Russians Resist Pro-nazi Protest Ban

The Russian Parliament’s lower house has balked at banning demonstrations of support for the Nazis.

Legislators from the Our Home Is Russia and liberal Yabloko parties supported a bill outlawing such demonstrations, but were outvoted by representatives of the Communist, Agrarian and Popular Power parties.

Legislator Yevgeny Proshechkin, who also chairs the Moscow-based Anti-Fascist Center, called on Parliament to support the bill, saying Russia needed the measure to fight people who praise Hitler.

But Popular Power Party leader Nikolai Ryzhkov argued that the legislation would lead Russia “down a very dangerous path, toward fighting dissidence.”

In a separate development, a presidential commission to fight political extremism was created this week.

Created by a presidential decree, the commission will enforce a ban on organizations that seek to overthrow the government through violence, to violate Russia’s territorial integrity or to incite racial, ethnic or religious hatred.

Justice Minister Sergei Stepashin will chair the commission.

There are some 50 extremist political groups that may come under the commission’s purview, experts say.

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