Racism and Xenophobia in July 2018
The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for July 2018. It is based on material gathered by SOVA Center in the course of our daily monitoring.
We are aware of only a single hate motivated attack in the month of July 2018. In St. Petersburg, ultra-right-wing assailants beat an antifascist. Since the beginning of 2018, 3 people have been killed in incidents of racist violence in Russia, while 18 more were injured. These incidents were recorded in 6 regions of Russia.
The public posting of law enforcement employees' addresses resumed in July. At the beginning of the month, the autonomous ultra-right website published photos, a biography and the home address of the head of one of the Center E departments on counteracting religious extremism and terrorism in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. He had drawn the attention of the ultra-right after participating in a seminar entitled Extremism is a Threat to Society on May 23.
Public nationalist activity in July was low. On July 29 in Moscow, at Sokolniki Park, the Permanent Council of the National-Patriotic Forces of Russia (PDS NPSR), which comprises a large number of groups including nationalist ones, held a demonstration “against the results of the 2018 presidential elections, against current legislative initiatives, and against the current policy of the government of the Russian Federation.” The primary theme was pension reform. Meanwhile, activists from the Association of People’s Resistance (ANS) participated in anti-pension reform demonstrations in Moscow and St. Petersburg on July 18.
We are aware of only 3 July 2018 court decisions related to racist violence that recognized the hate motive. These cases convicted 8 individuals in the Novosibirsk and Sverdlovsk regions, as well as the Zabaikalsky Krai. Since the beginning of the year, there have been no fewer than 9 such decisions for such crimes, with 38 individuals convicted in 8 regions of Russia.
Xenophobic statements, meanwhile, resulted in 11 convictions of 15 individuals in 10 regions this month. All of the decisions were on the basis of posts and shares on social media. The materials included songs and music videos by famous ultra-right groups (Bandy Moskvy, Kolovrat, RGD 88), aggressive statements and calls to attack individuals from Central Asia and the Caucasus, and a picture of a traditional Russian stove with the caption “more Jews needed.”
Since the beginning of 2018, we know of some 115 verdicts related to “extremist statements,” convicting 120 people in 51 regions of Russia (excluding obviously inappropriate decisions).
July saw two updates (on July 4 and 5) to the Federal List of Extremist Materials, with the addition of entries 4465-4489. The new entries include a Holocaust-denying article entitled Adolf Hitler: Life for Germany and Europe; as well as an electronic version of a book by Russian nationalist ideologue Petr Khomiakov entitled Technotronic Avesta: The Sacred Cosmology of the White Man. Also, the List now includes arbitrarily banned Jehovah's Witnesses publications including Holy Scripture: Translation of a New World and The Bible for Little Ones, as well as songs by the group Ensemble of Christ the Savior and Crude Mother Earth, which we doubt exhibits any real basis for banning.
The radical right-wing group Stolz (including its chapters in Khabarovsk and the Russian Far East and Stolz-Jugend) was added to the Federal List of Extremist Organizations in July 2018 on the basis of a December 1, 2017 decision of the Khabarovsk Central District Court deeming the group extremist. About 15 individuals aged 17-20 were members of the group, calling themselves “warriors for morality” standing “against illegal migration,” imitating Third-Reich aesthetics and posting xenophobic content on social media including calls to “purify the gene pool.” The group cooperated with the local cell of Occupy Pedophilia headed by Maxim Martsinkevich. Members attempted to disrupt opposition demonstrations and attacked representatives of liberal and left-wing movements, as well as members of other youth subcultures. In April 2013, Stolz members attacked LGBT advocates during Day of Silence demonstrations. The group drew attention following the April 2017 attack on a local FSB office by 17-year-old member Anton Konev, which resulted in his death and that of two other people who were inside.
As such, the List now includes 65 entries (though entry 62 includes roughly 400 Jehovah's Witnesses organizations), not including 27 organizations that Russian courts have deemed terrorist.
There was a notable number of court decisions issued on the basis of anti-extremist articles of the Code of Administrative Offences (CAO) this month: 25 individuals were fined under article 20.29 CAO (production and distribution of banned materials), with 24 of them charged following their posts on social media and one – for putting up two xenophobic leaflets in the landings of his block of flats. Thirteen individuals were charged under Article 20.3 CAO (propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi symbols and symbols of banned organizations) for showing tattoos of swastikas and other symbols of the Third Reich, posting such symbols on social media, and selling items bearing Nazi symbols in a shop. One more individual was charged on the basis of both articles simultaneously.