Russian Nationalism and Xenophobia in October 2022

Настоящий материал (информация) произведен и (или) распространен иностранным агентом РОО Центр «Сова» либо касается деятельности иностранного агента РОО Центр «Сова».
The following is our monthly review of instances of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for October 2022.

We are aware of an attack motivated by hatred, and two xenophobic acts of vandalism, committed during October 2022. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded incidents in which 18 individuals suffered in xenophobically-motivated attacks, and of one individual having received a credible death threat. Aside from that, we are aware of 21 acts of xenophobically motivated vandalism so far this year.

Meanwhile we know of two convictions issued in October (*) in relation to hate crimes. In the Kaliningrad Region, two individuals were convicted under Article 213 of the Criminal Code (hooliganism motivated by hatred) and sentenced to prison time for an armed attack of passersby on the street. Another two individuals were charged under Articles 244 (desecration of graves) and 354.1 (rehabilitation of Nazism) of the Criminal Code for desecrating veterans' graves. Since the beginning of the year, we have become aware of convictions of 12 individuals issued in relation to xenophobic violence, and of seven individuals on charges related to xenophobic vandalism.
In total, we have information regarding the October sentencing of 10 individuals over extremist public statements (including the graveyard vandals referred to above). One person was convicted under Article 280 of the Criminal Code (public calls to extremist activity) over the online publication of calls to attack people of "non-Slavic appearance." Another six were convicted under Part 2 of Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code (calls to terrorist activity), generally over the publication of calls to join ISIL, or in support of the actions of Mikhail Zhlobitsky, the teenage anarchist who detonated a suicide bomb at the Arkhangelsk FSB headquarters in October 2018. Another person was convicted under a combined charge of Articles 280 and 205.2 for supporting a terrorist organization. This year to date, we have recorded no fewer than 162 convictions on charges related to statements, issued against some 179 people.

To compare, according to data published on the website of the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court for the entire first half of 2022, 267 people were convicted under articles punishing all types of “extremist statements” (Articles 282, 280, 205.2, 354.1, parts 1 and 2 of Article 148 of the Criminal Code), if only the main article of the charge is taken into account.

The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated twice this month, on October 4 and 19, in order to account for new entries 5309–5311. The new additions include two articles by Boris Stomakhin, the former editor of the Radical Politics newsletter, as well as materials posted on the social media site Odnoklassniki by a someone with the username “Abu Muhammed.”

Meanwhile Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was added to the Federal List of Extremist Organizations. Its activities in respect of Facebook and Instagram had been deemed extremist by Moscow's Tverskoy District Court on March 21, 2022.

As to the list of organizations that Russian courts have deemed terrorist, the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan was so recognized by the Supreme Court on September 14, 2022, while the “People's Self-Defense” movement was also deemed terrorist in a September 12, 2022 decision of the Chelyabinsk Regional Court.
We also note a series of administrative rulings issued in October under extremist articles in the Code of Administrative Offenses. For example, with respect to Article 20.29 (manufacture and distribution of banned materials), in 15 cases courts issued fines for sharing of songs listed in the Federal List of Extremist Materials, including those by the groups Kolovrat and Gangs of Moscow. We have recorded information about 17 individuals having been fined under Article 20.3.1 (incitement to hatred) over the social media publication of xenophobic statements and calls for acts of violence against members of the government.

Some 26 individuals were sanctions under Article 20.3 of the Code of Administrative Offenses (propaganda and public display of Nazi symbols and symbols of banned organizations) this month. Five of them had openly displayed their own swastika tattoos; two wore uniforms featuring Nazi symbols in public places; and the rest posted Nazi and ISIL symbols to social media. Three of these 26 faced administrative arrests, while the other received fines.

According to information published by the Supreme Court, for the entire first half of 2022, Russian courts sanctioned 507 individuals under Article 20.29 (manufacture and distribution of banned materials) of the Code of Administrative Offenses. This time, citing statistics on the application of the Code of Administrative Offenses, the Supreme Court (on unclear grounds) combined Article 20.3 with Article 20.3.1 in its reporting, such that in the first half of 2022, the total number of sanctions under these two articles amounted to 2,690.

(*) Data about criminal and administrative cases are reported without reference to rulings that we consider to be patently improper, but including those in respect of which we have insufficient information or which we consider controversial.