Racism and Xenophobia in August 2016

In August 2016, racially motivated attacks affected at least six people in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, resulting in three deaths.

Since the beginning of the year, ultra-right wing attacks have resulted in four deaths and at least 34 injured across 8 Russian regions: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Trans-Baikal Krai, Primorsky Krai, Vladimir, Novosibirsk, and the Sverdlovsk regions.

Rallies organized by the far right were low throughout this period. However, a demonstration was held on August 18, in memory of the Tambov uprising of 1921, as well as other activists who perished from anti-Bolshevik activity. A “Nation and Freedom” event was also held in Moscow. Around 10 nationalists headed by Vladimir Ratnikov (Russian Liberation Front "Memory"(RFO Pamyat) - the Moscow branch of the "Nation and Freedom" Committee) laid flowers and lit candles at the Memorial Complex of the Fraternal Cemetery. And, on August 21, RONA activists headed by the leader Oleg Filatchev, laid flowers at the location where defenders of the White House died in 1991.

In August, raids organized by nationalists continued. On August 17 in Saint Petersburg, the ultra-right “Cossack Stanitsa (village) of the North-Slavic” conducted another raid on a residence of migrant workers. A little under a dozen activists, along with police officers, broke into migrant workers’ apartments and dragged people of Central Asian citizenship onto the streets. Also in August, activists of the National Conservative Movement, led by Valentina Bobrova, raided stands selling watermelons and cantaloupes in Kuznechiki district, Podolsk. Bobrova acts on behalf of the activist group “We are from Suburban Moscow” within this area.

We are aware of two acts of vandalism this August, occurring in Arkhangelsk and Perm. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded 21 objects as having been destroyed by xenophobic vandalism across 17 regions of the country.

We are unaware of any sentences being issued in August 2016 for xenophobic violence. In total, at least 13 such sentences have been handed out against 32 people in 12 regions of the country since the beginning of the year.

In August 2016, one verdict for xenophobic vandalism was imposed. IntheChelyabinskregion, avandalpaintedswastikasandsymbolsofthe"Azov"Battaliononamonumentdedicatedtosoldier-liberators. Hewasdeclaredinsaneandsentforcompulsory treatment.Sincethebeginningof 2016, weknowoffoursentencesforxenophobicvandalismagainstfivepeopleacrossfourregionsofthecountry.

For xenophobic propaganda in August 2015, there were at least 12 convictions against 14 persons in 10 regions of the country.

The loudest verdict in August was that of Alexander Belov, a leader of the association “Russian,” by the Meshchansky District Court of Moscow. The court found Belov guilty under Article 282 of the Criminal Code (incitement of ethnic hatred), Art. 280 of the Criminal Code (public calls for extremist activity), Art. 282.1 (creation of an extremist community) and Art. 174 (legalization of funds obtained by criminal means) and was sentenced on aggregate to 7.5 years in a penal colony. In addition, the court upheld the claim of BTA Bank for 5 billion rubles. It is important to note that the main charge for the former leader of the “Russians” movement was not for xenophobic propaganda, but for financial fraud.

Throughout 2015, 131 people in 55 regions of the country were sentenced for cases of racist propaganda.

In August 2016, the entries 3721-3822 were added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials. The list now includes materials by neo-Nazi skinheads and neo-pagans from social media networks, as well as various Muslim materials, from Islamist militant videos posted online to the banned “Hiz-ut-Tahrir” relogious party materials and peaceful Islamic articles.

TheFederalListofExtremistOrganizationswasupdatedinAugusttoincludetwomoreorganizations: PublicMovement “TulaSkins”, recognizedasextremistbytheSovietskyDistrictCourtofTulaonJuly 6, 2015 andthe “Russians”EthnopoliticalAssociation, recognizedasextremistbytheMoscowCityCourtonOctober 28, 2015. Thus, theFederalListofExtremistOrganizationsnowincludes 49 groups (notcountingthe 24 additionalgroupsthatarerecognizedasterroristorganizations), whoseactivityisprohibitedbythecourtsandpunishableunderArticle 282.2 of the Criminal Code.