Racism and Xenophobia in June 2017
The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with government countermeasures, for the month of June 2017. The review is based on material gathered by SOVA Center over the course of our daily monitoring.
No racist attacks were recorded by the SOVA Center in June 2017. In total, three people have been killed and thirteen injured in racist attacks since the start of the year. Incidents were recorded in nine regions of Russia.
In June, far-right groups attempted to hold a demonstration to mark the anniversary of the murder of former colonel Yuri Budanov. On June 10, a motor rally was held in Yekaterinburg in commemoration of Budanov, however few people attended. Participants included members of the Russian March Urals group.
Right-wing radicals took part in the anti-corruption protests on June 12. Activists from Vyacheslav Maltsev’s Artpodgotovka (“Artillery Preparation”) movement were included in almost all the organising committees of the protests, and in Togliatti the local branch was even responsible for seeking official permission for the demonstration. In Moscow, activists from Artpodgotovka, the Nation and Freedom Committee, and the Party of Nationalists took part in the demonstration organised by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Maltsev was arrested in the centre of Moscow and detained for ten days for disobeying police officers. By contrast, in Kaliningrad local Cossacks attacked attendees of the march.
The SOVA Center recorded only one case of vandalism in June: a Lutheran church in Voronezh was desecrated. In total since the start of 2017, 26 acts of vandalism motivated by xenophobia have been recorded in 19 regions across the country.
In June 2017, two sentences were handed down for racists violence against 11 people in Moscow and Voronezh regions, in which hate was recognised as a motive by the court. The most high-profile sentence in June was the judgement reached by the Babushkinsky District Court in Moscow in the case of Maxim Martsinkevich (also known as Tesak (“Hatchet”)) and his co-defendants. On June 27 the court sentenced Martsinkevich to 10 years imprisonment, and the others received prison sentences of between three and ten years. In all, in the first half of this year, no fewer than five sentences for violent crimes have been issued in which the court recognised hate as a motive. These cases resulted in the conviction of 16 people in five regions of the country.
17 guilty verdicts for xenophobic propaganda were reached in June 2017 in 14 regions of the country. 28 people were convicted as a result of these sentences. Among those convicted were Vitaly Tsaruk, Viktor Pekhterev and Kirill Khalepo, members of the Misanthropic Division movement, whom the Moscow District Military Court found guilty under Article 282 of the Criminal Code (inciting hatred and enmity) and Article 205.2 (appeals to terrorist activity) and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. The sentence handed down to Olga Avilkina, a member of the Volya (Freedom) Party, should also be noted. On June 15, the Krasnogorsk City Court in Moscow region issued Avilkina with a one-and-a-half year suspended sentence for distributing a leaflet via email entitled “An appeal to those serving in the Russian army”, which had been twice banned and included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials (point 3246).
In all since the start of 2016, 95 sentences have been issued for xenophobic propaganda against 100 people in 49 regions of the country.
In June, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated twice (on June 7 and 15), adding points 4152-4173. Islamic books, islamist internet resources of various kinds, and literature of the Jehovah’s Witnesses were added to the List.