After decades of hate crimes, racial hatred and ethnic discrimination in the United States, the White House finally kicked off a powerful campaign against racists and various supremacists. However, somehow this campaign has started in Russia.
On April 6, the Trump administration designated the Russian Imperial Movement (operates in Russia) a terrorist organization and hit its members with sanctions.
Under a pretext that the organization is allegedly a white supremacist group, the US named it a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” group. Individual sanctions were placed on the group’s leaders: Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariev and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov.
“These designations are unprecedented,” the State Department’s counter-terrorism coordinator Nathan Sales said. “This is the first time the United States has ever designated white supremacist terrorists, illustrating how seriously this administration takes the threat. We are taking actions no previous administration has taken to counter this threat.”
It was not immediately clear what the practical impact will be as the Russian Imperial Movement is a relatively small organization and does not have major international reach. However, now it’s illegal for Americans to engage in any transactions with the group and freezes any assets it may have in U.S. jurisdictions. The penalties can also include a travel ban. The move also allows the Justice Department to bring terrorism-related charges against anyone engaging in financial transctions to people affiliated with the organization.
The website of the Russian Imperial Movement describes it as the Russian Orthodox national-patriotic and monarchist organization. The organization’s declared main tasks are to protect traditional Russian values, support political, spiritual and cultural Russian expansion, fight against Russophobia, illegal immigration, church heresies and schisms, as well as actively propagandizing Russian Christian nationalism.
The organization is not designated a terrorist group in Russia. However, the organization’s website and several issues of its printed publication are included in the federal list of extremist materials by the Russian Ministry of Justice. The Russian Imperial Movement has never been engated in practical (physical) activities aimed against the United States.
Most likely, the US decision to designated the Russian Imperial Movement is only the first, tentative move that could lead to a much larger result. Using the case of the Russian Imperial Movement as a precendent the Washington establishment is likely aiming to kick off a large-scale campaign against all organizations that promote the ideology of the Russian patriotism and support the strengthening of the Russian cultural outreach around the world. In this case, US officials and propagandists will label them ‘white supermasists’ and designate the most successfull of them ‘terrorist groups’. Additionally to reamping up the funding for anti-Russian propaganda operations, the US will employ other levers of pressure to cleanse the social sphere of any non-mainstream ideologies, media outlets and organizations.
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