Galina Kozhevnikova. :Anti-extremist; summer: skinheads attack; the State Duma reacts
Edited by A. Verkhovsky
This report continues a series of SOVA Center's seasonal analytical reviews started in the autumn of 2004. As before, all materials used for this report are published on SOVA Center's website at http://sova-center.ru. Please, note that we choose not to focus here on the activity of radical Islamic groups (in the North Caucasus and in other Russian regions) and on criminal prosecution of Islamic radicals. We believe that this subject needs to be addressed separately due to its specific nature. This report looks primarily at manifestations of ethnic Russian nationalism, which today is the most active and substantial type of nationalism in Russia. 
Manifestations of radical nationalism: Violence : Organized right-wing radical activity
Counteraction to Radical Nationalism : Activity of non-governmental organizations : Criminal prosecution of right-wing radicals : Other counteractive measures taken by the state
Excessive and unfounded actions against extremism : Lawmaking : Other examples of pressure
MANIFESTATIONS OF RADICAL NATIONALISM
Following a brief decline apparently caused by confusion among skinheads after the highly publicized arrest of the Borovikov group in St. Petersburg - or maybe just by :preventive; government measures targeting skinheads as well as mass media on the eve of the G8 meeting - in summer hate crime returned to its usual 30% growth rate and even exceeded it. In the summer of 2006, racist and neo-Nazi attacks affected 168 people, including 16 who were killed, while in the same period of 2005, 70 people were attacked, including 6 who were killed. Admittedly, current numbers include many casualties of the blast attack in Cherkizovo Market (12 killed, 54 wounded). But event without the blast victims, the rates of violence have grown.
Moscow continues to be the center of right-wing radical activity, but racist attacks also affected 15 other regions - which is unusual for the traditionally :quiet; summer months. Skinheads are increasingly demonstrative in their crimes: for example, a series of attacks in Moscow on 1 July, affecting at least seven people, obviously marked 40 days of Dmitry Borovikov's death.
Apparently, skinheads seek publicity, having learned to appreciate free TV coverage. Current media reports featuring skinheads are nothing short of advertising. Instead of showing those :fighters for the purity of the race; in the courtroom humbly asking to be forgiven and promising they will never do it again, TV journalists repeatedly show us skinheads' :home video; provoking new attacks, intentionally videofilmed.
The blast attack in Cherkizovo Market in Moscow on 21 August 2006 triggered a broad reaction. The attack affected 66 people, killing 12, including two young children. Police may have never considered a "nationalist" version of the crime - given the overall criminality of the Moscow markets - if the market security had not apprehended two suspects, and in a couple of hours ethnic hatred was found to be the main motive of their attack.
We know that radicals sometimes, though not very often, practice blast attacks. From this perspective, the explosion in Cherkizovo Market is not an exception, if we remember a series of anti-Semitic posters wired to explosive devices in 2002, an explosion on 12 June 2006 damaging a rail track just in front of the train going from Grozny to Moscow, or a blast in a Russian Orthodox chapel in Smolensk Oblast last year. However, none of these blasts resulted in as many casualties as Cherkizovo.
Besides, explosives are rarely used by young students - rather, blast attackers are usually experienced adults, often with a history of fighting in Yugoslavia, Transdnestrian region, and other wars of early 90-ies. Why young students joined the ranks of blast attackers is not yet clear. It may remain an isolated incident, but on the other hand, it may be the first product of numerous :military-patriotic; clubs and camps operating all over the country, controlled by right-wing radicals, and training teenagers in contact fighting and the use of firearms. It was in connection with the Cherkizovo blast that the country learned about some :military-patriotic; SPAS Club - either owned by, or associated with the Russian All-National Union (RONS). Civil society activists have been trying in vain to get the law enforcement agencies to look into such camps and their practices; however, the current focus on :patriotism,; overall militarization of mass mentality, and the hopes of military draft committees to get more young men into the army, cause authorities to disregard the dangers of this "patriotic" exercise.
Traditionally in summer, when teenagers leave big cities for the countryside during school vacations, racist violence which is not driven by skinheads becomes more visible. For example, people have become used to raids against open-air markets on the Navy Day. Although police and local authorities always prepare for this day in advance, attacks continue; this year, they were reported in at least six major Russian cities. Traditionally, such incidents are treated as minor administrative offences at best or just remain unpunished.
