The Phantom of Manezhnaya Square: Radical Nationalism and Efforts to Counteract It in 2010

Настоящий материал (информация) произведен и (или) распространен иностранным агентом РОО Центр «Сова» либо касается деятельности иностранного агента РОО Центр «Сова».

Summary : Manifestations of Radical Nationalism : Violence : Anti-State Terrorist Activities : Grassroots Xenophobic Violence: Vandalism : Public Activity of Ultra-Right Groups : Rallies, Marches, Elections : Attempts to De-marginalize the Nationalist Opposition : The Ultra-right in Search of Coalitions : “Kondopoga Scenario” : Governmental Influence on Nationalist Movements : The Riots on Manezhnaya Square and Their Immediate Consequences
Counter-action to Radical Nationalism : Public Initiatives : Creation of regulatory acts : Criminal Proceedings : Violence : Vandalism : Propaganda : The Federal List of Extremist Materials : The Banning of Organizations : Other Administrative Measures

For crime and punishment statistics see the appendix to the SOVA Center's Winter 2011 report.


The 11 December 2010 riots on Manezhnaya Square dramatically raised the profile of issues of nationalism and racism in Russian society. At the time of writing this report, we can’t predict the future course of events: whether we are about to see a long-term reshaping of public debate or a gradual return to its previous state. In any case, the December events put the entire year of 2010 in a different perspective, as we try to understand what could influence their timing. While no complete answer is ever possible, this report[1] will hopefully provide enough material to make some educated guesses.

In 2010 the level of racial violence, following a noticeable decline during the previous year, changed very slightly, if at all, although the murder statistics in the major centers of ultra-right activity still showed a significant drop. Criminal prosecution for such crimes continued its rapid increase in scope as well as improvement in quality. The number of convictions almost doubled; so did the share of suspended sentences. These numbers mean that the law enforcement efforts predominantly affect more aggressive groups, likely the most notorious ones, but can no longer keep under control the entire mass of violence-prone ultra-right activists. This expected result – the law enforcement still processing information collected by the police prior to the review period – indicates that exerting effective pressure on the right-wing milieu is no longer possible while keeping the same level of police activity.

In return the milieu adapts to new situations by building new horizontal and sufficiently undercover structures, which, in conjunction with the unexpected success in attracting young football fans, were able to effectively organize the event on 11 December. This system consists of small autonomous ultra-right groups, increasingly hostile toward the authorities (as reflected both in their rhetoric, and in a significant number of attacks targeting the government), less “connected” with the well-known nationalist organizations, and regarding their daily activities as a “guerrilla war” (we even registered decline in “frivolous” actions such as vandalism). Legal nationalists increasingly act as a cover for this aggressive scene and feel sufficiently emboldened to take overtly radical positions.

Over the course of the year authorities have not changed their policy regarding such radical rhetoric. Enforcement of hate propaganda laws has in fact changed very little from the previous years. Number of convictions has increased fifty percent, but the drawbacks of the procedure have never been addressed. The current mechanism for the prohibition of extremist material has long demonstrated its lack of effectiveness. In the meantime, the mechanism for prohibiting organizations as extremist in 2010, has been applied actively, but without much success: banned organizations included small local ultra-right groups, organizations that have long ceased to exist, and the Slavic Union (Slavianskii Soiuz, SS) - including its Far East Branch – which quickly resumed its activity after a slight name change.

The events of 2010 further strained relations in the “triangle” of police, the ultra-right and radical anti-fascists thus preventing the authorities and the society from focusing on the greatest ongoing threat, namely ultra-right violence. The racist anti-Russian mobilization, clearly observed after 11 December, has the same effect. Fortunately, anti-Russian racists, and radical leftists of any kind have so far generated little organized violence compared to the far right (when not including the Northern Caucasus region), but the complexity of the situation leads to lack of proper focus by all interested parties. Even more importantly, the situation is fraught with the spiraling of violence (specifically in case any stable violent racist organizations emerge among people from the Caucasus).

Legal nationalists spent the first part of the year in decline and considerable disarray, but suddenly became more active in the fall. This intensification was partially due to happenstance, as in the case of successful (unlike previous failed attempts to repeat the “Kondopoga scenario”) “expulsion of migrant workers” from Hotkovo, Moscow Region, in early November “accomplished” primarily by local residents. However the unprecedented scale of the 4 November “Russian March” was already the result of properly nationalist activism both in legal and autonomous sectors of the ultra-right movement. Possibly, the autumn spike in activity had been partially caused by the series of summer events: the July football fans’ rallies in Moscow and two loud conflicts that clearly revealed confrontational behavior of Ramzan Kadyrov’s regime (the brawl in the Don summer camp, and the controversy surrounding the Vdovin and Barsenkov textbook).

The year of 2010 was marked by new attempts at unification that brought no lasting results. The alliance of the long-time competitors the DPNI (Dvizhenie protiv nelegal’noi immigratsii, Movement Against Illegal Immigration) and the Russian Image (Russkii obraz, RO) launched in September, was undermined by the year's end, since publication of testimony against Nikita Tikhonov discredited Russian Image in the eyes of right-wing radicals. More interesting is the increasingly evident attention by the majority of nationalists toward such usually “out-of-scope” topics as the social issues, and political opposition to the regime in the name of democracy. Without a doubt, key nationalist organizations were thus trying to overcome the marginal position of Russian nationalism among political opposition and in the eyes of the average citizen. Advances in this public relations area were relatively modest, but even those were called into question by the December events. The leaders of legal nationalism faced the question of allegiance: whether they want to side with the radical nationalist milieu, which constitutes the backbone of their organizations, or with broader societal segments. So far, it seems, they choose the first option, though, of course, prefer to court both groups simultaneously.  

Manifestations of Radical Nationalism


In 2010 38 people died and 377 received injuries as a result of racist and neo-Nazi violence, five received credible murder threats. In 2009 84 people died, and 434 were injured. However, at this moment we cannot assert a significant drop in violence from the previous year, since new data arrives quite actively, albeit with significant delay.[2] Nevertheless, we are happy to report reduction in racist murders (most pronounced in Moscow and St. Petersburg).

Moscow and Moscow Region remain traditional hotbeds of racist violence, and tension rose even further after the 11 December riots (see below) – altogether 22 people were killed and 174 were injured over the year; St. Petersburg and Leningrad region (two killed, 47 injured) и Nizhniy Novgorod (two killed, 17 injured). In 2009 these areas respectively reported 38 killed and 131 injured, eight killed and 36 injured, and six killed and 21 injured. Thus, only Moscow demonstrated clear improvement of the situation compared to the previous year (and even that, only if we leave out the December events), and St. Petersburg showed significant reduction in murders. The situation in Nizhniy Novgorod has remained unchanged for many years. The reasons for observed changes or lack thereof can be found, to the large extent, in the kind of treatment ultra-right activist receive from law enforcement and the judiciary, as discussed below.

In 2009, violent incidents were reported in 45 Russian regions.

  As before, most victims of xenophobic attacks were people from the Central Asia - 15 were killed and 72 were injured. People from the Caucasus show much lower victim count – five were killed and 41 were injured. However people of undefined “non-Slavic” appearance comprise quite a large group this year (five killed, 97 injured) mostly because some victims of December attacks proved impossible to classify, but we can suspect that many of them were Caucasus natives.[3]

The representatives of youth subcultures including young anti-fascists hold a visible position in this tragic ranking, with three people killed and 63 injured. On one hand this reflects a general rise of tension in street confrontation between neo-Nazi and anti-fascist groups[4] (and the urgency of this confrontation is certain to increase). Moreover, the vast majority of victims in this group are not members of “military antifascists” – they are either concert audience of music groups considered “antifascist” by the neo-Nazis, or just people “taken for anti-fascists” by their attackers. On the other hand, this data should not be taken to mean that an actual number of attacks against members of youth subcultures is comparable to a number of attacks against the Central Asian migrants, since the former exist in much smaller numbers, then, say, migrant workers from Tajikistan. The availability of comprehensive information about the attacks, due to more developed horizontal ties among subculture groups and young anti-fascists accounts for higher numbers.

The emergence of Nazi straight-edge subculture brought a new dimension to neo-Nazi violence; apolitical youngsters who, according to those ultra-right activists, “lead an unhealthy lifestyle” have been added to the list of potential victims. The late August-early September attack in Rostov-on-Don are symptomatic in this respect: masked teenagers beat up people standing by the supermarket, while shouting the slogan “A Russian does not drink” (we would like to remind that those slogans, well-aligned with official anti-drinking and anti-smoking campaigns, are used primarily by the Roman Zentsov’s Resistance (Soprotivlenie) group.

Anti-State Terrorist Activities

The activities of ulta-right groups continue to show tendency toward the kind of terrorism that can be characterized as anti-state – exploding strategic objects (as, for example, the railway tracks and the maintenance rail car blown up in February 2010 in St. Petersburg), arson attacks and bombing of police stations (Penza, Rostov-on-Don). We would like to emphasize that this trend develops not as an alternative to regular racist violence, but as a parallel movement.

We don’t see any observable trends in this area (we recorded 18 such acts in 2010, versus 20 in 2009), and monitoring of such activities presents extreme challenges. On one hand, correct identification of attackers is problematic, since ultra-left groups have also perpetrated attacks against police stations. On the other hand, as we previously noted on many occasions, ultra-right groups tend to take responsibility for impossible-to-verify incidents. Thus neo-Nazis from St. Petersburg claimed that to commemorate the Police Day (10 November) they made at least eight calls reporting ostensible explosives at important St. Petersburg public sites (shopping centers, maternity wards); however only three such actions have been independently confirmed.

The story of the Primorye Guerillas (Primorskie partizany), a criminal group responsible for a series of brutal attacks, mostly on police officers offers the most compelling example of ultra-right groups “taking credit” for terrorist acts. The task of racist propaganda was made easier by information that some Guerillas members had been previously involved with the extreme right (at the time of writing (January 2011) we know that at least two members had been previously convicted of violent racist attacks). Strong anti-police sentiment, characteristic for the Russian society in general, contributed to the popularity of the “Russian national avengers” version of the events, readily picked up even by respectable media outlets. Although the neo-Nazi motivation for the gang's activity still remains unconfirmed, the ultra-right sphere increasingly uses Primorye Guerillas’ case to its advantage.

