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Russia Seeks to Ban Nonexistent ‘Anti-Russian Separatist Movement’

A view of the building of Russia's Justice Ministry. Valery Sharifulin / TASS

Russia is seeking to ban the vaguely defined “anti-Russian separatist movement” as an “extremist” organization, the Justice Ministry said Friday.

According to the ministry, the so-called movement’s goal is to “destroy the multinational unity and territorial integrity of Russia.”

The ministry’s request is set to be heard by Russia’s Supreme Court on June 7.

The independent OVD-Info rights project, which first reported on the planned designation, said it was unable to find a formal organization titled “Anti-Russian Separatist Movement.” 

Observers speculated that designating the “separatist movement” as extremist could lead to wider targeting of anti-war or indigenous rights and decolonial activists in Russia.

Last year, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office banned the Free Nations League anti-imperial movement and the Forum of Free Peoples of Post-Russia, a group that calls for Russia's disintegration, as “undesirable” organizations. 

The Supreme Court’s previously banned as extremist the similarly nonexistent “international LGBT public movement” and the “Ya/My Furgal movement” in support of the ex-governor of the Far East Khabarovsk region.

The November 2023 “LGBT movement” ban has led to a sweeping crackdown on public displays of LGBTQ+ identity and lifestyles.

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