Autumn 2010: The Ultra-right in Search of a New Strategy
Autumn 2010 became a crucial phase in the development of the ultra-right movement. Various ethno-nationalist political groups held a series of organizational events which make it possible to speak of a gradual emergence from the protracted crisis and of a search (that was rather successful, from our point of view) for new strategies to get rid of the groups’ marginal statute. The ultra-right has demonstrated its determination to broaden its circle of allies, if not strategic then tactical ones, by abandoning crudely expressed ethno-nationalist slogans and moving to demands for universal democratic freedoms. Those were attempts to secure a place in the common oppositional field.
However, all other tendencies that we have been monitoring for the two last years persisted during the autumn.
First, there is no obvious growth of racially motivated violence, although it is increasingly clear that this is linked rather to the lack of the access to information rather than to a real decline of racist activity (above all, in the provinces).
Second, there is successful practice of prosecutions for hate crimes, with a racial motive acknowledged by courts. Not only crimes committed by organized groups are prosecuted but also everyday xenophobic actions. There also remains a negative tendency to sentence people to suspended terms for such crimes.
Third, the practice of prosecution for xenophobic propaganda has not improved. Insignificant and non-influential persons have been prosecuted, while real ideologists are either not prosecuted or the indictments against them are formulated in such a way that the appropriateness of the sentences is questionable.
Finally, the practice of the misuse of anti-extremist legislation is growing. Its targets remain the same: members of the banned National Bolshevik party, adherents to new religious movements, independent Muslim groups, etc.
During the three autumn months, at least 58 people became victims of xenophobic violence, nine of whom were killed. During the same period in 2009, 18 were killed and 91 injured. However, we have decided not to claim that there has been a reduction in racially motivated violence because the data is becoming available with a massive delay. For instance, the report of autumn 2009 mentioned eight people killed and 43 injured but now we have to declare the amounts twice as big for that period.
Attacks were registered in 13 regions (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Amur, Volgograd, Novosibirsk, Rostov, Tomsk and Tiumen regions, Perm and Stavropol Krai, Bashkiria, Sakha, and Udmurtia).
In total, since the beginning of the year, 330 people were victims of hate motivated violence, of whom 33 were killed. The attacks were registered in 44 Russian regions. (In 2009, 80 people were killed and 414 injured during 11 months.) The hotbeds still include the Moscow region (city and metropolitan area, 14 killed and 114 injured) and St. Petersburg and Leningrad region (one killed and 44 injured). Third place is held still by Nizhnii Novgorod (four killed and 16 injured). The fourth is now occupied by Tomsk where 12 people became victims of neo-Nazi attacks but this occurred due to the large number of people injured in the attack on the defenders of the LGBT community (at least five).
The main victims of the attacks are still people from the Central Asia. 14 people were killed since the beginning of the year, 62 injured.
The subversive and terrorist activity of the ultra-right continues to develop. As before, the main targets here are agents and symbols of the state, not ethnic enemies. For instance, in Primorye a Nazi skinhead was detained on suspicion of preparing an attempt of the life of an investigator of a murder that Alexander Komarov, the leader of the Slavic Union of the Far East (Soiuz slavian Dal’nego Vostoka) banned this summer, was charged with. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, investigators and judges involved in high-profile cases of the ultra-right began to receive threats. In addition, in November the group NS/WP Nevograd claimed responsibility for railroad blast and a series of fake terrorist attacks in St. Petersburg by disseminating announcements in the web. Both announcements highlighted the ‘anti-state’ character of their actions, i.e. the ultra-right try to show that the state is unable to defend its citizens. Apart from the aforementioned, reports appeared in November of the detention of two groups of right radicals in Naberezhnye Chelny and Pskov. Each of them had prepared arson attacks on administrative buildings.
We have frequently noted that second only to people from Central Asia as victims of ultra-right attacks in recent years are representatives of youth subcultures and leftist organizations.
However, along with the development of the Nazi Straight Edge subculture, the list of victims of the neo-Nazi motivated violence begins to broaden due to the apolitical young people who, from the ultra-right point of view, do not live a ‘healthy lifestyle.’ The attacks from the end of August to the beginning of September in Rostov-on-Don are significant in this case. Masked youngsters beat people who were standing near a supermarket, shouting the slogan ‘A Russian Does Not Booze’. Such slogans accord with the state anti-alcohol and anti-tobacco campaigns promoted by Roman Zentsov’s Resistance.
One should not forget that part of attacks are manifestations not of the ultra-right but actions of everyday xenophobia.
For instance, in the mid-September a female bus passenger in Irkutsk assaulted two women dressed in Muslim clothing with a knife because she had ‘taken them for Wahhabists’. In Vologda, an Uzbek from Kirgizia attacked his female Kirgiz compatriot. He attributed the attack to his hatred towards Kirgiz in the aftermath of the events in the city of Osh in 1990 and 2010. It is impossible to trace the dynamics of such manifestations of violence because they are very rarely made public and even more rarely are qualified as hate crimes. However, our data suggests that the number of such cases is not decreasing.
In autumn 2010, there were significantly fewer acts of xenophobic and neo-Nazi vandalism by comparison with the same period of last year — 18 against 36. This is related first of all to the reduction of the graffiti and sticker activity by Roman Zentsov’s Resistance. In autumn 2009, they held at least 25 such actions.
Among 18 acts of xenophobic vandalism registered by us, half were ‘ideological vandalism’. The most large-scale event took place in Yekaterinburg: on the night of 26 October, almost every tree in the ‘Green Grove’ city park was ‘decorated’ by a swastika or Nazi slogans.
