Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2011

CRIMINAL MANIFESTATIONS OF RACISM AND XENOPHOBIA : Systematic Racist and Neo-Nazi Violence : Anti-State Terrorist Activities : Threats to Public Officials and Civic Activists and Punishing "Traitors" : Violence Motivated by Religion : Grassroots Xenophobic Violence and Xenophobia in the Army : Vandalism
PUBLIC ACTIVITY OF ULTRA-RIGHT RADICALS : Unification tendencies in the ultra-right wing : Contacts with “Inside-the-system” Parties : Ultra-right Rallies and Marches : Participation in the December Protests
COUNTER-ACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM AND XENOPHOBIA : Public Initiatives : Creation and Clarification of Regulatory Acts : Criminal Prosecution for Violence : Criminal Prosecution for Vandalism : Criminal Prosecution of Propaganda : Criminal Prosecution of Extremist Groups and Banned Organizations : The Federal List of Extremist Materials : The Banning of Organizations : Other Administrative Measures


This report[1] was prepared during the period of continuing protests following the parliamentary elections of December 4, 2011, and in anticipation of the presidential elections of March 4, 2012. The Russian nationalist movement, which prior to late 2011 had perceived itself as the most active political force in the country, has not yet become a truly meaningful component of the protest movement. Nevertheless, its role in the current events is sufficiently noticeable to deserve our most thorough examination. In this report we attempt to analyze the developments that unfolded within the right-wing radical milieu in the time period between December 2010 (the Manezhnaya Square events in Moscow) and December 2011 (the post-election opposition rallies).

On the one hand, the political weight of right-wing radical organizations has increased as they entered public discourse. They gained new opportunities for cooperation with the “inside-the-system” parties, and took an active, if not completely legitimate, part in the December protests. In 2011 publicly active nationalists separated into two distinct coalitions: a radical, partially neo-Nazi movement “the Russians” (Russkie) and the Russian Platform (Russkaya Platforma, RP), a relatively moderate group, which, nevertheless, have never openly disavowed violence.

On the other hand the right-wing radicals have not put any of these achievements to practical use for strengthening their own movement. There are no indications that they succeeded in growing their social base or in finding comrades-in-arms among other opposition activists to any measurable extent. So far, despite the Russian society’s growing demand for the ethno-nationalist ideology, the existing far right political organizations are unable to satisfy it. Autonomous ultra-right groups mostly don’t trust them, while their potential supporters among Russian citizens with xenophobic views either never heard of them or consider them excessively radical. Even their successful propaganda memes, such as “Stop feeding the Caucasus,” brought no substantial improvement.

Repeating the success of the Manezhnaya Square riots to any extent proved to be impossible despite numerous attempts throughout the year. Meanwhile, the number of criminal actions committed by the ultra-right has declined, continuing the trend of the previous two years. Channeling the activists’ energy into political activity and the overall course of the movement toward constructing “nationalism with a human face” can partially account for this tendency. Nevertheless, active police prosecution of violence-prone groups remains the most effective factor in bringing the number of hate crimes down. Fewer victims of racially-motivated crime, and, in particular, a diminished number of murders (especially in the centers of the ultra-right activity) could be considered the main positive outcome of 2011. However, the situation still remains quite tense; nobody is immune from the attacks by the ultra-right, including government employees, civic activists, and random passers-by, who dared to express their disapproval of the way the ultra-right activists behave on the streets.

“Countering extremism” increasingly becomes a top law enforcement priority. This is evident, for example, from the fact that in 2011 the Interior Ministry's Department for Countering Extremism was the only known department, whose personnel grew, rather than shrunk, in the course of reorganization; moreover, it was restructured from a Department into a Chief Directorate. Regretfully, due to the flaws in the anti-extremist legislation, police resources too often end up being misspent, thus discrediting even legitimate measures in this sphere. However, investigations into truly dangerous crimes, primarily those involving violence, were conducted at least as actively, as they had been in the previous year.