First, the emerging cult of one more “white heroes” group fits into a general trend of ideological simplification characteristic of neo-Nazi autonomous underground. This simplistic ideology interprets the current situation as a war, featuring enemies, their victims, and heroes. This phenomenon is not exactly new, but the trend has become more pronounced. The term “war” here is meant not metaphorically, but quite literally. The alleged “victims and heroes” (Primorye Guerillas, particularly A. Sukhorada and A. Sladkikh, who refused to surrender and committed suicide) confront a clearly defined enemy: the State and its police agents.

Second, as expected, copycats started to emerge, albeit not real, but virtual. For example in August 2010 in Orel authorities detained a group, headed by an FSB agent. The Orel gang is a prime example of a “modern” ultra-right group - it is an autonomous group, engaged in subversive and terrorist activity and targeting both government agencies and the property, belonging to “ethnic aliens” (in this particular case it was a cafe, but could also be a shop, a car, etc.) These actions were clearly intended as a demonstration: the leaflets, confirming the neo-Nazi agenda and declaring the group’s connection to the anti-state terrorist movement, were left at the crime scene. However, one should pay attention not just to the group’s actual activities and the subsequent detention, but also to the text titled “Letter from Guerrillas of Orel,” which hit the Internet several days before the event, portraying the group as part of a nationwide anti-state terrorist partisan trend.

Third, in their basic 2010 documents the ultra-right political groups singled out the case of Primorye Guerillas as the decisive example (see below).

While the quantitative dynamics of anti-state terrorism are hard to evaluate, we can attest that it have become more open and defiant. The phenomenon is not limited to the above-mentioned leaflets at the crime scene, or “partisan declaration” and “appeals” on the Internet. Right-wing radicals are moving from threats to actions against law enforcement agencies and courts. Thus, in late 2010 in Primorye authorities arrested a suspect in the attempted murder of the investigator A. Komarov, who worked on the case against the leader of the Union of Slavs of the Far East (Soiuz Slavian Dal’nego Vostoka, SSDV). The most notorious crime of 2010 in this category was the murder of the federal judge of Moscow City court, Eduard Chuvashov, who presided over the trial of the White Wolves (Belye volki) - a group, accused of a series of murders targeting people of non-Slavic appearance. The judge previously received a number of threats in connection with this very case, after deliberate provocation from an internet source close to the Russian Image and its legal project Russian Verdict (Russkiy verdikt). Notably, according to the investigators, the “right-radical” version of the murder now dominates the investigation (the suspect was named in March 2011.)[5]

The Chuvashov’s murder apparently prompted law enforcement officials to start taking various threats more seriously. For instance, in Yaroslavl the graffiti vandals, who covered the town (including one of the court buildings) with threatening slogans, received actual prison sentences; and one of the Moscow City Court judges, who presides over an ongoing case against a neo-Nazi group, received a security detail.  

Grassroots Xenophobic Violence

In 2010 grassroots xenophobic violence was clearly on the rise. Its dynamics are difficult to trace, since most episodes don’t receive any media attention, or are qualified by law enforcement as locally-motivated incidents. However, we usually record about ten such incidents a year (not including the traditional Navy Day spike on 2 August, when attacks on people of non-Slavic appearance became commonplace and usually remain unpunished), while the situation in 2010 looked somewhat different.

In addition to the usual incidents - such as the assault on a police officer in the Vladimir region, accompanied by racist insults, or the beating of an Armenian teenage by his xenophobic neighbor in Moscow Region – a series of events in 2010 provoked further waves of grassroots xenophobic violence.

For example, after the summer 2010 ethnic riots in Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation reported several attacks by Uzbeks on Kyrgyz and vice versa, motivated by ethnic hatred.

A spike in anti-Islam and anti-Caucasus sentiment resulted from terrorist attacks in Moscow Metro on 29 March 2010. During the following week at least five attacks, affecting at least eight victims were reported.

However the prime targets of grassroots religious intolerance in 2010 were followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine. Violent acts against Jehovah's Witnesses are apparently provoked by the mass media propaganda campaign, now in its third year. The attacks injured at least 12 people, including one child.  


The activity level of vandals continues also shows no signs of abating: in 2010 we recorded 175 acts of vandalism, compared to 146 in 2009.[6]

At the same time, the tendency for the prevalence of ideologically-motivated vandalism (well-coordinated graffiti and sticker campaigns, aimed at advertising the ultra-right groups, vandalizing World War II memorials, etc.) clearly not only continues but keeps getting stronger – 99 incidents vs. 76 in 2009.

Religiously-motivated vandalism shows no changes in its choice of targets.

Thus in 2010 the acts of vandalism were distributed as follows (the most dangerous forms of vandalism are mentioned separately):

- Sites belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses suffered 14 incidents, including one explosion and two cases of arson (vs. 12 incidents, including one explosion in 2009);

- Orthodox sites suffered 16 incidents, including 8 cases of arson (vs. 15 incidents, including one explosion and five cases of arson in 2009);

- Jewish sites suffered 15 incidents, including one explosion (vs. 22 incidents, including one arson case in 2009);

- Muslim sites suffered 9 incidents, including one explosion and one arson case (vs. seven incidents, including two cases of arson in 2009);

- Sites of various protestant denominations suffered three incidents, including two cases of arson (vs. four incidents, including two cases of arson in 2009)

- Armenian sites suffered two incidents (vs. four incidents in 2009).

  We observed a significant drop in anti-Semitic vandalism (a stable trend of several years), as well as anti-Armenian (most probably a random fluctuation). The scope of vandalism against Orthodox, Muslim and Jehovah’s Witnesses sites showed no appreciable increase (definitely within random fluctuation margins).

  The rate of vandalism directed against religious sites has been steadily decreasing altogether: in 2007, such attacks constituted 72% of total acts of vandalism, in 2008 - 68% in 2009 - about 50%, and in 2010 - about 35%. Perhaps this change was caused by development of law enforcement practices, specifically targeting vandalism of this type. After all, while the earlier incidents were almost never investigated, now court sentences for desecrating religious sites, while not exactly commonplace, no longer constitute a sensation (see below).

However, despite the drop in total number of acts of vandalism, there is no reduction in numbers, whatsoever, for the most dangerous acts - bombings and arson. In 2010 we recorded 17 explosions and arson cases at religious sites, comprising 28% of the total attacks on those sites, in 2009 - 12 explosions and arson cases, comprising 21%, in 2008 - respectively 19 and 31%. The majority of arson cases target the Orthodox chapels and churches (most common religious sites in the country).[7]  

Public Activity of Ultra-Right Groups

Rallies, Marches, Elections

Public activity of radical-nationalist movement in 2010 followed a strange and hard-to-predict trajectory, as is often the case with dynamic and relatively closed movements.

Until the fall the level of activity remained relatively low. Traditional actions commemorating Pskov paratroopers (who died in 2000 in combat in Chechnya) were held in 17 cities, but they were small; the largest one in Moscow brought together 200 people. Nationalists celebrated 1 May in 10 cities, and in Moscow their march (a march is always better attended than a rally) attracted 600 participants.

On 25 April ultra-nationalists held a general meeting of about 400 people in Moscow, demanding the abolition of Article 282 of the Criminal Code, and in defense of the so-called political prisoners or “prisoners of conscience” (some nationalists call them “prisoners of war”) – i.e. the ultra-nationalists convicted of racist crimes, including aggravated violence. Similar events took place on 25 July in 20 cities, but only two of these - Stavropol and Cherepovets – managed to hold real, albeit very small, marches (in the meantime in Moscow that day was marked by an ultra-right musical concert, a fight between the police and the fans of the “Locomotive” soccer team, etc.)

The assumptions about the decline of right-wing radical street activity proved to be premature. The traditional “Russian March” on 4 November brought a record turnout, unprecedented in all previous years of its existence. In Moscow, the main event in Lublino (just like the one, held a year ago) brought all major organizations together and the total number of participants reached 5,500 people (there were fewer participants at the beginning and the end of the event, due to extremely bad weather; many decided not to spend too much time outside). This is more than the number of attendees of the two main events of the previous year (in Lublino and on Bolotnaya Square) combined. The geography of the march had significantly expanded as well: it was held in 30 Russian cities in one form or another, compared to at most 20 cities in the previous years.

Such an increase in numbers can't be explained by the mere fact of the DPNI joining forces with the Russian Image: as with any merger, a new structure ends up attracting some people, while driving some away. Rather, we must assume that certain groups, not participating in smaller events organized by the DPNI, the Russian Image and their allies (either out of hostility to the organizers, or for the reasons of secrecy), decided to come out and take part in the main annual march of Russian nationalists. However, this reasoning, sufficient for the analysis of preceding events of the year, fails to explain why the 2010 march exceeded in attendance the same day event of a previous year. Evidently, the total number of supporters for known and unknown ultra-nationalist groups actually increased over the year.

“The Russian March” was not marked by any violent clashes, but the speakers were much more radical than usual, and Dmitry Bakharev, the Lublino representative of the Slavic Force (Slavianskaia Sila, SS), formerly known as Slavic Union (Slavianskii soiuz), ended his speech with the Nazi salute from the podium.

  Despite increasing difficulties for the opposition candidates, the Nationalists achieved a measure of success in the local elections. Of course, the majority of their candidates (at least known to us) either could not get registered, or failed to win (whether a fair or unfair fight). However, some managed to get through, for example Alexander Lyul'ko, the leader of the Novosibirsk chapters of the Russian All-National Union (Russkiy obshenatsional'nyi soiuz, RONS) and the Union of the Russian People (Soiuz russkogo naroda, SRN)) was elected to the city council on March 14. In spring the RONS (whose leader Igor Artemov was for many years a member of the Vladimir regional Legislative Assembly, and once almost got into the Duma), attempted to “take by storm” the single Petushki district of Vladimir region. The RONS of Petushki nominated candidates for every single one of the 19 electoral zones, but only nine candidates (including I. Artemov himself) were registered, eight reached the elections, and all of them lost.  

