simon Lindberg, Leader of the Nordic Resistance Movement,” National Vanguard, June 7, 2016, http://nationalvanguard.org/2016/06/an-interview-with-simon-lindberg-leader-of-the-nordic-resistance-movement/.

NRM Party Platform, 2015

“[We would] outlaw the homosexual lobby and other propaganda targeted at natural family unit [and] ban flagrant homosexuality in the public realm.”“Our Path: New Politics for a New Time,” Nordic Resistance Movement, 2015, https://www.frihetskamp.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Our-Path.pdf.

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