Date: 17 July 2020

The Kremlin Uses Radical Russian Imperial Movement to Destabilize the West

The Russian propaganda machine seeks to promote the image of a destabilized West. Also, the Kremlin is fomenting Western disputes by training and offering assistance to the far-right, often neo-Nazi, circles throughout Europe. In it, the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM), a white supremacist group, plays its role. For years, RIM has conducted illegal activities but continues its “mission” with the blessing of Russian officials –– who yet do it unofficially. This has not changed even after the U.S. had labeled a white supremacist group as a terrorist organization.

SOURCE: MINOBORON

Though the Russian Imperial Movement was founded roughly two decades ago, it has gained momentum only in the past seven years, for two core reasons. First, in 2014, it started deploying its volunteers to Donbas and got involved in Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Secondly, the Russian Imperial Movement has become more interested in backing far-right movements throughout Europe whilst making attempts to coordinate their moves. With the movement being on the rise and spreading geographically, a few months ago, the U.S. Department of State designated the Russian Imperial Movement as a whole alongside three of its leaders as a terrorist organization, though the Russian Imperial Movement does not operate in the United States. What was enough was the group’s activity throughout Europe, with its camps in St. Petersburg for combat training in which German neo-Nazis took part. The Russian Imperial Movement is an organization that trained individuals who then later attempted to carry out terrorist attacks in Sweden, or who were sent to fight in the war in Donbas or Libya, where, as mercenaries, they advanced Moscow’s interests.

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Russian authorities shield the Russian Imperial Movement and its members even following their being named as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Why? RIM adheres to an ultranationalist ideology and aims to bring Russia’s tsarist rule back. The group is known for disseminating anti-Semitic, anti-Western, and anti-Ukrainian rhetoric whilst getting involved in regions that are key for Russia and its interests. Also, it establishes transnational networks with like-minded neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups in a move that adds new benefits to Moscow. Likewise, the Kremlin is mounting potential to destabilize its hated West while Russian services can hire spies amongst non-Russian nationals that engage politically.

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