Racism and Xenophobia in February 2012
Overall, at least 25 people fell victim to xenophobic violence this year in Russia, with two of those dying from their injuries.
This month vandals damaged a monument to the victims of Stalin’s repressions in St. Petersburg, and the local Kremlin in Kolomna. Additionally, unknown individuals in Petersburg threw a homemade explosive device into a local Uzbek-owned shop. As such, 2012 has seen no fewer than seven acts of xenophobic vandalism to date.
One notable event was the right-wing public campaign “Mirzayev should be behind bars!” held in several Russian cities on February 18. The campaign was organized in response to a Zamoskvoretsky District Court (of Moscow) decision to grant bail to Rasul Mirzayev, a Dagestani mixed martial artist accused of killing 19-year-old ethnic Russian Ivan Agafonov; the Moscow City Court had reversed the decision prior to the campaign. About 300 people gathered in Moscow for a demonstration in connection with the case. After the end of the rally, participants formed a convoy and headed for Manezh Square, chanting anti-Caucasian slogans and attacking non-Slavic street cleaners along the way.
Nationalists took a prominent part in the February 4 demonstrations “For Fair Elections,” which took place in many cities across the country.
Two sentences were handed down in February (in St. Petersburg and the Irkutsk region) for violent crimes where the court recognized the hate motive. The decisions convicted four people: three received suspended sentences, while one was sentenced to 13 years in a penal colony.
As such, at least six of these indictments have been levied against nine individuals so far this year.
In terms of xenophobic propaganda, five sentences were given this month in St. Petersburg and the Kemerovo, Kursk and Tyumen regions. These processes convicted five people: two were fined, one received a suspended sentence, one was sentenced to educational measures, and one to compulsory treatment.
Nine such sentences have condemned 13 individuals since the beginning of the year.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated four times – on February 6, 7, 9 and 27 – to add paragraphs 1074-1081. Added to the list were radical Islamic materials from the websites hunafa.com and djamaattakbir.com; leaflets of the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir movement; and a new science fiction novel by Yuri Petukhov, who is known for his nationalist and anti-American views.