In other incidents, buildings of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Krasnodar Krai, Irkutsk, Leningrad and Lipetsk regions were damaged (in the first two cases, by explosion and arson respectively). A building of a Jewish community in Barnaul was defaced twice. An Orthodox cross near a ‘Stalingrad Battle’ panorama museum in Volgograd was destroyed twice. A Muslim cemetery in Nizhnii Novgorod was vandalized.
In total, since the beginning of the year, at least 92 acts of vandalism motivated by religious, ethnic or ideological hate were committed.
The public activity of ultra-right groups
In search of a new strategy
After a quiet summer, the political activity of ultra-right groups dramatically rose in autumn 2010. They tried once again to overcome their protracted crisis. The strategy chosen for this time can be illustrated by several events that took place in the three autumn months.
First, on 28 September, representatives of DPNI (Dvizhenie protiv nelegal'noi immigratsii, the Movement against Illegal Immigration) and the Russian Image (Russkii Obraz, RO) signed the Declaration of Russian National Organizations. Later, they were joined by RONS (Russkii obshchenatsional’nyi soiuz, Russian All-National Union) and ROD (Russkoe obshchestvennoe dvizhenie, Russian Social Movement). The authors stand up for the observance of human rights, demand the improvement of the functioning of democratic institutions and to stop the ‘repressions’ against their allies. The Declaration includes the idea that ultra-right anti-state extremism is a response to the abolition of democracy in the country and state pressure. Were Russian nationalism to gain political representation, it would be possible to avoid violence (that could be the same as in the story of ‘Primorye partisans’ who were called ‘fighters for constitutional rights’ in the declaration).
Second, on 21 November a founding conference of a new movement, Russian Civil Union (Russkii grazhdanskii soiiuz, RGS), was held. The movement, according to the organizers, ‘must lay a foundation for broad cooperation between Russian nationalists and the democratic opposition.’ Representatives of both ultra-radical (DPNI, RO, ROD, and Religious and Philosophical Society ‘Memory’) and liberal democratic organizations (Right Case (Pravoe delo), People’s Democratic Youth Union (youth wing of Mikhail Kasianov’s Russian People’s Democratic Union)) attended the conference. The ‘Manifesto on Establishing the National Democratic Movement, the Russian Civil Union’ is a policy document of the new movement and is an amalgam of democratic and nationalist discourses, where ethnocentrism is disguised by the imprecise expression ‘Russian political nation’. The new movement has also joined the Declaration of Russian National Organizations.
The ultra-right are undertaking a new effort to return to the seemingly lost political field by portraying themselves as ‘respectable nationalists’. For this, it was decided to renounce the public radical ethno-national rhetoric that alienated potential allies, to underline their intention to take power by ‘civilized methods’, and to establish an ideological platform that could have maximum points of intersection with those of other oppositional movements.
A characteristic and significant example of the realization of the chosen strategy was the rally ‘Against the Investigators’ Arbitrariness’ that took place on 21 November on Pushkin Square. Applicants were public organizations ‘Justice’ (Spravedlivost’) and ‘Brotherhood of Battle’ (Boevoe bratstvo) that have been closely cooperating with the Russian Image for a long time. Initially, the event did not differ from ordinary rallies ‘in support of rightist prisoners’, i. e. the ultra-right convicted for racially motivated murder or other kinds of violent crimes. However, at some moment various websites (including those of liberal movements) started to advertize the rally without mentioning the Russian Image. For this reason, some people perceived it as a general opposition event, and, primarily, as a rally in support of beaten journalists (Mikhail Beketov, Oleg Kashin). As a result, it was attended by representatives of radically diverse political groups. Only Yabloko left the event after finally having understood the situation. Other activists of non-nationalist movements, even when they found out that the leadership at the rally belonged to the ultra-right, took part in it. Thus it is obvious that most of the oppositional activists do not reject the idea of taking part in an action together with the ultra-right.
In the long term, the new strategy of the ultra-right is oriented towards widening their social base at the expense of people who are opposed to the regime and share the ideas of the Russian ethno-nationalism in a non-radical or latent form. Simultaneously, the right radicals evidently expect that if such a rebranding could not help them gain the confidence of other oppositional organizations, it could help them to consolidate their position in the common oppositional field without any rejection from oppositional activists of other political directions. As an example of such a lack of rejection, we might recall a proposal made by a representative of the Right Cause for activists of the Russian Civil Union to run for the elections in the Moscow region on the slate of the regional organization of the party, as well as the commentary by one of the party’s leaders, Georgii Bovt, that he did not rule out such a cooperation.
Social projects of the ultra-right (helping children’s homes, donors’ activity, organization of sport events) fit very well in this new strategy. It is likely that this tendency will be developed further actively. In a declaration adopted at a congress of the Russian Image that took place in Moscow on 11—12 September, it was said that the organization should be more involved in social activity as well as issues that were traditionally within the competence of movements from other parts of the political spectrum. For instance, it was mentioned that it was necessary to pay attention to the ecological issues, seizing the initiative from the leftist ecologists.
This ‘social camouflage’ helps conceal the defacto xenophobic contexts of the events held by the ultra-right. A striking example of such tactics are protest actions in the Moscow district of Textilshchiki against the construction of a mosque, organized by the My Courtyard (Moi dvor) movement the leaders of which are almost all ultra-right activists. The protest was portrayed as the defense of the ‘green zone’. Since the organizers were not widely known as ultra-right, there were no formal reasons to say that their protest was xenophobic and anti-Islamic.
