Russia bans Mein Kampf

2010-03-26 16:03

Moscow - Russian prosecutors on Friday banned Adolf Hitler's 1925 semi-autobiographical book Mein Kampf extremist in an attempt to combat the growing allure of far-right politics.

Banned in Germany since World War Two, the book outlined Hitler's vision of racial supremacy.

Despite including tracts that are both anti-Jewish and anti-Russian, it has been championed by some Russian far-right groups.

The book has "a militaristic outlook and justifies discrimination and destruction of non-Aryan races and reflects ideas which, when implemented, started World War Two," the prosecutor general's office said in a statement.

"Up to now, Mein Kampf was not recognised as extremist," it said, announcing the ban and the addition of the book to a federal list of extremist materials. It had been available in some shops and online, the statement said.

Russian extremists have attacked migrant workers from poor nations in Central Asia and the Caucasus who come to Russia and often have menial jobs and live in squalid conditions. African and Asian students and Russians who do not look Slavic have also been targeted.

At least 60 people were killed and 306 injured in hate attacks in Russia last year, according to Sova, a Moscow-based non-governmental organisation that tracks racist violence.

Available online

The ban was initiated after a regional office of the prosecutor sought new ways to combat extremism and found the book was being distributed in the Ufa region.

Hitler dictated the book to his aide Rudolf Hess while in prison in Bavaria after the failed Munich "Beer Hall" putsch of 1923. It sets out his doctrine of German racial supremacy and ambitions to annex huge areas of the Soviet Union.

In Germany, it is illegal to distribute it except in special circumstances, such as for academic research. But the book is available elsewhere, with bookseller listing it for sale on its website.

But the ban will do little to halt material that promotes Nazism in Russia, said Galina Kozhevnikova of Sova.

"I have a feeling that people needed to report that they were fighting extremism," she said of the book ban.

"It will still be available on the internet, it's impossible to stop it spreading," she said.