Monday, August 12, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Moscow’s Extremist List Now Includes More than 2000 Items

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 12 – On Friday, the Russian government’s list of extremist literature, begun in April 2004, broke through yet another notorious milestone: as of Friday, there are now more than 2000 items that Russian courts have declared extremist under the terms of the July 2002 Russian law “On countering extremist activity.”

            The list, which is updated on a weekly basis, is available online at the Justice Ministry’s website ( As experts at the independent SOVA human rights center have noted over the years, the list is neither complete, nor unchanging (

            Nor because Russian courts do not have the same respect for precedent as do those in many other countries are these bans applied equally over the entire country.  What is legal in one place or at one time may not be in another place or at another time.  And as SOVA has documented, charges based on such bans are more likely to be brought against librarians storing the materials than against those many might agree are in fact extremist.

            The list provides a rich data source for research of the varied and changing meanings of “extremism” in the more than 80 subjects of the Russian Federation. Some idea of the richness of this data mine is suggested by the two lists below, the first listing the first ten items Russian courts declared extremist and the second the last ten that have boosted the number to 2008.

            The first ten items declared extremist were “White Music” (by a court in Omsk), al-Tamimi’s “Book of Monotheism” (by a court in Moscow), “The Letters of the Rada of the Kuban Land (by a court in Krasnodar), a series of articles in the newspaper “For Russian People” (by a court in Leningrad oblast), the film “The Eternal Jew” (by a court in Leningrad oblast), a brochure on “The Motherland” (by a court in Kirov oblast), a brochure on “Paganism as Magic” (by a court in Kirov oblast), a brochure on “Who is Afraid of Russian National Socialism?” (by a court in Kirov oblast), a brochure on “The Judeo-Christian Plague” (by a court in Kirov), and a brochure on “Saintly Glory” (by a court in Kirov).

The last ten items to be added to the list are a video on Chechen militants (by a court in the Komi Republic), a brochure on the Nazi Party Program (by a court in Sakhalin), a photo placed on line calling for violence (by a court in Kabardino-Balkaria), a number of anti-Semitic internet posts (by a court in the Khanty-Mansiisk Republic), an appeal calling for Shamil Basayev to surrender by Boris Stomakhin (by a court in  Moscow), a brochure “Killing is Natural Law (by a court in Voronezh), videos about skinheads (by a court in Kemerovo), an internet article on the possibilities of a new North Caucasus war (by a court in Adygeya), an internet article with the subtitle “Nationalism In Action” (by a court in Adgyeya), and an Islamist appeal (by a court in Kabardino-Balkaria).

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