Racism and Xenophobia in July 2015
The following is our review of racism and xenophobia in Russia during July 2015. The data we report are collected in the course of Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
In July of this year, no fewer than four people were targeted in racist attacks, in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
Since the beginning of the year, four people have been killed in racist attacks, while 37 were injured. Another four people received serious threats against their lives. These incidents were recorded in eleven regions of Russia.
We also recorded no fewer than two acts of xenophobic vandalism this month, in the Lipetsk region. Since the beginning of the year, we are aware of 23 such incidents, in 16 regions of the country.
Public ultra-right actions were low this month. It is worth mentioning, though, the rally “For Honor and Freedom,” which nationalists held on the Right Political Prisoner’s Day, July 25. The “Russians” association organized the action; its leader, Dmitry Dyomushkin, promised thus to “compensate” for the failed “Russian May First” in Moscow. In Moscow, the city authorities did not agree to any of the proposed routes for the march, and also denied permission for a picket. As a result, the city saw a few “national hangouts” around Heroes of the Plevna monument, as well as a one-man picket at the Novokuznetskaya Metro stop. Together, these demonstrations consisted of 10-15 people.
Similar actions were held in Saint Petersburg, Astrakhan, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod, Oryol, Saratov, Syktyvkar, and Ulyanovsk, but they were small in size as well.
We can also mention a picket “on the problem of ethnic crime” organized on July 19 by the National Social Initiative (NSI) on the Field of Mars (Marsovo Pole) in Saint-Petersburg.
Ultra-right “raids” were also low this month. In Saint Petersburg, there were two “Russian cleanings.” The first was on July 4 at the Lesnaya Metro stop, and the second on July 18 near the Vladimirskaya Metro stop. There was a similar event in Moscow, where NSI and “Pamyat” nationalists participated.
We became aware of no fewer than two convictions on racist violence charges, where hate was accepted as a motive, in July 2015 – in Moscow, and in the Tula region. The most important of these was the trial of former Russian Image leader Ilya Goryachev, who was accused and convicted of organizing the terrorist group BORN as well as a series of murders carried out by its members; he was sentenced to life in prison.
Since the beginning of 2015, we have recorded no fewer than 12 convictions for racist violence, where the court considered hate as a motive. Twenty-six people were convicted, in 11 regions of Russia.
There was one conviction this month on ideological vandalism charges. In Tomsk, the court convicted a man for defacing a statue of Lenin, restricting his movements for a year. Since the beginning of the year, we have seen four such convictions – that is, for xenophobic, nationalist, or ideological vandalism – against five individuals, in the Krasnodar Krai and the Sakhalin and Tomsk regions.
For xenophobic propaganda, July 2015 saw some 14 rulings in 13 regions of the country. Fifteen people were convicted, among them the notorious Saint Petersburg neo-Nazi Maxim Kalinichenko. For the creation of the group Russian Right Sector on the Russian social networking site VKontakte, he was sentenced to two years, seven months in a maximum-security penal colony, with a prohibition on his ability to work in certain positions for one year and one month.
All in all, since the beginning of 2015, there have been 97 convictions, against 105 people in 46 regions of Russia, on xenophobic propaganda charges.
At the end of July, the Saint Petersburg prosecutor’s office initiated a case seeking to ban the National Social Initiative as an extremist group; an investigation of the organization found that its members “promote the idea of national socialism” and propagandize the idea of racial superiority.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated five times this month (on July 6, 8, 13, 15, and 19), to include entries 2868-2905. The List now includes various new xenophobic materials including videos from Format-18, the Ataka (Attack) movement publications, songs by groups like Kolovrat and KhorSS (Chorus of the SS); various Islamic materials including materials from the Caucasus Emirate, Chechen separatist publications, the latest songs by Timur Mutsuraev, and a totally innocent website of a Muslim library; it also includes a reprint of an article by Boris Stomakhin.