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25.05.2005

Political extremism in modern Russia

This was the title of a lecture given by the professor of Saint-Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to Karelian policemen. The lecture was organized by the Ministry and the Karelian branch of “The Youth Human Rights Group” and supported by “The Youth Human Rights Group”.
Professor of Saint-Petersburg University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia Mikhail Mikhailovich Rodionov is a retired police colonel. He devoted many years to his work in the police, so he many times faced the problem of extremism. Together with theoretical knowledge (Mr. Rodionov, thesis was on this subject) he possesses considerable experience of struggling against extremism. At the beginning of his lecture professor warned the audience that it didn`t seem possible to ultimately neutralize the extremist tendencies; moreover, the growth of the latter is obvious.
”As a social process extremism is like a virus, showing itself when an organism is weak”, - says professor Rodionov. - And in our society, in our country, where they used to ignore the virus for a long time, it started growing rapidly. Extremism, fascism, terrorism were always thought irrelevant, out of any relation to our country. But the problems turned out to exist in our country, but we are by no means prepared”.
The problem was reflected nor in our legislation, neither in the minds of our people. It was growing more and more dangerous, but nonetheless didn`t cause any reaction. A great step forward was the introduction of antiextremist legislation. Recently, a case, being first in Russia of this kind, has been brought against the recently created extremist society.
Current statistics point out that in 2004 extremists in Russia killed 47 people. In 2005 extremists already killed 5 people, 76 suffered from them. These figures do not include the victims of mass fights on racial grounds. During one such fight in Moscow a policeman was killed when performing his duties.
After a series of terrorist acts in different countries including Russia terrorism became the problem of primary importance. Apart from making millions of people suffer and creating new threats to the safety of our society, these crimes attacked directly the basic human rights and common values. In the present situation the police`s responsibility in fighting political extremism has grown enormously. The changes demand the highest professionalism, new skills, knowledge of the Russian laws and obedience to them. It must be borne in mind that the struggle against international terrorism should be combined with observing of human rights.
The policemen of Karelia, after listening to the lecture, were given topical literature on the struggle against political extremism.

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