Racism and Xenophobia in December 2012, with Preliminary Results for the Year

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

This month, at least two people were affected by racist and neo-Nazi attacks. In St. Petersburg a Central Asian was killed, while a Cameroonian national was beaten in Moscow.

Our preliminary data for 2012 shows that a total of 18 people were killed and at least 171 were injured as a result of such attacks in 30 regions of Russia. In addition, two people were the targets of serious death threats that could be categorized as xenophobic in nature.

Moscow continued to lead in violent incidents, with three people killed and 64 injured. Other leaders were the Moscow region (two killed, 24 injured) and St. Petersburg (two killed, 19 injured). The Republic of Bashkortostan saw 19 people injured in such attacks.

The main victims of right-wing attack this year were members of informal youth groups, of which one was killed and 53 were injured. Other targets were natives of the Central Asian states – seven killed, 28 injured; natives of the Caucasus – three killed, 14 injured; people identified as “non-Slavic” in appearance – one killed, 10 injured; and blacks – 19 injured.

This year we recorded 94 incidents of ideologically motivated vandalism in 39 regions of Russia. The primary targets were Orthodox churches (38 cases), other various ideological objects (23 cases) and Jehovah’s Witnesses properties (12 cases).

The extreme right organized several public events this month. On December 1, a number of Russian cities (including Irkutsk, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Obninsk, Syktyvkar and Volgograd) saw pickets and rallies put together by advocates for the legalization of handguns.

In addition to the regular, now annual event in Moscow, far-right activists in St. Petersburg, Belgorod, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk and Ryazan took part in actions in memory of Egor Sviridov, the Moscow Spartak fan killed in a massive row on Kronstadtsky Boulevard in Moscow in 2010, as well as rallies “Against Ethnic Crime.” They were timed to coincide with the anniversary of the riots on Manezh Square in Moscow. Nationalists’ events were only notable in size in St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod.

Nationalists attempted to stage an unsanctioned rally called “Manezh 2.0” on Pioneer Square in St. Petersburg, but law enforcement effectively shut it down by detaining all those participating.

They also tried to participate in general opposition events on December 15 in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Moscow saw Aleksandr Belov and Dmitry Demushkin, leaders of the “Russians” movement, show up to a rally on Lubyanka Square. There was for all intents and purposes no greater nationalist presence at the rally, with roughly thirty far-right activists coming out.

In St. Petersburg, between 50 and 70 activists from the far-right National Democrats, Russian Imperial Movement (RID) and “Civic Committee” gathered at a general opposition rally. Twenty-eight nationalists were detained at the march for shouting provocative and generally offensive slogans.

Nationalists also participated in a student strike at the Russian State University of Trade and Economics (RGTEU). The university had been merged with Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, bringing the dismissal RGTEU rector Sergei Baburin, who also serves as the head of the Russian National Union (ROS). Baburin’s firing prompted a strike led by teacher-graduate student Ivan Mironov, who is also an ROS leader. Mironov was also dismissed from the university.

Nationalists have continued to spin violent incidents using their “Kondopoga technology” technique, which involves adding a racist element to the story surrounding a violent incident, and disseminating it as indicative of a racial issue. This month’s most high-profile case was the murder of Nevinnomyssk (Stavropol Krai) resident Nikolai Naumenko. Naumenko was killed by a Chechen, Viskhan Akayev, on the night of December 6 in a brawl at a local bar. The murder spurred “peoples’ gatherings” on December 15 and 22, organized by, among others, ultra-right radicals.

December 2012 saw at least three convictions for racist violence that accounted for the hate motive, in the Nizhny Novgorod region, North Ossetia and the Komi Republic. Nine people were convicted as a result.

For 2012 in total, at least 28 rulings involving violence accounted for the hate motive, leading to the conviction of 74 people in 22 regions of Russia. Four of the convicted are exempt from punishment for various reasons, while nine received suspended sentences without additional penalties.

Seven sentences were issued against as many people in as many regions of the country for xenophobic propaganda in December 2012. One received a suspended sentence, two were released from punishment due to an expired statute of limitations, and the rest were given non-custodial sentences.

For the year in total, Russian courts convicted 106 people in 86 cases treating propaganda under Article 282 (incitement to hatred) and Article 280 (public appeals for extremist activity. Thirteen convictions led to suspended sentences, and fifteen to deprivation of liberty. The vast majority of those remaining were sent to prison on aggregate charges, many of them including violent crimes. Of these, only Article 280 (without Article 282) was used, in four cases against four people. We remind readers that these numbers include only sentences we believe to have been issued by way of a legitimate use of Russian law.

In 2012 as a whole, Russian courts used Article 282.1, the organization of or participation in an extremist group, in three legitimate convictions in Krasnodar Krai, Moscow and the Novosibirsk region. An ideological leader of the Northern Brotherhood and activists with the “Spiritual-Tribal Power Rus” were convicted.

Additionally, one sentence for vandalism motivated by hatred (Article 214, Part 2) was issued to a single individual. The total tally for similar crimes in 2012 shows at least five indictments against seven people in five regions of the country.

This December the Federal List of Extremist Materials was expanded five times – on December 7, 11, 14, 20 and 26. Entries 1540-1589 were added.

Overall for 2012, the list was updated 65 times, increasing from 1,066 to 1,589 entries. Entry 1357, added accidentally to the wrong list, was removed without saving the numbering. As of December 30, 2012, the list includes 38 “zeroed” items, meaning those removed with the numbering being saved. Five were removed as duplicative, while the remaining 33 were removed due the cancellation of some materials’ status as extremist. Fifty-three positions on the list reflect duplicative judgments (not considering those containing the same text with differing output data), and one entry is a repeat of the judgment already included on the list.

Two groups were classified as extremist under Russian law in 2012. The international Blood and Honour / Combat 18 group was added to the Federal List of Extremist Organizations on the Ministry of Justice’s website, while the Northern Brotherhood has not yet been listed there. Thus, as of December 30, 2012, the list includes 29 organizations (not including the 19 classified as terrorist) whose activities are prohibited by a court ruling, with the continuation of their activities being punishable under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code, the organization of an extremist organization.