In 2011 several high-profile criminal cases resulted in convictions. Members of several major ultra-right groups were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment (including life sentences), most notably the Borovikov-Voevodin gang in St. Petersburg and the National-Socialist Society -North (NSO-Sever) in Moscow. In addition, a verdict was made regarding the notorious murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova.

Unfortunately, while the judicial quality of the violent crime-related verdicts continues to improve, the same cannot be said about the quality of prosecution for hate speech (xenophobic propaganda). The tendency to minimize incarceration for “mere words” was the only positive development observed in this area. Otherwise, the situation remains pretty much unchanged. Number of convictions is quite high, but most of the cases pertain to the statements that were either inherently not dangerous or not dangerous due to lack of publicity (such as graffiti or comments on social networks).

Resolution No. 11 of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation “Concerning Judicial Practice in Criminal Cases Regarding Crimes of Extremism,” adopted on June 28, 2011, became the most important and positive normative framework development of the year, because it contained important clarifications of the existing anti-extremist legislation. A single ruling could not resolve all the quandaries and deficiencies of the legislation, but, nevertheless, it indicates movement in the right direction.

It has become increasingly obvious that classifying material as extremist constitutes a completely inefficient measure. The Federal List of Extremist Materials continued to expand actively, and by the end of 2011 its size exceeded a thousand entries. This growth only turns the List into an ever more complex and unwieldy instrument. We are convinced that the only way to solve the List-related problems is to abandon it altogether.

The mechanism of banning organizations as extremist was used actively in 2011. Several organizations were banned, best-known of them being the Movement against Illegal Immigration (Dvizhenie protiv nelegal’noi immigratsii, DPNI). The ban did not prevent members of the proscribed organizations to continue their activities (in particular within "the Russians" coalition movement). Evidently, the ban mechanism requires some serious analysis and fine-tuning.

Criminal Manifestations of Racism and Xenophobia

Systematic Racist and Neo-Nazi Violence

In 2011 23 people died and 154 received injuries as a result of racist and neo-Nazi violence, and 10 more received credible murder threats. For comparison, in 2010 42 people died and 401 were injured; in addition, 6 people received credible murder threats.[2] While our 2011 numbers are not yet final,[3] the above-cited data allows us to conclude that the number of neo-Nazi and/or racially-motivated violent crimes is going down. According to our records, the violence peaked in 2008 (116 dead, 499 injured), and then its level started to drop. I have to emphasize that our data is far from complete and likely reflects only a fraction of occurring crimes. However, since our research methodology remains constant, we consider our conclusions regarding the developing trends, to be sufficiently well-founded, both for the totals and for each group separately.

Incidents of racist violence were recorded in 40 regions of Russia (compared to 49 regions in 2010). Moscow (8 killed, 35 injured) and Moscow Region (5 killed, 12 injured) remained traditional hotbeds of such violence; so did St. Petersburg (3 killed, 27 injured). These geographic areas also showed the greatest reduction in violent crime statistics. (In 2010 we recorded 18 people killed and 144 injured in Moscow, 2 people killed and 33 injured in Moscow Region, and 2 killed and 43 injured in St. Petersburg.) In addition, a significant number of victims was recorded in Kaluga Region (1 killed, 12 injured). The situation has improved in Nizhny Novgorod, which usually holds the third highest place in crime statistics after Moscow and St. Petersburg, but this year we have only received information regarding two injured victims. This trend could be explained by the fact that law enforcement agencies have finally intensified[4] their prosecution of the ultra-right. In 2011 members of four neo-Nazi groups were convicted in the region. Statistics on violent hate crimes in other regions have remained stable for many years.

