Racism and Xenophobia in June 2015
The following is our review of racism and xenophobia in Russia during June 2015. The data we report are collected in the course of Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
No fewer than three people were targeted in racist attacks this month, all of them in Moscow.
Additionally, a few Moscow activists from the National Liberation Movement (NOD) organized an attack on participants in a picket demonstration. No fewer than three people were injured.
In 2015 to date, four people have been killed, and in addition 33 injured, in racist attacks. Meanwhile, two people were subjected to serious threats to their lives. These incidents happened in ten regions of the country.
We are aware of only a single act of xenophobic vandalism this month: in the village of Novopokrovka in the Chelyabinsk region, vandals decorated a memorial to people killed in World War II with Nazi symbols.
Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded 17 incidents of racist vandalism in 14 regions of Russia.
As usual at the beginning of the summer, public ultra-right activities were just above negligible this June.
There were a few actions of note, though. For example, demonstrations in memory of Yury Budanov in a couple of different Russian cities. On June 12 in Yekaterinburg, there was a “Budanovsky motor rally”. It included 20 cars, with 60 activists. According to the organizers, participants included members of the “Russian March Urals” group, though it was organized technically by the local chapter of NOD. Cars bearing the Russian imperial flag drove through the center of the city, after which there was a small rally at a local monument. In St. Petersburg, the “Russians SPb” group had their own meeting on June 10, in which three activists stood on Nevsky Prospekt (St. Petersburg’s main drag) with pickets with portraits of Budanov and the text “Yury Budanov is a National Hero of Russia.” Meanwhile, the Great Russia Party held its own actions: on June 3 in Moscow by the Ulitsa 1905 Goda Metro stop, where ten activists from Great Russia and the movement For Responsible Power gathered. On June 10 in Kaliningrad, around ten people from the Great Russia Party and ROS got together for the same reason. Both actions were in memorial not only of Yury Budanov, but also Lev Rokhlin, Alexey Mozgovoy and Vladimir Kvachkov.
Ultra-right “raids” also decreased at the beginning of the summer. Dmitry Bobrov’s “Russian Cleaning” movement had one action, on June 20, which consisted of the “cleaning” of ten “points of sale” (normally these “cleanings” target, for example, tables where non-Slavic people sell fruit at an open market).
This month we became aware of three court decisions on racist violence that considered hatred as a motive. These rulings convicted nine people in the Vladimir, Altai, and Primorsky regions.
On June 2, the Moscow City Court began the trial of former Russian Image leader Ilya Goryachev. He is implicated in the creation of the Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists (BORN) and in the participation in various murders carried out by the group.
Since the beginning of the year, no fewer than ten rulings for violent crimes have included the hate motive. These cases convicted a total of 22 people in nine regions of the country.
For xenophobic propaganda, June 2015 saw 16 rulings in 14 regions of the country. Nineteen people were convicted.
Investigations of the “Russian March” of 2014 are ongoing. In this connection, in June 2015, “Russians” Association leader Dmitry Dyomushkin was criminally charged under Article 280 of the Criminal Code, public calls to extremist activity, while other March organizer Denis Tyukin was charged under Article 282 – inciting national hatred.
Since the beginning of the year, there have been 82 convictions on xenophobic propaganda charges, with 89 people judged in 43 regions of the country.
There was also one ruling this month on the creation of an extremist association, in Nizhny Novgorod. A local person was convicted and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
Additionally, Dmitry (Schulz) Bobrov, leader of the St. Petersburg National Socialist Initiative (NSI) was convicted under Article 282.1, the organization of an extremist association.
This year so far, Russian courts have convicted seven people (in four rulings), in Moscow and the Nizhny Novgorod and Samara regions, with criminal creation or participation in extremist associations.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was supplemented three times in June 2015, on June 14, 19, and 26. Entries 2828-2867 were added. The List now includes: xenophobic materials including Nazi skinhead publications and a poem by Ilya Maslov entitled “Become a Killing Machine;” Islamic materials, including the website Nour Rehberi and the book Fortress of the Muslim, a previous ban of which was recently withdrawn; Internet pages linking to parties of the Ukrainian National Assembly; and a Russophobic text on a page called WE ARE UKRAINIANS on the social media site Odnoklassniki.