Russian Nationalism and Xenophobia in July 2022
The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for July 2022.
We are aware of two July incidents of ideologically motivated violence, in Voronezh and in Nizhny Novgorod; one person was targeted in each attack. Since the beginning of this year to date, we have recorded xenophobic attacks affecting 15 people, as well as one death threat.
One incident this month gained notoriety within Russia: a mass brawl between local youth and natives of the Caucasus on the night of July 4 in the city of Kovdor, in the Murmansk Region. The cause of the row was a domestic dispute near a café, after which 20–30 people participated in the brawl by the local shopping mall. Following the incident, large numbers of local young people started gathering together, chanting xenophobic slogans and painting xenophobic and neo-Nazi graffiti on businesses known or assumed to be run by migrants (including "demons," "run, rats" and "88", etc.). Police arrived to the scene, flanked by the National Guard and road patrol, and restored order.
This month, we recorded only one act of vandalism: a swastika was drawn on a monument at the Moscow Line of Defense in the village of Nefedyevo, in the Moscow Region. In total this year, we are aware of 16 acts of xenophobically motivated vandalism.
The Russian far right made no notable public appearances in July.
July 2022 (*) saw the first convictions in the case of the double murder of Shamil Udamanov (or Odamanov) and another unidentified native of Central Asia, which had been captured in the viral neo-Nazi video "Execution of a Tajik and a Dag" (a derogatory term for Dagestani) from 2007. The Moscow Region court sentenced Sergei Marshakov (of Skin Legion and others) and Maxim Aristarkhov (of Format-18), veterans of Russia's ultra-right movement, to 17 and 16 years respectively in a maximum security penal colony.
In this year to date, we have recorded six convictions on the basis of xenophobic violence: in the Moscow Region, St. Petersburg, Astrakhan and Tula; as well as six convictions on the basis of xenophobic vandalism: in Astrakhan, Chita and Novomoskovsk.
We are also aware of 19 individuals convicted in July for "extremist statements." Nine of them were found guilty under Article 280 of the Criminal Code (public calls to extremist activity) for the online calls to attack natives of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as "non-Slavs" generally and law enforcement employees. Another six were convicted under Part 2 of Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code (calls to terrorist activity) over radical Islamist statements and calls to join ISIL, as well as calls to attack government employees and members of the FSB as well as the head of state. One person was sanctioned on a combined charge comprising articles 280 and 205.2 of the Criminal Code, over calls to attack representatives of the state. Another three, in Vladikavkaz, had participated in protests against self-quarantine in response to measures against the COVID-19 pandemic; they were charged under a combination of Article 280 of the Criminal Code with other criminal statutes: on the use of violence against the police and the National Guard (Part 1 of Article 318 of the Criminal Code), and on the organization of mass riots (Part 1 of Article 212 of the Criminal Code). The charge under Article 280 was associated with calls to attack police.
So far this year, we have recorded no fewer than 103 convictions on the basis of public statements, issued against 108 individuals.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated twice this month, on July 6 and 12, to account for new entries 5292–5295. The new additions include a poem dedicated to Timothy McVeigh, who committed the 1995 bombing of a US government building in Oklahoma City; a video with musical accompaniment in the form of a Ukrainian version of a song from the Japanese series Evangelion, featuring symbols of the fair-right Ukrainian group Right Sector, which is banned in Russia, an antisemitic collage and an appeal by one Yuri Slepnyov to "citizens of the USSR" "not to interfere with the elections of Soviet deputies." We have doubts about the legality of the ban in respect of Slepnyov’s appeal.
Meanwhile the Federal List of Extremist Organizations was updated in July to account for new entry 92: the Adat People's Movement, a public association critical of Ramzan Kadyrov that had been deemed extremist by the Supreme Court of Chechnya on May 12 of this year.
The list of organizations recognized as terrorist by the Supreme Court was also updated in July. It now includes the Noman Chelebidzhikhan Crimean Tatar volunteer battalion, which the Supreme Court deemed extremist on June 1 of this year.
At a minimum, six individuals were fined under Article 20.29 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (manufacture and distribution of banned materials) for social media re-posts of songs included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials: "Skinhead Song" by the group Kolovrat; "Fight Club" by CWT, "Smoke" by GROT and 25/17, and others of the sort.
Meanwhile no fewer than seven individuals were sanctioned under Article 20.3.1 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (incitement to hatred). Six of them were fined over social media comments and videos aimed at inciting hatred towards natives of the Caucasus and Central Asia, as well as "non-Slavs" generally, as well as security forces and government officials. One person was fined for making a xenophobic speech at a gathering in Krasnoyarsk.
Finally, no fewer than 16 people were sanctioned under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi symbols and symbols of banned organizations). Six of them demonstrated their own Nazi tattoos in public places. One of them drew a swastika on the façade of apartment buildings. Others posted Nazi symbols on social media. Six were placed under administrative arrest, while the others were fined.
(*) Data about criminal and administrative cases are reported without reference to rulings that we consider to be patently improper.