As before, most victims of xenophobic attacks were migrants from Central Asia (10 killed and 25 injured). People from the Caucasus, who, up to the end of 2009, had constituted the second largest group of victims (and at some point before that they had been the largest group) have now moved to the fourth position on our list, with 6 killed and 14 injured. However, for 25 victims of racial violence in 2011, we know only of their undefined “non-Slavic” appearance.[5] Most often it was described as “Asian,” however, in some cases it could have meant “Caucasian”(i.e. from the Caucasus), so we need to emphasize, once again, that our data is approximate in many respects, including ethnic classification - even more so because the crime victims tend to avoid any media contact and seldom report the crime to the police. Thus, the group of victims loosely defined as the “Caucasian-looking people,” in fact, remains in the third place on our list.

Information about the incidents, where the victims belonged to sub-cultural groups or radical anti-fascists, is much easier to collect. Such incidents ranked second in 2011 with one person killed and 26 people injured. This relatively high number might be due to the fact, that we are better informed about these attacks, since these groups have formed wide horizontal connections and ties with various NGOs and media outlets. However, we also know about the cases of radical anti-fascists trying to conceal their losses in street fights. The overwhelming majority of the victims come not from the ranks of “military antifascists;” but rather from among the concert audience of music groups that are popular among the anti-fascists. In addition, at least five victims, attacked by the ultra-right last year, were either environmentalists or members of left-wing organizations.

Notably, members of the Nazi Straight-edge subculture often pick their victims among completely apolitical young people, who, according to their attackers, “lead an unhealthy lifestyle.”

For the second year in a row we have observed a stable high number of victims among dark-skinned people (1 murder, 19 people injured). Most probably, these numbers do not signal an actual increase in the number of attacks on dark-skinned people; the situation with this particular type of racist attacks have become much better tracked, since the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy started its systematic information collecting about such incidents.

In addition to ordinary attacks, we continue to observe racially-motivated explosions, organized by the ultra-right. In Nefteyugansk (Yugra) the right-wing radicals hid an explosive device next to Harbin Chinese restaurant; in Samara the explosion at the central market (which injured one person) was organized with the "nationalistic motives"; in Stavropol Region an apartment in a residential building suffered an arson attack at night (attackers also left anti-Semitic graffiti under the window). We know of at least two explosive devices planted in the vicinity of Danilov market in Moscow and near the trade stalls in St. Petersburg; fortunately neither of them detonated.

The past year clearly demonstrated that nearly anyone could become a victim of ultra-right violence.

Thus, in addition to Straight Edge subculture, the ultra-right milieu now also includes People-hate movement, which harbors much more radical views. The right-wing radical bloggers claim that the movement includes “just nationalists and national-socialists judging everyone and everything very harshly (it would be stupid not to admit that the Russian…is not currently in his best shape). I don’t have too many illusions regarding an average Russian Ivan…This vegetable is quite different.[6]

In 2011 Russian People-haters idolized two neo-Nazi serial murderers from Irkutsk Akademgorodok ("mallet-killers"): Artem Anufriev (b. 1992) and Nikita Lytkin (b. 1993), responsible for a series of brutal murders and attacks (at least 16 cases resulting in 6 murders).[7] It seems that victims were selected at random. Their attacks began in December 2010. The killers attacked people on the street with a mallet and a knife, and in some cases mutilated their bodies.[8] Some of the attacks were recorded on camera and uploaded online (A. Anufriev was a moderator of “We Are Gods; We Decide Who Lives and Who Dies” user group on VKontakte social network.)[9] During police questioning Anufriev stated that he was influenced by the “nationalist slogans.”[10] In custody the two young men explained their actions by their desire “to clean up the city.”[11]

In the period under review some people became victims of ultra-radical violence simply for expressing their disapproval. For example, in May 2011 in Chelyabinsk Nazi skinheads beat up a man, who reprimanded them for shouting pro-Hitler slogans. Passers-by were also injured during the Russian March for having expressed their opposition to this particular way of celebrating “the Day of national unity.”

Anti-State Terrorist Activities

In 2011 the activities of ultra-right groups continue to show tendency toward anti-state terrorist activities. We recorded several arson attacks and bombings of police stations and government office buildings (for example, the explosion in the building of the Moscow Public Prosecution Office on Zhivopisnaya street or the arson attempt in the waiting room of Vadim Zhuk, a United Russia deputy to the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Legislative Assembly). Fortunately, as far as we know, nobody was hurt in these attacks.

