Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rightists See Repression Coming

Hardline nationalist leaders have accused the president and the government of planning repressive measures against the opposition and of trying to stir up public opinion against them.

Speaking to journalists Friday, Alexander Prokhanov, the editor of the extreme rightist newspaper Zavtra (Tomorrow), said that the government was engaged in a carefully prepared campaign to "demonize" the nationalist opposition.

One of the government's tactics, according to Prokhanov, was the attempt by the "democratic" media to link the extremist group Russian National Unity to the neo-Nazi group "Legion of Werewolves," the leaders of which were arrested at the beginning of July for allegedly planning to set fire to the Olympic Stadium.

Prokhanov criticized the president's recent decree on fighting crime, which gives police sweeping powers to search and detain those they suspect of wrongdoing. Prokhanov claimed that the decree will be used against the opposition.

Prokhanov also said that the Public Prosecutor's Office had filed criminal charges against three men who had already received amnesty for their role in the October events: Stanislav Terekhov, Vladislav Achalov and Viktor Anpilov. A spokesman for the Public Prosecutor's Office said he had no information on this matter.

"The situation in the country is expected to become increasingly tense by the autumn," said Prokhanov. "And the government will use this as an excuse to crack down on the opposition.

The Russian National Unity Party is an hardline nationalist group led by Alexander Barkashov, one of those arrested for inciting violence in October.

The press secretary for Russian National Unity, Alexander Rashidsky, read journalists a prepared statement in which he accused the "Legion of Werewolves" of purposely trying to discredit his group by openly displaying Russian National Unity's swastika-like symbol during numerous disturbances the Werewolves had caused.

He also cautioned the government against trying to exploit the Werewolf case to vilify Russian National Unity: "We do not advise politicians to light matches while they are sitting on a powder keg," he said.

Alexander Fyodorov, the deputy chairman of Russian National Unity, said that his group had as its goal the formation of a formal political party that could come to power in Russia.

Also present at the press conference was hardline nationalist Alexander Nevzorov, former television commentator from St. Petersburg, now a Duma deputy. He had warm words for Russian National Unity, which he termed "the most patriotic of all the nationalist groups."