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TERRORISM

US sanctions far-right Swede for links to Russian terror group

The United States on Wednesday slapped sanctions on white nationalists from Russia and Sweden, warning they posed a threat and that one raised funds for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

US sanctions far-right Swede for links to Russian terror group
Anton Thulin was photographed at a Russian training camp. Photo: Swedish Police

After decades focused on Islamist extremism, the United States has increasingly identified a threat from the far right, classifying in 2020 the Russian Imperial Movement as a terrorist organization, the first such action against a white supremacist group.

The State Department on Wednesday designated as a terrorist Anton Thulin, a Swede who allegedly traveled to Saint Petersburg for paramilitary instruction by the Russian group.

Thulin, who was formerly active in the Nordic Resistance Movement, was sentenced to prison in 2017 for setting off a bomb near a refugee center in Sweden. After his release, he was expelled by Poland, where authorities said he was seeking further training.

“The US government remains deeply concerned about the evolving racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist threat worldwide,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

“An element of it entails violent white supremacists traveling internationally to train and fight with likeminded individuals.”

The Treasury Department also blocked any US assets and criminalized financial transactions with two members of the Russian Imperial Movement, identified as Stanislav Shevchuk and Alexander Zhuchkovsky.

Shevchuk has traveled to the United States and Europe to unite far-right extremists, while Zhuchkovsky has used social media and online payment systems to buy military supplies for Russian troops in Ukraine, the Treasury Department said.

The Russian group denounced the US terrorist designation in 2020, insisting that it was only helping volunteers fighting on behalf of pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.

Canada earlier this year followed suit by banning the Russian Imperial Movement as a terrorist organization along with the Proud Boys, a far-right group involved in the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. 

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SWEDEN AND RUSSIA

Russian foreign minister decries Sweden’s ‘inhuman’ gender-neutral toilets

Russia's long-time foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has raised eyebrows by expressing his indignation at being forced to use a gender-neutral toilet at an OSCE summit in Stockholm.

Russian foreign minister decries Sweden's 'inhuman' gender-neutral toilets

“It’s what I saw in Sweden last year when I was attending a session of the OSCE Council of Ministers,” Lavrov told the audience at Primakov Readings, a forum dedicated to the memory of Yevgeny Primakov.

“I asked where the toilet was in the break, and I was shown a door with the words “WC”. I asked ‘is that the ladies or the gents?’, and I was told, ‘it’s for everyone’. I couldn’t believe it but that’s really how it was. You cannot imagine how inhuman this is.”. 

Lavrov’s statement came at the end of a diatribe against Western gender identity politics, in which he claimed that in the US and Europe “the diversity of genders has now exceeded 80”.  

The section was first picked up by Francis Carr, a Russia specialist at BBC Monitoring. 

“Once a fearsome diplomat, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is now complaining about gender-neutral toilets in Sweden,” Scarr tweeted. 

Unsurprisingly to those who know the country well, the main reaction on Swedish Twitter was to criticise the standards of plumbing in Russia, rather than to focus on Lavrov’s views on gender identity. 

“It’s pretty rich of Lavrov to whine about there being gender-equal toilets in Sweden at the same time as one in four Russians aren’t connected to the sewage system and one in every ten lacks an indoor toilet,” Victor Rundqvist, a Centre Party county councillor from Halmstad, in a typical tweet

Yevgeny Primakov was a former Russian prime minister, foreign minister, and KGB foreign intelligence chief. 

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