The attacks have clearly declined in numbers, compared to 2009 and 2010. However, monitoring the dynamics of the situation in detail is quite difficult, since, for the most part, we never learn who was standing behind these explosions and arson attacks. On the one hand attacks on police stations are practiced not only by far right groups but by far left groups as well (note that the radical anarchist members of the Anarchist Guerilla organization claimed responsibility for the explosions at a traffic police post in June and for the arson attacks on United Russia buildings in December; the group also reports on its web site the cases of attacks when they don’t know their author). At the same time, for publicity purposes, ultra-right groups often assume responsibility for all such incidents indiscriminately (in 2011 they predictably assumed responsibility for burning the vehicles of law enforcement officials, the explosions at the United Russia buildings, and arson attacks on Public Prosecution Offices).

Threats to Public Officials and Civic Activists, Punishing "Traitors"

In 2011 the stream of public threats with incitement to violence continued unabated. Such threats were published against government officials and members of the judiciary. For example, in some radical right-wing blogs the news about the verdict in the Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova murder case was accompanied by the personal data of the judge (his portrait, his address and a photograph of his house) and the members of the jury. After the murder of Judge Eduard Chuvashov[12] these threats cannot be taken lightly. Judge Vadim Shidlovsky, who handed down sentences to members of -Voevodin gang, had to be put under state protection. In August 2011 police detained Andrei “Fighter” (Boets) Malyugin, a neo-Nazi and the gang member previously acquitted by the court, who is suspected[13] of plotting the assassination of the judge.

Journalists and civic activists, who deal with xenophobia-related issues, have for many years comprised the other vulnerable target group. In mid-January Deputy Director of the Agency for Investigative Journalism (Agentstvo zhurnalistskikh rassledovanii, AZHUR) in St. Petersburg received a threatening letter, signed by the Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (Boevaia ogranizatsiia Russkikh natsionalistov, BORN).[14]

In additions, alleged “traitors” also face public threats. For example, some right radical blogs published the addresses of Ilya Goryachev, ex-leader of the Russian Image (Russkii obraz), and of Sergei “Oper” Golubev from the Blood&Honour organization, who testified in the Markelov and Baburova murder case.

The published threats of this sort should not be underestimated. Over the years of our monitoring we have observed murders of the court trial participants as well as public executions of the “traitors”. For example, on April 20, 2011 Nazi skinheads in Omsk brutally murdered and dismembered their 23-year "associate", suspected of cooperation with law enforcement.

Violence Motivated by Religion

The level of religion-motivated violence continued to grow in 2011. Members of various religious movements comprised the largest group of victims (24 people injured); almost all of them were followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine (at least 22 victims). The mass propaganda campaign against Jehovah's Witnesses have been going on for three years, and the recent increase in their victim count (19 injured in 2010, 12 injured in 2009) undoubtedly represents the consequences.

Attacks on members of other religious groups, motivated specifically by religious hate, are uncommon. Thus in 2011 the victims included three Mormon missionaries, an orthodox priest,[15] and a man, who was taken for an orthodox priest.[16]

Grassroots Xenophobic Violence and Xenophobia in the Army

The dynamics of grassroots xenophobic violence are difficult to trace, since law enforcement and mass media tend to qualify most episodes as locally-motivated incidents. Based on indirect data, the violence level remains unchanged; even considering our limited capabilities, we still record at least ten violent incidents each year, where grassroots conflicts clearly had racist underpinnings.

Traditionally, many incidents take place on August 2, the Airborne Forces Day, which is celebrated by mass brawls and, sometimes, by openly racist attacks, initiated by drunken troopers. On August 2, 2011 at least 7 people in Moscow and in the republics of Mari El and Khakassia were injured[17] (in 2010 there were at least 11 victims).