We should mention that the ultra-right’s policy to create a respectable image is not evidence of authentic deradicalization. Moreover, the new strategy is not designed to attract the existing segment of the ethno-national wing that continues to develop numerous autonomous, clandestine groups committed to violence against both ‘ethnic enemies’ and the state. In order to mobilize these allies, other technologies are used, such as web propaganda. Very aggressive texts are still being disseminated on the web. Most of them are written on behalf of the ‘White Heroes’, neo-Nazis convicted or under investigation.
After the clashes on 11 December on Manezhnaia square, the leadership of nationalist organizations appears in an ambiguous situation with its searching for a new strategy. It is not clear how these organizations will work out a new moderate strategy whilst retaining and supporting radical groups that are their real help and have demonstrated their readiness for open mass non-violent activity.
Russian March 2010
The main public nationalist event of autumn was undoubtedly the traditional Russian March. The preparation started in summer, but not very actively in the public space. Moreover, many people who discussed the subject on ultra-right websites expressed their disappointment in the Russian March as such. One of the main goals of the organizers was to ensure large-scale participation for this year’s march not to be inferior to the previous one that gathered from 2.500 to 3000 people in the Moscow district of Liublino. This goal was proclaimed as the main tactical aim during the aforementioned signing of the Declaration between DPNI and the Russian Image in September 2010. It is not clear whether the organizers themselves were confident that they could gather a significant number of participants. That is why in September and October, several informational provocations were made presented as so-called ‘Kondopoga scenarios’. Apart from the aforementioned campaign in Textilshchiki, there were attempts to foment conflicts in other regions. Ultimately, these attempts failed. They included: a conflict between locals and persons from Caucasus in the city of Kimovsk, Tula region; a brawl between the inhabitants of the village of Novaia Vilga (Karelia) and persons from Caucasus; death of a 20-year-old in Ulyanovsk.
Nevertheless, the Russian March turned out to be very successful. About 5.500 people gathered in Liublino. This represents an all-time record in the history of the marches. The event itself was far more aggressive than in the previous years. One of the speakers, representative of the Slavic Force (Slavianskaia sila) Dmitrii Bakharev, finished his speech with a Nazi salutation. This year, the march spread significantly wider in Russian cities: it was held in one form or another in 30 cities, whereas in previous years, there were not more than 20 cities to hold the Russian Marches.
The reason of such success is still unclear. There are several obvious factors, such as the integration between the Russian March Coalition (mostly DPNI) and the Russian Image, and the presentation of the march as not only a political action but also a concert show featuring the iconic Kolovrat band. In other regions, the marches also included concerts, fist-fighting tournaments and other kinds of entertainment. However, this is hardly an exhaustive list of reasons for the success of the Russian March.
Khotkovo as a probable Kondopoga
One of the conflicts between representatives of diverse ethnic groups that took place after a rather long break fit into a ‘Kondopoga scenario’. However, in spite of the media resonance the scenario failed to be realized completely. The matter is the conflict in the town of Khotkovo not far from Moscow. On 26 October, in a brawl between local citizens and workers from Tajikistan, one citizen was killed and another severely wounded. The attack from the part of native Tajiks appears to be motivated by ethnic hate.
Although the attackers were detained and charged with murder, attempted murder and beating, resentment against migrants started to rise in the town. It turned into a series of actions with the participation of the ultra-right. Their attendance became most active after the Russian March on 4 November. It is significant that the protest actions in Khotkovo started not earlier than 10 days after the crime although the law enforcement agencies informed the populace about the investigation promptly. On 15 November, one more rally (‘people’s gathering’) was held in Khotkovo where as well as on 4 November people pronounced demands to evict all migrants although the employers had already sent all the foreign workers out of the town in the beginning of the conflict. Although now the conflict situation in Khotkovo is settled, it is still used by propaganda, not only that of the ultra-right organizations like DPNI who regularly publish ‘reminiscences’ of local citizens on ‘murderous crimes of guest workers in Khotkovo’ on their website, but also of the representatives of KPRF, for instance.
Nationalism in public
Autumn 2010 was marked with several scandals involving xenophobia amd ethnic nationalism beyond the ultra-right milieu.
In autumn, a scandal that started in summer as a controversy on the quality of textbooks for the universities entered the political level. The matter was a tutorial by professors Alexander Vdovin and Alexander Barsenkov on the history of Russia for the Moscow State University students. The authors were ‘caught’ in several anti-Semitic and anti-Chechen statements.
The quality check of textbooks and tutorials itself is in theory rather well-tried including the discussions at the Senates in the universities, etc. However, it does not work. The discussion of the improper content could remain at the media level if the Public Chamber, and later the Chechen human rights ombudsman Nurdi Nukhadzhiev had not joined in. As a result, the discussion turned out into a political campaign with threats to apply to a prosecutor’s office, to instigate criminal proceedings for inciting national hate, etc. Fortunately, the story ended well for the authors. However, their book was not approved at the MSU Senate session. The scandal around the book raised two important questions again. First is devoted to the forms of social control over the quality of textbooks are possible. Second, to a unexpectedly high readiness of the society to resort to repressive (up to criminal) means of the ‘fight against xenophobia’, especially in the extremely politicized cases, e.g. negative statements about Chechens.
