Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Putin Likely to Use his Latest Fake Group, ‘the Anti-Russian Separatist Movement,’ to Increase Repression Not Just against Non-Russian Nationalists but against Russian Regionalists as Well

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 6 – In a disturbing revival of a Stalin-era practice, the Putin regime is inventing non-existent organizations and then targeting their members for persecution. Last year, Moscow announced the existence of an LGBT+ international movement. Now, the Russian Supreme Court has declared another non-existent movement to be extremist as well.

            That group, “the Anti-Russian Separatist Movement,” does not exist either, but ethnic and regional activists say that Moscow’s latest action almost certainly will lead to increased persecution against a wide variety of groups (

            According to the SOVA  Rights Center, the non-existence of the group allows officials to include anyone they want within it and then bring charges against such individuals, increasing the ability of officials to repress individuals without having to come up with evidence that the individuals have done anything (

            But what may be most important about this latest move is that Moscow is targeting not just non-Russian nationalists, something the Putin regime has done from its beginning, but regionalists, most but of course not all of whom are ethnic Russians, an indication that their activities are of increasing concern to the Kremlin.

            That expansion in the list of the worries of the Putin regime helps to explain why this move is attracting attention in the Russian media (e.g., and

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