Racism and Xenophobia in October 2015
The following is our review of racism and xenophobia in Russia during October 2015. The data we report are collected in the course of Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
No fewer than three people were targeted in racist and neo-Nazi motivated attacks in St. Petersburg and in Moscow in October 2015. According to our data, since the beginning of 2015, eight people have been killed, while 56 were injured as a result of racist violence. Another four people received threats against their lives. Racist attacks were recorded in 16 regions of Russia.
No fewer than six objects in the Vologda, Tula, Saratov and Tula regions, Primorsky Krai and Republic of Bashkortostan were targeted in incidents of xenophobic vandalism in October. We have recorded at least 39 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism in 24 regions of the country so far in 2015.
Public ultra-right activity was low this October.
The only relevant public event was the October 17 action in support of Vladimir Kvachkov held by the Russian National Front. Though announced as all-Russian, the action was only held in four cities: Moscow, Voronezh, Kazan and Nizhny Novgorod. The Moscow rally took place near “Ulitsa 1905 goda” metro station and drew between 20-30 people from the Great Russia Party and IGPR ZOV. About 10 people participated in the action in Voronezh. Participants included members of the Union of Officers of Russia, Russian Communist Labour Party (RKRP), the Communist party (KPRF) and the Communist Youth Union of Voronezh. Activists of Great Russia Party conducted several one-man pickets in Kazan. Three activists of the “Russians of Balakhna” movement, National Democratic Party (NDP) and Russian Imperial Movement (RID) held a series of one-man pickets in the Nizhny Novgorod region.
Ultra-right “raids” were held in October by a new nationalist movement called "Honor and Freedom". Within their “Citadel” project on searching illegal migrants' places of residence the movement conducted two raids in Moscow.
“Sober Yaroslavl” activists also carried out a raid “against Gypsy outrage” at the local bus station. The fight against the “outrage” turned into an insult at a Gypsy woman. However, other nationalists seemed to appreciate this kind of fight as the video of the event spread widely over the Web.
This October saw two rulings in cases of racist violence, where hate was accepted as a motive – against nine members of the “Occupy-pedophilia” movement convicted in Kamensk-Uralsky, the Sverdlovsk region, and a resident of Saint Petersburg sentenced for systematic beating of a child motivated by hatred. Since the beginning of 2015 we are aware of at least 15 such rulings against 44 people in 14 regions of the country.
As for xenophobic propaganda in October 2015, there were at least 26 sentences against 26 people in ten regions of the country. Among the convicts there was Alexander Amelin, coordinator of the Russian Renaissance movement, convicted in Moscow for public calls to extremist activities at the “Russian May First” event. He received a suspended sentence of 18 months with a two years ban on political activity. The others were former director of Kaluga branch of the “Russians” association and co-founder of “The Right for European Development” party, Vitaly Shishkin, who was sentenced to 4 years in penal colony for calls to mass riots, Moscow activist of the far-right Attack Association, Maxim Yaryshkin, sentenced to fifteen years imprisonment for the incitement of ethnic hatred and creation of an extremist community and Ufa activist Robert Zagreev, sentenced to three years in a maximum-security penal colony. Zagreev was convicted for posting an article by Bashkir nationalist and Islamist Ayrat Dilmukhametov on the "Revinform" Web portal and the “Nabat” social network. In total, for racist propaganda there were at least 163 sentences against 172 people in 55 regions.
A ruling on charges of participation in the activities of an organization banned for extremism (Article 282.2) was issued in October against a fan of the banned Kirov “Dynamo” football club. The members of the “Occupy-pedophilia” movement in Kamensk-Uralsky mentioned above were convicted for creation of an extremist community under Article 282.1. For 2015 in total so far, there were 9 rulings under both of the articles issued against 20 people in 7 regions of the country.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated 3 times this month: on October 6, 7 and 21. Entries 3076-3113 were added. The new entries in October include various materials by Nazi-skinheads and Muslim militants, books by Said Nursi, books by Ukrainian nationalists, articles by Boris Stomakhin, and an anarchists’ video.
In October the Federal List of Extremist Organizations was updated by the inclusion of item 45 – the religious association of Ynglism followers in Stavropol region, recognized extremist by the decision of the Stavropol regional court on August 21, 2015.
In addition, on 28 October 2015 the Moscow city court declared extremist the far-right Ethno-political Association “Russians”. As it was reported by the media, the movement was banned following the complaints of the law enforcement agencies against the Manifesto of the movement, as well as numerous criminal and administrative cases against members and leaders of the organization on charges of nationalist propaganda. In our opinion, there were no direct calls to violence and incitement to ethnic discord in the statutes of the “Russians”. As for the criminal and administrative cases against members of the organization, in our opinion, not all of them are appropriate. Most importantly, many of the cases are pending a decision, and thus, due to the absence of indictment, should not be considered as arguments in that trial. However, the “Russians” Association carried out a clearly xenophobic propaganda, so as a matter of fact, the decision on its ban can hardly be considered as quite inappropriate, despite the obvious violations.