We should also mention the Commandments of Honor (Zapovedi chesti) of the Steel (Stal’) movement that were published on one of its websites. The text partly coincided with that of Ten Commandments for Every National Socialist by Josef Goebbels. This could be treated as a stupid act by one person but a Yaroslavl activist of Steel Ruslan Maslov continued to defend the rightness of those theses at the city web portal. Steel’s coordinator in Yaroslavl Artiom Kozlov qualified the quotation of Goebbels as a provocation but declared that he could see nothing bad in those Commandments.
COUNTERACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM
Counteraction the society
Racism at the stands and the position of the Russian Football Union
Autumn 2010 was marked by the anti-racist campaign in the Russian football organizations. Unfortunately, analysis of this campaign shows that the problem of racism in the milieu of radical football fans is not recognized by sport officials. It is obvious that the campaign was timed with a view to Russia’s 2018 FIFA World Cup bid.
We should recall that in previous years, there were only isolated cases of sanctions against Russian football clubs for the racist behavior of the fans. The beginning of the autumn anti-racist campaign was also significant. It was caused by a banner put up by the fans of the Anzhi football club at a home game against Spartak Moscow. Although the swastika on the banner was crossed out suggesting that the banner could be anti-fascist, it was Anzhi’s fans who were accused of racism for unknown reason. It is worth mentioning that there is evidence that fans from Moscow are those who shout racist slogans even at home games of teams from Caucasus.
The situation was aggravated by a commentary on a crudely racist incident with a player of Lokomotiv football club. Someone put out a banner with a banana insulting Peter Odemwingie. Commenting on this, the director general of the Russian Football Union Alexei Sorokin stated that this was not racism and that there was no racism in the Russian football. However, later he moderated his position claiming that ‘racism is a universal problem, not Russian.’
The incident at Anzhi stadium caused a series of statements by football clubs from the North Caucasus (Terek, Alania, Spartak Nalchik, Anzhi) and their fans’ organizations calling Russian official football structures to struggle more actively against racism, using the experience of FIFA and UEFA, in particular. This happened in the beginning of October, and on 21 October 2010 in Moscow, the Russian Football Union approved the Memorandum on counteraction to discrimination, within the frameworks of a ‘fostering and education mission of football in Russia.’ The memorandum declares Russian football’s determination to take part in the struggle against racist and xenophobic views spread in Russia and points out basic steps of a program to achieve this goal. Perhaps the most significant part of this document is a statement on the intention to reconsider the rules of conduct at stadiums in order to toughen the punishment for racist manifestations. It is unknown how actively will this program be realized and whether it will be realized in general, taking into account that Russia has already received the right to host the world cup.
Other kinds of counteraction within the society
By tradition, in autumn the public anti-fascist activity is somewhat higher than in other seasons. This is not least of all linked to the international week of awareness-rising actions ‘Crystal night — never again!’ (from 9 to 16 November) which Russian youth anti-fascist organizations try to take part in. This time, events under the aegis of the week were held in at least five Russian cities: Moscow, Murmansk, Voronezh, Sochi and Saratov.
In Moscow on 16 November 2010, several dozens of young people held a procession on Arbat street in memory of the antifascist Ivan Khutorskoi marking the anniversary of his murder.
On 31 October, on the birthday of the scientist Nikolai Girenko shot by neo-Nazis, a traditional March Against Hatred was held in St. Petersburg. Every year this event assembles less and less people. This decline is explained not only by a split among the organizers but also by the problem of security that becomes increasingly serious.
On 9 November in Novosibirsk, neo-Nazis opened fire at a group of young people who gathered to watch a film in memory of the journalist Anastasia Baburova who was shot dead together with the lawyer Stanislav Markelov on 19 January 2009. In that attack, a passerby was injured. Police declared it did not see anything typical for attacks organized by the ultra-right. However, later this position was revised. The viewing of the film, by the way, was cancelled under the pretext of it being ‘politicized’.
The film was removed from the programs of Stalker and Profession: Journalist festivals at the last moment under the pretext that it had become impossible to guarantee the security of the audience after the Novosibirsk incident. Only a sharp wave of criticism against the organizers of the festivals who portray themselves as ‘devoted to human rights’ forced the latter to bring the film back.
In autumn 2010, at least 14 sentences were issued against 49 people charged with racist violence.
The punishments were allocated as follows:
· a sentence against one person is unknown;
· three persons were released from punishment because the statute of limitations has expired;
· five persons received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
· one person was referred to compulsory treatment;
· four persons were sentenced to correctional labor;
· one person was sentenced to two years of deprivation of freedom, four received sentences up to five years, 11 received sentences up to ten years, four up to 15 years, four up to 20 years, two over 20 years, and one person received life imprisonment.
The hearings were over in Moscow and Kaluga region (two hearing in each), in St. Petersburg, Voronezh, Vladivostok, Samara, Moscow, Nizhnii Novgorod,Tver, Tiumen regions, republics Karelia and Adygea.
Three of 14 sentenced mentioned monetary motives. However, the courts found no obstacle to qualify the crimes as hate motivated.
Below are several significant sentences of autumn.
First, on 1 October a long hearing finished in Tiumen in a case of a gang of 14 people with only 15 crimes proven, and a much bigger number of crimes they were suspected of. Two persons were killed and six injured by their hands. The gang members received from five to 20 years of deprivation of freedom.
In September, in Kaluga a trial against two policemen came to an end. The defendants were found guilty of beating two citizens of Uzbekistan on grounds of national hate. They were convicted for abuse of power (article 286) and incitement of national hatred (article 282). This is only the second sentence against policemen that we are aware of, with the hate motive taken into account by the court.