In the summer of 2006, police were found to be perpetrators of racist attacks. Two incidents of racist violence took place within a short interval targeting Tajik students in Moscow on 7 June and Chechens in Tver on 17 June. In both cases, attackers wearing civilian clothes identified themselves as police and produced police service cards. In both cases, there were attempts later to explain their conduct by non-racist, interpersonal motives, even though the police did not target specific people who allegedly caused the real conflict, but instead attacked the first "non-ethnic-Russians" they could lay their hands on, while yelling racist statements.
Spontaneous violence by individual xenophobes acting single-handedly was also reported this summer. One widely reported case happened in Novosibirsk: on 25 July, a man armed with a hunting gun drove around the city shooting randomly at people whom he perceived as natives of the Caucasus. By the time he was apprehended by police, he had fired five shots, wounding three.
Besides violent attacks, vandalism driven by racist or religious motives continued. Vandals attacked cemeteries and places of worship of virtually all faiths. In the summer of 2006, vandals committed at least four attacks against Russian Orthodox installations, three against Moslem and three against Jewish buildings, two against Protestant facilities, and one against a heathen installation. Often such attacks had more than one target. In Nizhny Novgorod, vandals painted an Orthodox religious school with swastikas, upturned crosses, and anti-Semitic slogans. On 25 August, a fire broke out in the Russian Orthodox Troitsky Cathedral in St. Petersburg. In the next couple of days, the Russian Orthodox clergy voiced an opinion that the fire might have been caused by an arson attack perpetrated by right-wing radical anti-Semitists (the domes of the attacked Cathedral carried six-winged stars). Members of the clergy recalled that they had received several threatening phone calls in August, and in September, after the fire, the Troitsky Cathedral was visited by :bulky, aggressive looking young men" who asked the staff whether it had occurred to them that the fire had served as :punishment for restoring six-winged stars on the domes.; This visit was also perceived by the clergy as a threat.
Organized right-wing radical activity
Right-wing radicals are consistently public, and similarly to skinheads, they increasingly seek publicity rather than massive involvement. They are not always capable of producing a pubic shock, but they do try to use every opportunity to capture the media attention.
A high-profile event held by right-wing radicals this summer was The White World's Future conference in Moscow, June 8 through 10, 2006, attended by ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and right-wing radicals from France and Germany. The organizers made no attempt to conceal the racist nature of the conference - rather, they publicized it in their press releases. In particular, they declared that all people attending the conference were subjected to :racial and biological control.; Probably in connection with this conference, a videofilm about a Russian version of Ku Klux Klan was published on the internet (and later forwarded to Russian TV channels). Although the video was a poorly staged performance, rather than a documentary, the result was achieved, and the racist conference co-organized by activists of Alexander Sevastyanov's National Imperial Party (NDPR), Alexander Ivanov (Sukharevsky)'s Popular National Party (NNP) and Alexander Aratov's Russkaya Pravda, was covered by mass media. The public, however, was not as scandalized as could have been expected, suggesting that the threshold of what is acceptable in the Russian society has fallen dramatically, because back in 2000 David Duke's visit to Russia triggered a storm of protests.
Of all right-wing radicals, the Movement against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) remains more successful than others. They are loyal to their time-tested tactic, using social protests as a vehicle to promote their events filled with virtually unveiled xenophobic content. These included a protest in Moscow on 22 June against the installation of a monument to Geidar Aliev and (failed) attempts to organize anti-Caucasus protests in Bryansk Oblast. DPNI's involvement in the Salsk events also deserves a separate mention.
On 25 June 2006, a young man - ethnic Russian was killed, and a number of people were wounded in a fight between ethnic Dagestan and ethnic Russian youth groups in Salsk, Rostov Oblast.  It turned out later that the fight had been preceded by a series of minor clashes which the local police failed to suppress. However, those suspected of the killing on 25 June were detained by police, and virtually immediately, leaflets with anti-Dagestan slogans appeared in the city. However, a public meeting held in the city on 29 June did not voice ethno-nationalist or discriminatory demands - rather, local residents protested against police inaction.
