Racism and Xenophobia in November 2017
In November 2017, 2 people (in St. Petersburg and the Yaroslavl region) were targeted in attacks motivated by racism or nationalism. Since the beginning of this year, 4 people have been killed and 55 have been injured in incidents of racist violence recorded in 16 regions of Russia.
We are aware of 5 acts of racist or nationalist vandalism this month. They were recorded in Moscow and the Lipetsk and Sverdlovsk regions. In all, we have recorded no fewer than 44 incidents of ideologically motivated vandalism in 25 regions of the country so far this year.
Traditionally, one of the primary public events of the autumn organized by ultra-right forces has been the so-called Russian March. This year, Moscow nationalists staged multiple Russian March-related events on November 4, the Day of National Unity, a public holiday in Russia. Attendance at the main action, held at Lyublino, was a record low, with no more than 300 people participating in the march and meeting. About 25 individuals were detained. Meanwhile an “alternative” march from the Oktyabrskoe Pole Metro station drew about 370 people, such that its attendance actually exceeded that of the “primary” march. One individual was detained after the action. Representatives of several nationalist associations attended a holiday concert, Russia Unites, on the day at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Finally, other, smaller groups that had previously held events on the day (such as supporters of Strelkov, the National Democratic Party and the National Conservative Movement) preferred not to take to the streets at all. The National Democratic Party, together with the club Dostoevsky held a conference timed to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution; they invited backers of the so-called Novorossiya.
Beyond Moscow, Russian March-themed events were held in one form or another in 8 cities (down from 11 cities in 2016), and attendance was low at practically all of them.
November 5 in Moscow saw mass detentions in connection with an action proposed by the Artpodgotovka movement led by Vyacheslav Maltsev. In 2013, Maltsev had declared November 5, 2017 to be the day of peaceful revolution: he had called on people to the central squares of their cities (and first and foremost Manezhnaya Square in Moscow) and to stay there as long as the leadership of their countries did not resign. Maltsev continued to call people to the streets for November 5 despite having fled Russia in connection with the initiation of criminal charges against him. Mass detentions of members and alleged members of Artpodgotovka began in mid-October in Russia, and the movement itself has been deemed extremist in Russia. According to information provided by OVD-Info, approximately 300 people were detained in Moscow on November 5, with an additional 148 detained in other parts of Russia. We are unaware of the number of such detainees who were members or supporters of Artpodgotovka, or how many intended to participate in the “revolution,” versus how many were detained at random.
An “opposition stroll” was held on November 26 in Moscow, with nationalist figures Dmitry Golikov and Konstantin Filin of the Nationalists Party in attendance. The stroll proceeded from Triumfalnaya Square to Manezhnaya Square, with approximately 30 participants. Following the action, participants attempted to participate in the All-Russian Civil Forum, distributing stickers reading, “Prisoners of conscience, you are not forgotten.” On November 27, Filin addressed the All-Russian Human Rights Conference, held in the Kosmos Hotel.
We are unaware of any sentences issued in November 2017 related to hate-motivated violence or vandalism. In all this year, there have been at least 10 racist violence convictions taking into account the hate motive, against 24 individuals in 9 regions of the country. With respect to vandalism, no fewer than 3 sentences have been issued against 5 individuals in 3 regions of Russia this year.
November 2017 saw one verdict on the basis of participation in an extremist association, where a Samara court convicted Evgeny (“Gavr”) Gavrilov, the head of a soccer fan group called T.O.Y.S., on charges of creating an extremist association, public calls for extremist activity and incitement to national hatred. Gavrilov was sentenced to 6.5 years of probation. Additionally, he was banned from attending public events (including the World Cup, set to be held in Russia in 2018). In total, we have only recorded 2 sentences this year related to participation in extremist associations or banned organizations.
There were 17 convictions on the basis of xenophobic public statements this month, against 17 individuals in 14 regions of the country. So far, there have been 188 such verdicts issued against 204 individuals in 65 regions of Russia in 2017.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated twice (on November 10 and 29), with the additions of entries 4273-4299. The new additions include Islamist and ultra-right materials, an anti-government leaflet and, as usual, Jehovah’s Witnesses literature.
The Federal List of Extremist Organizations was supplemented in November by the addition, as paragraph 63, of the All-Tatar Public Center (VTOTs, led by tatar activist Rafis Kashapov before he was imprisoned), which was deemed extremist by a Naberezhnye Chelny court on May 11, 2017.