And finally, on 20 October 2010, a trial against four neo-Nazis in Vladivostok finished. The defendants were charged with several murders (one with a hate motive) and sexual assault committed with a clear ideological motive — a person was raped because he refused to join a neo-Nazi gang. The gang members received from 10 to 12 years of deprivation of freedom.
We have chosen these cases as significant examples in order to demonstrate how the court practice on such cases develops (cases of big gangs, cases involving policemen, cases with ‘untypical’ crimes for neo-Nazis like sexual assault). It develops while the experience of prosecution of criminals in less complicated cases is growing (such as racist motivated hooliganism or beating).
In total, since the beginning of the year, at least 77 sentences were passed for violent crimes against 265 people. 95 of them were given suspended sentences or released because the statute of limitations has expired.
Unexpectedly many sentences were issued in autumn 2010 for hate motivated vandalism (i.e. under article 214 part 2) — three sentences in Yaroslavl, Khabarovsk, and Tiumen against four persons. In the previous years, not more than five sentence a year were issued with such a charge. Only in the Tiumen case of the aforementioned, this case was the only one in the accusation. The defendant was charged with defilement of a Lenin monument. For the first time, as far as we know, a humane amendment to the Criminal Code approved in the end of 2009 was used with the imposition of a penalty — the defendant was sentenced to ‘limitation of freedom’. In Khabarovsk, vandalism charges were combined with hate incitement, and in Yaroslavl, with appeals for extremist activity. In Yaroslavl, two graffitists were sentenced to real prison terms, however, given the circumstances of their crime, we do not consider it excessive. Their inscriptions on a court building and some other administrative buildings included threats of reprisal against the judge who was going to consider a case of a local gang of Nazi skinheads who were charged with murder and a number of cruel attacks.
In total, since the beginning of the year four sentences against five people were issued for hate motivated vandalism.
In autumn 2010, at least 11 sentences were issued for xenophobic propaganda (article 282), two in each of Kursk and Kirov, one in Krasnodar, Orel, Astrakhan, Samara, Khabarovsk, republics Komi and Marii El. 13 persons were convicted but only three received real penalty, such as a fine or correctional labor. All the others were given suspended sentences. This again makes us ask how much the state is interested in suppressing xenophobic propaganda. All the more so as still, victimized are people who hardly cause influence on any significant audience even if they are in the mood for xehophobia. For instance, six of 11 sentences were issued for web chatting, and xenophobic pages in the Vkontakte social network.
Only two sentences in Kirov against leaders of the local DPNI department are to be mentioned. Those were the trials aimed at prosecuting people who had real influence on the ultra-right of the region. However, those trials are unable to be estimated positively.
The first defendant was Ivan Mikheev who received suspended sentence for public justification of terrorism (article 205 part 2) and incitement of hatred against ‘students’ as a social group (article 282 part 1). The second suspended sentence was given to the whole leadership of DPNI’s Kirov department, namely Denis Tiukin, Ivan Mikheev and Alexander Tiufiakov. They were charged with establishing an extremist community and inciting hatred against ‘state employees’ including ‘employees of law enforcement agencies’ as a social group.
In the case of state employees and those of law enforcement agencies, we think they should not be defended by the hate crimes law. Speaking on Mikheev’s statement against students, there was nothing criminal there, from our point of view. That is why the sentences against DPNI-Kirov leaders seem doubtful to us. Actually, Mikheev justified terrorism openly and, as we think, deserved punishment for that. And DPNI-Kirov can be considered an extremist community, however, the prosecutor’s office was unable to convince the court. But we consider accusations in inciting hatred against social groups inappropriate in both cases.
The aforementioned sentence to Yaroslavl graffitists should be also mentioned as a sentence for propaganda. It was issued on articles 214 and 280.
In total, since the beginning of the year, 50 trials came to an end with guilty sentences against 60 persons for incitement hatred (article 282). 30 of them were given suspended sentences, one sentence is unknown. Among those charged with public appeals for extremist activity, five people were sentenced at five court hearings, everyone was given suspended sentences. Nine persons were sentenced in six cases with a combination of articles 280 and 282. Four of them were given suspended sentences, two were released because the statute of limitations has expired.
Federal lists of extremist materials and organizations
In autumn, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was supplemented four times and grew from 694 to 727 items.
Autumn updates raise the issue once again of whether deeming a material extremist means cancellation of a material with certain output data or of a text (video, or audio) in this edition. It is clear that the responsible state structures cannot solve this problem. For instance, in autumn the fourth edition of M.P. Sherstnev’s Who Rules over Us: The Psychology of Executives (Kto pravit nami: psikhologiia upravlentsev) published in 2006 was included in the list. One of the previous editions is already there under the number 278. Formally, these materials do not reduplicate each other, however, the fourth edition of the book hardly differed from the previous ones. In any case, the trial was likely to be accompanied by expensive examinations since no such trial goes without examination. The same story is with the text by the People's Will Army (Armiia voli naroda) entitled 'You’ve Elected — You Should Judge' (Ty izbral — tebe sudit’). A leaflet with this text and two publications in different issues of the Duel (Duel’) newspaper are already in the list (the third item has just been included in the autumn update). All the three items coincide completely but formally they are diverse materials because they are identified by diverse output data. Thus the impossibly huge list becomes even bigger.
Actually, on 1 December 2010 the list included 727 items. Four of them withdrawn with numbering maintained. 32 are put in the list on inappropriate grounds because the court rulings blacklisting those materials as extremist were cancelled by the upper courts and there have been no other rulings since. 47 reduplicate each other (the same materials with diverse output data included twice in the list are not counted).
