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Moscow Court Orders Bad Driving Activist Group Closed -- Again


A group of Stopkham activists stand by a highway in northern Moscow where they stop drivers who illegally use the hard shoulder.

A Moscow court has again ordered the closure of a Russian activist group renowned for its efforts to stop bad driving in the country.

The September 21 ruling by the Moscow City Court came after an appeal from the Justice Ministry, which had accused the group, known as StopKham, of "gross violations of the law."

Founded in 2010 by members of a pro-Kremlin youth group, StopKham, which roughly translates as "Stop being a boor," gained notoriety for targeting boorish drivers in Moscow and elsewhere around the country.

The group's signature action was to physically stand in front of cars, particularly those parking or driving on sidewalks or pedestrian walkways, and berate the "boorish" drivers.

Typically, the confrontations, which are videotaped and posted online, end with angry words, and the activists pasting a large, difficult-to-remove stickers on the car's windshield reading "Piss off. I park where I want."

The group attracted a large following nationwide, particularly among younger Russians. Its YouTube channel has nearly 1.5 million subscribers.

The ruling was the second time the Justice Ministry had sought to shut the group down. In 2016, the same court had ordered StopKham closed, but the ruling was overturned by the Supreme Court.

In a video posted on its YouTube channel following the Moscow court decision, an unidentified member of the group said the ruling was wrong because he said StopKham wasn't technically a nongovernmental group, but a "social movement."

"StopKham was, is, and always will be," he said.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service
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