The Army is one of the most insulated and problem-ridden areas; racial conflicts undeniably exist there (the stories about ethnically-based “fraternities" (zemlyachestva) have been circulating for many years), but the situation is impossible to analyze, since verifiable information about such cases is virtually absent. However, despite the isolation of the army life from outside observers, incidents of racist violence still sometimes leak out. For example, in February 2011 in a military unit stationed in Chelyabinsk Region, Private Zaynalabid Gimbatov forced three of his “Slav” fellow soldiers to dance Lezginka, beating them for making wrong dance moves. We believe that such cases are not uncommon.

The cases of attacks against Jews are relatively rare, primarily because the Jews don’t visually stand out. Nevertheless, we record cases of grassroots anti-Semitic violence every year. Thus, in 2011 a communal apartment neighbor beat up a woman in St. Petersburg while shouting anti-Semitic slurs.

We also know of the xenophobia-motivated attacks against other ethnic “others”, including some attacks on Russians. In 2011 we recorded two such incidents. In Orel a native of Ingushetia attacked an ethnic Russian in the restaurant, shouting "No Russians here!" (Russkim zdes’ ne mesto). In Astrakhan Region a drunken Russophobe attacked school children, also shouting xenophobic slogans. Note, that all these attacks were committed by isolated individuals. In 2011 we have no information regarding any activities by organized racist groups of ethnic minorities (such as the Black Hawks[18] group) or regarding attacks by their members against people of Slavic appearance.


We observed a sharp reduction in the scope of vandalism motivated by religious, ethnic or ideological hate. In 2011 at least 90 incidents of this kind took place in 34 regions of the country, while in 2010 we recorded 176 incidents of hate-motivated vandalism, and in 2009 the number stood at 180 incidents.

Ideologically motivated vandalism still predominates (26 cases). Neo-Nazi graffiti and stickers appeared on Lenin’s monuments, the Great Patriotic War memorials and similar monuments. The number of such actions went down significantly, compared to 100 incidents, recorded in 2010. This reduction was likely the consequence of decreased graffiti activity by the Russian Image and Resistance (Soprotivlenie) members - over the last year both organizations switched to propaganda of healthy lifestyle and organizing the Russian Runs.[19]

As for vandalism motivated by religious hate, the targets were distributed as follows:

  • Sites belonging to new religious movements suffered 17 incidents, one of them targeting Hare Krishna followers and the other 16 relating to Jehovah’s Witnesses; the incidents included one explosion, one case of gun fire, and three cases of arson;
  • Jewish sites suffered 14 incidents, including one case of arson, 8 of them were motivated by religious hate;
  • Muslim sites suffered 17 incidents, including one explosion;
  • Orthodox sites suffered 12 incidents, including 3 cases of arson;
  • Sites of various protestant denominations suffered 4 incidents, including 1 case of arson;
  • Pagan sites suffered one incident.

The data shows no significant changes compared to 2010. The slowly growing number of attacks against the sites, belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses (including the ones involving explosives) has landed them on the top of our list for the second consecutive year. Attacks against sites belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church decreased in number (our records show 16 cases in 2009 and another 16 in 2010), while the incidents of anti-Muslim vandalism became more frequent (9 cases in 2010, and 8 cases in 2009), due to systematic desecration of Muslim graves in Nizhny Novgorod cemeteries (10 cases in 2011).[20] Jewish targets suffered the same number of attacks as in 2010; however, in 2009 we recorded 22 such attacks, and prior to that their number had been even higher.

We observed a moderate reduction in numbers for the most dangerous acts – bombings, gunfire and arson (11 out of 90 cases in 2011 vs. 36 out of 176 cases in 2010). However, the overall share of such acts still remains quite high.

