Racism and Xenophobia in Russia. Summary, May 2012
In May 2012 no fewer than 12 people were harmed in assaults motivated by racism and neo-Nazism, one of whom was killed (a Turkish-Meshketin in Rostov-on-Don.) The incidents took place in Moscow (one injured,) Saint Petersburg (seven injured,) the Novosibirsk region (one injured,) the Rostov region (one killed, one injured,) and the Samara region (one injured.) Victims included natives of Central Asia (five injured,) the Caucasus (one killed, two injured,) members of informal and left youth groups (two injured,) LGBT activists (one injured,) and Russians (one injured.)
In the first five months of 2012, a total of five people have been killed and no fewer than 70 injured in 14 regions of Russia, with one receiving a serious death threat.
One noteworthy incident was an assault on journalist Sergei Aslanyan that took place on the night of 29 May 2012. The investigation is considering several versions of the assault, including the possibility that it was related to the journalist’s comments about the prophet Muhammad while on air at the “Mayak” radio station.
In May 2012 right-wing radicals’ public activity remained high. Russian nationalists participated, as is traditional, in marches and rallies on May 1 in Moscow and in no fewer than 17 other cities. In Moscow about 500 people gathered for the “Citizens’ March” by the “Oktyabr’skoye Pole” metro station, slightly fewer than in the previous year. Neo-Nazis from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation participated in very small numbers in the May 6 “Million March” opposition protest and in marches and rallies on May 9. However, they attempted to play an active role in the “Occupy” protest camps in Moscow on Chistye Prudy (the Clean Ponds) and, especially, at Vosstaniya Square.
In May 2012 violent nationalist acts continued. On May 17, 2012 in Saint Petersburg nationalists assaulted both participants in the LGBT “Rainbow Flash Mob” and later a bus of migrant workers. On May 1 in Novosibirsk, LGBT activists who took part in the May Day “Monstration” were attacked.
In May, videos in which members of the Kyrgyz “Patriot” gang mock their countrywomen for dating young immigrants from Tajikistan continued to spread on the Russian Internet. One of the victimized young women was found in Kyrgyzstan and convinced to write a complaint to law enforcement agencies. As a result, a criminal case was raised, and plans are being made to transfer the case’s location to Moscow.
In May we documented no fewer than six acts of vandalism that can qualify as motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi ideological attitudes. Ideological (4 instances) and Orthodox (2 instances) objects were harmed.
Since the beginning of the year, no fewer than 23 such acts of vandalism have occurred in 13 regions of the country.
The SOVA Center is not aware of any sentences carried out in cases of racist violence in which hate was determined as a motive in May 2012. Since the year began, no fewer than 6 such sentences have been raised against 19 people in five regions of the country: 12 people sentenced to various terms of imprisonment, four put on probation, one given a life sentence, one cleared of charges related to the reconciliation of the parties, and one acquitted.
The first sentence in the case of the Ekaterinburg cell “The Minin and Pozharsky People's Militia” (NOMP) is noteworthy: the Sverdlovsky regional court imposed a suspended sentence of six years’ imprisonment under Part 1 Article 30 and Article 279 (preparation of armed rebellion) and Article 205-1 of the Criminal Code (recruiting people into terrorist activity) on Vladislav Ladeishchikov (Termite,) a former criminal investigator. The relatively light sentence can be explained by the fact that the defendant made a deal with the investigation and fully admitted his guilt.
No fewer than four sentences were handed out for xenophobic propaganda in May 2012 – in the Stavropol Krai, Kurgan, and Murmansk regions, and in the Republic of Udmurtia. Five people were convicted in these cases: three were sentenced to a fine, one to corrective labor, and one – to mandatory labor.
In total since the beginning of 2012, 31 sentences in 27 regions, in which 40 people were convicted, have been handed out in cases of xenophobic propaganda.
In May the Federal List of Extremist Materials was appended seven times (on May 2, 16, 23, 25, 28, and 30) – items 1158-1198 were added to it. The list was appended to include: the longstanding message from the Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists with threats and a photograph of a severed head of a migrant worker; an article by the editor of the “Radical Politics,” Boris Stomakhin; anti-Semitic xenophobic books, leaflets, video clips, articles found on various internet sites and the social network “Vkontakte,” one issue of “Rabochaya Gazeta,” and several texts written by L. Ron Hubbard.
In May the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation recognized the international neo-Nazi alliance “Blood&Honour” as extremist, and forbade its activities in Russian territory. The court’s decision has not yet come into effect and the organization is not yet included in the “Federal List of Extremist Organizations.” In total, the list, which is published on the official Ministry of Justice website, now includes 28 organizations. (Organizations recognized as terrorist are not included in this list.)