ASSESSMENTS

Russia’s Role in Stoking Right-Wing Extremism in the West

MIN READJan 18, 2021 | 10:00 GMT

Supporters of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement chant slogans during a demonstration in Stockholm, Sweden on Aug. 25, 2018.

(FREDRIK PERSSON/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)

To undermine the West and increase its influence, Russia will continue to promote right-wing extremism in ways that largely stop short of direct support for violence by exploiting existing societal tensions and pro-Russia sentiment in certain circles. The violent siege of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 renewed attention on the increasingly prominent activities of right-wing extremists (RWEs) in the West and the role of foreign influence in peddling the ideologies that have fueled a number of lethal terrorist attacks in recent years. U.S. officials have not accused Russia of being behind the U.S. Capitol insurrection, which was fueled largely by election grievances. However, Moscow’s sustained efforts to undermine U.S. democracy -- most notably through its well-documented interference in the 2016 presidential election -- raise questions about its complicity in indirectly strengthening the RWE movement behind the Capitol takeover....

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