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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Extremists to Fight Mayor's Ban on Rally

The ultranationalist Russian National Unity organization postponed a weekend conference in Moscow as Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov threatened to prosecute the group for inciting hatred.

Spokesman Alexander Rashitsky said Luzhkov had no legal right to block the meeting, and that it would be held as soon as they had appealed to the courts for help.

"As law-abiding citizens, we will appeal to the Prosecutor General and then to the Constitutional Court," Rashitsky said. "Our constitutional rights have been violated."

The meeting was originally scheduled for Saturday at the Izmailovo sports stadium before Luzhkov banned it on Tuesday. Organizers said they expected 4,500 right-wing activists from all over Russia. Rashitsky said they would find a new place, but "after this kind of promotion from the city, we'll get a much more prestigious venue."

Luzhkov continued to talk tough, saying that in addition to the ban, he would seek criminal charges against the group's leader, Alexander Barkashov.

"Barkashov openly called for an uprising and voiced chauvinistic and nationalist slogans," Luzhkov was quoted as saying by Interfax. "Barkashov made several statements effectively threatening me with physical elimination. I am not easily scared, and I was not shaken.

"I will be delighted to do this, because free Russia is no home for people like Barkashov," the mayor said.

Russian National Unity is a neo-fascist organization whose members wear black uniforms, armbands and red badges with a swastika-like symbol. Barkashov has said he will run for president in 2000.

Luzhkov banned the meeting amid a general controversy over nationalism and anti-Semitic statements made by Communist legislators.

On Thursday, Russia's official human rights ombudsman, Oleg Mironov, warned against prosecuting a Duma deputy who blamed Russia's post-Soviet woes on the supposed predominance of Jews in President Yeltsin's inner circle.

"I condemn such statements, but I don't think that the majority of Russia's population condemns them,'' Mironov was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass. "The Russian idea is being voiced. And it should be voiced in a country where the majority of the population is Russian.''

On Tuesday, Communist Deputy Viktor Ilyukhin blamed Jews for a genocide and said that Yeltsin's team consisted "exclusively of people of Jewish nationality." While some members of Yeltsin's administration have been Jews, most are not.

Russia's Justice Ministry has refused to register outspoken novelist Eduard Limonov's extreme nationalist party, which had hoped to run in parliamentary elections, Limonov said.

Limonov issued a statement calling the decision against the National Bolshevik Party "a political crime," and said, "We will not drop politics but will only change our methods of struggle," The Associated Press reported. His party, which he claims has 6,000 members, was trying to register so it could run in parliamentary elections in December 1999.

Limonov, who lived abroad for many years, is known for his sexually explicit, mostly autobiographical books, which also contain statements in support of left-wing political extremism. He has often defended such controversial figures as Bosnian Serb leader and war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic.