Trial against ultra-right group underway

A court in Moscow is to declare its ruling on a case involving an ultra-right wing group which is facing charges of extremism and inciting hatred.

The court will decide whether or not the biggest Russian ultra-nationalist organization has the right to exist.

Earlier the Moscow prosecutor pledged to apply to the court for a prohibition of the Moscow branch of the Slavic Union and acknowledgement of them as “extremist”.

15 witnesses have been expected to testify against the Slavic Union, as they call themselves.

The trial is held behind closed doors to prevent witnesses being threatened by the defendants.

Prosecutors say the Slavic Union promotes neo-Nazi ideology through their marches and their website.

The group’s leader Dmitry Dyomushkin said that, if the group is banned, his followers – who are not accused of attacking people, merely of inciting hatred – will resort to violence.

Watch more on the trial

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Evgeny Proshechkin from Moscow anti-fascist center says, the level of xenophobia is rather high in Russia.

“Polls show that about 60 per cent of the population support the nationalistic slogan ‘Russia for Russians’ and the like,” Proshechkin told RT. “The murder of Eduard Chuvashov is an indicator of how far our society has gone – a federal judge shot dead in the center of Moscow, in his own home, that shows that fascism is not just scary talk but the grim reality of modern Russia.”

“The Slavic Union, in particular, has upheld one of the strongest nationalist ideologies, sowing discord and hatred in our multinational society,” he added. “They’ve been taking a very active part in nationalist rallies. They have a stylized swastika in their emblem and their name is abbreviated to SS in Russia, which is insulting to any Russian.”

Watch full video with Evgeny Proshechkin

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The Prosecutor’s Office has published statistics saying that during the last five years racially motivated attacks against people of non-Russian ethnicity have risen fourfold in the country.