Racism and Xenophobia in May 2017
The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with government countermeasures, for the month of May 2017. The review is based on material gathered by SOVA Center over the course of our daily monitoring.
SOVA Center has no information on those who suffered from attacks motivated by racism and neo-Nazism in May 2017. In total, according to preliminary data, three people were killed and at least 13 were injured in such instances in nine Russian regions during the first five months of 2017.
However, in May we noted at least 11 acts of vandalism, which could be considered to have been motivated by hate, in eight regions. Since the start of the year, there have been at least 25 acts of ideological vandalism in 19 regions.
Traditionally, the most notable event in May for Russian nationalists is Russian May Day, but this holiday passed by even more modestly than a year ago. In Moscow the Party of Nationalists conducted a march from the Oktyabrskoe Polye metro station to the Shchukinskaya station on May 1. According to the calculations of Sova Center observers, no more than 150 people participated. Fewer than 30 National Liberation Movement activists participated in a Moscow Trade Union Federation demonstration. The Moscow division of the Other Russia, led by Eduard Limonov, conducted a small march along Zamoryonov Street (metro Krasnopresnenskaya) to Krasnopresnenskaya Zastava Square (metro Ulitsa 1905 goda). Besides Moscow, May Day demonstrations took place in St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Kostroma and Pskov.
Besides this, some groups of nationalists participated in wider opposition and social actions. On May 6 in Moscow, several ultra-right-wing groups participated in the “Against Political Repressions” demonstration on Sakharov Prospect. On May 14 and 28, representatives of the Russian United National Alliance (RONA), supporters of the Party of Nationalists and some other groups participated in actions against the renovation law.
Threats against experts working on cases concerning the incitement of hatred continue to appear on right-wing webpages: Dmitry “Schulz” Bobrov again published and distributed the name, photograph and workplace of one of the employees at the St. Petersburg State University on the websites of St. Petersburg-based ultra-right activists and groups. According to Bobrov’s announcement, such specialists “justify political repression.”
In addition, new videos were published with scenes of racially motivated violence. A small, autonomous, ultra-right-wing group, Committee of Vigilance, filmed and published a video with a series of attacks on immigrants.
In May, we did not learn about any convictions for racially motivated violence. However, it is worth noting a conviction that was passed on May 30 in St. Petersburg for the murder of journalist Dmitry Tsilikin. Sergei Kosyrev was convicted and sentenced to 8.6 years of imprisonment. Law enforcement incriminated him for domestic homicide (Chapter 1, Article 105 of the criminal code), hate as a motive was not cited, despite Kosyrev calling himself a “cleanser”, his life – “a crusade against a certain social group” (referring to LGBT members), and how he felt when he killed Tsilikin – “It was not dislike, as was written in the protocol, but hatred.”
Since the start of the year, at least three convictions were made for racist violence motivated by hate against five people in three regions.
There were at least 22 convictions in 18 regions for xenophobic statements in May 2017, 22 individuals were sentenced. A notable case was the conviction of Yury Yekishev, the leader of the ParaBellum movement and a Russian People’s Militia activist. Yekishev was sentenced to 1.5 years of imprisonment for the publication of two anti-Semitic articles.
Since the start of the year, there have been at least 76 convictions against 78 people in 45 regions for racist or other ultra-right propaganda.
In May, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated twice (on May 19 and 26), points 4095-4151 were added. Materials of Islamic militants and radical nationalists from social networks and a book with anti-Semitic statements by former presidential envoy to Sakhalin Vitaly Guly were added.
The ultra-right-wing organization, Northern Frontier, was added to the Federal List of Extremist Organizations. This organization was recognized as extremist by the decision of the Syktyvkar City Court of the Komi Republic on November 23, 2016. Now this list includes 60 organizations (not counting the 26 organizations recognized as terrorist groups), whose activity was banned by a court order and the continuation of which is punishable under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code.