Moscow Mayor bans trade in nationalist and radical symbols

Sergey Sobyanin (RIA Novosti / Sergey Grishkin)
Moscow authorities have decided to tighten control over extremist and radical groups, including those who conducted activities over the internet.

­The city’s government made it clear that it is ready to tighten control over nationalist and other non-slavic hate groups.  On Tuesday, Mayor Sergey Sobyanin chaired a coordinating conference devoted to stopping the illegal activities of such organizations.

Sobyanin also ordered the prefect of the eastern administrative district Nikolai Lomakin to stop the trade in nationalist and nazi symbols in the Vernisazh market in Izmailovo, Itar-Tass reports.

Police and officials from the Mayor’s Office are joining the effort to find ways of preventing inter-ethnic conflicts. They will meet with leaders of religious organizations and other ethnic communities. The officials also want police to provide them with timely reports on possible extremist actions in advance, as well as violations that fuel ethnic conflicts, the document adopted at the conference said.  

Special attention will be paid to materials published by extremist groups online, including calls for ethnically motivated hate crimes. The city government promised to instruct local internet providers to remove such materials.

Among other measures is an awareness campaign among students aimed at preventing them from participating in extremist actions.

The conference took place a day after President Dmitry Medvedev ordered law-enforcement agencies to step up efforts to combat extremists, including those who “hide behind pseudo-patriotic slogans.” At a meeting with Moscow police on Monday, he also stressed the need for patriotic education among the nation’s youth.

According to Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev, over 90 percent of extremist organizations attract those under 30 who commit 80 percent of all hate crimes.

Medvedev said that preventing extremism should start at schools and universities. Nationalists and radicals are trying to use “the pseudo patriotic sentiments,” he noted. Fighting them is a political task for regional authorities.

Coordinating conferences like the one in Moscow will be held in other regions as part of the  2010-2012 plan to counteract extremist activities.