Then DPNI activists got involved in the conflict by co-organizing a public rally a week and a half later, on 9 July. Local Cossacks made anti-Caucasus statements the day before. By that time, DPNI leader Alexander Potkin (Belov) arrived in the city, spoke to the meeting and initiated the adoption of a discriminatory resolution containing the traditional DPNI rhetoric, such as a demand to :evict all migrants of Dagestan ethnicity who live in Salsk illegally or without a good reason." Further DPNI actions obviously sought escalation of the conflict, and DPNI were aided, as usual, by LDPR MP Nikolai Kuryanovich, whose visit to Salsk was used as a pretext for organizing another public rally in early August. Of course, a federal MP visiting a small town is an unusual event, so DPNI had hoped to attract a massive attendance, but local authorities successfully prevented the rally. DPNI lost interest in Salsk developments, regaining it only after the clashes in Kondopoga, Karelia, in early September, where the group successfully achieved their goals.
In fact, analyzing the events in Salsk and Kondopoga and DPNI's actions, we can see that the group skillfully manipulates social discontent and xenophobic sentiments prevalent in Russia, and also responds promptly and efficiently to any lessons learned, positive or negative. While in Salsk A. Belov took two full weeks to respond; in contrast, he was involved in Kondopoga a couple of days following the incident. While in Salsk, organization of the public rally was allowed to get out of control, whereas in Kondopoga all organizational issues were actively coordinated from the start through DPNI's central website. Besides, demagogue Belov and nationalist MP Kuryanovich know how to operate successfully as a tandem. The former can disguise discriminatory demands making them sound formally legitimate, while the latter, using his parliamentary immunity, feels free to disclose the real content of the demands. He also raises the profile of the event, attracting the public (some people may attend out of sheer curiosity) and solicits government attention (local authorities can hardly ignore a federal MP!).
Besides, DPNI benefits from ample coverage in mainstream media. Not only Alexander Potkin (Belov) is in high demand as a media figure and enjoys wide publicity, but mainstream media increasingly cover actual or perceived ethnic conflicts only from DPNI perspective.
The summer of 2006 featured two other important events - either ignored or underestimated by most observers.
The first was the official registration, in June 2006 in Vladivostok, of a regional group affiliated with Dmitry Dyomushkin's neo-Nazi Slav Union. Unfortunately, we were unable to learn the details of this scandalous incident, but the group appears to have been registered as an NGO ("public organization"), because immediately after obtaining the registration papers, local Slav Union leader, ex-policeman Dmitry Dmitryev said that being registered allowed the group to participate in elections. How they managed to register an organization with a long-standing neo-Nazi reputation in all parts of the country (including Vladivostok in the Far East) and openly claiming responsibility for neo-Nazi, racist attacks - is anyone's guess.
The second was the founding conference of the National Bolshevik Front (NBF) held in Moscow on 29 August. The conference participants, former National Bolsheviks, had left Edouard Limonov's party for ideological reasons. The conference adopted a resolution founding a new organization, NBF, which immediately announced that it was joining in a coalition with Dugin's Eurasia Youth Union (EYU). The front and the coalition declared their goal as "combating the orange threat" in support of the current government. To remind, Edouard Limonov's NBP is currently the main target of the :official anti-fascism.; Ironically, however, the :ideological differences; that NBF-ers refer to as the cause of their conflict with Limonov consist, among other things, of their unwillingness to abandon their nationalist, and sometimes openly neo-Nazi, views. It also explains their "coming back" to Alexander Dugin who used to be NBP's chief ideologist in mid-90ies (his spin-off from Limonov occurred in 1998). Dugin was the originator of ideas causing some observers to consider NBP a fascist party even now. General public knows EYU - who declare loyalty to, and enjoy favors from, the current government - as the official organizer of the 4 November 2005 Right March in Moscow. Once again, we observe a paradox characteristic of the :state-sponsored anti-fascism" in Russia: Limonov's NBP, increasingly left-wing and openly oppositional to V. Putin, is labeled fascist by the official propaganda, while the actual right-wing radicals of BNF and EYU stay away from the opposition and claim government support.
COUNTERACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM
Activity of non-governmental organizations
The most important event in terms of NGOs' counteraction to nationalism and xenophobia was the establishment of the Russian Anti-fascist Front (RAF) in Moscow on 22 June. This non-governmental movement seeks to counteract manifestations of racism and discrimination in Russia, and also to oppose political speculations based on such counteraction. RAF seeks to consolidate the efforts of all those concerned about the fascist threat. RAF founders include many members of the organizing committee of the conference Fascism: Threat to Russia's Future held in May. The program adopted by the conference became RAF's action plan.
