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State Department Designates Russian White Supremacist Group as Terror Organization

[additional-authors]
April 6, 2020
Then U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks at the U.S. State Department January 07, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On April 6, the State Department designated as a terror organization the white supremacist group Russian Imperial Movement (RIM).

Three of the group’s leaders were designated as terrorists: Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariev and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov. According to the State Department, RIM trains white supremacists and neo-Nazis in weaponry and combat, and was behind two November 2016 bombings in Sweden.

Under the designation, they are unable to access the U.S. financial system and their current assets in the U.S. financial system are frozen, according to Foreign Policy. According to The New York Times, this allows the FBI “to open sanctions-evasion investigations into Americans who appear to have ties to [RIM].”

“This is the first time the United States has ever designated white supremacist terrorists, illustrating how seriously this administration takes the threat,” Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan A. Sales told reporters on April 6. “We are taking actions no previous administration has taken to counter this threat.”

He added, “These historic designations are just one part of the administration’s broader efforts to counter white supremacist terrorism abroad.  We’re bringing all of our counterterrorism tools to this fight – information sharing, counter-messaging, combatting terrorist travel, engaging with tech companies, and building partner capacity to protect soft targets like synagogues and mosques.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center tweeted that the designation of RIM as a terror group is “President [Donald] Trump and Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo’s most potent move against white supremacists and Nazis overseas, with important implications to track and interdict violent racists and anti-Semites, including links to hate groups in US.”

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted that RIM’s designation was an “important step, but there is more to do.”

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