Nationalist Youth Leader Gets 3 Years

The leader of an ultranationalist youth group has been sentenced to three years in prison for yelling "Sieg heil" and "Kill the liberals" during a political debate at a local club last year.

The Basmanny District Court on Monday convicted Maxim Martsinkevich, 23, of inciting ethnic hatred when he and 15 other ultranationalists interrupted the debate at the Bilingua cafe between political commentator Yulia Latynina and satirist Maxim Konenenko last February, RIA-Novosti reported.

Witnesses said Martsinkevich and several other young men flashed Nazi insignias and began yelling "Sieg Heil" and verbally assaulting participants at the political debate titled "Where are the Democrats?"

Martsinkevich, 23, goes by the nickname Tesak, or "Hatchet," and is leader of the ultranationalist group Format 18.

Authorities believe that Martsinkevich is one of the leaders of the city's skinhead circles, Gazeta.ru reported. In March, he began publicly calling for Russia to be cleansed of foreigners and promoting national socialism, the web site said.

Based on footage posted on his blog before it was abruptly shut down in June, Martsinkevich is believed to have participated in the June 22 clashes that broke out in central Moscow between ethnic Russians and people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, Gazeta.ru reported.