Street actions that featured young people painting over xenophobic graffiti in Russian cities were especially popular. Other types of actions were held in Russian regions to involve politically unaffiliated people of different age groups in civil protests against xenophobic propaganda. The most spectacular of these events was the Patchwork of Peace organized by the Perm Memorial chapter as part of the City Day celebration. They gave out pieces of fabric 20 by 20 cm which people used to create their own "messages of peace.; By 12 June, all these pieces were sewn together in a huge - 120 by 2 meters - quilt panel. NGO activists carried it as they marched the streets of the city.
Other NGO activities were of the usual type, such as training, education, awareness-raising, and research.
We should probably include the Public Chamber activities here.  In June, it finally published its draft recommendations On Tolerance and Combating Intolerance and Extremism in the Russian Society submitted to the Chamber's approval back in April 2006. These otherwise reasonable recommendations have one important, built-in defect: they are based on the excessively broad legal definition of extremism stipulated in relevant legislation. After the adoption by the Chamber and subsequent touch-ups the document lost some of its key provisions. In particular, the biggest loss, as we believe, occurred when the Chamber deleted the recommendation to eliminate "ethnocentric approach in teaching history and related disciplines.;  Anyway, it is not yet clear who and how is going to use the recommendations: they are not binding due to the Chamber's consultative status, and they were not publicized by the media to mobilize broad public support.
Besides, in early June, members of the Chamber came out with a proposal to deny registration for elections to candidates if signs of extremism can be found in their activity, and urged legislators to amend a number of "anti-extremist" laws accordingly. These statements once again demonstrated that the Public Chamber members are poorly informed about the anti-extremist legislation, because the laws in question already provide for all sanctions proposed by the Chamber. On the other hand, this initiative virtually paled in comparison to the anti-extremist amendments launched in the Duma and promptly adopted, which we will cover below.
Criminal prosecution of right-wing radicals
Criminal prosecution of right-wing radicals gets increasingly common as the rates of nationalist violence grow. This fact per se is encouraging, even though the number of convictions remains incomparable with the number of racist attacks.
At least 9 convictions for violent crimes were passed in summer 2006 - two each in Moscow,  St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod, and one each in Voronezh, Saratov, Kaluga Oblast and Sakhalin. At least 31 persons were convicted. Overall, we know of at least 14 trials resulting in convictions of at least 43 persons, where the court took account of the hate motive, in the first 8 months of 2006. The jury in another trial - the murder of a Congolese student in St. Petersburg - found that it was racially motivated, but acquitted the defendants failing to find sufficient evidence of their guilt.
Other trials in summer included cases such as the attack against Chechen singer Lisa Umarova and her son in March 2006 (a final judgment was passed after the third trial) , the attack against NTV correspondent Elkham Mirzoyev, the attack against a Tunisian in Nizhny Novgorod and the killing of a Moroccan in St. Petersburg. The sentences passed in Saratov and Voronezh were particularly interesting.
In mid-June in Saratov, a trial of skinheads charged with murdering ethnic Avar Dzhavad Sheikhov in the summer of 2004 was finally closed. The five defendants faced hate-motivated murder charges. The trial ending in June was the third trial of this case. Earlier, the case had been tried twice by a jury court - in the winter and in the fall of 2005 - and resulted in convictions both times, only to be overruled by the Supreme Court later for procedural violations. In the third trial the jury, again, had no doubts as to the defendants' guilt, and the only difference was that the judges passed milder sentences to four out of five defendants (8.5 years instead of 13 to one defendant, and 4 years instead of 5 and 6 to three others).
On 25 August, 13 defendants were tried for the murder of a Peruvian student in Voronezh. To remind, one of the 13 defendants faced hate-motivated murder charges, and the others were charged with "hooliganism" [misdemeanor] and robbery, but ethnic hatred was taken into account in each of their sentences, pursuant to art. 63 of the Russian Criminal Code. It was the first case known to us where this legal qualification of the crime was used in Russia. Very often, we hear prosecutors publicly recognize the hate motive, but refer to absence of reference to hate motive in the respective Criminal Code articles - for some reason, they forget about art. 63 "e' which can be applied in conjunction with any other article. In Voronezh, although the defendants denied nationalist motives of their actions, they were all found guilty of crimes they were charged with, plus the hate motive.
