The government for the first time Wednesday partially declassified its list of officially recognized extremists, terrorist groups and terrorism financiers involved in money laundering.
The sweeping 2,000-name
The list was compiled by the Federal Financial Monitoring Service, which aims to fight money laundering for extremist purposes by freezing the assets of entrants on the list. Service head Yury Chikhanchin said the list was compiled on recommendations from the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force, which Russia joined in 2003.
"The publication of the names of extremists and terrorists will help usher in more transparency and establish better public control over possible [financial] operations by suspects," Chikhanchin told Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
The Federal Financial Monitoring Service used information from the Prosecutor General's Office, the Justice Ministry and the Foreign Ministry to compile the list, which comprises about 500 foreign and 1,500 domestic entities.
The list includes some expected names, such as al-Qaida, Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov, the banned National Bolshevik Party and the nationalist groups Movement Against Illegal Immigration and Slavic Union, as well as obscure groups such as Noble Order of the Devil, a banned satanist cult whose members indulged in orgies and self-mutilation.
But certain names may raise eyebrows, including former Chechen warlord Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, who was killed by Russian agents in Qatar in 2004. The suspects were tried and convicted in Qatar, but sent later to serve sentences in Russia.
A law enforcement source told Rossiiskaya Gazeta that Yandarbiyev made the list because there was no definite proof of his death.
Yulia Privedennaya, a poet who was handed a suspended sentence last year on charges of illegal deprivation of freedom and organizing a militant group under the guise of an artistic commune, expressed surprise when she learned about her inclusion on the list from The Moscow Times. "We were never accused of terrorism," she said by telephone, adding that she would consult her lawyer on the matter.
Other unusual entries included the Omsk and Ryazan branches of the Russian National Unity — whose leader Alexander Barkashov said by telephone that the ultranationalist group never had branches in those cities.
Alexander Verkhovsky, director of the Sova xenophobia watchdog, called the publication of the list "a positive sign" amid the secrecy of its contents. "At least a person will be aware that he is on the list and can dispute his inclusion," he said.
The Federal Financial Monitoring Service said the list would be updated. Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported that part of the list remained classified, but did not elaborate.