Survey says half Russian neo-Nazis are young, urban

MOSCOW — Almost half of all fascist sympathizers in Russia are 35 or younger and live in large cities.

These were among the findings of the first-ever poll tracking attitudes toward neo-Nazis in Russia, which was conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation, a leading Moscow-based polling firm.

Some 58 percent of Russians have a negative attitude toward neo-Nazi groups, while 6 percent of respondents have a positive attitude toward such groups, according to the poll.

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they had no definite attitude toward neo-Nazi organizations.

It was this last number that concerned a leading Russian antifascist activist.

"Should the situation in the country change, these people's attitude toward fascists might change from indifference to sympathy," said Alla Gerber, a former member of the Russian Parliament.

Far-right nationalists and neo-Nazi extremists have recently become more visible in Russia, especially in some provincial centers, and experts estimate that there are about 50 neo-Nazi and ultranationalist groups active in Russia.

Among the other findings in the survey:

*15 percent of respondents encountered neo-Nazis in their daily lives;

*10 percent saw neo-Nazi symbols displayed in public places; and

*5 percent saw or read neo-Nazi periodical publications groups.

The foundation interviewed 1,500 Russian adults at the end of October.

The margin of error in the survey was plus or minus five percentage points.