However, 6 out of the 13 were sentenced to probational terms, and one was released. The case demonstrates that the tendency to let skinheads get away with only probational terms is making a comeback. At least 12 out of four dozen perpetrators of racist violence convicted since early 2006 were either released or sentenced to probation. We need to reiterate that probational punishment fosters a sense of impunity among skinheads. One could eyewitness it watching TV reports from Voronezh: one of the released perpetrators flashed a Nazi salutation right in front of the TV cameras.
Besides, we continue to see - maybe less obvious than before - a tendency to ignore or deny the hate motive in many skinhead attacks.  This tendency results in confusing situations. On 29 June 2006, a court in Sverdlovsk Oblast convicted three residents of Verkhnyaya Pyshma for setting up and being involved in an extremist community (a prosecutorial press release said the community was set up "for committing hate-motivated crimes against people from Caucasus and Central Asia"). It was the third time that a Russian court applied this article.  The irony is that the three defendants were at the same time found guilty of murdering a Kyrgyz in January 2005, and two of them had already been convicted in December 2005 for a demonstratively racist murder of three Armenians, but the judges failed to recognize hate motivation of the murders. How can it be that the perpetrators had set up an extremist community :for committing hate-motivated crimes" - but the crimes that they committed were not motivated by ethnic hatred?
Whereas we can see positive progress in the prosecution of violent crimes, things are not so clear with propagandists, although again, some positive trends can be observed as compared to previous years. In the summer of 2006, four trials ended in convictions of five people found guilty of promoting ethnic and religious hatred in Yekaterinburg, Novgorod, St. Petersburg and Chelyabinsk.  Moreover, four of the defendants were sentenced to real (rather than probational) punishments.
Two of the mentioned cities - Novgorod and Yekaterinburg - already have a positive experience of prosecution for ethno-nationalist propaganda, and it is there that we observe adequate punishment for such propaganda: in Novgorod, a distributor of offensive leaflets was sentenced to a 5,000-ruble fine, and in Yekaterinburg, the author of a nationalist website was sentenced to correctional labor. We strongly believe that punishment for verbal offences should be tangible, but in most cases it should not involve deprivation of liberty - given that in this particular case disseminators of information, rather than ideologists, were punished.
A sentence passed in Chelyabinsk was remarkable, but in our opinion, controversial. Two former National Bolsheviks were sentenced to 18 months of settlement colony with a temporary ban on professional occupation (journalism and publishing) for radical articles in Parabellum newspaper. Here we note a reasonable and appropriate in such cases, but rarely applied punishment - namely, a prohibition to engage in professional occupation, because the occupation was the instrument used by the offenders. On the other hand, the fact that the sentence was rather harsh - involving deprivation of liberty - was probably due to the fact that the defendants associated with the National Bolshevik Party, which is singled out for persecution in Russia today - even though they were part of the right-wing faction that split from Limonov's NBP back in 2005. Criminal investigators, apparently, failed to see the difference, as they were not very well informed of internal processes in radical groups (see above).
The trial of Yuri Belyayev in St. Petersburg was an unfortunate, but not unexpected example of impotency of both the prosecution and the court. Numerous criminal investigations launched into his activities were later dropped and never really affected the leader of the Freedom Party - a recognized ideologist and organizer of St. Petersburg skinheads. Similarly, he could not be bothered less by the case finally reaching court in 2006, based on his racist statements published in Nash Narodny Nablyudatel paper that he produced a few years ago and on the internet. In particular, these included the so-called Instructions for Street Terror which shocked the general public when some excerpts were quoted by the media in April 2006. Indeed, Belyayev has had no reasons to worry: courts in St. Petersburg passed only one (1) substantial sentence over the past five (or more) years for nationalist propaganda - more specifically, for threats against Governor Valentina Matvyenko, rather than for propaganda per se. Also, proceedings in his case were traditionally long like most propaganda trials. Ultimately, on 29 August 2006, Belyayev was sentenced to 1.5 years of probation and 11.5 thousand rubles of legal costs for his publication in the internet, while charges for newspaper publications were dropped, as usual, :due to expiry of the statute of limitations.; A high profile neo-Nazi, widely known in Russia as an open and public advocate of racist murders gets away with it again.
