Russian neo-Nazis arrested

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MOSCOW - Russian neo- Nazis calling their group 'Werewolf' have been arrested after police uncovered plans to burn down Moscow cinemas that show Steven Spielberg's film about the Holocaust, Schindler's List, writes Andrew Higgins.

The film was to open in Russia last month with a gala ceremony attended by the director and Russian dignitaries but was put off to accommodate Spielberg's schedule. It has yet to be shown.

Asked yesterday about the danger posed by neo-Nazis, Russia's Interior Minister, Viktor Yerin, said 'ideological struggle is a normal phenomenon and should not be turned into a tragedy' but vowed to crack down on any extremist groups involved in 'concrete action'.

He was speaking at a joint press conference at the end of a visit to Moscow by the director of the FBI, Louis Freeh, who said many neo- Nazis in Germany received support from groups in the United States taking advantage of First Amendment guarantees on free speech.

Russian television said Werewolf - the code-name for a secret operation to help Nazi officers flee Germany after the Second World War - was broken up by the Federal Counter-Intelligence Service, Russia's domestic successor to the KGB.

The hitherto unknown group was said to have been planning violence against 'those belonging to other ideologies - democrats, Communist and Jews' - and to have already been involved in two killings as well as attacks on a church. Jewish graves have been desecrated in St Petersburg and Moscow's main synagogue vandalised.