Racism and Xenophobia in July 2017
In July 2017, we only learned about three victims of attacks motivated by hatred in Moscow and St. Petersburg, of whom two died. In total, since the start of the year, six people have died and 16 have been beaten or wounded as a result of racially motivated violence. These incidents occurred in nine Russian regions.
In July, two acts of xenophobic vandalism were reported in Tatarstan and the Sverdlovsk region. Since the start of the year, there have been 28 such incidents.
Nationalists in various cities marked the “day of the right political prisoner.” In some cases, these groups joined demonstrations “against censorship” and in defense of political prisoners, which were organized by liberal movements. Nationalists sometimes became co-organizers of joint actions, and at other times, they held separate marches.
In Moscow on July 23, nationalists participated in the March in Defense of a Free Internet, which was permitted by the authorities and held by the Parnas and Demvybor (Democratic Choice) parties. The nationalists walked in a separate column, there were no more than 50 people, according to calculations of SOVA Center observers. Those in the column carried imperial flags and flags of the New Opposition. Activists from the Party of Nationalists, the Nation and Freedom Committee, Russian Liberation Front “Memory” (RFO Pamyat), and the Black Sun group (Ulyanovsk) participated. In about the middle of the march, two people from the Nation and Freedom Committee, one of whom was wearing a T-shirt with runic styled inscription “Beloyar” and in a cap with a kolovrat (a Slavic swastika) unfurled a banner with an inscription stating “White Pride World Wide” and a Celtic cross. The marchers chanted slogans with demands to repeal Articles 280 and 282 of the Criminal Code, to free Alexander Belov and Dmitry Dyomushkin, and so on. On the day before the action, the director of the Moscow branch of the Nation and Freedom Committee, Vladimir Burmistrov, was detained and released only after the march’s completion.
Also on July 25, activists from the Party of Nationalists held a series of one-man pickets in defense of political prisoners. It was reported that the movement had planned to organize a mass picket, but could not come to an agreement with the authorities concerning the action.
At the end of July, autonomous ultra-right activists held mini-football tournaments in Moscow to raise funds for ultra-right prisoners. At the tournament, which was held on July 22, the police arrived and detained all the participants. It was reported that knives, pepper spray bottles and traumatic weapons were confiscated from the participants.
Various actions were held in defense of political prisoners in Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Astrakhan, Veliky Novgorod, Krasnodar and Pskov. In Samara, on July 25 there was a “walk of free people” (a term used by Vyacheslav Maltsev’s Artpodgotovka (“Artillery Preparation”) movement) in defense of “the right political prisoners”, but at the place designated for the start of the walk, police were waiting, therefore they could not distribute photographs of the political prisoners.
In July, we learned only about one conviction for racially motivated violence, in which the motive of hatred was recognized by the court. This person was convicted in Moscow for an attack on a native of Tajikistan. In total since the start of the year there have been at least six convictions for such crimes: 17 people were sentenced in five Russian regions.
At least 18 convictions for xenophobic statements were made against 18 defendants in 16 regions in July. In total, since the start of 2017, 115 convictions were made for such statements against 130 people in 56 regions.
In July, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated three times (on July 17, 25 and 28), points 4175-4186 were added to the list, with xenophobic videos were added, including “Format 18”, as well as Muslim brochures and articles from the newspaper “Amadu Altai”. Some items that were recognized as extremist were clearly recognized in an unlawful manner. For example, the novel written in the 19th century by Rabbi Marcus Lehmann (the Russian title is “Forcibly Baptized”) and an article by the philologist and specialist on the ties between the Jewish and Russian cultures, Zoya Kopelman, “Holiness of the Land of Israel” were banned without any grounds.
In July, the T.O.Y.S. (The Opposition Young Supporters) football fans were added to the federal list of extremist organizations. This group was recognized as extremist by a decision of the Sovyetsky District Court in the city of Samara on April 11, 2017. Now there are 61 organizations on the list (not including the 27 organizations that were recognized as terrorist organizations), whose activities were banned by court decision, the continuation of which is punishable by Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code.