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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Police Probe Skinhead Notebook

MTThe cover of the skinhead notebook, which the police first spotted a few days ago.
While the police keep a sharp lookout for skinheads, tens of thousands of virtual skinheads have made their way into the city.

They adorn the covers of tens of thousands of 48-page school notebooks that have been sold around Moscow for the past two years. The notebooks, titled "Skinheads," depict on their front covers a shaven-headed man holding a young woman. Both wear black leather jackets with thick chains dangling at their waists and heavy boots. The back cover contains a list of skinhead vocabulary, starting with the slogan "White Power!"

Police said Monday that they first spotted the notebooks several days ago at a skinhead hangout in southern Moscow and since then more have surfaced in other parts of the city.

"Producing and selling the notebooks is not a crime. They don't advocate Nazism and there are no Nazi symbols on the cover," said Fatima Koznyakova, the head of the juvenile delinquency division with the city police. "But we want to track down who produced them."

She said the police were questioning students and the owners of stationery stores and stalls at outdoor markets.

The notebook, a copy of which was provided by the police, shows that 200,000 were published by the Tver-based Detskaya Literatura printing house. Irina Stepanova, the head of the production department at Detskaya Literatura, said the printer had meant no harm. "We printed them in 2000, and at the time we didn't know anything about skinheads," she said. There are no government regulations about what can be depicted on notebook covers, she added.

The cover of the skinhead notebook says that the books were ordered jointly by Irbis-Press and Eksmo, a major publishing company. An Internet search showed that the two firms have several joint projects. But Eksmo spokesman Alexei Braginsky denied there were any links between them and said Eksmo had nothing to do with the notebooks.

Stepanova said Detskaya Literatura had cooperated with Irbis-Press since 1999 and the company had recently changed its name to Fedes.

The contact telephone number she provided for Fedes turned out to be the number for Eksmo-Kantz, a division of Eksmo that produces stationery.

Asked about the phone number, Braginsky said this was a "fantastic" coincidence and refused to comment further.