Racism and Xenophobia in August 2013

August 2013 saw at least two deaths and 18 assaults in racist and neo-Nazi attacks in Moscow and St. Petersburg and the Kirov, Lipetsk, Novosibirsk, Samara and Sverdlovsk regions.

As has traditionally been the case, a significant number of victims suffered attack on August 2 – Airborne Troops Day (called VDV Day in Russia), where no fewer than ten people in five regions were victims of racist attacks.

As such, since the beginning of 2013, 15 people have been killed in racist violence in Russia, while 107 were injured and two received serious threats against their lives. This year so far we have recorded such incidents in 27 regions of the country.

This month nationalists continued in earnest with their ‘anti-immigrant’ raids. In St. Petersburg, despite the arrest of Slavic Force’s Dmitri Evtushenko, the so-called ‘Russian sweeps’ continued under the direction of the Russian Party’s Nikolai Bondarik, and without the use of direct physical violence. In Moscow, similar ‘sweeps’ were conducted under the direction of Aleksandr Amelin of the Russian Revival movement. On August 20, Moscow ultra-right activists from organizations including Shield of Moscow (led by Aleksei Khudyakov), Bright Rus (Igor Mangushev), Attack (a splinter group of Maksim Martsinkevich’s Restrukt), the veterans’ club Reserve (a project of the Great Russia movement), and the Russian Moscow movement conducted the raids in coordination with Izmailovo law enforcement, detaining about 150 immigrants in Moscow’s Izmailovo section and on the grounds of the former Cherkizovsky market.

August saw the continuation of ultranationalist rallies centered on the concept of ‘ethnic crime.’ In this connection, on August 9, about 200 people affiliated with the Petersburg People’s Assembly against Ethnic Crime held a rally at the Ulitsa Dybenko Metro stop, ending in the detentions of 24 people. The reason for the gathering was the August 5 murder of Petersburger Mikhail Mikhailov. A similar rally was held on August 18 in Rostov-on-Don, drawing about 200 participants as well. In Voronezh, the local variant was organized by the local People’s Council, Cossack organizations, the Great Russia and the Russian Imperial Movement.

In August we recorded no fewer than 10 instances of neo-Nazi and xenophobic vandalism in seven regions of Russia. Orthodox churches (three instances), Jehovah’s Witnesses buildings (two instances), and Muslim and Protestant buildings (one case each) were all targeted. Three other non-religious objects were vandalized on ideological grounds. In addition to the usual graffiti, there were more dangerous acts of vandalism: on the night of August 19, two individuals attempted to burn down the St. Peter’s Church in St. Petersburg, with white power group NS/WP Nevograd claiming responsibility the following day.

As such, since the beginning of 2013 we have recorded acts of racist and neo-Nazi vandalism on no fewer than 40 objects in 27 regions of the country.

There were also no fewer than two convictions this month, against five individuals, for violence where a court established racial hatred as a motive, in Moscow and Tatarstan. As such, from the beginning of the year we have recorded no fewer than 24 such convictions, against 42 individuals.

There was one conviction for xenophobic vandalism this month, in the Altai Republic. The editor-in-chief of local publication Amadu Altai was convicted of the desecration of a cross at the construction site of a chapel in the village of Topuchaya. As such, there have been six such convictions in five regions of the country since the beginning of 2013.

In terms of xenophobic propaganda, August 2013 saw no fewer than 13 convictions, against as many individuals and in as many regions of the country. Since the beginning of the year, 75 people have been convicted on xenophobic propaganda charges in 74 rulings in 40 regions of Russia.

The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated on six occasions this month, with the additions of entries 1990-2044. Added to the list were xenophobic materials of various sorts including audio and video; content from the social network VKontakte including songs by the groups Malchishnik and Mongol Shuudan; content from social network Odnoklassniki; entries from popular blogging platform LiveJournal; brochures, leaflets and books by A. Barkashov, I Barkov, B. Mironov, I. Gubkin and V. Popov; and an Islamophobic slogan simply included without commentary. Also included were commentaries to an article by A. Prokhanov in the newspaper Zavtra; another article by B. Stomakhin; the neo-Nazi web portal Heroes of the Will; a neo-Nazi article posted to the site antikompromat.org (but which had been long since deleted); neo-pagan texts; an article from Lurkmore (a Russian equivalent of Encyclopedia Dramatica); and a text by Islamist and Bashkir nationalist A. Dilmukhametov. As per tradition, the list was updated with various Muslim materials, including a variety of videos, materials from the Jihad in the Caucasus website, and from the already-banned website islamdin.biz.

The list continues to be plagued by myriad errors of all sorts. August saw the inclusion not once but twice of already-listed materials: the Jehovah’s Witnesses text What Does the Bible Really Teach?, as well as the neo-Nazi video Russian Nationalists Render Justice; these multiple entries are the result of parallel decisions from different courts. In a formal error, the same judgment against the newspaper Russian Order was added to the list twice under different numbers.