Attempts to De-marginalize the Nationalist Opposition

As we mentioned before, the base of the Russian nationalist movement consists of small groups focused primarily on violence. For these youth groups, who self-identify as marginal, the enemies include not only “non-Russians,” but also “anti-fascists”, and “cops” and the authorities in general; in this environment even an “average Russian” is often referred to as “vegetable”, since he does nothing for the “Russian Idea” (it almost comes to the point, that these “vegetables,” should they become collateral victims of neo-Nazi attacks, are judged not worthy of compassion). The slogan “War in Your City” (common after the death of Yuri Volkov, see below) reflects not only the militarized vision of ethnic relations, but also the militarized perception of social life in general. Well-known nationalist organizations always contain a relatively small group of non-violent activists, supported by known, and, even more often, unknown, small groups from this violent fringe.

  Thus, the cult of the “white heroes” - neo-Nazis, who are either convicted or under criminal investigation – enjoys popularity within both “militant” and “political” parts of the nationalist movement. “Instructional” letters, ostensibly penned by these “heroes” (for example, by Nikolai Korolev the organizer of the Cherkizovsky market explosion) are very popular in the far right circles. Primorye Guerillas made particularly suitable heroes, riding the wave of public criticism of the police, widespread in 2010 (see above).

However, this propaganda style is not suitable for appeals to regular citizens, even those sympathetic to the nationalist ideas. Other forces of opposition also tend to perceive nationalists as primarily marginal and criminal elements. This problem has been acknowledged for quite some time, and, in their attempts to resolve it, nationalist public figures join initiatives and promote slogans that bear no connection to usual right-wing rhetoric. In 2010 such activity - deliberately aimed at the social legitimization of the Russian nationalist movement - markedly intensified.

The right-wing radicals continued their involvement in various social actions. In addition, they embarked on social projects of their own. For example, the Russian Image, its activity significantly scaled down since the summer (as we later learned, due to the fact that Ilya Goryachev testified against the group’s co-founder Nikita Tikhonov, who is accused of murdering Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova), established the Russian Demography (Russkaia Demografiia) project. The right-wing “health and fitness” initiatives also progressed further, particularly in relation to Roman Zentsov’s Resistance.

  The Russian Social Movement (Russkoe obshestvennoe dvizhenie, ROD) continued its activity aimed at legal and public protection of ethnic Russians in various conflicts, including conflicts with authorities. The ROD presents itself as an ethnically-based human rights organization. The nationalists’ “human rights” rhetoric, especially their demands for the abolition of the Criminal Code Article 282, represent (in addition to pursuing purely pragmatic goals) an attempt to position the radical nationalist movement as part of the democratic opposition. Nationalists are very consistent in this respect. Nevertheless, they frequently defend not just some victims of circumstances, but activists legitimately accused of actual racist attacks. Admittedly, only very biased or uninformed people are willing to consider their advocacy and propaganda in defense of ideologically-motivated murderers, as a form of human rights activism. Hence, the Russian Verdict (Russkiy verdikt) project, founded by the Russian Image, which specializes in such cases (incidentally, the workplace of Tikhonov’s co-defendant Evgenia Khasis) enjoyed far greater respect among the nationalists, then in society as a whole (although, the project gradually lost popularity among the nationalists as well, due to suspected, though unconfirmed, monetary indiscretions). However the trend of using human rights rhetoric caught on. For example newly released from prison Dmitry Bobrov (ex-”Schultz 88”) characterized his National Socialist Initiative (“Natsional’naia sotsialisticheskaia initsiativa”) project as human rights-oriented.

Nationalists increased their participation in acts of general political and social protest. For example, the DPNI joined the all-Russian action of protest on 20 March 2010.[8] Activists from nationalist organizations routinely took part in “Strategy-31” demonstrations (sometimes as observers). On its September 11-12 congress the Russian Image planned to expand their public activity along these lines, including even “ecological” concerns.

Protests against plans to build a mosque in the Moscow Tekstil’shiki District provided yet another opportunity to engage in activity that is not specifically political. The construction dispute did not start as Islamophobic per se: local residents often oppose various kinds of new construction, and part of the protesters in this case stated directly that the purpose of the building is irrelevant. However, there were others, of course, who perceived building of a large mosque as indicative of potential threats. A prominent role in a campaign against the construction belonged to the My Yard (Moi dvor) organization, whose leadership consists almost entirely of right-wing activists (My Yard also participated in the environmentalist campaigns such as the one in defense of Khimki forest).

In the course of the year, attempts were made to create coalition structures that would include both nationalist and liberal-democratic activists. In March 2010, the well-known right-wing activists Alexey Shiropaev and Ilya Lazarenko, in collaboration with younger Michael Pozharsky, created the National Democratic Alliance (National-demokraticheskii alians, NDA). NDA actively participated in small meetings, called “Tea Parties” (a reference to the conservative opposition events in today’s United States), attended by a variety of opposition activists, including even the liberal Solidarity (Solidarnost’).

The founding conference of the new movement Russian Citizens Union (Russkii grazhdanskii soiuz, RGS) on 21 November 2010 was widely noticed. According to its organizers, the mission of RGS was to initiate a “broad cooperation of Russian nationalists and democratic opposition.” Indeed the conference represented a very wide range of organizations - the DPNI, the Russian Image, the ROD, RFO Memory (Pamiat), the National Democratic Alliance, as well as the Just Cause (Pravoe delo) party and the Young People's Democratic Union (youth wing of Mikhail Kasyanov’s Russian People's Democratic Union). The conference was initiated by Anton Susov (DPNI), Dmitry Feoktistov, (ex-follower of Kasyanov, now leader of the National Democratic Movement (Natsional-demokraticheskoe dvizhenie)), and Alexander Khramov (NDA). The top-rank leaders of Young People's Democratic Union and the Just Cause were absent, in contrast with DPNI, ROD and the Russian Image. In fact, the conference formed a new organization with overlapping memberships (a standard practice), rather than a coalition. In its founding documents RGS presented itself as part of the democratic opposition. They proclaimed nationalism, but not ethnically-based, rather they talked about the “Russian political nation ... based on the ethnic core,” but politically RGS kept closer to the ethno-nationalists, thus repeating the early trajectory of the People (Narod) movement in 2007. The real distribution of civil and ethnic accents in the RGS version of nationalism will be determined from its future activities.

On the same day (21 November) a rally “against prosecutorial abuse” took place in Moscow's Pushkin Square, in a traditional show of support toward the nationalist “political prisoners.” Official organizers of the rally included Resistance and the Combat Brotherhood (Boevoe Bratstvo, organization of veterans of armed conflicts, known to have joined forces with the nationalists on prior occasions). Nevertheless, the event was advertized on many non-nationalistic Internet sites, and as a result, a number of activists, with no connection to nationalists attended the rally; many perceived it as a general opposition rally (in particular, to protest the beating of journalists Michael Beketov and Oleg Kashin). Only the activists of Yabloko, realizing that the meeting was actually being lead by the radical nationalists, left the square. Thus 21 November can be considered a visible success for the integration of radical nationalists into the democratic opposition camp.  

The Ultra-right in Search of Coalitions

Desire for a broad alliance of Russian nationalist movements has not disappeared. Partially, it was sustained by the continuing decline of the publicly operating groups under pressure from the authorities, and a subsequent retreat of the next-generation “satellite” groups to autonomous activity, predominantly out of public sphere. Ephemeral hopes to participate in the 2011 parliamentary elections, which required parties to be registered a year in advance, provided another reason to search for allies.

In 2010 we observed various negotiation processes in the far-right milieu, but they mostly remain without consequences. An attempt to revive the Great Russia (Velikaia Rossiya) party - when Andrei Saveliev’ supporters tried to revive their regional cells and find allies, particularly in the People's Council (Narodnyi Sobor) - had no consequences as well.

The failure of the Motherland – Common Sense (Rodina – Zdravyi Smysl) party, founded by the economist Mikhail Delyagin (ex-Rodina) and by the well-known nationalist publicist Vladimir Kucherenko (Maxim Kalashnikov). It is difficult to access, how nationalist Motherland party could have become, if it actually came into existence. It is clear that the leading role would have belonged to M. Delyagin, whose top priority is economic dirigisme and whose nationalism is very moderate. However, the party would also have experienced the influence of Maxim Kalashnikov, known not only as a somewhat fantasy-prone publicist,[9] but also as someone directly calling himself a national socialist.[10] Other declared participants also came across as either moderate leftists, or moderate nationalists. In any case, the party was unable to complete the registration process within the legally allotted time, and the project was almost frozen by the year’s end.

At the same time, a surprisingly broad coalition of non-partisan organizations managed to come together in September. It was founded at a conference held with great flare at the Hotel Marriott Tverskaya on 28 September 2010 “Declaration of the Russian national organizations” was signed by the DPNI and the Russian Image representatives, in attempt to put their protracted competition to rest. The declaration’s authors called primarily for the legalization of political nationalists, condemned repressions against them, and presented violent actions as unavoidable form of struggle “for constitutional rights” in the face of government pressure.

The declaration was declared open for signing, and one by one the RONS, Konstantin Krylov’s ROD, the Russian Imperial Movement (Russkoe imperskoe dvizhenie, RID), the RGS, the National Socialist Initiative (NSI), the SRN, the SS, and Sergei Gorodnikov’s National Democratic Party (NDP) gradually joined it. Further expansion and strengthening of the coalition were apparently interrupted, once rumors (later confirmed) emerged about the Elias Goryachev’s testimony, raising doubts about the future participation of the Russian Image, and undermining the very basis of the already fragile coalition.  

“Kondopoga Scenario”

As in previous years, the right-wing radicals kept trying to repeat a “Kondopoga scenario” – aggravating of a local conflict between different ethnic groups into riots, with the purpose of subsequent nation-wide political mobilization.

