The United States on Monday designated a Russian right-wing extremist movement as a foreign terrorist organization, the first time that Washington has hit extremists of white-supremacist groups with measures it used to use against Islamic extremist groups.
The State Department said that the Russian imperialist movement ran two paramilitary training camps in St. Petersburg, and was able to attract new Nazis from all over the western world.
“This is the first time that the United States has categorized one of the White Race Groups as a terrorist organization, which shows how serious the administration is in dealing with this threat,” said Nathan Sayles, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator.
Washington has included the Russian imperialist movement and three of its leaders on the black list as being classified specifically as global terrorists, which means that they will not be able to enter the United States and any American assets they possess will be confiscated.
Siles added that the United States is concerned about the escalation of violence by white ethnic groups around the world, including attacks against Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand, and against Hispanics in El Paso, Texas.
President Donald Trump faces widespread criticism for his lack of criticism of extremists who believe in the superiority of white race, as well as his political rhetoric demonizing non-white immigrants.
Among the most famous of what Trump said is that the neo-Nazis whose violence in 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, involved “very good people”.
Siles stressed that the administration was targeting groups that outnumbered white race.
He said that this classification provided a direct order from Trump to allow the classification of terrorists based on their training, and not only necessarily their participation in violence.
Siles revealed that two extremists from Sweden, known to receive refugees, traveled in August 2016 to St. Petersburg, where they participated for 11 days in a training camp for volunteers.
He said that they returned to Sweden and carried out a series of attacks, including a bombing outside an immigrant center in Gothenburg, which seriously injured a person.
“This group has its hands stained with innocent blood,” Sayles said.
He added, “The classification today sends an unequivocal message that the United States will not hesitate to use its criminal powers aggressively, and that we are ready to target any foreign terrorist group that threatens our citizens, our interests abroad, or our allies, regardless of their faith”.