We need to reiterate, however, that very often propaganda-related offences never reach courts. For example, a prosecutorial office offered the following argument when refusing to launch a criminal investigation against propagandists from the Ryazan chapter of NDPR: :The available evidence includes a leaflet with the following content: "80% of Russia's wealth is in Jewish hands! 2000000 Russians die each year! 4500000 children are homeless! This is Yids' fascism! Russians! Let us free our native land from Yids' fascism!' The leaflet, however, contains no concrete appeals to violence, and does not spell out what is meant by Yid. The leaflet entitled Let us Free Our Native Land can also be interpreted to call for a peaceful solution, for example, by means of elections. ;
Other counteractive measures taken by the state
In addition to criminal prosecution, the state takes some other measures to counteract right-wing radical organizations. Authorities continue, although not as actively as before, to warn certain organizations and individual activists against extremist and nationalist activity; they warn mass media and use administrative sanctions against users of Nazi and similar symbols. In summer, such cases were limited and their details remained largely unknown to us.
Some results of such preventive enforcement are illustrative, though.
For example, Roskhrankultura warned Za Russkoye Delo paper for their publication of Alexander Prokhanov's interview with Vladimir Kvachkov entitled Colonel Kvachkov: Yes to National Upraising in November 2005. The warning was triggered by :numerous calls to extremist activity, to forcible change of the foundations of the RF constitutional system, to seizure or usurpation of power, and to establishment of illegal armed formations.;  The publishers who also faced a prior, unchallenged in court, warning for their publication of the Letter of 500 chose to suspend the paper for an unspecified period.
In Novorossiisk, a local court's finding of Nazi-like symbols in the logo of a local neo-Heathen right-wing radical paper resulted in seizure of the entire print-run and administrative liability of the publisher.
More organizations than before were liquidated for their actions, rather than on formal grounds. In July 2006, the federal Supreme Court confirmed a judgment passed by the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria banning a group calling itself the State Council of Balkaria and their Balkaria paper. Liquidation of the organization was initiated by the Prosecutor's Office of Kabardino-Balkaria following a series of warnings issued over a number of years to the leaders of this organization and to the editorial board of their paper; they were warned against engaging in extremist activity and incitation of ethnic hatred. In March 2006, the Court of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic liquidated the organization for "gross violations of effective legislation," but denied the prosecutor's request to find the organization extremist. Both parties - the prosecutors and the :State Council; group - challenged the judgment in the Supreme Court, but both failed. On 4 July, the Russian Supreme Court upheld the judgment of the regional court. The judges found claims to a separate Balkarian Republic unconstitutional, and naming a group "State Council" of such a republic illegal. In fact, the judgment focused on the attempt to usurp power and to split a subject of the Russian Federation; however, the court failed to address the ethnic hatred.
Sometimes police effectively prevents massive fighting and ethnic pogroms (we have seen many such examples in the spring of 2006, on the eve of 20 April). Unfortunately, we have to admit that positive effects of police interventions are set off by excessive police violence. These incidents hinder subsequent law enforcement with regard to right-wing radical activists. An incident which took place on 22 June 2006 in Syktyvkar was a graphic example. A day before, the daughter of a local Orthodox priest and activist of the right-wing radical Union of National Revival led by Yuri Yekishev (Yuri Yekishev is also the leader of local DPNI and NDPR chapters) was sexually harassed by an ethnic Azeri trader in the local marketplace. On the next day, the girl's father accompanied by a few other men came to the marketplace to :talk; with the offender. A quarter of an hour later, a :support group; of three dozen athletic-looking men (some of them - veterans of the Afghan and Chechen wars, skilled in hand-to-hand fighting) led by Yekishev joined them in the marketplace. At least one of the :supporters; was armed with an iron rod. The marketplace security - a riot police (OMON) squad - had received intelligence and expected violent attacks targeting natives of the Caucasus (which came as no surprise, as DPNI had announced well in advance that it planned anti-migrant action on 22 June) and promptly apprehended these men, but apparently used excessive force. The detainees' cases were heard in administrative proceedings, and some of them (but not the girl's father) were subjected to administrative arrest. Later, the detention of Yu. Yekishev was found unlawful, which gave the right-wing radicals a pretext to denounce the entire police operation as unlawful, while the girl's father blamed the :non-(ethnic)-Russian judge; who ordered the administrative arrest. 
EXCESSIVE AND UNFOUNDED ACTIONS AGAINST EXTREMISM
It has become commonplace to observe that recently, anti-fascist and anti-extremist rhetoric has increasingly been used for pressure against civil society activists having nothing to do with right-wing radical groups, and against democratic liberties in Russia in general. Unfortunately, this trend increased in the summer of 2006.
