The United States is committed to countering a surge of white supremacist terrorism that has occurred over the past several years, including in places as diverse as Europe, New Zealand and the United States.
On April 6, the State Department designated the Russian Imperial Movement, known as RIM, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, or SDGT. In addition to the group itself, three RIM leaders -- Stanislav Anatolyevich Vorobyev, Denis Valliullovich Gariev, and Nikolay Nikolayevich Trushchalov were also designated as SDGTs.
At a recent press briefing, U.S. Coordinator for Counterterrorism Nathan Sales noted that these designations are unprecedented: “This is the first time the United States has ever designated foreign white supremacist terrorists.”
RIM, as Ambassador Sales explained, provides paramilitary-style training to neo-Nazis and white supremacists and “plays a prominent role in trying to rally likeminded Europeans and Americans into a common front against their perceived enemies.”
The group “has innocent blood on its hands,” he said, noting how two Swedish men who participated in a series of terrorist attacks in the Swedish city of Gothenburg in 2016, were given paramilitary-style training by RIM at a camp in St. Petersburg. The prosecutor who successfully handled the case blamed RIM for radicalizing them to terrorism and for providing the training that enabled the attacks.
Ambassador Sales said the SDGT designation for the group and its leaders has practical ramifications: the first is to limit their access to the United States financial system. “Any assets that they had in the United States or that are subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen,” he explained. “We think that that’s going to make it substantially more difficult for them to move money throughout the international financial system.”
Another consequence is that it is now easier for U.S. officials at the borders to stop RIM-related individuals from traveling to the United States.
Ambassador Sales said the designations also send an unmistakable message:
“That the United States will not hesitate to use our sanctions authorities aggressively; and that we are prepared to target any foreign terrorist group, regardless of ideology, that threatens our citizens, our interests abroad, or our allies.”
Ambassador Sales called on all countries, including Russia, to join the United States in taking decisive action to counter such threats to international security.