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On October 13, 2011, the Investigative Committee of
Russia's Novosibirsk region announced the launch of a criminal
investigation against two residents, filed under Article 282.2 of the
Criminal Code: organizing activities in association with an
organization banned for extremism. The investigation is part of a
larger trend of suppressing the literature and followers of the late
Turkish Muslim scholar Said Nursi in Russia, and follows a ban on the
activities of the nonexistent organization "Nurcular" for
extremism. Russian authorities allege that "Nurcular" is
composed of Nursi's followers.
October 2011 was marked on the one hand by
a large number of wrongful criminal cases and improper bans, and on the other
by the laudable termination of criminal proceedings against the Voina art group
and the lifting of a ban on a painting depicting Mickey Mouse as Jesus Christ.
Misuse of anti-extremist legislation for the first month of autumn
2011 remained within the bounds of our biannual report for this year,
published in Russian on September 22 and forthcoming in English.
This month, anti-extremism legislation was misused primarily in
recognition of materials (mostly texts) as extremist. We also note a
new bill introduced by the government to the Duma; it clarifies and
extends some of the state’s methods of countering extremism.
we recorded one dubious criminal charge, and several questionable
administrative decisions. In some cases, courts rejected improper
accusations of extremism, but more often such accusations were
approved. Also, of particular note is the involvement of the Federal
Migration Service in prosecuting charges of extremism against a
trade union activist.
A remarkable event this month was the June 28 Resolution of the
plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation N11
"On judicial practice in criminal cases involving crimes of an
extremist nature." However, the usual trends remain rather negative.
This month we saw one significantly positive development: a
serious clearing-out of the Federal List of Extremist Materials,
which has long been plagued with multiple and outdated entries.
Otherwise, we saw all the same trends reported in previous updates.
In April 2011, we registered the misuse of
anti-extremism legislation in all our major areas of coverage:
criminal and administrative proceedings, publications deemed
extremist, and warnings issued to media sources.
On April 14, 2011, the Gorno-Altaisk City
Court acquitted Aleksandr Kalistratov of charges under Part 1 of Article 282 of
the Criminal Code, incitement to religious hatred. He was fully absolved of any