Racism and Xenophobia: December 2014 and Preliminary Year in Review
In December 2014, at least two people were targeted in acts of racist and neo-Nazi attacks, in Moscow and the Moscow region.
All in all, based on preliminary numbers, 19 people were killed in 25 regions of Russia in such attacks, while another 103 were injured. Additionally, two people were subjected to serious threats on their lives.
Moscow was the leader in terms of such incidents, with eight killed and 28 injured. In Saint Petersburg, two people were killed in such attacks while 29 were injured. In the Krasnodar Krai, one person was killed while nine were injured. There were also many victims in the Moscow region (one killed, eight injured), the Novosibirsk region (nine injured), the Sakhalin region (two killed and six injured), and the Perm Krai (one killed and six injured).
Central Asians continue to represent the main targets of racist violence, with ten people killed and 17 injured this year; along with people from the Caucasus, with three killed and 13 injured; and people simply identified as “non-Slavic in appearance,” with three killed and 17 injured. There were also several groups we classified by different characteristics, no member of which was killed in racist attack: people with dark skin (10 injured), members of various religious groups (15 injured), members of youth and informal political groups (12 injured), members of the LGBT community (seven injured), homeless (two injured), Roma (three injured) and Jews (one injured). The numbers also include people attacked incidentally as witnesses of attacks who tried to interfere or just passersby (five injured).
Neo-Nazi vandals defaced five objects this month, in the Volgograd, Novosibirsk and Tyumen regions, and the Republic of Tatarstan.
For 2014 as a whole, we recorded 53 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism in 35 regions of the country. The main objects targeted were religious objects (17 incidents), Orthodox churches (10), Jehovah’s Witnesses buildings (8), mosques and Muslim graves (7), Jewish objects (5), and government agency buildings (5).
In December, ultra-right wing groups planned and held events in several Russian cities commemorating, in their own way, the riots on Manezh Square in December 2010. In Saint Petersburg, the event March Against Ethno-crime and Corruption brought together between 100 and 120 people. The event was organized by Dmitry Bobrov’s National-Socialist Initiative (NSI).
Two such events were to be held in Moscow. On December 12, at the 1905 Metro stop, about 40 people came together for a rally “For Russian power, for the liquidation of the oligarchy.” The meeting was attended by Great Russia leaders Andrey Savelyev, Yury Ekishev (of NOMP), and Nadezhda Kvachkova. Additionally, an action was planned for December 11 on the Manezh. The organizer, Russian Revival leader Alexander Amelin, was unable to get city permission for the action, and so decided to hold a series of pickets instead, which also failed: Amelin and others were detained when they went out of the Pushkinskaya Metro stop.
In Ryazan, a December 11 event was also planned, this time by local members of the “Russians” group. Police ended up blocking the entrances to Victory Square, where the event was to be held, and detained 10 nationalist activists.
Ultra-right wing Russian activists continue to participate on both sides of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. On December 5, President Petro Poroshenko presented a Ukrainian passport to prominent Russian neo-Nazi Sergey (“Malyuta”) Korotkikh, who has been fighting with the Azov Battalion. Several other well-known Russian neo-Nazis fight in the Azov Battalion, among them Roman (“Zuhel”) Zheleznov, and Alexander (“the Romanian”) Parinov, a member of the BORN (Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists).
There was only one conviction for racist violence that considered the hate motive in December 2014. This was in the city of Kasimov, in the Ryazan region: three young people were convicted for attacking a Roma person.
As such, for all of 2014, no fewer than 19 convictions on charges relating to racist violence have considered the acts as motivated by hatred. Forty-two people (five of them receiving suspended sentences without further sanctions) in 17 regions of the country were convicted.
In terms of xenophobic propaganda, December 2014 saw 13 rulings in 12 regions of the country, against 14 individuals. Of these, seven were sentenced to prison (usually in connection with conviction on another crime), one was released due to a lapsed statute of limitations, one was sentenced to compulsory treatment, one was given a suspended sentence, and the rest were given sentences not involving the deprivation of liberty.
For all of 2014, 145 guilty verdicts were issued, against 148 individuals, for propaganda – either under Article 282 of the Criminal Code (incitement to hatred) or Article 280 (public calls to extremist activity) – in 53 regions of Russia. Thirteen of those convicted received suspended sentences and 21 were deprived of their liberty, but almost all were sentenced to various prison terms in connection with other crimes.
Six trials this year properly applied the law on organization of extremist activities, or participation therein (Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code), sentencing 13 individuals total in Moscow and the republics of Bashkortostan and Tatarstan. Those convicted were the creators of the cells of Caucasus Emirate and at-Takfir va al-Hijra international groups, as well as the creators and participants in the nationalist organizations Spiritual-Ancestral Empire Rus, the Northern Brotherhood, and the Slavic Union (also known as Slavic Force, both of which are abbreviated as SS in Russian).
There were four rulings in total this year related to hate-motivated vandalism (Article 214.2), against six individuals in the Ivanov, Tula, and Chelyabinsk regions and the Khanty-Mansi autonomous okrug.
In December 2014 the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated four times, on December 5, 12, 26 and 29. Entries 2522-2561 were added. In total, the List was updated 47 times this year, growing from 2180 to 2561 entries. As of December 28, 2014, there are 39 entries on the List that have been “nullified,” meaning the information has been excluded while the numbering remains. Five of those were removed as they were duplicates of other entries; meanwhile 34 were removed after the ruling deeming the material in question as extremist was canceled. Ninety-five entries reflect overlapping judgments (not including multiple entries regarding the same materials but with differing data), and two entries reflect rulings that had already been added to the list.
The Federal List of Extremist Organizations, which is published at the Ministry of Justice website, was updated with the additions of three organizations total in the year 2014. As of December 29, 2014, the List contains 36 organizations, whose operations are banned by court ruling, and the continuation of which are punishable under Article 282.2 (the organization of an extremist organization) of the Criminal Code.