In autumn, the Federal List of Extremist Organizations was also updated twice. Items from 13 to 16 were included. Those were:
· the Joint Vilayat of Kabarda, Balrakia and Karachai;
· the Primorye regional social organization defending human rights called the Slavic Union (or the Slavic Union of the Far East (Slavianskii soiuz Dal’nego Vostoka) as they call themselves);
· International religious unity ‘Takfir wal-Hijra’;
· Krasnodar city organization ‘Pit Bull’.
As of 1 December, the activity of 16 organizations has been cancelled by courts, and the continuation of their activity can be punished by law according to article 282 part 2 (arranging activity of an extremist organization).
However, the supplementation of the list and, to go further, the consequences of deeming an organization extremist acquired a new dimension in autumn due to Dmitrii Demushkin’s activity.
Demushkin’s Slavic Union (Slavianskii soiuz) was deemed extremist, and the ruling of the Moscow City Court entered into force after it was approved by the Supreme Court on 29 June. Right after that, the organization continued its activity under another name, Slavic Force (Slavianskaia sila) and Demushkin made an inquiry to the Moscow City Court demanding to explain the sense and consequences of banning an organization without a legal entity. On 11 July, the court refused to explain this. The Supreme Court obliged Moscow judges to do this. But in October, Demushkin received a refusal again and, as he said, addressed the Supreme Court once again.. The trial is likely to be procrastinated for months. In the meantine, the prosecutor’s office and police pretend they see no similarity between the Slavic Union and the Slavic Force. Evidently, there is no prosecution against the new organization’s activists and leader under article 282 part 2. However, law enforcement agencies find no difficulties in identifying members of the banned National Bolshevik Party.
MISUSE OF ANTI-EXTREMIST ACTS
In autumn 2010, all the main tendencies of the misuse of the anti-extremist acts remained. This includes prosecution of adherents of religious groups for spreading their literature (some of which was inappropriately added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials). There are also repressions for the criticism against the authorities as a whole or separate state institutions under the guise of defense of social groups. Another type of misuse is the imitation of anti-extremist activity by way of mass administrative sanctions against libraries and educational institutions, etc.
Limitations of freedom of religion
The main religious group prosecuted on the anti-extremists grounds is still Jehovah’s Witnesses. In autumn, at least four cases were instigated against members of the group charged with inciting hate and/or establishing an extremist community, in Kemerovo and Altai Republic. The administrative prosecution goes on for spreading religious literature against separate adepts or whole religious organizations. For instance, a prosecutor’s warning was sent to an organization in Birobijan.
It is worth noting that in Kemerovo, article 282 part 1 (establishing an extremist community) was used against Witnesses. This article implies group action intended at committing extremist crimes. These supposed crimes are however qualified under article 282 yet and mean only spreading religious materials and religious propaganda.
This kind of use of the article 282 part 1 seems somewhat strange and contains a potential threat. If it is based on spreading forbidden materials, this deserves only administrative prosecution. If the sermon itself is considered criminal (that is possible in principle) and coreligionists are held criminally liable for being members of one community (organization) then thousands or hundreds of thousands of coreligionists can be made responsible for the crimes of one believer, even if he is real, but it is not so in the case of Witnesses.
The prosecution of scientologists in autumn were linked to the inappropriate inclusion of their materials in the Federal List. However, on 12 October the court of Khanty-Mansi autonomous district cancelled the ruling of the Surgut city court on deeming 27 scientological materials extremist. On 28 October, Zamoskvoretsky court in Moscow started to consider the scientologists’ suit to the Justice Ministry on withdrawal of their materials from the list. But the case stuck in court. At the moment the report is being written (the beginning of December), a court session was delayed due to evocation of evidence. The sanctions however are still appearing, and not only in standard forms like fines or warnings for spreading extremist literature. Some of them are quite unusual. For instance, a firm in Samara received a prosecutor’s warning for advertising a book by Ron Hubbard.
The prosecution of Muslim groups in autumn was limited by investigations and sanctions against activists of Tablighi Jamaat and Hizb ut-Tahrir, and a cancellation of one more book by Said Nursi. But the event that produced the most resonance was that with Aidar Khabibullin, director of the Sad publishing house who was detained and charged with inciting hatred and storing ammunition. He and Eduard Gabdrakhmanov earlier convicted for participation in Hizb ut-Tahrir were detained in September for spreading leaflets and books because an examination found there had been something extremist there. Khabibullin’s detention caused a wave of addresses from representatives of the Muslim society questioning the appropriateness of this prosecution.
We find difficulty in estimating the content of the leaflets but the examination of books published by Sad is very disputable. We have some questions concerning both the procedure of the examination and its point. Experts were asked to produce a legal evaluation of the text which is completely inappropriate. They also did not like some demands to a Muslim in the medieval text because they found it outdated. For instance, the book mentioned a ban on killing fleas during a prayer or a necessity to go far away into the desert in order to ease oneself. The experts also interpreted the description of Muhammad’s military actions accepted in the Islamic tradition as an appeal for violence..
Political activists as enemies of the state and its institutions
There are still two basic lines of inappropriate prosecution of political activists: criticism against the state and proposals for the state structure as a whole, and criticism of separate state institutions that are treated by investigation as ‘social groups’, police and state officials in the first place.
