18 Oct 2021 18:59

Nizhny Novgorod court declares Male State extremist group, bans it in Russia

NIZHNY NOVGOROD. Oct 18 (Interfax) - The Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court on Monday designated the unregistered interregional movement Male State an extremist organization and banned its activity in Russia, an Interfax correspondent reported from the courtroom.

"The prosecutor's administrative lawsuit shall be granted. Male State shall be declared extremist and shall be outlawed in the Russian Federation," the judge said.

None of the three respondents in the case showed up in court.

Dzambolat Gabarayev, a lawyer for respondent Vladislav Pozdnyakov, asked the court to postpone the proceedings and lodged several other motions, but they were not granted.

Gabarayev told reporters that he would appeal the court ruling.

According to the materials presented during the trial, the Male State movement was set up in 2015 and has been operating mainly via its Telegram channel. It has also been established that its members incited hatred and animosity along gender lines, as well as along social and racial lines.

The organization has 30 cells and some 500 members across Russia.

Gabarayev, in turn, said at the court session that his client, Pozdnyakov, has not been the movement's leader since 2020 and "has absolutely no relation to it today."

The lawyer also said he does not know where Pozdnyakov is now.

As reported earlier, the Prosecutor's Office of the Nizhny Novgorod region asked the court to ban this organization's activity in Russia.

The claimant in this case is the acting prosecutor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, while the related parties are the Volga Federal District branch of Russian telecoms watchdog Rozkomnadzor and the Russian Justice Ministry's department for the Nizhny Novgorod region.

The respondents are three persons - Pozdnyakov, Igor Nosov, and Dmitry Gubanov - and the unregistered interregional movement Male State.

Male State online community founder Pozdnyakov received a two-year suspended prison sentence in Nizhny Novgorod in December 2018.

According to investigators, Pozdnyakov set up a group on a social medial platform where he posted photos and videos designed to foment hatred toward women. He also had supporters. Pozdnyakov later pleaded guilty to all charges.

The Sovetsky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod overturned Pozdnyakov's sentence in March 2019 after the extremism article was partly decriminalized.

According to the media, the Male State closed subscriber group was set up in 2016. Its members also entered the spotlight during the 2018 FIFA World Cup as they discussed Russian women spotted together with foreign football fans.

Male State, whose members share sexist and homophobic views, appeared on the VK social media platform in mid-2018, but access to it was blocked in 2020. Some media outlets reported in late summer 2021 that different people and organizations were receiving threats from the Male State community, which was trying to force them to act in a certain way.