Racism and Xenophobia in December 2015: Including Preliminary Results for the Year
The following is our review of racism and xenophobia in Russia during December 2015, and in a brief conclusory review for the year. The data we report are collected in the course of Sova Center’s daily monitoring activities.
One person was targeted in a racist or neo-Nazi attack this month, in Moscow. In all, for 2015 in total, 9 people were killed and 68 injured in such attacks in 17 regions of Russia. Additionally, 4 people received serious threats against their lives. These numbers are preliminary and it would be premature to compare them to those of the previous years.
The leading locations of racist and xenophobic violence were Moscow (3 killed, 26 injured) and Saint Petersburg (3 killed, 14 injured). There were a notable number of attacks as well in the Moscow Region (5 injured) as well as in the Samara and Novosibirsk regions (3 injured in each).
This year’s most common targets of attack were natives of Central Asia (3 killed, 5 injured), and people identified as of “non-Slavic appearance” generally (1 killed, 10 injured). Also targeted were natives of the Caucasus (5 injured), people with dark skin (2 injured), and Jews (2 killed). The numbers are supplanted further by LGBT people (9 injured), the homeless (2 killed, 8 beaten), and people attacked “by association” – those, who tried to stand up for the victims (5 injured).
Ultra-right public activity was low in December 2015. The majority of right-wing radical movements and groups focused their attention on the ongoing protest by long-distance truck drivers. Almost all of the groups identified the protest as a “national” protest, and some even called it the beginning of a revolution. However, there were no direct calls to join the protest.
Additionally, right-wing radicals continued with their “raids.” These include actions in Moscow under the banner of the “Citadel” movement “For Honor and Freedom,” which carried out raids on December 6 and 21, at known residences of migrant workers.
We are aware so far of only one instance of neo-Nazi vandalism in December 2015: an attack on chanukiah in the Bryansk region. For 2015 in total, we recorded 44 acts of ideologically motivated vandalism in 27 regions of the country. The most common objects of such attack were ideological objects (19 instances), Orthodox churches and mosques (6 each), Jewish objects (5 instances), government offices (4), Jehovah’s Witnesses houses (3), and pagan idols (1).
December 2015 saw only one conviction on charges of racist violence that considered the hate motive. A Syktyvkar court sentenced Aleksey Kolegov, the leader of the “Frontier of the North” movement, to four years for participation in an attack as part of the “Occupy Pedophilia” movement.
In 2015, Russian courts considered the hate motive in 22 rulings on racist violence against 52 individuals (5 of whom received suspended sentences) in 17 regions of the country.
There were 17 convictions in 15 regions of Russia on charges of xenophobic propaganda this month. Seventeen people were sentenced, with five to prison colony (the majority of them for radical Islamist propaganda); three received suspended sentences, seven were fined, and one was sentenced to compulsory labor.
Since the beginning of 2015, there were 199 such cases filed against 208 individuals in 60 regions of Russia. Thirty-eight received suspended sentences, while another 38 were sentenced to actual restriction of liberty.
The twenty-eight year old leader of the “Attack” movement, Vladimir Kudryashov, was sentenced to one year for the creation and direction of an extremist association (Part 1 of Article 282.1 of the Criminal Code).
For 2015 in total, Article 282.1 (the organization of an extremist association or the participation in one) was invoked in 6 proper convictions of 13 individuals in four regions of Russia. Leaders and members of BORN, “Attack,” and “Occupy Pedophilia” were sentenced.
For organizing the activities of a banned organization (Article 282.2), 3 rulings in 2015 sentenced 6 people, from “The Spiritual-Ancestral Power Rus” and the fan club of Dynamo Kirov, the soccer team.
There were 7 total rulings in 2015 on charges of vandalism motivated by hatred (Part 2 of Article 214) against 10 people in the Krasnodar, Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Sakhalin and Tomsk regions, as well as the Republic of Komi.
In December, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was extended 8 times (on December 2, 11, 14, 17, 22, 24, and 25). Entries 3159-3209 were added. The List was updated at total of 79 times in 2015, expanding to 3209 from 2562 entries.
The Federal List of Extremist Organizations, which is accessible on the Ministry of Justice website, grew in December to include a regional Jehovah’s Witnesses chapter in the city of Abinsk, based on a Krasnodar Krai court ruling on March 4, 2015, which Sova considers to be improper.
As such, since the beginning of 2015, the Federal List of Extremist Organizations was expanded with the inclusion of 11 new organizations. As of December 30, 2015, the List includes 47 organizations whose activities are banned in Russia by a court order, and the continuation of whose activities is punishable under Article 282.2 of the Criminal Code: organizing activities of an extremist organization.