Russia’s most popular social network VK is hosting the neo-Nazi group Daily Stormer even after the far-right website was blocked in Russia and the group was kicked off Twitter.
The neo-Nazi group in recent days was booted from Google, GoDaddy, Cloudfare and Twitter for publishing a derogatory article on Heather Heyer who died protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in the United States.
The head of Russia’s internet watchdog Alexander Zharov told the Interfax news agency on Thursday he had “asked” the company providing Daily Stormer’s Russian domain to stop servicing the website.
“The Daily Stormer propagandizes a neo-Nazi ideology, inciting racial, national and other social hatred,” Zharov told Interfax.
The group is still active however on Russia’s leading social networking website VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook.
The Daily Stormer’s page dates to April 11, when the group uploaded a profile picture of a Nazi eagle towering over a skull.
It was mostly dormant until Aug. 15 when a post appeared announcing: “Daily Stormer is now available only by Tor Browser. Google has seized our domain name.”
A day later it announced: "back on the normie web, with a .ru domain,” providing a link to the website which is now blocked.
The last post appeared Wednesday evening saying: “Cloudfare just dropped us. We’ll have to build an alternative.”
The page has 249 members and most have Russian names. It contains several images that depict Nazi symbolism, including a picture of a swastika and the text: “White Power.”
Russian law explicitly forbids Nazi imagery and Russians have previously been convicted on extremism charges of “promoting Nazi symbolism” after sharing pictures on VK.
In one high-profile case, a Russian journalist was fined for sharing a photograph of Nazi troops in her neighborhood during the World War II occupation of the city. A Russian man in 2012 was also convicted for sharing images of the film “American History X.”
Responding to a request from The Moscow Times, VK’s press service said: “VK does not block communities only because of the fact that other services have blocked pages with similar names.”
It also said pages that violated Russian laws or called “for violence or bullying” would be blocked.