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In July 2010, at least 8 people became victims of racist and neo-Nazi attacks, namely in Moscow and the region, in Vladivostok, Voronezh, Kaluga region, and Perm. In July 2009, one person was dead and 12 injured.
In all, from the beginning of the year, 19 people were dead and 158 injured due to hate crimes. (During the same period in 2009, 53 people were dead and 259 injured.)
Incidents of violence were recorded in 34 of Russian regions. Still, beside Moscow (9 dead, 56 injured) and St. Petersburg (1 dead, 27 injured), Nizhny Novgorod (2 dead, 12 injured) remains to be the main centre of violence. The number of victims in other regions is no more than five.
In July 2010, at least one registered act of vandalism appears to be hate-motivated. That was the destruction of Armenian tombs in Krasnodar Territory. We should also mention two arson attempts at a police station and a local prosecutor’s office in Orel probably made by radical rightists.
In all, from the beginning of the year, we have registered 58 acts of supposedly hate-motivated vandalism and 11 more acts of so-called ‘anti-state terror’, that is to say, arson or bombing attempts at public offices, strategic targets, and so on, in which the ultra rightists are most likely to be involved.
In July 2010, at least 3 guilty verdicts (in Vladivostok, St. Petersburg, and Tver), were issued for racist hate crimes. The guilty verdict in Tver terminated the year-and-a-half long proceedings against a group of sixteen responsible for several racist murders and some other hate crimes. In all, 23 people were convicted at the three trials, 9 of them received suspended sentences without any supplementary sanctions. Still, courts tend to pass suspended sentences for this sort of crimes. In Vladivostok, all the three criminals were sentenced to suspended terms as well as three of the four convicts who took part in an attack resulted in death of a man in St. Petersburg.
In all, from the beginning of the year, at least 48 guilty verdicts have been issued for racist violence. 182 people were convicted, 63 of them received suspended sentences.
In July 2010, 6 sentences were passed for xenophobic propaganda (article 282 of the Criminal Code) upon 7 people; the cases of two more accused who were members of the Sakhalin department of the Slavic Union were dismissed because of the expiry of the period of limitation. No suspended sentences were passed in July. Courts imposed fines, corrective work, or imprisonment. In one of the cases a ban for professional activity was imposed on an editor of one of Krasnodar newspapers.
In all, from the beginning of 2010, 34 guilty verdicts were passed for xenophobic propaganda under article 282. 43 people were convicted, 19 of them received suspended sentences without any supplementary sanctions.
In July 2010, the best known ultra-right organization of Primorye, the Slav Union (the Slav Union of the Far East as they call themselves), was banned as extremist.
Meanwhile, after three years of struggle, the Council of Balkar Elders won the case started by the prosecutor’s office of Kabardino-Balkaria which tried to ban the organization as extremist. As a result of the retrial, on May 26, 2010 the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria found the organization to be extremist (the first court decision had been made in January 2008). But on July 27, 2010 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation cancelled this decision and dismissed the case against the Council.
During the last month, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated four times and grew from 621 to 686 items. For the first time since 2007, it was reported that materials had been withdrawn from the list. As ordered by the Ministry of Justice on July 5, items 362 to 364 (three articles by N.Andrushchenko in Novy Peterburg newspaper) were excluded. We should remind that only one material (an anti-Krishnaite leaflet by the United Russia’s Young Guard) had been removed from the list before, although it has not been reported officially. However, in general the list’s quality deteriorates rapidly. Currently, at least 47 items are included in it twice. The inclusion of at least 31 items in the list is even formally inappropriate for the court decisions on banning them as extremist are cancelled (28 of them are Scientologists’ materials).
The list’s extremely poor quality and the lack of a procedure of implementing the ban to spread ‘extremist materials’ cause big problems leading to the rise of the amount of inappropriate anti-extremist sanctions. The most scandalous of them was a June 2010 ruling by a court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. In order to ban the access to one certain page of each of several huge web portals (including YouTube), the court demanded that the local internet provider