Racism and Xenophobia in September 2018

The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for September 2018. It is based on material gathered by SOVA Center in the course of our daily monitoring.

This September, no fewer than 5 people were targeted in ideologically motivated attacks, in Moscow and the Tyumen Region. So far in 2018, 3 people were killed in racist violence, while 27 more were injured or beaten in such attacks. We are aware of racist attacks in 7 regions of Russia this year to date.

Right-wing radicals have taken to threatening so-called «traitors» in publications on social media. The threats have included, for example, video recordings of a savage beating. The Firstline Nevograd movement (a St. Petersburg nationalist movement) posted a video of a young man being kicked on the ground as he lay in a pool of blood. The video's caption reads, "Found a rat." It also states that the beaten man, "using his position within the group, leaked information … and did unallowable things." Additionally, ultra-right Internet resources have recently featured photos and personal information of members of the security services, participants in protests, and prosecutors working cases against nationalists.

Right-radical public activity was relatively high in September 2018.

On September 30 in Moscow, activists from the Nation and Freedom Committee (KNS), together with the National-Revolutionary Vanguard (NRA), Association of People’s Resistance (ANS) and the National Organization of Russian Youth (NORM) conducted a demonstration "in memory of victims of ethnic crime," in opposition to Russian migration and immigration policies. The demonstration was held near the Oktyabrskoe Pole Metro station, where in February 2016, Uzbek migrant Gulchekhra Bobokulova who killed four-year-old Anastasia Meshcheryakova came carrying the child's head. Nationalists at the demonstration carried portraits of people killed by migrants, laid flowers, and lit candles. After the conclusion of the action some KNS activists rode to the Chistye Prudy Metro station, where Moscow Spartak fan Egor Sviridov had been murdered, and laid flowers there.

On September 3, 2018, two members of the Right Bloc in Astrakhan held a picket "in support of political prisoners." They carried portraits of convicted nationalists, signs stating "Freedom for Political Prisoners," and signs featuring the Right Bloc symbols.

Nationalists also participated in various protests against an increase to the federal age of eligibility for pensions in Russia. Members of KNS in Moscow and St. Petersburg were at the actions led by Alexei Navalny on September 9, while ANS activists came out in Moscow, Oryol and Nizhny Novgorod.

Various groups of nationalists participated in analogous actions held on September 2 by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. We are aware that members of the Right-Conservative Platform (a sub-project of the Honor and Freedom movement), the Permanent Council of National-Patriotic Forces of Russia (PDS NPSR) and the For Rus’ movement participated in events in 14 cities across Russia.


Additionally, radical right-wing activists took part in the so-called Endless Protest, beginning following September 9 actions in Moscow and St. Petersburg by opponents of the increase to the retirement age in Russia. On September 21, ANS activists in Moscow held one-man pickets near the offices of First Channel (Russia's primary federal television station), OTR and Life in protest of the Russian media's perceived failure to report on demonstrations in opposition to the increase to the retirement age.

However, despite common participation in public actions, nationalists remain unable to overcome internal disputes, inevitably leading to public denunciations on social networks and open clashes. For example, during the Endless Protest on September 29 in Moscow, near the Tretyakovskaya Metro stop, a brawl broke out between activists from the ANS and the Right Bloc. Each side blamed the other for starting the row, as well as, per tradition, for provocation and collaboration with the Russian security services.

Nationalists put forward candidates to participate in the elections that took place on September 9. The Russian All-People’s Union (ROS) put up Ivan Mironov for governor of the East Siberian region of Khakassia, however he did not pass municipal thresholds to the ballot. Another ROS candidate, Mikhail Butrimov, faced the same situation in his bid for Mayor of Moscow. Likewise, the leader of Russian nationalist thrash metal band Korrozia Metalla Sergey Troitsky did not submit signatures in his support or request for registration as a candidate.

Only ANS founder Dmitry Karasyov was able to participate in elections, running for city deputy in Shchekino, in the Tula Region. However, he lost the vote, taking last place.


We are aware of only one September 2018 court decision, in the Penza Region, delivered for religiously-motivated violence. For 2018 as a whole, we are aware of 11 convictions against 46 individuals, handed down in 10 regions of Russia, for xenophobic or otherwise ideologically motivated violence.

September 2018 saw no fewer than 12 convictions in 17 regions of Russia, against 20 individuals, for xenophobic declarations. We are only able to comment on the materials that drew law enforcement attention in four of these cases. The first of them concerns video clips denouncing the Jehovah's Witnesses, Christianity and Judaism. Another concerns anti-Roma comments posted on VKontakte by residents of Ust-Abakan. The third deals with a hyperlink to an anti-Semitic article. The fourth concerns a video clip making the call to jihad.

In 2018 as a whole, we are aware of 150 convictions of 157 individuals, in 57 regions of Russia, for racist declarations. (We do not include here the convictions that we see as inappropriate.)

The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated once this month, on September 11, to include entries 4504-4507. The entries include an anti-Semitic video clip; the poem Russian Flame by nationalist poet Nikolai Bogolyubov, which includes anti-Semitic declarations; the latest book by Konstantin Dushenov, the ex-editor-in-chief of the Orthodox Rus’ newspaper; and a National Bolshevik brochure entitled A Different Cherepovets.

Additionally, we are aware of fines levied in August 2018 against 15 individuals on the basis of Administrative Code Article 20.29, the production and distribution of prohibited materials. What the majority of those fined published has not been made clear. However, we are aware that posts to social media of xenophobic songs by Kolovrat, a band popular among nationalists, make up some of the materials. We are also aware of 10 individuals charged under Administrative Code Article 20.3, propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi symbols and symbols of banned organizations. Seven were charged on the basis of tattoos featuring Nazi symbols, while another individual was fined on the basis of a T-shirt featuring SS symbols. Two others were fined on the basis of posts on social media, including content related to ISIS, which is a banned group in the Russian Federation.