In early May the town of Pugachev in Saratov Region became a candidate for the title of “the new Kondopoga.” After a local resident died as a result of a brawl in a local cafe, the town had to call in police reinforcements in order to keep the situation under control. Also in May, the DPNI actively promoted a similar incident in Kronstadt, due to its proximity to St. Petersburg, and once again the script failed to work. Evidently, local authorities, and law enforcement agencies are now much better prepared to handle this scenario than in 2006.

In Moscow the July killing of a Spartak football fan Yuri Volkov in a scuffle with young people from the Caucasus caused serious protests, organized by the football fans’ leaders. Like many fans, and many ordinary citizens, the leaders of Spartak “clubs,” understood this fight near the Metro station as “ethnic conflict,” and protest against the “ethnic crime” and against its police “cover” became the driving motive for the fans’ actions. “The War in Your City” graffiti appeared throughout the city. However, the actions themselves, despite their large number of participants (the main event, on July 17, involved, according to various estimates, from fifteen hundred to three thousand people) and explicitly anti-Caucasian character, went along quite peacefully. Moreover, the organizers managed to achieve complete de-politicization of this action: the far right activists were prohibited not only from using the Nazi salute, but from displaying political symbols in general. Without a doubt, this became possible only due to the rigid discipline inside the “clubs”, and informal arrangements with the law enforcement agencies.

The events in Hotkovo near Moscow, which began with a fight between local residents and guest workers from Tajikistan on 26 October 2010, had far more serious potential. In this fight one citizen was killed, and another seriously injured; the attack, initiated by the natives of Tajikistan appears to have been motivated by ethnic hatred. As and of itself, the incident could be quickly taken care of: the perpetrators were arrested, the police investigation was taking the hate motive into account, and the local residents were adequately informed. Apparently, the rise in anti-immigrant acts that took place in Hotkovo within 10 days after the brawl came from the involvement of the ultra-right activists.

On 2 November the Investigation Committee announced the arrest of the suspects, however on 4 November the first “people's gathering” took place, calling for the eviction of the “gastarbeiters”. The very next day the foreign workers’ employers quickly evacuated them out of the city, the foreigners were fired from municipal positions, and one of the immigrant workers’ hostels was burned down. All of the above did not prevent a new “people's gathering” on 15 November, which already included youngsters wearing scarves with neo-Nazi insignia. The Town Mayor Rita Tikhomirova promised to “stay the course for self-cleansing of the city” and invited Hotkovo residents to “round up owners of summer homes, who hire illegal immigrants for their construction projects.” The events had no further consequences.

While long-term “self-cleansing” is highly unlikely, Hotkovo events ended in notable overall victory for the nationalists: the foreign workers were expelled without Kondopoga-like riots, and, accordingly, no one among local residents or far-right activists faced any prosecution.  

Governmental Influence on Nationalist Movements

Authorities are both influenced by the nationalist discourse, and affect the nationalist movement in return, at different levels, not just through law enforcement (see below).

Such influence sometimes includes cultivation of moderate ethnic nationalism, loyal and centered within pro-Kremlin youth movements. In our 2009 report we wrote that this practice is gradually trailing off. Indeed it was never renewed in 2010. It even got to the point that the Locals (Mestnye) movement, previously consistently committed to ethnic nationalism, issued a statement after Manezhnaya Square events, demanding to stop any kind of incitement.[11]

The Steel (Stal’) movement (a subsidiary of the Nashi movement), notorious for its scandalous actions, became the only exception. One of their sites published certain “Commandments of Honor,” bearing almost complete textual resemblance to the” Ten Commandments of National Socialism” by Joseph Goebbels.  Of course, this could have been just a coincidence, but when the scandal broke, some activists in the Steel movement rushed to defend the strange gesture of their colleague, the author of dubious “Commandments of Honor.”

Another form of government influence has always come from diverse and primarily rhetorical maneuvers of regional and federal officials. In 2010 new important player became highly visible on this field - Ramzan Kadyrov, the ruler of Chechnya.

Russian ethno-nationalists have traditionally positioned themselves as fighters against the ethno-nationalists of other peoples. Attacks committed by “non-Russians on Russians” have always been the most important element of nationalist propaganda. Those, relatively rare, cases where the attacks were indeed clearly motivated by ethnic or religious hatred, have always played a special role in nationalist propaganda (remember how much publicity was poured on the Black Hawks (Chernye Iastreby) group). Until now, anti-Russian racist groups remain a rarity in the regions with predominantly Slavic population, although racism is certainly widespread among our citizens, regardless of their ethnicity. But in 2010, the ruling regime in Chechnya loudly announced itself as an opponent of Russian nationalism, not just in the Caucasus, but on a country-wide scale.

As far back as 2006 during the Kondopoga events Ramzan Kadyrov acted not as the head of specific region, but as the leader of all ethnic Chechens, no matter where they lived. Then it was mostly rhetoric. Kadyrov's regime has considerably strengthened in the intervening years, even beginning the expansion into neighboring regions, and apparently feels ready to exert its influence beyond the Caucasus.

In July 2010 a mass brawl in the “Don” summer camp became another hot topic. The brawl did not start as a racist attack (although both sides were reported to use racist slogans during the fight), but adult natives of Chechnya actively supported their adolescent bullies, and only police intervention prevented a broader clash with local residents. After the actual conflict was over, the Chechen leadership started to insist that this was “the Chechen massacre,” and in the meantime all Chechen participants of this event successfully took refuge from the investigation in Chechnya. Ramzan Kadyrov has emerged as a fairly rigid ethno-nationalist, the only one among the regional leaders, who was acting on wider than regional scale, while the federal government was powerless.

Chechen authorities also intervened in the debate about the Russian history textbook by two professors of Moscow State University Alexander Vdovin and Alexander Barsenkov. The authors were implicated in a number of anti-Semitic and anti-Chechen statements; and in the fall of 2010 this subject became one of the most critical in the public debate. The discussion quickly moved to the level of complaints to the Prosecutor’s Office, letters to Kadyrov personally, there were even attempts to open a criminal case. Fortunately, it never became a criminal case, but the discussion was definitely not conducted in an academic manner. Although the book was withdrawn from the classroom, the problem remained: first, it became obvious that normal academic process of selecting textbooks and manuals is not functioning and lacks public oversight, and next, the interference of various brands of nationalists into the sphere of science is becoming increasingly pronounced. However, the intervention of the Chechen authorities gave this conflict an extra edge.  

The Riots on Manezhnaya Square and Their Immediate Consequences

The above-mentioned incident with the murder of a soccer fan repeated on 6 December - this time Spartak fan Yegor Sviridov was killed in a street clash with young people from the North Caucasus. All participants in the fight were arrested, but only the one, who made the fatal shot from a traumatic gun, remained in custody. The rest were released on bail, since at the moment they were only accused of hitting. At this turn of events the fan community erupted into protests, and was joined, once again, by the extreme right. However, the subsequent events did not follow the summer scenario.

On 7 December about 500 people, who picketed the Golovinsky district prosecutor's office, demanding the arrest of other North Caucasus participants of the fight, suddenly blocked the Leningrad highway, responding to appeals by anonymous initiators and ignoring calls to the contrary from the organizers. The police was unprepared for this turn of affairs and could not prevent their short-march along the highway.

A memorial rally at the Kronstadt Boulevard murder scene, organized by soccer fans’ leaders and coordinated with authorities, was scheduled for 11 December. In the meantime, certain anonymous activists advocated taking the protest to Manezhnaya Square, which has long been a “disputed territory” between the fans and ultra-right on the one hand, and rowdy groups of North Caucasian origin on the other (just recall the mass brawl of 2007). Alexander Belov incited nationalists: “In case of conflict, be the first to attack – better to have three [court judges] judge you, then four people carry you. Talk is useless with animals - a beast only understands force... to walk without a knife or a gun is criminal negligence.”[12] Fans leaders asked their community not to go to Manezhnaya Square, and the police, apparently remembering the fan-discipline, demonstrated after the Yuri Volkov’s assassination, relied on the authority of these leaders. However, the events took a different turn.

The rally on Kronstadt Boulevard happened according to plans. It went along rather peacefully, although some attacks on the “foreign-born” were recorded in its vicinity. Then a few thousand people (some of them from Kronstadt Boulevard) arrived to Manezhnaya Square. Apparently, the crowd contained many right-wing activists of various kinds, many fans, and possibly some other participants. Protesters chanted racist and anti-police slogans, collectively raised hands in a Nazi salute. Judging from the photos and videos, about three thousand people gathered on the square. Police later reported five thousand, but perhaps this time the numbers were exaggerated, to explain the inability of the law enforcement to take the area under control.

Part of the protesters attacked random young men, whom they took for the natives of the Caucasus, and then the riot police, who tried to protect them. Clashes with the riot police resulted in a “draw,” since the riot police forces in the area were very limited: the government clearly did not expect a rally of this size. After negotiations between unnamed and masked representative of the protesters with the head of the Moscow police department, protesters descended into the subway in organized manner; there many of them proceeded to beat up people of “non-Slavic appearance” (the riot police also entered the subway, but somewhat later). Overall, according to our sources, at least 40 people were severely injured and one killed as a result of attacks by the ultra-right militants.

Actions, commemorating the killing of Yegor Sviridov, took place not only in Moscow but in many other cities as well. In the places, where the actions involved only non-political soccer fans (Kursk, Surgut, Yoshkar-Ola, Ufa, Yaroslavl, Penza, Novosibirsk, Ryazan, Chelyabinsk), the events were incident-free, while in places, where the ultra-right activists joined in, the attempts to repeat the Moscow scenario took place with varying degrees of success.

The latter case is best represented by St. Petersburg march of fifteen hundred to two thousand people (a very large number for St. Petersburg) that included both fans and ultra-right groups. National Socialist Initiative was either the sole organizer or one of the organizers, and an activist from the National-Bolshevik Other Russia (Drugaia Rossiya) party marched in the head of the procession. After an attempt to beat up a passerby the march was successfully dispersed by riot police. Rallies and marches numbering 50-200-300 people and featuring xenophobic slogans took place in Syktyvkar, Kaliningrad, Voronezh, Tomsk, Samara, Volgograd, Kirov, Novosibirsk. In Rostov-on-Don the event also coincided with the death of a local student at the hands of a fellow student from Ingushetia; the rally was attended by about 800 people and caused some downtown street closures.

