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IS conducts aggressive recruiting campaign using mass culture — Russian Prosecutor-General

Terrorists have unleashed an active propaganda campaign with the use of scenes from movies and video games, which are skillfully oriented towards young people, Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office says

SOCHI, November 11. /TASS/. The Islamic State (IS) international terrorist group banned in Russia is using all possibilities of modern mass culture to recruit young people into its ranks, said Head of the Russian Prosecutor-General’s Office department for supervision of the implementation of laws on federal security, international relations, countering extremism and terrorism Yury Khokhlov. He was speaking at the 7th regional conference of the International Association of Prosecutors of Central and Eastern European and Central Asian countries dedicated to combating terrorism and violent extremism that opened on Tuesday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

"Islamic State has unleashed an active and aggressive propaganda campaign a la modern pop culture for the recruitment of foreign terrorist militants with the use of scenes from movies and video games, which are skillfully oriented towards young people," Khokhlov said.

"With an eye to Russian-speaking audiences extremists use the communication capabilities of such social networking sites as Facebook, Twitter, VKontakte, which have a different number of pages for recruiting new supporters to join the ranks of terrorist militants and their henchmen. Such resources are blocked at the request of the Prosecutor-General’s Office," he noted.

Khokhlov added that extremists attached great importance to propaganda work, "which means that the measures taken by us should be proportionate to those challenges, especially when it comes to protecting young people from the pernicious influence of the hostile ideology."

He noted that "almost all terrorist groups had their own online resources with information available in several languages." There are thousands of such websites, and there are numerous Russian-language ones among them.

Russia’s Prosecutor-General Yury Chaika said on Tuesday that 800 terrorist and extremist websites had been blocked in Russia at the request of the Prosecutor-General’s Office and information removed from 4,500 pages.

International effort needed to counter web extremism

Combined effort by the international community is needed to fight extremist websites since some Internet communities advocating extremism and terrorism enfold nationals of different countries, a top official from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said on Wednesday.

Ethnic relations and security department head Yuri Khohlov called for consolidated action at a regional conference of prosecutors in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, naming the Misanthropic Division website, blocked by the prosecutor’s office, as a now-neutralised target.

"Members of that internet community openly urged extremist and terrorist activity. Web pages of its participants contained materials advocating ideas of racial superiority and racial violence," he said, noting its activities across Russia, Great Britain, Ukraine, Germany, Spain, Italy and France.

Article 19 of the 1966 UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights guaranteed freedom of speech but also barred abuse of that freedom and appeals to violence, he told delegates.