Moscow Police Crack Down on Political Opposition Rally, Let Neo-Fascists March

(December 16, 2008)

Moscow police detained up to 100 members of the non-violent political opposition "Other Russia" movement in Moscow, according to a December 14, 2008 report by the "New York Times." The group, led by former chess champion Gary Kasparov, had been granted permission to march in an isolated part of the city and incurred the wrath of the police when they tried to march in the downtown area during celebrations of Constitution Day. In a mark of some progress, there were no reports of mass police violence against the marchers, unlike on previous occasions in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod.

At the same time, Moscow city officials gave permission to the neo-Nazi Slavic Union (abbreviated "SS" in Russian) and the far-right Movement Against Illegal Migration (a group implicated in the Kondopoga race riot) to march in the center of town, despite Russian laws against extremism and public incitement of ethnic hatred. According to a December 12, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center, up to 400 people participated in that rally, some of them extending their arms in fascist salutes. Others screamed far-right slogans such as "Glory to Russia!" and "Russians forward!" Police checked the documents of a few of

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