The rally at Manezhnaya Square became a powerful and entirely unexpected success for right-wing radicals, even leaving the regional events aside – and, in this case, they can’t be ignored as well. Such a mass gathering under such radical slogans have never happened before, and at this time it also took place literally under the Kremlin walls, was crowned with fairly mass violence, and not a single organizer has been held accountable[13] (the only similar case we can point to took place in 2002 when neo-Nazi were able to incite a huge crowd of soccer fans into rioting on Tverskaya Street. A “Kondopoga scenario” worked - albeit partially – and not in a small town, but right in the capital.

Since the reason for unrest was, regretfully, far from extraordinary, and since the subsequent events have not resulted in escalation of radical street politics, the claims that the level of ethno-nationalism in a society has reached a critical point, leading to the civil war, the “white revolution” or something along these lines, are currently unwarranted (or at least premature). The recent success of extreme right had more specific underpinnings.

The sphere of non-public radical nationalist groups gained in size and strength, both technical and organizational. These youth-dominated groups focus primarily on violence, shun publicity and do not put much trust into public nationalist politicians: because in the eyes of ultra-right youth the latter have been frequently disgraced in various situations, and because those youngsters have no reason to believe in the effectiveness of public political opposition. The final reason for this mistrust is the defeat of National-Socialist Society (NSO) demonstrating that, due to increased activity by law enforcement agencies, combining public activity and systematic racist violence is no longer possible. In its earlier days the ultra-right milieu largely functioned as a horizontal network of small and mostly anonymous groups as well, but a series of crises in nationalist public institutions made this network even more autonomous, so it, rather than the DPNI or similar organizations, receives the influx of young people.

Apparently, mobilization efforts of these autonomous groups brought thousands of people to Manezhnaya Square (the regional events had different organizers, including the traditional ones from DPNI). The riots of 11 December demonstrated that these groups were quite effective in their competition with the fan clubs’ leaders for the support of young fans, and this potentially means a sharp increase in the base of the ultra-right movement: previously, the organized fans’ movement, even when sharing the same views, kept somewhat apart from the far right. The most recent “Russian March” probably owed its record participation to the same autonomous groups (since all other explanations are insufficient). Moreover, organizing a gathering of three thousand people - even if three and not five - on Manezhnaya Square, where the clash with the riot police is almost guaranteed – is more impressive than bringing five and a half thousand on a patently safe “Russian March.” Horizontally organized semi-underground (only selected few are really underground) has proven effective and should now be regarded as the main force of the radical Russian nationalism. Public nationalist politicians are left trying, if not lead the movement, at least to keep up with him.

Police (as well as authorities in general) simply did not expect such a performance; that is why they did not block the organization of the rally. As of now, we can only hope for the success of the operational methods against the neo-Nazi network, but the outcome is far from certain.

  The events on Manezhnaya Square inspired autonomous Nazis as well as known ultra-nationalist organizations. The entire mid-December was spent in attempts to set in motion new mass rallies, mostly in Moscow. The Metropolitan Police directed large units of riot police and interior troops to block the corresponding streets and squares upon a slightest rumor, and was able to thwart all the efforts.

The most massive attempt took place on 15 December: calls to clashes addressed to “Russian Youth” and to “Caucasian youth” circulated for several preceding days. We must say, that both target groups appeared to have many people willing to participate in such clashes, although the key right-wing organizations, evidently, preferred to stay home on that day. The city witnessed a series of attacks and brawls initiated by both anti-Russian and anti-Caucasian racists, and from 12 to 30 people (according to various estimates) were seriously injured. About 1300 people were arrested on that day in various Moscow locations.

On 16 December a legal ultra-right march took place on Moscow’s Chistye Prudy and riots occurred in Solnechnogorsk, Moscow Region. After that, massive new clashes were expected on December 18. Serious clashes failed to materialize, but mass protests of right-wing radicals (including the NDA-organized march around the Ostankino TV Center) attracted hundreds of participants. All these actions have been stopped by the police, the total number of detainees in the Moscow and Moscow Region reached two thousand. On the same day similarly significant events on a proportionately smaller scale occurred in Volgograd, Samara and Krasnoyarsk.

After December 18 ultra-right groups undertook no further large-scale attempts. However, the manifesto of anonymous 11 December Movement appeared, urging for anti-government activities, and for monthly protest rallies on Moscow’s Manezhnaya Square and in other cities, in order to eventually overthrow the regime (though the events of January-March 2011 demonstrated that most right-wing activists never took this appeal seriously).

Before the New Year A. Belov (following the notorious 2010 example of the American pastor) publicly called for Quran-burning on Red Square, which on New Year's night have traditionally been the gathering place for guest workers from the Central Asia. The DPNI disavowed that statement, and, instead of Quran-burning, planned some kind of nationalist festivities around Red Square. The result was predictable: the police blocked the Kremlin area, and, apparently under instructions to prevent clashes, detained most of the Central Asian workers, a number of ordinary drunk revelers, and a few right-wing radicals - a total of about two thousand people. One of the DPNI leaders Vladimir Tor (left DPNI in February 2011) was even sentenced to 10 days in jail.

So, the police in continuous mode of total mobilization was able to prevent the right-wing radicals from escalating the street aggression, but unable to put a complete halt to the December surge of racist violence (compared to December 2009 we recorded three times as many victims). The only question is whether police can maintain such mobilization for long.

  Certainly, the government and the public did not rely solely on effective policing. Events at Manezhnaya Square caused a storm of comments and a variety of proposals that cannot be covered in this report even briefly.

Among reactions across the social spectrum, generally quite predictable, the National-Bolshevik “Other Russia” predictably stood out: Eduard Limonov and his spokesman Alexander Averin invited participants of the Manezhnaya rally to their traditional 31 December rally (though stipulating that the “Strategy-31 “does not welcome violence).

The government reacted very unconvincingly and looked bewildered. President Medvedev began with statements about the need to punish all those responsible for rioting (not too promptly though; he made more detailed proposals in January 2011). Vladislav Surkov, who is responsible for domestic policy in his administration, put the blame for the unrest on the democratic opposition, accusing them of “rocking the boat”. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin talked about the problems associated with migrants, proposed to toughen the penalties for the registration regime violations (no action was actually taken) and visited the grave of Yegor Sviridov. Law enforcement officials hastily revised its decision on pre-trial restrictions for the Sviridov's killer associates: all of them were arrested (the last one in March 2011), although the question of legality of original pre-trial restrictions has not been investigated. One thing was never done - nobody or almost nobody, who discussed this problem, brought up such critical issues as the integration of migrants into society, combating discrimination, the normalization of the North Caucasus, etc.

In any case, for a while the theme of nationalism started to dominate the public debate, but it is too early for any significant conclusions, or even for the formation of productive discourse.

Counter-action to Radical Nationalism

Public Initiatives

The early 2010 was marked by the largest mass event in several years which also was the largest non-political public protest initiative against the ultra-right manifestations in Russia. Namely, it was the Russia-wide initiative of the antifascist marches and rallies commemorating the one-year anniversary of the deaths of the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Anastasia Baburova. The events were dedicated to their memory and the memory of all the victims of ultra-right violence in Russia.

 The Committee on 19 January – a non-political informal association of public activists, supported by many artists and cultural figures - served as the event’s organizers. Relatively non-political character of the organizing committee attracted a rather large number of participants.

Unfortunately, in Moscow, where, by different estimates, between 700 and 1000 people took part in the march, the event ended with street clashes, provoked by the police. Nevertheless, such a large anti-fascist demonstration became a major success. (The same action in Moscow a year later, on 19 January 2011 mobilized somewhat fewer participants, but went without incidents. The event’s geographical span grew significantly, to 23 towns, compared to 13 the year before.)

  As usual, public anti-fascist activity was slightly higher in the fall. The five cities conducted activities as part of the International Week of Tolerance under the slogan “Crystal Night - never again!” (9 to 16 November). In Moscow on 16 November, the anniversary of the anti-fascist Ivan Khutorskoi's death, several dozen young people attended a march on the Arbat dedicated to his memory.

On 31 October, the birthday of scientist Nikolai Girenko, shot by neo-Nazis in St. Petersburg, the traditional “March against Hate” took place. Unfortunately, we have to note that this event attracts fewer participants with each passing year.  

Public opposition to racism is complicated by the fact that this opposition also includes radical violence-oriented anti-fascist groups. During several years of street warfare between neo-Nazi activists and so-called “military antifascists” the police, naturally, have tended to occupy a neutral position. However, due to the spread of xenophobic prejudice among police personnel, at times this neutrality is in fact broken to favor neo-Nazis.

The situation is complicated by the fact that “military antifascists” and anti-fascists in general tend to participate in the various left-wing (and in some cases ecological) protests, and in the course of these actions at times violate the law and have brushes with law enforcement. The most radical group even performed an attack on Interior Ministry buildings (the attack, curiously enough, received advertisement from neo-Nazis on a level with similar attacks of their own). The July attack on Khimki (Moscow Region) municipal administration building by the column of young anti-fascists and the subsequent police actions against anti-fascist youth movement as a whole became the most serious event of 2010 in this area. The attitude of law enforcement agencies to members of the “unofficial left,” already hostile, only grew more negative.

Law enforcement agencies (and not just them) shifted their focus of attention from the dangers of racism to the street war between neo-Nazi and anti-fascists, and this shift leads to clearly inappropriate actions by authorities, and to actions of non-state actors that we consider erroneous. For example, on 9 November in Novosibirsk neo-Nazis shelled a group of young people, who gathered to watch a movie dedicated to the memory of Anastasia Baburova. Police initially refused to recognize the ideological nature of the attack (although this position was later revised). The organizers then cancelled the show under the pretext of its “politicization”.

