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Russian Racist Leader Arrested

There were indications this week that the Russian government intends to launch a fight against political extremism.

Human-rights watchers were hopeful after the leader of a rabidly anti-Semitic group was arrested here after he was questioned at the Justice Ministry.

Alexander Ivanov-Sukharevsky, leader of a small group known as the People’s National Party of Russia, was summoned to the ministry along with several other Russian ultranationalists and political radicals.

The arrest of Ivanov-Sukharevsky, a 47-year-old former film director, came a week after Russia created a presidential commission to fight political extremism.

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

In recent months, the Jewish community has repeatedly called on the authorities to take a stand against racism and anti-Semitism.

Russia’s public prosecutor general, Yuri Skuratov, is expected to discuss the issue during a board meeting of the Russian Jewish Congress later this month.

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