Victims of these prosecutions are National Bolsheviks first of all who now present themselves as activists of the Other Russia (Drugaia Rossiia) party. In autumn only, at least two sentences were passed against them under articles 282 part 2 or 282. In Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Eduard Limonov’s adherent Anton Lukin was given a suspended sentence under these two articles for spreading newspapers and leaflets. In Barnaul, National Bolshevik Dmitrii Bychkov was convicted not only under article 282 but also for storing an explosive. He was also given a suspended sentence. At least two new criminal cases were instigated against National Bolsheviks or members of the Other Russia. The first case is against five activists in St. Petersburg first detained during the action on 31 October that are charged with arranging and participation in the activity of an organization that was deemed extremist. The second is against two party members in Vladivostok under articles 282 part 2 and 282 (for inciting hatred against ‘representatives of the state’).
There were two significant court rulings in autumn against citizens who were standing for referendums. It is completely unclear why demands to hold a referendum are considered by the prosecutor’s office and the court as extremism. Referendum is a peaceful action by definition, no matter how absurd or peculiar questions could be.
In Karelia, Viacheslav Drezner was found guilty under article 280 (public appeals for extremist activity). He proposed to hold a referendum on separating several regions from the republic where officials cannot provide people with housing and public utilities, and annexing them to Finland. In the beginning of 2010, Drezner spread leaflets on that and immediately appeared to be prosecuted. It is possible to be held responsible under article 280 in this case due to a ‘linguistic’ catch in the law that we had frequently noted. The definition of the extremist activity includes a part on ‘forcible change of the constitutional system and breach of integrity of the Russian Federation’, and it is unclear whether the attribute ‘forcible’ relies only to the change of the constitutional system or to the breach of integrity as well. As a result, Drezner was sentenced to a fine of about 100,000 rubles.
In October, Yuri Mukhin’s People’s Will Army was deemed extremist. The formal reason was its ‘extremist activity’. The leader was sentenced under article 280 for publishing Andrei Dubrov’s article appealing for the ‘total destruction of the dirty Jewish state of Russia’. Another part of the sentence concerned spreading the program of the organization ‘You’ve Elected — You Should Judge’ that contained a demand to hold a referendum for changing the Constitution in order to bring officials to justice (and even sentence them to death) for their activity. From our point of view, the text itself does not contain any signs of extremism and had been earlier deemed extremist inappropriately.
Speaking on the defense of the ‘social groups’, in autumn the Russian state defended the police as a social group at least three times. There were two criminal cases in the Republic of Komi and Tiumen region and a warning from the Federal Service for the Supervision of Information Technologies and Communications (Roskomnadzor) to the Evening Riazan (Vecherniaia Riazan). ‘Representatives of the state’ were defended twice with the help of the aforementioned case against members of the Other Russia in Vladivostok and deeming a leaflet in Omsk extremist for criticizing the mayor. At the moment the report is being written, it became known that prosecutors have started a check over the publishing of a brochure 'The Situation of the Citizens of the Former USSR at the territory of the Krasnodar Krai' by the Memorial human rights center and the Etnika youth human rights group. Experts saw ‘forming of a negative image of the employees of the administration of Krasnodar Krai, the prosecutor’s office, the police, the registry office employees, the court employees, and Kazaks’ in the text.
Other kinds of misuse
There were hopes that the pressure on media would diminish after the explanations of the Supreme Court’s plenary session on 15 July 2010 that mentioned the inadmissibility of prosecution of media, for quotation, in particular. But those hopes were not realized. Novaia Gazeta was unable to contest Roskomnadzor’s warning neither in the first instance nor in the Moscow City Court. The warning was received for an interview with Ilia Goriachev, one of the Russian Image’s leaders, but the material’s anti-Nazi message was clear.
A scandal linked to one more trial against Roskomnadzor is likely to influence the malpractice of involving experts to find ‘extremism’ in publications that do not contain it. The only examination that the agency was based upon while sending a warning to Vedomosti newspaper for Maia Kucherskaia’s article on the motivation of female terrorists who reportedly carried out the bombings in the Moscow subway in March 2010 was disavowed during the contestation of the warning.
A special case in Perm is worth mentioning where stickers with quotes from Adolf Hitler were placed in the public transport at the initiative of the city administration. Apart from justified disciplinary sanctions against officials, the makers and distributors of the stickers were punished under article 20.29 of the Administrative Code for spreading extremist materials. We consider this inappropriate because the law deems the works by the leaders of the Nazi Germany but does not forbid quoting them. Otherwise, any researches and publications on the topic would be impossible. In the aforementioned case, it would be more appropriate to use the law restricting unethical advertisement if the punishment is so desirable. However, we should admit that this is far not the first case of punishment for quoting one or two sentences by Hitler (not to mess with republication of chapters from Mein Kampf or texts of Hitler’s speeches under the guise of big quotations). It is enough to recall the warning that was given to a newspaper in Rostov-on-Don in 2009 for quoting Hitler.
We should also mention the practice of administrative prosecution of people and legal entities not for certain violations of the anti-extremist law but for the activities indirectly linked to such violations.
In September, Roskomnadzor issued an anti-extremist warning to the Art Chronicle (Artkhronika) magazine for publishing reproductions of displays from the Beware, Religion! (Ostorozhno, religiia!) Forbidden Art 2006 (Zapretnoe iskusstvo-2006) exhibitions. The only reason for the warning was that the exhibits had been ‘interpreted by the believers as inciting religious hate’. In November, the prosecutor’s office in Ekaterinburg issued a representation to the vice chancellor of the Urals Polytechnic Institute that he eliminate the violations of the anti-extremist law. The reason was that the institute had held a conference on religious studies where one of the participants was ‘an author of a leaflet deemed extremist by the court’ and another ‘translator of a collected edition of extremist works.’ However, the anti-extremist law foresees no suppression of rights of authors, nor translators of texts deemed extremist. Later, it became aware that the participant of the conference was the translator’s namesake.
The problem of the anti-extremist prosecution of libraries and schools is still serious. Libraries are prosecuted because of forbidden literature in their holdings and the absence of fresh versions of the Federal List of Extremist Materials that is being updated three times a month on average. Schools are prosecuted because licensed content filters do not deny the students’ access to the ‘extremist’ websites. We should recall that the trouble with libraries is linked to the contradictions between the anti-extremist law and the library law. The trouble with schools is linked to the quality of filters supplied by the Education Ministry. Obviously, neither libraries nor schools can solve the problem of access to extremist materials themselves. This is the business of the legislators and federal agencies, respectively. So all this remains to be an inexhaustible source of anti-extremist reports for the prosecutor’s office.
The attempts of inappropriate anti-extremist sanctions against separate activists and organizations still do not mean that the responsible state structures succeed in leading the case to an end.
On 1 November, in Kostroma an activist of the People’s Will Army (PWA) Roman Zamuraev was justified by the court. Zamuraev was charged with spreading the notorious leaflet ‘You’ve Elected — You Should Judge’ under article 282. Justice Trifonova noted in particular that neither ‘persons that have not joined the PWA’ nor representatives of the legislative and executive power can be considered a social group because they do not have any internal organization, cohesion, and common goal and interests. The prosecutor’s office appealed against the ruling but we can see that the court can doubt the arbitrary use of the ‘social group’ notion in the anti-extremist law enforcement.
In Ekaterinburg, the court refused to deem texts by Eduard Limonov and Zakhar Prilepin extremist under the new trial. The texts included leaflets ‘Address to the Police’, ‘Trust Yourself, Not the Authorities’, ‘Government for Ouster!’, etc. Arsenievskie Vesti newspaper in Primorye however failed to dispute the inappropriate anti-extremist warning for a cartoon with a swastika. But the paper won the case on its closure.
Unfortunately, such citizens’ victories in their fight against arbitrariness are far fewer than their defeats.
 We should remind that we do not include the victims of mass brawls in our statistics, as well as the victims of incidents that took place in the republics of the North Caucasus.
 Perhaps, in such a way the neo-Nazi celebrated the release of the local leader of the People's National Party (Alexander Ivanov (Sukharevskii)’s NNP), Leonid Kotov, from prison. Kotov is a very popular figure among the neo-Nazi not only in Yekaterinburg.
 Lytkin Pavel. Delo bylo v Khotkovo // KPRF official website. 2010. 28 November (http://kprf.ru/rus_soc/85076.html).
 The pro-Kremlin youth movement associated with the Ours (Nashi) movement became well-known after a scandal at the Seliger youth camp. Steel presented an insulting installation ‘You Are Not Welcome Here’, a series of portraits of public figures, journalists, foreign political leaders represented in the Nazi disguise. See, for example, Dvizhenie ‘Nashi’ perekladyvaet vinu za skandal’nuiu installiatsiiu na dochernee dvizhenie ‘Stal’’ // NEWSru.com. 2010. 27 July (http://www.newsru.com/russia/27jul2010/steel.html).
 That event was followed by acts of violence. Spartak fans were attacked by Anzhi fans. However, all accounts of this incident show that it was a clash between fans without any racist traits. Anzhi was punished for the behavior of its fans.
 See, for instance, Fanatskaia draka v Priel’brus’e: rasizm ili ‘khuliganizm’? // SOVA center. Racism and xenophobia. 2008. 30 April (http://www.sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/news/racism-nationalism/2008/04/d13227/).
 Alexei Sorokin: ‘Rasizm — problema obshchaia, a ne rossiiskaia’ // Regnum news agency. 2010. 21 October (http://www.regnum.ru/news/polit/1338420.html).
 In August and September, Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow football clubs respectively asked their fans to refrain from racist manifestations.
 V Moskve otmeneny pokazy fil’ma ob ubiistve Baburovoi // Grani.Ru. 2010. 12 November (http://grani.ru/Culture/Cinema/m.183477.html); Bashinova Yulia. ONaste nikto ne khochet vspominat’ // ibid. (http://grani.ru/blogs/free/entries/183495.html).
 The first on, in Stavropol Krai, had nothing to do with violence. Besides, there are two known ‘anti-police cases’, in Nizhnii Novgorod and Berdsk, where the hate motive was considered but not reproduced in the accusation.
 We remind that we mention the sentences that we do not consider illegitimate.
 Unfortunately, the decision is not published on the Moscow City Court web site. That is why we cannot conclude on the reasons. The second Demushkin’s petition to the Supreme Court is not registered on the court’s website.
 According to the Human Rights Institute, the case was completely forged.
 See further in Kratkii analiz expertizy po delu Gabdrakhmanova i Khabibullina // SOVA Center. Racism and xenophobia. 2010. 25 October (http://www.sova-center.ru/misuse/news/persecution/2010/10/d20090/).
 We should note that we are not sure whether the article 282 was misused.
 For instance, in 2009 the Federal Antimonopoly Service banned an advertisement insulting people from Caucasus. See further FAS zapretila reklamu, oskorbliaiushchuiu vykhodtsev s Kavkaza // SOVA Center. Racism and xenophobia. 2009. 4 August (http://www.sova-center.ru/racism-xenophobia/news/counteraction/2009/08/d16548/).
 However, sometimes problems occur because the school directors do not update data for the filters.