  The Manezhnaya Square riots caused an active backlash from the anti-racist public. The most notable event was the meeting “Moscow for All” on 26 December on Moscow's Pushkin Square. The rally, organized by representatives of the creative intelligentsia, attracted, according to various estimates, from fifteen hundred to two and a half thousand people: a surprisingly large number for such an action. The rally was decidedly apolitical; participating politicians did not address the gathering.

The statement, signed on 16 December by a group of the organizing committee members of the “Strategy-31”, including Oleg Orlov (Memorial Human Rights Center) and Lev Ponomarev (Movement for Human Rights) also deserves our attention. The statement’s authors declared unacceptable the invitation made by the leaders of “The Other Russia “ to participants of the Manezhnaya Square rally to attend the 31 December rally on Triumphalnaya Square (see above), and refused to cooperate with the authors of such invitations.

December riots on Manezhnaya Square bring additional attention to the situation in Russian soccer, or, more precisely, near-soccer. The soccer clubs’ leaders and the Russian Football Union (Rossiiskii Futbol’nyi Soiuz, RFS) after many years of ignoring the problem of racism in soccer stands, finally had to deal with it, at least for the duration of Russia's bid to host the 2018 World Cup. The attack by fans of Dagestan soccer club “Anji” on the fans of “Spartak,” attending October 2010 match in Makhachkala, became a case in point. After this incident the soccer clubs leaders implored theirs and other clubs’ fans to refrain from racist behavior, and October 21, 2010 the Russian Football Union approved the Memorandum on Countering Discrimination. It is supposed to tighten the administrative rules, and to ensure punishment for racism in the stands.

Since then, Russia's bid to hold the championship was approved, while the youngest and the most radical soccer fans strongly expressed themselves on Manezhnaya Square. It is hard to predict the impact of these events on the implementation of the soccer anti-discrimination program.  

Creation of regulatory acts

An overwhelming majority of the anti-extremist legislative proposals of 2010 do not stand up to scrutiny. As a rule, they fell into two categories: either populist initiatives (such as the bill on introducing administrative responsibility for media outlets if they mention ethnicity in the course of their criminal activity coverage, once again revived by Moscow City Council) or openly repressive projects (such as the bill on extending the powers of the FSB, which have already become a law) intended for intimidation of civil activists opposition.[14]

One law, enacted in 2010 deserves our praise. We are talking about the new edition of the federal law “On counteracting legalization (laundering) of profits derived from criminal activity and financing terrorism.” In particular, this law mandated the creation of the list of financial institutions’ clients (persons or legal entities) whose financial operations need to be controlled for the purpose of fighting terrorism and extremism. Meanwhile, the inclusion criteria for this list were rather vague, and the list itself was off-limits to citizens. The mechanism of this list was also unclear: for example in 2009-2010 defendants in the case regarding the assassination attempt on Governor Matvienko’s life had problems opening bank accounts, despite being completely acquitted by the court.

The July 2010 amendments to the Act significantly restricted its abuse potential. The most fundamental change was introducing the clause regarding the possibility to be removed from the list for organizations and individuals, suspected but then cleared from suspicion of involvement in extremist and terrorist activities. A list of the Criminal Code articles, for which prosecution involves getting on the List, has been fleshed out (though it should be noted that violent crimes motivated by hate were not included). Finally, the law now provides for partial publication of the “list of terrorists and extremists,” which will allow challenging the fact of inclusion.

Even before the enactment of the law (October 2010), these amendments have borne positive results: In September, a St. Petersburg court ruled in favor of the acquitted suspect in the Matvienko assassination case and ordered the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring to remove him from the “list of terrorists.”

Criminal Proceedings


The practice of criminal prosecution for violent crimes, where hate was a motive recognized by the courts, was increasingly put to use. In 2010 there were at least 92 convictions for such crimes in 36 regions of Russia (In 2009 there were 61 convictions in 25 regions). A total of 320 persons were convicted in these proceedings (compared to 168 persons in 2009), and 9 were acquitted.

The following punishments were allocated:

13 people were found guilty but released from punishment because the statute of limitations had expired;

6 people were found guilty but released from punishment due to conciliation of the parties;

3 people were referred for compulsory psychiatric treatment;

1 person was fined;

1 person received suspended sentence and was fined;

2 people were sentenced to correctional work;

21 people were sentenced to mandatory labor;

18 people received a custodial sentence of up to one year;

31 people received a custodial sentence of up to 3 years;

25 people – up to 5 years

61 people – up to 10 years;

10 people – up to 15 years;

14 people – up to 20 years;

5 people – over 20 years;

3 people received a life sentence;

99 people received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;

We know of 7 additional people found guilty, but have no punishment data for them.

Courts used additional sanctions extremely infrequently. Only the two policemen, convicted for hate-motivated beating were barred from right to occupy certain positions for two years as an additional punishment.

  In the prosecution of racist violence the judiciary already confidently uses almost the entire range of the Criminal Code articles that contain hate motive as aggravating circumstance. However a complete renunciation of using Article 282 to indicate the racist nature of the crime has yet to happen: it has been used in this manner in at least three 2010 convictions (four in 2009). The trial of two Moscow Nazi-skinheads - Sergei Zhihorev and Victoria Petukhova, who had brutally beaten two homeless women of non-Slavic appearance in a house basement, is quite illustrative. Originally Zhihorev and Petukhova were convicted under Part 3 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code (“Intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm with the motive of hate committed by a group”) and Section A, part 2 of Article 282 (“inciting hatred with violence”). However, in the exercise of supervisory power verdict was appealed in the Moscow City Court, which in October 2010 ruled that although the assailants shouted racist slogans during their attack, it took place in the basement, that is, in an isolated room. Accordingly, they have not incited anyone, since no one could hear them. At the same time the fact that they were guided by hate motive, had been already reflected in the qualifications of a core charges under Article 111. Thus, the court found that in this case, the penalty under Article 282 was issued unlawfully and annulled it.

  Once again the number of suspended sentences in racist violence cases is alarming.

Year 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Total convictions 26 56 109 65 118 168 320
Suspended Sentences (% of total) 5 (19 %) 5 (9 %) 24 (22 %) 18 (27 %) 31 (26 %) 33 (20 %) 119 (37 %)

  As we see the record number of convictions is accompanied by the record rate of suspended sentences, even after we exclude those convictions, where accused were released from punishment. In some municipalities suspended sentences constitute 100% of convictions, as in Voronezh (five out of five convictions). In St. Petersburg, the city that ranks second in racist violence levels, suspended sentences constituted almost half of all convictions (13 out of 27), and slightly over 50% in Nizhny Novgorod region (18 out of 34). No wonder that despite numerous trials, the street violence shows no signs of abating.

Part of those suspended sentences undoubtedly comes from deals with prosecution in large group trials. Relatively many people with suspended sentences were convicted under “light” articles of the Criminal Code (Articles 115 and 116), which don’t provide for severe punishment.[15] In general, however, we have to repeat that suspended sentences for violent racist attacks only foster in the perpetrator a sense of impunity or even a sense of solidarity on the part of the state and the society (represented by the judge). It is no accident, that some people convicted of such crimes had prior suspended sentences for racist attacks, sometimes not yet expired. In 2010 we know of at least eight such cases.

The following two examples illustrate the fact, that suspended sentences only convince racists of their power to assail with impunity. In May 2009 in Nizhny Novgorod region an ultra-right activist received a suspended sentence for racist attack. The following February he participated in a hate-motivated attack on a group of young people, whom the ultra-right considered anti-fascist. In addition, an absolutely egregious example of inexplicable loyalty to the racists came from Irkutsk. At the end of June 2010 they finally arrested one of the local right-wing leaders Evgeniy Panov, who is the principal defendant in the case of the Angarsk environmentalist camp attack since 2007, a defendant in the case of an attack on a group of cyclists since 2009, and in April 2010 was conditionally sentenced for attack on an ethnic Buryat, motivated by ethnic hatred. All this time, Panov remained at large despite the fact that in the Angarsk case he is charged with aggravated Part 4 of Article 111 (“grievous bodily harm that negligently caused the death of the victim”). The arrest was made only after Panov initiated another racist attack, this time on an ethnic Azeri.


In contrast to violent crimes the practice of prosecuting racially-motivated and neo-Nazi vandalism is virtually undeveloped. In 2010 we recorded seven convictions for the total of nine[16] people (compared to five in 2009) under Part 2 of Article 214 (“vandalism motivated by hate”). Two sentences were handed down in the Tyumen region, while Stavropol and Khabarovsk, Kaluga, Kurgan and Yaroslavl regions reported one conviction each. In addition, in Yaroslavl and Khabarovsk the charges of vandalism were used in conjunction with charges under other articles of the Criminal Code. Another sentence was handed down under part 2 paragraphs “A” and “B” of Article 244 (“desecration of the dead and their burial grounds committed by a group and motivated by hatred”); to be more specific, this was part of the sentence for seven people from the Tver RNE group.

This law enforcement segment was the first one to start applying the restriction of freedom clause (the so-called house arrest) introduced in the Criminal Code in late 2009, as the principal punishment measure. Two court decisions utilized it to punish the perpetrators - in Tyumen and in the Stavropol Kray (in both cases the defendants were minors). In regard to another minor, the court considered educational treatment and damage compensation to be sufficient measures.

We also would like to note, that the infrequent use of vandalism legislation (Article 214 of the Criminal Code), as well as the article regarding the desecration of burial places (Article 244 of the Criminal Code) with hate motive apparently results from the dual nature of such crimes. If, for example, someone writes aggressive racist slogans on a memorial to Soviet soldiers or on a religious building it can be regarded as hate-motivated vandalism (since an object was defaced), and as incitement of hate. For media purposes prosecution under Article 282 attracts more attention, since it pretty much remains the only “anti-racist” article, known to the general public, therefore it is used for some of those cases.

Streamlining the law enforcement in this area needs further discussion, but so far we are not aware of any instances of such discussion.