On 28 June 2006, a draft law amending articles 1 and 15 of the Federal Law against Extremism was launched in the Duma and adopted at a record speed - within one month. The already vague definition of extremism was made even vaguer, and liability was introduced for "justifying" extremism. The amended law enables persecution of NGOs whose protests involve any clashes with authorities (violence against officials, threats of violence, and hindrances to the operation of government establishments are now labeled extremism - regardless of the official and the situation); mass media which publish any supportive reports or comments with regard to such protests also risk persecution. 
Besides, amendments to the federal Law on Main Guarantees of Electoral Rights and the Right to Participate in a Referendum and to the Civil Code were introduced in June and passed their first reading on 28 July. The amendments have already come under criticism from various perspectives, and we will only mention two things. Firstly, the draft law is based on the definition of extremist activity provided in the Law against Extremism, and this definition is increasingly destructive. Secondly, the draft law contains a provision whereby a candidate may be denied registration for "extremist pronouncements" not only during the election campaign, but also in the retrospect - going back for a period equal to his prospective term in office, if elected. If such a candidate is on a party list, the entire party list will be turned down.  If adopted, this amendment, combined with the excessively broad definition of extremism creates a perfect mechanism for denying any party access to elections. 
Other examples of pressure
The first applications of the amended law followed promptly. As early as in end-August 2006 it was applied in Bashkortostan to bring charges under art. 280, part 2, of the Criminal Code ("public appeals to the exercise of extremist activity, using mass media") against local oppositional journalist Victor Shmakov for his civic activism and organization of public protests against the current Bashkortostan leadership.
:Anti-fascist; persecution of the opposition continued under older laws as well.
In August 2006, high priest of ethnic Mari heathen faith and well-known opposition leader Vitali Tanakov faced trial in Yoskar-Ola; Tanakov was charged with incitation of ethnic and religious hatred which the prosecutors had read into his brochure, The Priest Speaks. The brochure briefly describes the heathen faith of ethnic Mari and explains why this faith is true in comparison with other religions. The brochure also contains criticism of authorities and of other ethnic Mari activists who are more loyal to authorities than Tanakov, but we failed to find any incitation of hatred with regard to other ethnicities or religions.
On 2 August, Gazeta.Ru website attempted unsuccessfully to challenge a warning received from Rosokhrankultura in March 2006 for publication of Danish cartoons. It seems unlikely, though, that Rosokhrankultura will follow up with sanctions against the website.
In contrast, a politically motivated case against Bankfax, an independent news agency in Altai, was dismissed by court. Indeed, the absurdity of Rosokhrankultura's charges was obvious to begin with: Roskhrancultura's local office filed a liquidation suit against the news agency for an anti-Islamic comment left by a user on their web forum and immediately removed by the website administrator as the scandal broke out. On 22 June 2006, a regional court in Altai Krai dismissed Roskhrancultura's case against Bankfax (the judgment was upheld by the federal Supreme Court on 12 September), and three days earlier on 19 June a criminal investigation under art. 282 against the author of the comment was also dropped.
Unfortunately, the summer of 2006 did not bring about any positive progress in terms of counteraction to radical nationalism.
We observed more sentences for violent hate crimes; qualification of such crimes also improved in some cases, and the law enforcement authorities finally admitted that acquisitive crimes may also be motivated by ethnic hatred. We saw a limited number of substantial sentences for right-wing radical propaganda. But the progress did not affect the main centers of racist violence - Moscow and St. Petersburg - and concentrated mostly in regions where skinheads are less active and propagandists are less skillful.
Overall, these improvements did not match the dynamic and profound negative tendencies. We observed continuing growth of nationalist and neo-Nazi violence, combined with increased activity, level of organization, and most importantly, impact of right-wing radical groups.
Print media and television unwittingly promote the ultra-right, while the state is in no hurry to show commitment in fighting national-radicals. Courts continue to pass conditional sentences to violent skinheads and allow high-profile neo-Nazi ideologists get away with it, whereas legislators are refocusing "anti-extremist" provisions to target political opposition and restrict remaining freedom of expression, rather than suppress the actual extremists. :Anti-extremist; attacks against leaders of political opposition confuse the public and discount genuine, if weak, official attempts to counteract right-wing radicals. Moreover, the state increasingly demonstrates to the public that abandoning all political ambition and opposition to the current president is a pre-requisite for unhindered activism and access to media regardless of ideology (even if it is openly pro-Nazi) - as is the case with NBF.
