Expert: Nordic Resistance Movement is not dead yet

Although the neo-Nazi group has been banned, members could easily find ways to continue their activities.

Members of the Nordic Resistance Movement march through the streets of Turku on Saturday 18th August 2018 / Credit: Eemeli Sarka / News Now Finland

An expert in right wing extremist groups tells News Now Finland that even though the Nordic Resistance Movement’s supporters and imagery might disappear from Finnish streets, it doesn’t mean the organisation is dead in the water.

Last week, the Court of Appeal in Turku upheld a lower court decision to ban the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement due to their racial discrimination, violent behaviour and hate speech. Even if the group appeals that decision, they are still banned in the interim.

But Tommi Kotonen from the University of Jyväskylä says there are still many ways the organisation is likely to continue.

“As we’ve seen similar cases also in Germany, members could joined other far-right organizations or create a new one, or even run the movement at a grassroots level” Kotonen says.

“What we’ll see in the future [for the Nordic Resistance Movement] is probably some sort of combination of these alternatives” he adds.

It’s been 40 years since the last far right movement was banned in Finland, and if history repeats itself the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement is likely to continue.

“Last time when a far-right movement was banned in Finland in 1977, it still kept up its actions in other ways until 2003” says Kotonen.

What next for Nordic Resistance Movement activities?

The Nordic Resistance Movement has been part of Finland’s far right scene for more than a decade, and has an estimated 100 core members.

However, people who are more loosely associated with the organisation, who attended marches and protests, or who were perhaps thinking of joining might be put off by the court’s decision to ban the group.

“Certainly, extremist movements will shape their rhetoric by this decision” say researcher Kotonen.

Finnish police say they’re still coming up with their plan of how to implement the ban in practice.

“The National Police Board is still drafting guidelines for officers” says Chief of Police Seppo Kolehmainen

“The Court of Appeals has ruled that [Nordic Resistance Movement] actions should be abolished, meaning that all related activities must be abolished and continuation of activities is punishable. However, the verdict is not yet final” he notes, alluding to the possibility of another appeal by the far right group.