  We need to mention two additional sentences, not related to Article 214, but in fact they also dealt with vandalism - with the use of explosives. In May 2010 the man, who planned to blow up the wall of the Novgorod Kremlin during the summer 2009 citywide celebration of “New Hanseatic Days” in order to “draw attention toward problems of Russia and Russian people[17] received a guilty verdict. In June the ultra-right neo-pagan radical was sentenced in Vladimir for an attempt to sabotage the Vladimir concert of Boris Moiseev. In order to accomplish that, he, for some reason, threw an IED into the window of one of the Vladimir Churches.[18]


In 2010 64 trials against 72 people ended in guilty verdicts for incitement of hate (Article 282 of the Criminal Code). (These numbers does not include the convictions we consider inappropriate, or when defendants were convicted for violent crimes under the same Criminal Code Article. 32 people received suspended sentences or were released from punishment, for one person the judgment is unknown.) Six people out of these 72 were convicted under the aggregation of Articles 280 and 282 (“public appeals for extremism”) and occasionally other articles of the Criminal Code. Altogether 12 sentences to 14 people utilized Article 280 (at least seven of these received suspended sentences or were released from punishment). Two persons were acquitted. In 2009 there were 45 verdicts, 35 of them under Article 282, seven under Article 280, and three more under both articles at once.

41 Russian regions reported propaganda convictions in 2010. The following punishments were allocated:

2 persons were released from punishment because the statute of limitations had expired;

1 person was referred for compulsory psychiatric treatment;

34 people received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;

1 person were banned from publishing activity for 3 years;

7 people were sentenced to various fines;

7 people sentenced to correctional labor;

13 people were sentenced to mandatory labor;

14 people received custodial sentences.

The judgment for one person is unknown, but definitely non-custodial.

Note, that custodial sentences usually pertained to the cases, where accusations included the additional non-”propaganda” Criminal Code articles as well,[19] such as the above-mentioned case of the neo-pagan from Vladimir, who blew up the Orthodox Church building (his charge under Article 282 was most likely connected to distributing of racist leaflets, or the case of graffiti artists in Yaroslavl, who covered the streets with xenophobic slogans (among them threats to the judges painted on a district court building, which supposed to house a major trial of the gang of serial racist murderers). The only purely propaganda conviction of 2010 was the one received by Konstantin Dushenov, the editor and the publisher of the Orthodox Russia (Rus’ Pravoslavnaia) newspaper. His conviction (three years in a settlement-colony with the prohibition to practice journalism) evidently took into account not only specific charges, but also the identity of the defendant, who was one of the most notorious anti-Semites not just in St. Petersburg but in the entire Russia.

We record the Russian trend of using non-custodial punishments “for mere words,” year after year, and heartily commend it. Regretfully, this seems to be the only positive aspect in the practice of xenophobic propaganda prosecutions.

First of all, we still observe a very high rate of suspended sentences without additional sanctions and cases of relief from punishment (usually due to the statute of limitations expiration). Moreover, this rate has been rising steadily for the entire time period since xenophobic propaganda cases have became routine. In 2010 suspended sentences and relief from punishment comprised 44% of total convictions, while the 2009 rate was 42%, 2008 rate was 38%, and 2007 rate was 29%.

Next, the issue of time limits on such cases still remains unresolved. Recall that many “anti-extremist” bills insist on making Part 1 of Article 282 “heavier” in order to increase the statute of limitations for the crime. This is not a mere coincidence: the investigation and the courts are still unable to stay within the legally allotted period of two years when prosecuting these cases. The propagandists of hate are well aware of this problem and often deliberately delay the proceedings. Occasionally, it seems that such delay works for all the parties involved. A striking 2009-2010 example of such an “agreement” was the case of Alexander Yaremenko, editor of the Russian Transbaikalia (Russkoe Zabaikalye) newspaper. The case was initiated in 2008 under Part 1, Article 282 (despite the fact that Yaremenko clearly acted in his official capacity, which was emphasized in the materials of the investigation), and the statute of limitations on it ended in June 2010. In 2009, Yaremenko was convicted by a lower-level court, but the sentence was overturned on appeal, and the new trial on the case was scheduled precisely for June 2010. Then Yaremenko went into hiding from the court and “re-appeared” only in August. The court paid no attention to this fact (which, by law, should have interrupted the term of limitation) and dismissed the case. Thus, in fact, not only the defendant, but also the prosecutor and the judges were not averse to such an outcome.

Third, the question regarding the degree of public danger from xenophobic propaganda still remains open. First and foremost, we are talking about the fact that Internet-chatterers[20] and graffiti vandals account for the bulk of xenophobic propaganda convictions.

There are also examples of propaganda that, while aggressively xenophobic in nature, raise such strong doubts regarding their authors’ mental adequacy that the social danger potential of those texts drops to zero. Such was an impression produced by the available texts of “Genghis Chelyabinsk”[21] group. In summer 2010, four members of the group were found guilty; two members received two years eight months in custody, and two others got suspended sentences.

Fourth, law enforcement agencies continue to focus on ordinary xenophobes, not on ideologues, who systematically engage in racist propaganda or advocate neo-Nazi terrorism. Among relatively important ideologues only two were held criminally liable: the above-mentioned K. Dushenov (it is worth noting that the investigation and the trial in his case lasted a total of more than three years) and the DPNI- Kirov leaders. The sentences to Kirov residents however, contain inappropriate elements: they were charged, among other things, with incitement of hatred to such social groups as “students” and “civil servants”, including employees of the Interior Ministry, and specific public officials.”

Fifth, the practice of barring an offender from practicing his profession receives no further development. There were only four such sentences in 2010.

The Federal List of Extremist Materials

In 2010 the Federal List of Extremist Materials continued its rapid growth. It was updated 27 times and grew from 467 items to 748, with some of them including dozens of impossible-to-identify filenames. All the previously noted problems of the List[22] remain unresolved. The List’s monstrous size makes its systematic application impossible. Law enforcement practice shows that currently the List is used either as a tool of undue pressure on a number of religious groups (primarily, the Jehovah's Witnesses) or as a tool to simulate fight against extremism by issuing warnings to libraries and schools. The List is very seldom used as a tool to combat actual xenophobic propaganda, and on just a few items. The book The Strike of Russian Gods (“Udar russkikh bogov”), movies Russia with a Knife in Its Back” (“Rossiya s nozhom v spine”) and The Eternal Jew (“Vechnyi Zhid”) likely represent the most common items for which law enforcement agencies meaningfully hold people responsible.

281 items added to the Federal List in 2010 fall into the following categories:

- racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic materials – 117 items (42%)

- Jehovah's Witnesses materials – 51 (18%);

- materials by North Caucasus separatists and other radical Islamists – 29 (10%);

- Scientology materials – 28 (10%);

- materials by various Muslim groups, usually not affiliated with officially recognized Muslim authorities – 21 (7%).

The remaining 56 items (20 %) include historical sources, various oppositional texts mostly on social concerns, and, finally, materials that are impossible to identify.

61 new items refer to online materials.

Significantly, on 30 July 2010 three items (articles by N. Andrushenko) were, for the first time ever, officially removed from the list, with notification published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta.[23]

  We have noted repeatedly that some updates to the Federal List can only be described as an imitation of anti-extremist activity (this includes, for example, bans on specific internet forum comments or recognizing the sportswear outlet advertisement as extremist). However, in 2010, Bashkortostan invented another very promising imitation method.

On 24 March 2010 Kirov District Court in Ufa declared the book Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler to be extremist; in May the same court found that the book The Doctrine of Fascism by Benito Mussolini was extremist; and on 22 December 2010 Miyakin District Court of Bashkortostan decided that the book SS Member and the Blood Question by Heinrich Himmler was extremist.

In the meantime, the Federal Law “On Countering Extremist Activities” contains a direct prohibition of publications by leaders of the Nazi Party and the Fascist Party of Italy, or other materials declared extremist by the courts (which are subsequently added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials). Unfortunately, despite its many years in existence, the wording of the law has never been interpreted for the public, and many are still convinced that Mein Kampf has not been prohibited in Russia. However law enforcement officials, as a rule, never had any problems with this rather unambiguously-worded law (despite the inaccurate name the law uses for the NSDAP) when sanctioning various ways of distributing Mein Kampf (a May 2009 warning to the “Our Business – National Business” (Nash biznes - National Business) magazine for publishing a fragment from the Hitler’s book presents a typical example).

However, when informing the public about the recent ban on Hitler’s book, the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation suggested an alternative interpretation of the law, stating that its wording merely means that in this case there is no need for an expert examination, but a court decision is still necessary. This created a serious problem: the Prosecutor General's Office de-facto admitted that every work of the leaders of NSDAP and the National Fascist Party of Italy is in need of a separate legal ban, even if under a simplified procedure, and has to be added to the Federal List of Extremist Materials. Hence, it claims that until today – and into the future – all these texts are not banned until each is subject to a separate court decision (and subsequently all previous sanctions related to their publication are illegal). In addition, the Prosecutor General's Office states that in all other cases expert examination is mandatory, although this proposition is not based on any law, and the Prosecutor General's Office itself had never considered expert examinations in extremist propaganda cases mandatory.

In our opinion, the decisions of Bashkirian Courts need to be reconsidered, and the Supreme Court must provide an official interpretation of the law’s meaning. Otherwise, we may face not only a wave of bans on already banned books, but also a wave of lawsuits disputing already-levied sanctions, based on the direct interpretation of the law “On Counteracting Extremist Activity.”

The Banning of Organizations

In 2010 the process of recognizing organizations as extremist actively continued. The following organizations were banned and included into the Federal List of Extremist Organizations:[24]

- International Public Organization “National-Socialist Society” (Natsional-sotsialisticheskoe obshchestvo, NSO, NS), recognized as extremist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 1 February 2010

- The United Vilayat of Kabarda, Balkaria and Karachai (Ob’edinennyi Vilayat Kabardy Bashkirii i Karachaia), recognized extremist by the decision of the Supreme Court of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic of 9 July 2010

- Primorye regional human rights public organization “Union of Slavs” a.k.a. the Union of Slavs of the Far East (Soiuz Slavian Dal’nego Vostoka, SSDV), recognized as extremist by the decision of Primorsky Kray court on 28 July 2010

- International religious organization Al-Takfir wal-Hijra, recognized as extremist by the decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation of 15 September 2010.

