The US Department of State on Monday designated the Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) as global terrorists, the first time that the department has designated a racially or ethnically motivated terrorist group.
RIM is a terrorist group that provides paramilitary-style training to neo-Nazis and white supremacists, and it plays a prominent role in trying to rally like-minded Europeans and Americans into a common front against their perceived enemies. RIM has two training facilities in St. Petersburg, Russia, which likely are being used for woodland and urban assault, tactical weapons and hand-to-hand combat training.
The department called the designation “unprecedented.” “We are taking actions that no previous administration has taken to counter this threat.”
In August 2016, two Swedish men traveled to St. Petersburg and underwent 11 days of training provided by RIM, which led to a series of terrorist bombings in Sweden. In November 2016, they detonated a bomb outside a cafe. Two months after that, they bombed a migrant center. And three weeks after that, they placed another bomb at a campsite used to house refugees. However, that bomb failed to detonate.
The US does not have the authority to designate groups or individuals as terrorists on the basis of constitutionally protected speech. Rather, groups are designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) for actions such as training to participate in terrorism, fundraising for terrorism, facilitation of terrorism, solicitation, or direction and control of terrorist acts. RIM “met all of those benchmarks, and that’s why we designated it.”
The department also designated three of RIM’s leaders as SDGT: Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariyev and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov.