August 2010. Monthly Summary

Настоящий материал (информация) произведен и (или) распространен иностранным агентом РОО Центр «Сова» либо касается деятельности иностранного агента РОО Центр «Сова».

In August 2010, at least 32 people were injured in racist and neo-Nazi attacks (in August 2009, 9 people were dead and 48 injured). In all, from the beginning of 2010, 22 people in Russia were dead and at least 203 injured in such attacks.

In August, incidents of violence were recorded in Moscow region (13 injured), Saint Petersburg (7 injured), Orel (5 injured in ‘Indira’ cafe bombing of which a neo-Nazi terrorist group is suspected), in Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, and Samara (2 injured in each), and in Irkutsk (one injured). In all, from the beginning of the year incidents of violence have been recorded in 34 of Russian regions.

Still, Moscow and the region (9 dead, 73 injured), St. Petersburg (1 dead, 33 injured) and Leningrad region, and Nizhny Novgorod (2 dead, 14 injured) face the highest level of violence. The number of victims in other regions is no more than seven.

We would remind you that this statistics does not include victims of mass fights or incidents happened in the regions of the Northern Caucasus.

In August, xenophobic vandalism became active again. During the last summer month we recorded at least 4 attacks at religious targets (mosques were attacked in Orenburg and Samara regions, an orthodox chapel was burnt in St. Petersburg as well as a Baptist house of worship in Kurgan region) and at least 4 acts of so-called ‘ideological vandalism’ (that is defiling memorials with xenophobic slogans, organizing graffiti actions or making separate but provocative graffiti as in Sochi where such images appeared right at the local prosecutor’s office).

In all, from the beginning of the year we have recorded at least 71 neo-Nazi and xenophobic vandal attacks of which 41 can be rated as ‘ideological vandalism’ and the other were aimed at religious targets (10 of them, including 2 arsons, were against Jehovah Witnesses’ objects, 6, including a bombing, hit Muslim objects, 5, including a bombing, were against Jewish objects, 4, including 2 arsons, against orthodox ones, 3, including 2 arsons, against protestant ones, one was aimed at an Armenian cemetery and one more at a neo-heathen temple).      

In addition, from the beginning of the year, at least 13 acts ofso-called ‘anti-state terror’ were made, that is to say, arson or bombing attempts at police stations, prosecutor’s offices and other state objects. Most of such incidents (at least 4) took place in Orel. A group of people suspected of those crimes was detected there in August, 2010. It is worth noting that several days before the detection, a ‘letter of Orel partisans’ appeared in the Web. It was written by a group of people who claimed responsibility for a large amount of crimes but there was no prove that the majority of them had really taken place.   

In August 2010, at least 12 guilty verdicts (in Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow region (2 in each), in the Republic of Tatarstan, in Bryansk, Vladimir, Kaluga, Penza, and Tver regions, Krasnodar and Khabarovsk Territories (one in each)) were issued for racist hate crimes. Still, courts tend to pass suspended sentences against neo-Nazi in Nizhny Novgorod. At least 2 of the 5 people convicted there in August (we don’t have information on one of the sentences) received suspended sentences. We should note that one of the convicts, an ex-activist of Balakhna department of the Russian National Unity (RNE), was given a suspended sentence for 3 racist group attacks. 

In all, from the beginning of the year, 62 guilty verdicts have been issued for racist violence. 214 people were convicted, 73 of them received suspended sentences without any supplementary sanctions.

There is practically no change in the field of persecution for xenophobic propaganda. It has not become more active; we have information on 4 guilty verdicts issued in August 2010 (in Komi Republic, in Vladimir, Pskov, and Ulyanovsk regions). Still, graffitists and users putting sporadic xenophobic materials in the Web are on the line, not those who practise hate propaganda systematically. A sentence passed in Ulyanovsk against a Caucasian separatists’ supporter who had placed a series of extremely aggressive articles on the Web seems to be an exception. In this case, we can say at least that a propagandist was punished though the extent of his influence on the audience is not evident.

In August 2010, the Moscow City Prosecutor’s Office addressed the Moscow City Court in order to ban Yury Mukhin’s People’s Will Army (Armiya voli naroda, AVN) as extremist. AVN is a public association without strict internal structure and organized activity. Its main goal is ‘to hold a referendum on a law providing people’s trial over elected power bodies.’ Although the association’s ideology undoubtedly contains some xenophobic elements, they are not its meaningful components, and the group itself is unlikely to pose any social danger. However, it has been under pressure of law enforcement services for several years. Unfortunately, we are unaware of the grounds on which the prosecutor’s office demands to ban AVN. So far, we are unable to estimate the appropriateness of its actions.

Yury Mukhin, on the other hand, succeeded in cancelling the court ruling that ordered to close his newspaper ‘K barieru!’ as extremist (it replaced the Duel newspaper that had also been closed as extremist). On August 19, 2010, the Moscow City Court cancelled the ruling of the court of original jurisdiction and sent the case back for a new trial.

On August 18, 2010, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated, items from 692 to 692 were added.

Thus, on August 31, 2010, the list consists of 694 items, 4 of which are officially withdrawn, at least 32 materials are put there on inappropriate grounds because the court rulings blacklisting them as extremist were cancelled (most of them, 28 items, are the works by Ron Hubbard) and at least 47 materials are included in it twice.