- Local Krasnodar City Organization “Pit Bull” (“Pit Bul’”) recognized as extremist by the decision of the Oktiabrskii District Court in Krasnodar on 24 August 2010

- Regional public organization National Socialist Workers' Party of Russia (Natsional-sotsialisticheskaia rabochaia partiia Rossii, NSRPR), recognized as extremist by the decision of the Civil Cases Court Division of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court on 22 September 2010

- Slavic Union Inter-regional Public Movement (Slavyanskii soiuz, SS) recognized as extremist by the decision of the Moscow City Court of 27 April 2010.

- Inter-regional public association “Format-18”, recognized as extremist by the decision of the Moscow City Court on 20 December 2010

- A religious group “Noble Order of the Devil,” recognized as extremist by the Supreme Court of Mordovia on 27 December 2010

Three latest items were added to the official list on the Ministry of Justice website in February-March 2011 (in our opinion, the last one was banned inappropriately).

 Imarat Kavkaz lead by Doku Umarov has not been added to the List (banned on 8 February 2010, the ruling went into effect on 25 February), evidently because it was recognized as a terrorist organization, which Ministry of Justice considers not the same thing as a banned extremist organization.

The Moscow City Court ban on the Army of People’s Will (Armiya Voli Naroda, AVN) on 19 October 2010, which we consider inappropriate, went into effect only on 22 February 2011 after its approval by the Supreme Court.

  We are going to omit the discussion of Islamist and separatist groups, and consider only the decisions related to the right-wing groups, which constitute the majority of banned organizations.

They decisions fall quite neatly into three categories:

- banning organizations that have long ago ceased to exist (NSO, “Format 18”);

- banning local right-wing groups, whose core members were sentenced to various terms of imprisonment (“Pit bull”, “NSRPR);

- banning active neo-Nazi organizations that present a real public danger (SSDV, SS).

The bans on non-existent organizations look strange. Prohibiting “Format 18” may have certain logic to it, as a putative measure in anticipation of the release from prison of their leader Maxim (“Tesak”) Marcinkiewicz, in order to prevent him from reviving his popular ultra-right project. However a ban on NSO (which ceased to exist over two years prior to the ruling, with no chances of revival) displays no logic.

Prohibition of local ultra-right groups after the conviction of their leaders might be an attempt by the regional law enforcement agencies to use the complex potential of anti-extremist legislation. However, these actions are of questionable effectiveness: in most cases these groups do not conduct ideological work as such, are primarily focused on committing violent acts, and are likely to start operating under different name, or altogether stop any activity after the arrest of their leaders. Most likely, the recognition of local Nazi-skinhead groups as extremist will not become a permanent practice, as efforts aimed at their legal ban are clearly out of proportion to the scale of their activity.

In the meantime, banning actual currently active groups proved to be far less simple. While SSDV really went out of business, D. Demushkin is active as ever. Immediately after the ban he announced birth of a new organization - The Slav Power (Slavianskaia sila), preserving symbols, style and abbreviation of the Slavic Union. (The Supreme Court Litigation ended in February 2011, and Demushkin’s hope to challenge the ban in the European Court of Human Rights is clearly unfounded.)

Other Administrative Measures

In 2010, no newspapers were closed on the grounds of anti-extremism.

In June 2010, on complaint from Roskomnadzor, Ostankino District Court after several anti-extremist warnings ruled to close the To the Stand! (“K Bar’eru”) newspaper (the successor to the Duel newspaper). In August, however, the Moscow City Court reversed this decision and sent the case back for a new trial, and on 24 December Ostankino Court handed over the case of to another court. (At the time of writing, the case is still ongoing)

The court also denied the requests for closing either the Dagestani Draft (“Chernovik”) newspaper (recognizing its persecution as politically motivated), or the right-wing Novosibirsk newspaper Fatherland (“Otchizna”).

 Roskomnadzor’s activity in giving out warnings showed signs of improvement. In 2010 there were 28 warnings compared to 33 in 2009. For two media outlets - the Agency of Political News (APN) and the newspaper Evening Ryazan (Vecherniaia Ryazan) - it was their second warning; in accordance with established custom, the agency now has a right to initiate a process of closing them.

At least 10 of these 28 warnings, we consider inappropriate. However, in 2009 we found 15 of 33 warnings inappropriate, so we can observe some improvement in the Roskomnadzor’s performance.

Anti-extremist operations of the Prosecutor General’s Office still remain opaque. The Office reports numerous “acts of prosecutorial response,” but it is impossible to determine which of these acts respond to real manifestations of xenophobia and which represent the regular warnings to libraries for the absence of the Federal List of Extremist Materials.

  It is very difficult to track the practice of law enforcement under Article 20.3 of the Administrative Code (“propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi attributes or symbols”), so we can’t discuss the dynamics of its development. Most known episodes are associated with fines imposed on shopkeepers for selling either items featuring Nazi paraphernalia or symbols resembling the Nazi ones. Sometimes these charges affect the sellers of military artifacts, and here it is worth remembering that the issue of collecting such items is not regulated in our country. We also learned of several episodes of fines for Nazi tattoos: a young man in Kostroma was fined for demonstrating his tattoos on Victory Day parade; a young man on Sakhalin was fined for demonstrating his tattoos on while playing sports; in the Sverdlovsk region several inmates in two penal colonies were fined for Nazi tattoos. Unfortunately, no other area adopted the practice of Novgorod law enforcement agencies, which not only fined the defendant, but also ordered the tattoo removed.

[1] In the preparation of this report, we used the daily monitoring conducted by the SOVA Center and our regional monitoring of ultra-right activity in several regions of Russia.

Monitoring was funded by the state support grants per Decree no. 300 of the President of the Russian Federation, issued on 8 May 2010.

[2] On average over the course of a year we see a 20 to 30% further increase in numbers from the previous year. For example, in March 2010, when publishing out 2009 Annual Report, we cited 71 murder and 333 injured victims. .

The data we collect is far from complete, due to the incompleteness of our sources (in particular, as racist violence becomes routine, mass-media coverage of it decreases). The actual number of racially-motivated crimes is undoubtedly much larger. Instead, our statistics is useful for identifying trends and defining problem regions, the obvious sites of violent ultra-right organized activity. Please remember, that our calculations do not include victims of mass brawls, and the events in the republics of the North Caucasus.

[3] Our classification of victims into types is approximate and based on indirect reports about the victim’s phenotype, since usually the perpetrators of racial violence tend to base their decisions on phenotype as well.

[4] Once again, this does not include victims of mass brawls.

[5] This is not the first murder of a Russian federal judge that could potentially be traced to neo-Nazis. In 2004 in Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region, Judge Nataliia Urlina was murdered, after a series of threats from local RNE activists. We don’t know if her murder investigation was ever completed, but back then the “ultra-right” version did not dominate the case. For more details see Murder of the Judge in Dolgoprudny// SOVA Center. Racism and Xenophobia. 2004. 9 August (

[6] This data does not include isolated incidents of neo-Nazi graffiti appearing on ideologically “neutral objects” (buildings, fences, etc). However, starting in 2010 we are getting much better data on “cemetery vandalism”, not always hate-motivated. Thus, the observed increase in numbers should probably be ignored.

[7] For more details see “Problems of Realizing the Freedom of Conscience in Russia in 2010.”

[8] Among the numerous March 20th rallies, only in Moscow the DPNI representative was given an opportunity to talk.

[9] On M. Kalashnikov’s early activity see Moroz, Yevgenii. The One Who Raised the Swastika. The imperial project of Vladimir Kucherenko //SOVA Center. 2003. 8 November (;;

[10] Kalashnikov, Maksim, Economic and organizational basis of “Kievskaya Rus-2”, most important questions - with no answers!// Bol’shoi Forum. 2008. 10 November (

[11] The statement of the Locals (Mestnye) movement on the consequences of Yegor Sviridov’s murder// Mestnye. 2010. 18 December (

[12] Belov, Alexander. In case of conflict, be the first to attack //North-West Political News Agency (APN Severo-Zapad). 2010. 10 December (

[13] At the time of writing several people have been arrested, but the extent of their participation in Manezhnaya events is unclear.

[14] For more details see “Inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation in Russia in 2010,” which also contains a detailed description of the extremely significant 15 July 2010 resolution of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation regarding judicial practice related to the Russian Federation Statute on the Mass Media

[15] Both verdicts under Article 115 were suspended sentences, out of 11 convictions under Article 116 four received suspended sentences, and in two additional cases, one out of two convictions resulted in suspended sentence.

[16] Note that we do not consider these convictions inappropriate.

[17] He was declared guilty in preparing a terrorist act (Chapter 1 Article 30 and Chapter 1 Article 205 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation), unlawful trafficking and unlawful making of explosives (Chapter 1 Article 222 and Chapter 1 Article 223) and sentenced to five and a half years in custody.

[18] He was convicted for hooliganism with the use of weapons, motivated by religious hatred (points (a) and (b) Chapter 1 Article 213), for the illegal manufacture of the explosives (Chapter 1 Article 223) and for inciting ethnic and religious hatred (Chapter 1 Article 282).

[19] Thus this chapter does not provide the length of custodial sentences distribution; these prison terms were meted out for crimes other then “words”.

[20] However, online distribution of xenophobic videos containing appeals for violence, constitute, in our opinion, a truly dangerous form of propaganda.

[21] Fragments of their creative output can be found here “The Chelyabinsk Prosecutor’s Office wants to charge sick people, who consider Putin to be a Jesuit General, with extremism // 2011. 14 January (

[22] Kozhevnikova, Galina. Under the sign of political terror: Radical nationalism and efforts to counteract it in 2009 // SOVA Center. 2010. 2 February (

[23] An anti-Krishnaite leaflet by Young Guard of United Russia (Molodaia Gvardiia Edinoi Rossii, MGER) was previously removed from the list for dubious reasons.

[24] The official name of the list is "List of public and religious associations and other nonprofit organizations in respect of which the court adopted legally binding decision to eliminate or ban their activities on the grounds provided by the Federal Law "On Countering Extremist Activities."