Racism and Xenophobia in September 2013

The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government participation or countermeasures, for September 2013. The review is based on material gathered by Sova Center in the course of our daily monitoring.

This month saw five people injured in racist and neo-Nazi attacks, in St. Petersburg, the Zabaikalsky Krai and the Novosibirsk region.

As such, since the beginning of the year 17 people have been killed and 115 injured in such attacks, while two others have received serious threats on their lives. Racist attacks have been recorded in 28 regions of Russia so far this year.

Far-right cadres increased public actions in September in comparison with the summer. In Saratov, a march of 20 people chanting “Russia for the Russians, Saratov for the Slavs” and other nationalist slogans followed a so-called ‘peoples’ assembly.’ Participants threw the fascist salute, and after the march a few staged a ‘White tram,’ a favorite action of Russian nationalists during which participants attack non-Slavic people using public transit.

Two other ‘peoples’ assemblies’ were held this month in St. Petersburg, with both at least partially organized by Nikolai Bondarik of the Russian Party. The first was held on Vioselnaya Street on Vasilyevsky Island, where nationalists gathered in opposition to migrant workers living in a building on that street. The second such assembly was held on September 21 at the Lomonosovskaya Metro stop. Another meeting was held in Perm on September 3 in protest of so-called ‘ethnic crime;’ it was organizing by a group called Russian Perm.

Another far-right initiative this month was the network of events under the banner ‘Russians Against the Distribution of Citizenship’ of September 14. Various events were held in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Kirov, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Penza, Khabarovsk and Syktyvkar – where local nationalist leader Alexander Karmanov declared his admiration for the acts of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, calling for a “white terror.”

Anti-immigrant ‘raids’ continued in the capital cities. In Moscow, ‘Russian Sweeping – Moscow’ (run by Alexander Amelin of Russian Revival) conducted a raid on the market by the Teply Stan Metro stop on September 15. In nearby Khimki, a group calling itself Guestbusters conducted a similar raid on the same day. It followed a similar September 12 action put on by Igor Mangushev and Bright Rus, while Shield of Moscow carried out their own raids as well.

In St. Petersburg, a similar action was conducted on September 14, running from the Grazhdansky Prospekt Metro stop down Prospekt Prosveshcheniya towards the Metro stop.

On September 16, Russian Sweeping activists took part in a meeting organized by the Federal Migration Service (FMS). Local FMS head Elena Dunaeva “invited Russian Sweepers to participate in inspections,” announcing her intention to include nationalists and their representatives in the Public Council of the Federal Migration Service. She also noted that the regional and local FMS leadership would hold open meetings with citizens and invited nationalists to participate. Likewise FMS Community Advisory Council chairman Alexander Rosenbaum invited the Russian Sweepers to join his board.

On September 27, Shield of Moscow activists armed with baseball bats raided a residential building housing migrant workers, demanding registration documents and chasing out those whose documents were not in order. If tenants did not open their doors, activists kicked them in. In one case targeted tenants attempted to resist with the use of traumatic weapons, while in other places the nationalists were met with knives. Police arrived to the scene and arrested about a dozen nationalists and nearly fifty migrant workers; no criminal case has as yet been opened.

We recorded no fewer than four acts of neo-Nazi vandalism this month. As such, since the beginning of the year we have recorded no fewer than 45 acts of racist and other ideologically motivated vandalism in 31 regions of the country.

Sova Center is only aware of one conviction this month that considered a hate motive to a violent act: the sentencing of so-called ‘Russian Breivik’ Dmitry Vinogradov, who shot up the office of a pharmaceutical firm, killing six people and injuring another. Vinogradov was sentenced to life in prison and a fine of 300,000 rubles, and will be subjected to compulsory psychiatric treatment. Despite the fact that such a rampage cannot be classified as a racist offense, evidence established that Vinogradov espoused a radical right-wing outlook, as his social network pages were littered with neo-Nazi images and included a ‘manifesto’ preaching hate.

Including Vinogradov’s case, no fewer than 24 rulings sentencing 39 individuals in 18 regions of Russia have included racist hate as a motive this year.

In terms of xenophobic or racist propaganda, this month saw no fewer than eight rulings against as many people – in the Penza, Rostov, Samara and Sverdlovsk regions and the republics of Buryatia, Tatarstan and Chuvashia. Since the beginning of 2013 there have been no fewer than 84 such rulings against 85 people in 43 regions of Russia.

The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated three times: on September 17, 19 and 27; entries 2045-2073 were introduced. Various Islamic and Islamist materials joined the ranks, for example the Salafist brochure Iman Islam Namaz. Russian nationalist materials were also added, for example the anti-Caucasian song Bei Chertei, or Beat Devils by Russian metal band Korrozia Metalla; as well as the website Fourth Reich. Materials glorifying mass murders, for example pages about the ‘Russian Breivik’ Vinogradov and an online community formed in support of the ‘Belgorod Shot,’ Sergei Pomazun, were also added.

The Federal List of Extremist Organizations was also updated this month. The Dynamo Kirov Fanclub (Club of Fans of Football Club ‘Dynamo Kirov’) was added after having been ruled extremist in a local court in July 2013. As such, the list now includes 33 groups (not including 19 deemed terrorist) whose activities have been prohibited by a court of law, and whose continued activities in Russia are punishable under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code.