June 2010. Monthly Summary
In June 2010, a sharp decline of racist and neo-Nazi attacks was registered. A young girl from Yakutia became a victim of an attack in Moscow, a Krishnaite was beaten in Yaroslavl region and a female Jehovah’s Witnesses member in Yekaterinburg. In the same period of 2009, two people were killed and 29 wounded. Due to the natural delay of data collection, the current information on 2010 do not reflect the real situation. We now become aware of most of incidents at least one or two months late.
In all, from the beginning of the year, 19 were killed and 146 wounded in 33 regions of Russia.
We deliberately did not include people who suffered from a group known as ‘Primorye partisans’ who committed attacks mostly against officials of law enforcement services in Primorsky Kray in the amount of victims. Although there were ultra-rightists in that group, so far we cannot confirm or deny with confidence that their attacks were based on ultra-rightist ideological grounds. However, we cannot do without noting that this story did not only draw a wide response in the public but also was richly used by the neo-Nazi propaganda for advertising.
In June, a number of vandalism attacks was registered where ultra-rightists can be suspected of involvement. The one that drew the widest response was an explosion near the doors of a synagogue in Tver on June 20. In addition, a Muslim cemetery was profaned in Chelyabinsk and an Orthodox cross at the laying of a church in Penza.
In June 2010, at least three guilty verdicts were issued in the cases on racist violence with a hate motive: in Nizhny Novgorod, Izhevsk and Podmoskovye. Seven people were convicted, four were released because the period of limitation expired.
In all, from the beginning of the year, at least 41 sentence was passed for violence with a hate motive. 144 people were convicted within these hearings (50 of them were released or given suspended sentences without any additional sanctions).
At least four sentenced were passed for xenophobic propaganda: in Volgograd, Izhevsk, Chelyabinsk and Yugra. Seven people were convicted, four of them given suspended sentences without additional sanctions.
The retrial against Alexander Yaremenko, editor-in-chief of the Russkoe Zabaikalye newspaper that was planned for June 2010, failed to finish because the defendant escaped from the court. Yeremenko’s case on hate incitement was sent for retrial after the Zabaikalye district court cancel the conviction judgment of 2009.
In all, from the beginning of 2010, 26 sentences were issued for xenophobic propaganda under article 282 (inciting hate), 4 under article 280 (claims to extremist activity) and one under the both articles. 32, 4 people and one person were convicted respectively, 22 of them were given suspended sentences without additional sanctions.
We should mention two sentences more issued in June. First, a person was punished for attempting an explosion of a church in Vladimir. He was convicted not only for inciting hate (article 282 part 1) but also for hooliganism with a hate motive (article 213 part 1b) and illegal trade of explosives (article 223 part 1). And in Kurgan, a sentenced for profaning a mosque was issued under a rather rare article 214 part 2 (vandalism with a hate motive). Such crimes are usually qualified by law enforcement services under article 282 for some reason.
In June 2010, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated only once. It grew from 617 to 621 item.
Only in June 2010, a decision to ban the book The Strike of the Russian Gods (item 289) was finally taken although it was included in the list in November 2008. On the other hand, the decision to ban the website UfaGub (item 373) as extremist was cancelled.
Thus, as of June 30, the list contains of 621 items of which 33 are included twice and 5 are put in the list inappropriately for the court decisions on banning them as extremist are cancelled; one entry is annulled.
The most significant event in the normative legal sphere was the approval and publication of a June 15, 2010 resolution of the Supreme Court plenary session ‘On the practice of the use of the Law on Media by the courts.’ The resolution in particular is meant to defend the media from the increasing practice of persecution on anti-extremist grounds such as readers’ comments at web forums, quotations of others’ statements, etc.
On the other hand, the Constitutional Court did not take into account a claim to explain the juridical sense of the ‘social group’ concept. This will certainly stimulate the continuation of the practice of a free and far too wide interpretation of this concept by those who apply laws. Thus, for instance, a criminal case was instigated in June 2010 under article 282 for inciting hate against the social group ‘police’, this time in a publication in Vechernyaya Ryazan newspaper.
The practice of illegitimate use of anti-extremist laws does not stop.
Thus, in June a bill was approved in the first reading crucially widening the authorities of the Federal Security Service in the area of administrative persecution for ‘extremist’ activity. The bill in particular becomes an instrument to intimidate opposition and social activists, exert pressure on them with no possibility to counteract it in any way.
The anti-extremist legislation is still being used as an instrument to limit the freedom of conscience. Thus, a pressure against the followers of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going on everywhere. Besides, it has become known in June that the religious literature of the Ron Hubbard’s followers was found extremist in many cases. This opens possibilities to persecute the followers of this belief as well.
The criminal, administrative or even ‘informal’ persecution of opposition and social activists, National Bolsheviks, first of all, does not stop.
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