Racism and Xenophobia in May 2015
The following is our review of racism and xenophobia in Russia during May 2015. The data we report are collected in the course of Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
During May 2015, at least four people were targeted in racist or neo-Nazi violence in Moscow, the Samara Region, and the Khabarovsk Territory.
According to our data so far this year, the first five months of 2015 saw four people killed in such violence, with at least thirty injured, in two receiving serious threats against their lives. These incidents happened in ten regions of Russia.
We recorded only one act of vandalism that could be categorized as hate-motivated in May 2015. This was the desecration of a mosque in the Perm Territory. Since the beginning of the year, there have been no fewer than 15 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism in 13 regions of the country.
As per tradition, the most notable nationalist event this month was the Russian May First. This year, the event faced some difficulty in fully getting off the ground. Two actions were planned to take place in Moscow. One was organized by the “Russians” Association, while the second was put together by the Russian National Front (RNF), a coalition of smaller nationalist groups. The “Russians’” event was canceled due to the eight-day detention of its main organizer, Dmitry Dyomushkin. All attempts to get re-authorization for a different event failed.
The RNF event, held under the slogan “The Strength of the Nation is Nationalization!” was held starting near the Oktyabrskoe Pole Metro stop, and ending at Schukinskaya. No more than 170 people participated.
Generally speaking, the Russian May First was a failure. In addition to Moscow, actions were held in seven cities, a triple decline from last year’s event. Additionally, fewer people showed up to any given action.
The National-Democratic Party (NDP, of Konstantin Krylov) decided not to take up the organization of Russian May First events in the regions, and attempted to put together a new event on May 2nd. On that day, the NDP held actions in seven cities, in commemoration of those killed in the Odessa House of Unions, and to which few people showed up.
A May 24 protest “against ethnic crime” in St. Petersburg is worth noting. This time, the action was held in relation to the killing of ultranationalist Ivan Stanin in a brawl with migrants from the Caucasus. About 30 people, mostly from the “Russians” Association, the Great Russia Party, and the NDP, came to the event.
We are aware of only a single court ruling related to racist violence that qualified the charge with a hate motive. The case was in Irkutsk, where three young people were convicted to long prison terms for the murder of a Kyrgyz migrant.
As such, since the beginning of the year, there have been no fewer than seven such rulings, that being violence motivated by hatred, against 13 individuals in six regions of Russia.
There was also only one ruling related to xenophobically-motivated vandalism. In Krasnodar Territory, a vandal was convicted for putting both swastikas and Stars of David on a war memorial.