Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Russian Right-Wing Radicals Far More Aggressive Online than Islamists Are, Tomsk Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 8 – The conclusions of scholars at Tomsk State University that radicals on the far right are far more radical in their posts on social media than are members of Islamist groups may help explain why the Russian government has been begun directing ever more efforts at containing and even decapitating the former.

            Scholars at that university’s Laboratory on Big Data and Social Problems examined the online behavior of 42 groups on the far right of the political spectrum and 29 groups of Islamists over the course of four months, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported today (

            Their research found, the scholars involved say, that participants in both kinds of communities were typically young people between 18 and 20 and that some in both called for “direct physical and structural force even though they do not take part in the direct organization of illegal armed criminal groups.”

            But if one compares the two, the scholars say, “the right wing groups conduct themselves in social networks more aggressively than do the Islamists.”

            One of the scholars involved, Sergey Chudinov, tells Interfax that those on the far right don’t hold back from issuing open calls to the use of force and violence against immigrants, representatives of other races and nationalities, the members of which such people invariably describe as “enemies.”

            According to Chudinov, this difference reflects the fact that up until recently, “those on the far right have been subjected to much less pressure from the special services and government organs which control and suppress manifestations of extremism on social networks.”  Islamist groups are more restrained because they have been, he says.
Moreover, the Islamist groups, he continues, are eager to “mask” their arguments “under the guise of all-Muslim themes and the discussion of religious laws” rather than talk about force and violence. 
Interfax concludes its report: “The scholars note that the results of the research indicate that there has been an underestimation of the destructive potential of radical right extremist communities in Russian society.”

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