Racism and Xenophobia in December 2011: Preliminary Year-End Review
The following is our monthly review of xenophobia and radical nationalism in Russian society and any responses from the Russian government in December 2011. The report is prepared based on Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
Though this report contains totals for the year 2011 as a whole, we remind readers that our data is still being completed.
At least five people were injured this December in neo-Nazi or racist attacks. As usual, the victims were natives of the Caucasus (two people) and Central Asia (one person), and representatives of informal youth groups (two people). The attacks took place in Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Rostov Region.
Our preliminary data for the year 2011 shows that such attacks killed 20 people and injured 130 across 34 regions of the Russian Federation. Additionally, six individuals received death threats.
Moscow continues to lead in violent incidents, with seven killed and 28 injured in 2011. The other major problem areas are the Moscow Region (four killed, 19 injured) and St. Petersburg (three killed, 26 injured). There were also significant numbers coming from the Kaluga Region (one killed, 12 injured) and Rostov-on-Don (13 injured).
The main targets of attack continue to be individuals from former-Soviet Central Asia.In December we recorded at least three acts of neo-Nazi vandalism, in Moscow and the Ivanovo and Karelian regions. During this period, the targets were Orthodox and Jewish facilities and a Jehovah’s Witnesses building. In all, we recorded 81 cases of ideologically motivated vandalism in 31 regions of Russia in 2011.
Radical right-wing groups took an active part in rallies protesting November’s fraudulent parliamentary election results; the main demonstrations were held on December 10 and 24 in Moscow and other Russian cities. At the same time, rallies dedicated strictly to extreme right-wing causes (including a December 11 get-together on Manezh Square in Moscow) drew noticeably fewer participants than usual. We would submit that this is an indication that radical right-wing groups are currently more visible than before, but are actually playing a reduced role in society.
At least two December convictions took a hate motive into account; they were issued in Tula and Khabarovsk. These trials sentenced three individuals total to varying terms of imprisonment.
As such, we are currently aware of at least 53 convictions of 178 individuals that accounted for a hate motive in 30 regions of Russia in 2011. These include 67 who are exempt from punishment for various reasons, or are on probation.
Five December judgments were issued for xenophobic propaganda under Article 282 of the Criminal Code; one each in the Kurgan, Moscow, Murmansk, Novgorod and Saratov regions. Five individuals were convicted; three received suspended sentences and two were sentenced to other non-custodial (i.e. other than incarceration) punishments.
For 2011 in total, 64 cases convicted 70 individuals under Article 282 (incitement to national hatred) and/or Article 280 (public calls for extremist activity). These decisions handed 28 people suspended sentences and imprisoned 10 others, at least two of whom we believe were rightly punished.
Of these, only four penalties levied against the same number of individuals came solely under Article 280 without consideration of Article 282.
We also note that 2011 saw six sentences issued against six individuals for the organization of an extremist community or participation in one (Article 282-1).
Another December sentence charged a single individual with hate-motivated vandalism (Part 2 of Article 214). As such, at least 9 people were convicted in five 2011 decisions for crimes under this section of the law, including three who were put on probation without further penalties.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated five times in December, on the 2nd, 6th, 7th, 23nd, and 30th. Paragraphs 1042-1066 were added.
These additions bring the total for the year to 33 updates, expanding the List to 1066 entries from 748 at the beginning of 2011. Thirty-eight entries are “resets,” meaning the content has been removed but the numbers remain; five of those have been removed due to duplicated entries and the remaining 33 have been removed due to cancellations of extremist status for the materials listed. A different 38 entries reflect duplicate judgments (not including multiple entries on the same text listed under different data), and one entry follows a judicial decision already contained elsewhere in the List.
The Federal List of Extremist Organizations now includes 28 organizations – not including a separate 19 groups considered terrorist – whose activities have been prohibited in a court of law, and whose continued actions are punishable under Article 282-2 of the Criminal Code – organization of an extremist organization.