Racism and Xenophobia in September 2015
The following is our review of racism and xenophobia in Russia during September 2015. The data we report are collected in the course of Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
No fewer than five people were targeted in racist violence this month, with one of them being killed. These attacks took place in Saint-Petersburg and the Kursk region. Since the beginning of 2015, five people have been killed in racist attacks, and 50 more were injured or beaten; four received serious threats on their lives. We have recorded these incidents in 14 regions of Russia so far this year.
Two objects in the Krasnoyarsk Krai and the Chelyabinsk region were targeted in incidents of xenophobic vandalism this September. We have recorded such incidents on 28 objects in 16 regions of the country so far this year.
Public ultra-right activity was low this month. On September 27 at the Chistye Prudy Metro stop, at the place where Spartak Moscow fan Yury Volkov was killed, nationalists held a traditional “day of memory of the victims of ethnic crime.” It was organized by the “Russians” association. Other participating groups included Pamyat, the Nation and Freedom Committee, the movement For Honor and Freedom, and the Moscow chapter of the Russian Joint National Alliance (RONA). The event drew no more than fifteen people. Aside from Moscow, a few very insignificant events were held in Khabarovsk and Balakhna.
Nationalists in Kazan held two separate events “in defense of the Russian language.” On September 6, there was a rally “for federal educational policy,” organized by the Society of Russian Culture of the Republic of Tatarstan. Participants in the action included members of the National-Democratic Party (Konstantin Krylov), the Great Russia (Andrey Savelyev), Motherland (Aleksey Zhuravlev), as well as a few others flying imperial Romanov flags. The rally drew between 25-30 people. On September 11, two activists from the Great Russia Party conducted pickets for the same cause.
In Moscow, nationalists participated in a general opposition protest on September 20 in the Maryino section of the city. Nation and Freedom members, members of Pamyat, the “Russians,” RONA and the Right Party (Vladimir Istrakhov) also took part. National Liberation Movement (NOD) member Maria Katasonova was also seen in attendance. Additionally, about ten people displaying imperial flags as well as flags with Celtic crosses and “kolovrats” (pre-Christian Slavic solar symbols) came out to the rally.
Local elections (not to be confused with regional elections), another focus point for nationalists, were held across Russia on September 13.
The Great Fatherland Party participated in local elections, sending representatives to municipal and city-level constituencies. As a result, Great Fatherland member Maxim Khudyakov became a deputy of the municipal committee of the Mikhailovka rural settlement of the Mikhalovsky municipal district of the Primorsky Krai; Oleg Kusakin, also of Great Fatherland, became a deputy of the City Duma of the city of Pavlovo in the Nizhny Novgorod region; brothers Oleg and Sergey Gavrin from the village of Energetik in the Novoorsky district of the Orenburg region received mandates as well.
Representatives of the National-Democratic Party also participated in local elections, but no member of the party received a mandate at any level. However the leader of the Novosibirsk chapter, Rostislav Antonov, ran for membership as a deputy of the council of Novosibirsk, and despite not winning, he came in second, with 17.3% of the votes.
On a separate note, the International Forum on Russophobia and the Information War Against Russia was held in Moscow on September 26-27. It was organized by the National Diplomacy Foundation. Public figures such as archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin and senator Igor Morozov, as well as foreign journalists and experts and representatives of Russian “patriotic” and nationalist movements and publishing houses were in attendance. Presentations were made by Yegor Kholmogorov, Yegor Prosvirnin (of pop-nationalism website Sputnik and Pogrom), Konstantin Krylov, and also by National Diplomacy representatives Yevgeny Valyaev and Aleksey Zhivov (who are both members of the Right-Conservative Alliance).
September saw two rulings in cases of violent crime, where a judge considered the hate motive. Two individuals were sentenced, in Kirov and Rostov-on-Don.
There was also a September 21 ruling worth mentioning in the Vyborg City Court, where three accomplices of Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists (BORN) were sentenced for arming the group’s leader Nikita Tikhonov.
For 2015 in total so far, 35 people have been sentenced in 19 cases of racist violence, in 15 regions of Russia.
There was one ruling on charges of participation in the activities of an extremist organization this month. The Kolsky district court of the Murmansk region sentenced the ataman of the 31st Regiment of the Cossack Battalion “Khorty Velesa” for recruiting local prison inmates into the banned organization Spiritual-Ancestral Power Rus. All in all, there have been eight cases involving the organization and participation in extremism associations, against 11 people in five regions of Russia, this year.
September also saw no fewer than 22 rulings on xenophobic propaganda, against as many people in 16 regions of the country. Among them was the leader of the infamous thrash metal group Korroziya Metalla, Sergey (“the Spider”) Troitsky, who was fined for playing the banned song “Beat Spooks” at an Oryol concert.
For racist propaganda, there were at least 138 rulings, against 147 individuals in 52 regions of the country.
Over the course of September, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated five times: on September 3, 10, 16, 22, and 24. Entries 3028-3061 were added. The new entries include a wide range of xenophobic materials, neo-Nazi online videos among them, as well as poems by a neo-pagan, and Islamist and Muslim materials (including those from Hizb ut-Tahrir). The book “Strike Force”Against Putin was also included.
The Federal List of Extremist Organizations was supplemented by the inclusion of the radical nationalist union Misanthropic Division, which was declared extremist by a July 17 ruling of the Krasnoyarsk Krai court. The List, therefore, now includes 44 organizations (not including 23 deemed terrorist) whose activities are banned by court order, and whose continued activities would be a violation of Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code.