Racism and Xenophobia in March 2018
In March we learned about one instance of ideologically motivated vandalism, in Arkhangelsk. In total since the start of the year, there were at least three such cases of vandalism in three regions of the country.
In March, nationalists participated in events surrounding the presidential elections. In particular, the Permanent Council of the National-Patriotic Forces of Russia (PDS NPSR) and the Russian National Front (RNF) participated in a demonstration of the Russian Communist Party, “For Honest and Clean Elections!”, at Revolution Square in Moscow on March 10, at which ultra-right-wing activist Vladimir Filin was present. On March 16 in Moscow, activists from the Youth Union of Nationalists (MON), the youth wing of the Party of Nationalists (PN), hung a banner off the bridge junction of Leninsky Prospect and the Moscow Ring Road (MKAD) with the inscription, “THESE ELECTIONS ARE A SPECTACLE.” On March 17 in St. Petersburg, six individuals from the National-Revolutionary Vanguard, the Association of People’s Resistance, and the “Identitarians of Russia” movement marched from St. Isaac’s Cathedral with lighted candles and a black banner with the inscription, “Our Candidate is a Russian Riot.”
On March 18 in Moscow, the Black Bloc movement, Nation and Freedom Committee (KNS), and the activist Roman Kovalyov (formerly of the New Opposition) met outside the Delegation of the European Union in Moscow, where they planned to deliver a message with the demand that the EU not recognize the results of the elections. According to different sources, between eight and thirteen were arrested at this demonstration, including the leader of Black Bloc, Vladimir Ratnikov.
On March 19, the National-Revolutionary Vanguard and Identitarians of Russia movements attempted to hang a banner in St. Petersburg with the inscription “Our Candidate is a Russian Riot” on a railway bridge, but they were detained at the Pionerskaya metro station.
A good amount of public activism on the part of ultra-right-wing groups was dedicated to the largest events of this March, the protests in Volokolamsk and the tragedy in Kemerovo.
Nation and Freedom Committee activists participated in demonstrations in Volokolamsk on March 24-27. On March 24, representatives of the PN and MON movements also attempted to go to Volokolamsk. They planned to participate in the “landfill protest” but were taken off buses and taken to Volokolamsk police station. One of the leaders of PN, Konstantin Filin, and five others were detained.
Some participants in ultra-right groups attended demonstrations mourning the victims of the Kemerovo fire in various cities. In Moscow, there were representatives from the National Conservative Movement (NKD), KNS, and the Right Bloc on Pushkin Square. Activists from the National Organization of Russian Youth (NORM, the youth wing of the KNS) placed flowers at sites in the city of Ivanovo and Ust-Katav in the Chelyabinsk region in memory of the victims.
In March we learned about two convictions against nine people for racially motivated violence. In St. Petersburg, a court made a conviction in the case concerning the assault of two Yemeni citizens, ideologically motivated vandalism and desecration of a cemetery, and robbery. Furthermore, in Rostov-on-Don, four ultra-right-wing activists were convicted for an attack upon Caucasian Knot journalist Vladislav Ryazantsev.
In total since the start of the year, three convictions were made for violent crimes, in which the courts recognized the crimes as motivated by hate, in St. Petersburg and the Rostov and Kemerovo regions. Ten individuals were convicted in these cases.
It is worth also noting the conviction in absentia of Roman (Zuhel) Zheleznov for his participation in the Ukrainian Azov battalion as a mercenary in line with Part 3 Article 359 of the Criminal Code (the participation of a mercenary in an armed conflict).
Seventeen convictions were made against 17 individuals in 14 regions for xenophobic statements. Those convicted in March included: the leader of the socialist movement Black Bloc, Vladimir Ratnikov (Komarnitsky), who was sentenced to 160 hours of community service for the publication of songs by the groups Kolovrat and Bandy Moskvy (“Gangs of Moscow”) on his VKontakte page; and the supporter of the Volya (Will) party, Anna Dmitriyeva, who is from Zhigulevsk, Samara region, and received 10 months of community service for the distribution of fliers with the inscription “We don’t trust these authorities.”
In total since the start of the year, at least 53 convictions were made for racist and other types of propaganda against 53 people in 33 regions, not counting the convictions that we consider clearly inappropriate.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated once in March, on March 20. Items 4410-4414 were added. The following materials were added to the list: an Islamic video clip, an ultra-right-wing audio recording, the-pseudo-encyclopedic article on veterans of World War II, the book by Oleg Platonov, The Zionist Protocols and Global Politics, and the film by Jean-Charles Deniau and Charles Gazelle, Assassination of Russia.