Unfortunately we can hardly expect any real progress given the circumstances. On the contrary, the situation is likely to get worse, as was demonstrated by the events in Kondopoga.
 The report does not cover violence in Kondopoga, because it broke out in September, outside the chronological scope of this report.
 In June, a 30% increase was reported, but in St. Petersburg, for example, only one attack was documented over the entire summer.
 Including those who received medical assistance on the site and was not hospitalized.
 Reported here are only those acts of vandalism where a xenophobic component is obvious.
 REN-TV announced that they had forwarded the recording to the prosecutor.
 A. Sevastyanov co-chairs the party with Stanislav Terekhov (Military Officers' Union).
 The actual number of victims is unknown, because casualties are reported by sources which are biased.
 In fact, the demands they voiced were the same as last year, during an incident in Remontnoye, Rostov Oblast. To remind, in August 2005, Cossacks nearly provoked Chechen pogroms in the village of Remontnoye, Rostov Oblast. The conflict was triggered by a report alleging that a local villager, ethnic Chechen, raped the daughter of a Cossack chieftain. The Cossacks then declared that they would assume the police functions and evict all Chechens from the village. The local law enforcement authorities were able to prevent massive disorders.
 Although a commercial company (LLC) under the same name was registered simultaneously by the same founders.
 A Peace Quilt Displayed During the Perm Carnival // Memorial, Perm Chapter 2006, 12 June (http://www.pmem.ru/index.php?mode=news/060612).
 We refer to the formal status of this body, rather than its actual reputation.
 On Tolerance and Combating Intolerance and Extremism in the Russian Society (Recommendations of the Russian Public Chamber) // Public Chamber official website, 2006, (http://www.oprf.ru/rus/documents/resolutions/article-1572.html)
 In September 2006 two other sentences taking hate motives into consideration were reported in Oryol and Novosibirsk, but the trials probably ended in spring.
 Including the sentence of Lisa Umarova's attackers, challenged twice by the defendants and finally confirmed on 30 August.
 The offenders were released in September.
 Their defense attorney Ivan Kovalev used the following rationale: :Some of the defendants explained that they did not like rappers, because this music style is practiced by representatives of the African population, and those who like rap, therefore, are enthusiasts of the African culture.; See: Men charged with murdering a Peruvian :thought they were beating rappers; (Voronezh) // Regnum News Agency 2006. 15 August (http://www.regnum.ru/news/688741.html)
 One should be aware, though, that many such cases go unreported.
 The first two instances were in 2005 - in the Novgorod RNE case and the Schultz-88 case. See 2005 report for details.
 We do not include sentences for radical Islamist propaganda. One such sentence was passed in the summer of 2006: a court in Astrakhan Oblast found Mansur Shangareyev guilty under par. a, part 2 of art. 282, and convicted him to four years of settlement colony.
 Our correspondence with the regional prosecutor's office revealed that a regional group named National Imperial Path of Russia - a slightly camouflaged version of the National Imperial Party of Russia - was registered in Ryazan soon after Moscow.
 The materials were provided by the Ryazan School of Human Rights.
 The material is a quote from Zavtra paper of 19 October 2005. Zavtra was also warned for the publication.
 To remind, Yu. Yekishev currently faces ethnic hatred charges, but it does not prevent him from engaging in nationalist propaganda.
 Later, an internal investigation was launched into OMON's conduct, and it found all police actions lawful and well-founded.
 See: A. Verkhovsky. The concept of :extremism; is dangerously expanded. // SOVA Center. Nationalism and Xenophobia. 2006. 28 June. (http://xeno.sova-center.ru/29481C8/78A4BA5); Same author. The anti-extremist finale of the Duma session is a radical attack against voting rights. // Ibid. 2006. 10 July (http://xeno.sova-center.ru/29481C8/799D3C5)
 See details in: A. Verkhovsky. The anti-extremist finale of the Duma session is a radical attack against voting rights. The entire pack of official documentation related to the draft is published on the State Duma website at (http://asozd.duma.gov.ru/main.nsf).
 When this article was almost completed, the authors learned that this particular part of the draft law may be liberalized, but the reports have not been confirmed yet.