Already outlawed by Germany and Austria in the aftermath of World War II, the autobiography-cum-manifesto has in recent years become required reading for some Russian ultranationalist groups, despite the fact that it insults Slavs and calls for the colonization of their motherland.
“['Mein Kampf'] sets out ideas of national socialism, conveys a militaristic worldview, excuses discrimination and the eradication of non-Aryan people, and reflects ideas which resulted in the start of World War II,” said the office of the prosecutor general, in its announcement that the book had been added to its list of prohibited extremist literature.
But a steep and widely publicized escalation in attacks on migrant workers and foreign students has caused the country considerable international embarrassment. According to the Moscow-based human rights group Sova, extreme-right militants killed 71 people in Russia last year — almost twice as many as in 2004. And so far this year, at least seven people have died at the hands of racist thugs, while 29 more have been injured.
That spike in assaults and murders has moved the Russian state to crack down on neo-Nazis. Last year, 45 people were successfully prosecuted for carrying out violent hate crimes, up from 35 in 2008.
Galina Kozhevnikova says that simply outlawing “Mein Kampf” will do little to help the battle against neo-Nazism. “I have a feeling that people needed to report that they were fighting extremism,” she told Reuters. “It will still be available on the Internet. It’s impossible to stop it spreading.”
The Central Council of Jews in Germany, Munich’s Institute of Contemporary History and several other mainstream organizations argue that if they were allowed to publish a fully annotated version of “Mein Kampf” — one that points out which chunks of text Hitler stole from others, and which parts of a heroic life story he invented — they would be better able to demystify the book.More