Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Return of Donbas Fighters to Russia Seen Triggering a New Explosion of Skinhead Violence There

Paul Goble


            Staunton, October 8 – The skinhead phenomenon in Russia had been in decline in recent years because of the actions of law enforcement agencies, but now, in large part thanks to the return of many young Russian nationalists from fighting in the Donbas, a resurgence of skinhead activity in Russia is “inevitable,” according to a SOVA expert.


            Natalya Yudina, an expert at that center which tracks extremist groups, says that up to a few years ago, such extremist groups were active in many Russian cities and felt themselves “secure,” but that had begun to change as law enforcement agencies arrested some of the more prominent leaders (


            But now these groups are re-emerging, in part because no one in the schools or elsewhere is paying attention to questions of promoting tolerance and because so many young Russian radicals have gone to fight in Ukraine on the side of the pro-Moscow forces in the Donbas and are now returning home.


            That makes “the future growth in the activity of Russian skinheads inevitable,” she says, and may mean that they will be both more widespread and more violent than they were in the past given their numbers and their experiences with the use of military equipment in Donetsk and Luhansk.


            Yudina’s comments came in response to the opening of a trial in Yekaterinburg of members of the Volksturm group, a collection of twelve young people who have terrorized the non-Slavic population of the Sverdlovsk Oblast for the last eight years.


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