Russian Nationalism and Xenophobia in November 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 November 2022.

We are aware of hate-motivated attacks targeting three individuals in St. Petersburg, as well as two acts of xenophobic vandalism (in Moscow and Tomsk), committed during November 2022. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded xenophobic attacks with a total of 17 individual victims, as well as one individual having received a serious death threat. We are also aware of 23 acts of xenophobic vandalism, this year to date.

In addition, in November, reports spread of an action by supporters of the "Occupy Pedophilia" movement, with one far-right Telegram channel posting a video of a man being beaten. The video's creators, allegedly posing as a minor, opened correspondence with a native of Uzbekistan, lured him to a meeting, threw him to the ground, and beat him. It is unclear where and when this attack took place.

The main annual fall event for Russia's ultra-right, the Russian March, was held this year mostly in the form of "meetings of like-minded people," with no mass actions held.

In Moscow, the Movement of Nationalists organized a few meetings in cafes, with not more than ten people attending. Aside from that, on November 4, the Right Consent coalition held a conference in which about ten organizations participated, among them the Russian All-People's Union (ROS), Right Russia (of Georgy Borovikov and Igor Sobolev), the youth organizations White Sunrise and Russian Czarist Movement, as well as a few representatives from the Moscow branch of the Russian Imperial Movement (RID). Also in attendance was ultra-right "veteran" Alexander Ivanov-Sukharevsky. Judging by photos from the event, about 30 people attended.

Further meetings of like-minded people, organized by the Movement of Nationalists, were also held in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kostroma, Tver, Tomsk, Oryol and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Judging by the photographs, no more than seven people attended the meetings in any of these cities.

In Kirov, the meeting was held at the monument to the Sisters of Mercy, and was attended by members of a local historical-cultural club. In Luga, in the Leningrad Review, activists from the local Movement of Nationalists conducted an "agit-raid," putting up nationalist posters around town. In Nizhny Novgorod, nationalists gathered at the Nizhegorodsky Kremlin and held an action "in memory of Russian nationalists slain in battle for the Russian idea," including Maxim "Tesak" Martsynkevich. In Perm, nationalists put up posters around town featuring slogans like "Russian March – for truth and freedom for the Russian people," and "Russian March – Russian nationalists wish all Slavic nations well."

There were also a few pickets abroad in connection with the Russian March.

Meanwhile, we recorded only one November ruling issued in related to a hate crime.(*) In that case, a resident of Karachay-Cherkessia was sentenced to prison time under Part 3 of Article 30, and item "m" of Part 2 of Article 105 of the Criminal Code (CC) (attempted murder motivated by hatred or enmity towards any social group) for assaulting an assistant to the Khabez inter-district prosecutor.

The most notable event this month was the detention of three former participants of the banned neo-Nazi group Militant Terrorist Organization (BTO), also known as the Borovikov-Voevodin gang. Members of the group who have already served prison sentences, Denis Burakov (Kharchev), Andrei Romanov (Kostrachenkov) and Roman Orlov, as well as Alexei Voevodin, who is serving a life sentence, are suspected of committing at least two murders in 2003, as well as banditry.

Since the beginning of 2022, in total we have recorded cases in which a total of 18 individuals have been convicted in connection with xenophobic violence, and another 10 have been convicted on the basis of xenophobic vandalism.

In November, we learned of one ruling under Article 282.1 CC (participation in an extremist community). The Krasnodar Krai Court sentenced six residents of Gelendzhik – five of whom were minors at the time of their criminal activity – over their participation in the neo-Nazi group ERNP (United Russian National Party). The community's organizers were Bogdan Laskin and Evgeny Talykov. Members of the ERNP held classes in hand-to-hand combat, and were known to attack people on the street who they deemed to be "leading an asocial lifestyle" and/or "representatives of informal subcultures." They spread the ideas of National Socialism, including drawing symbols "outwardly similar to the emblem of the troops of Nazi Germany” on local buildings, and posted leaflets around the city. In addition, in April 2020, they burned a copy of the Victory banner, filmed it and distributed the video online. Talykov was sentenced to six years in a penal colony in February 2022. The court sentenced Laskin to six and a half years in a penal colony, and the remaining five members of the group received suspended sentences of two to three years of imprisonment.

This year in total, according to our data, 65 individuals have been convicted for participation in extremist societies and organizations.

We also have information about rulings issued in November 2022 against 13 people in relation to extremist public statements. Three of those convicted had been charged under Article 280 CC (public calls to extremist activity) over their social media (including group chats) posting of calls to violence against police, members of the armed forces, and their families. Five individuals were charged under Part 2 of Article 205.2 CC (calls to terrorist activity). Most of these charges related to posts in support of Islamist terrorism, the 2019 shootings at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and calls to attack government employees. Another two individuals were convicted under combined charges of Article 280 and 205.2, for calls to attack natives of Central Asia, civil servants and the president. Here we took into account the three members of the above-mentioned ERNP, who were convicted not only for participation in an extremist community, but also under Article 354.1 CC (rehabilitation of Nazism).

In terms of statements, by our data, Russian courts have convicted some 196 people in 177 rulings since the beginning of 2022.

The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated three times, on November 1, 18 and 25, to account for new entries 5312–5317 . The List was supplemented by new xenophobic materials including a book by Kirill Riddick (pseudonym of neo-Nazi skinhead Kirill Blinov, who was convicted in 2011 of hate-motivated murder), materials by a group of "Citizens of the USSR" movement, a video clip of Magomed Khazbiev in the Ingush language, and a song by the group "Adidas" that was insulting to police.

The Federal List of Extremist Organizations was also updated in November, to account for the following new additions:

- three Ukrainian organizations: "C14"(СИЧ); the Voluntary Movement Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists («Добровольчий Рух Организацii украiнських националiстiв»); and the Black Committee («Чорний Комiтет»), all of which were deemed extremist by decision of the Supreme Court on September 8, 2022;

- the Tatar Regional All-Tatar Public Movement – All-Tatar Public Center, deemed extremist by the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan on June 10, 2022;

- the ultra-right society “Nevograd” (as well as multiple variations on that title), which was deemed extremist by the St. Petersburg City Court on October 25, 2021.

We also note a number of decisions that were issued in November under the extremist articles of the Code of Administrative Offenses (CAO). According to Article 20.29 CAO (manufacture and distribution of prohibited materials), in 17 cases, the courts imposed fines for social media posts featuring materials from the Federal List of Extremist Materials, including songs from the group Kolovrat and the bard of the Chechen armed resistance, Timur Mutsuraev. We have information about 25 people sanctioned under Article 20.3.1 CAO (incitement to hatred) for posting xenophobic statements on social networks against natives of the Caucasus, Central Asia, “non-Russians” in general, and law enforcement officers. Three of the 25 were sentenced to community service, while the rest were fined.

Finally, we are aware that 38 individuals were sanctioned under Article 20.3 CAO for the propaganda and public display of Nazi symbols and symbols of banned organizations. Nine of these (including five inmates) had openly displayed their own swastika tattoos, while the others had shared Nazi symbols online (more often than not, on VKontakte). Three of the 38 were placed under administrative arrest, while the others were fined.

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(*) 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.