Public Activity of Ultra-Right Radicals

Unification tendencies in the ultra-right wing

For the ultra-right movement 2011 became the year of an attempted entry into the legal political spectrum, while as recently as summer of 2010 they seemed destined to remain outsiders for many years to come. While in early 2011 riding the wave of success, achieved on Manezhnaya Square on December 11, 2010, seemed to offer the most promising course for the movement, it became obvious, as the year went on, that reality did not conform to expectations. However, by the end of the year a completely different trend came to fruition, which emerged prior to and independently of the movement inspired by Manezhnaya Square, and this trend deserves to be addressed first.

After signing the “Declaration of the Russian National Organizations” by the DPNI and the Russian Image in September 2010[21] publicly active nationalists achieved a degree of consensus on possible measures to overcome their marginal status. The principal element of their new strategy was a change, albeit partial, in the movement’s orientation away from xenophobic, and in some cases openly racist, rhetoric and toward the language of more moderate ethnic nationalism (even with some elements of civic nationalism), with emphasis on belonging to political opposition and defending democracy. This change was inspired by their desire to get rid of their marginal status of “political untouchables”, join the ranks of the increasingly active democratic opposition, and thus present themselves in a more attractive light to an average xenophobia-inclined citizen.

In order to fulfill this plan the far right needed to pool its resources and project at least an appearance of unity. Thus, the existing ultra-right organizations adopted a coalition strategy. New structures were to be presented to the public as“nationalism with a human face.”

The increasing police pressure on ultra-right organizations further strengthened their trend toward integration. In February 2011 the process of recognizing the DPNI as an extremist organization began;[22] then, in spring the court charges were filed against the Russian All-National Union (Russkii obshenatsional'nyi soiuz, RONS).[23] The criminal case was opened against Dmitry Demushkin,[24] the leader of the Slav Power (Slavianskaia sila, SS) movement, previously known as the Slavic Union, and renamed after its ban in 2010).[25]

“The Russians” Ethno-Political Association (Etnopoliticheskoe ob’edinenie – Russkie) became the first such project and still remains the largest. It brought together the most visible right-wing radical organizations: the DPNI, the SS, Dmitry Bobrov’s National Socialist Initiative (Natsional-sotsialisticheskaia ititsiativa, NSI), Stanislav Vorobyev's Russian Imperial Movement (Russkoe imperskoe dvizhenie, RID) Alexander Turik’s Union Soiuz russkogo naroda, SRN), Georgii Borovikov’s RFO Memory (Pamiat) and Sergey Gorodnikov’s National Democratic Party (Natsional-demokraticheskaia partiia, NDP). Leadership positions were almost equally distributed among the leaders of the coalition partners. In practice, however, the organization is represented mostly by the former DPNI leader Alexander Belov (the DPNI was banned on April 18, 2011) and by Dmitry Demushkin. All the other leaders, except the DPNI members (such as its last formal leader Vladimir Ermolaev) mostly continue to position themselves publicly as the heads of their own separate organizations, not as part of the coalition leadership.

This partnership certainly had a positive effect on the nationalists’ political weight; however, it failed to introduce anything radically new into their practice. As far as we know, it never prompted any noticeable influx of new, previously unaffiliated, members. Acting leaders of “the Russians” had no mass support in the ultra-right circles, and the coalition did nothing to change this situation. On the other side, the emergence of “the Russians” movement, which includes the open neo-Nazis Bobrov and Demushkin among its leaders, once again indefinitely postponed the DPNI’s aspirations to create a non-marginal nationalist movement.

A rival coalition project emerged almost simultaneously with “the Russians” with the Russian Social Movement (Russkoe obshchestvennoe dvizhenie, ROD, led by Konstantin Krylov) at its center. As far back as last winter the ROD refused to join “the Russians,” considering it strategically unwise to unite all the ultra-right organizations around the DPNI, which was about to be declared extremist, and the Slav Power, the successor of the already banned Slavic Union. This conflict provoked one of the DPNI leaders Vladimir Thor (Vladlen Kralin) to leave the movement, and instead join the ROD. In spring the ROD announced its reorganization from a single organization with regional branches to the association of equal partner organizations and invited everyone to find their place in the new structure. To date, the ROD Association includes: ROD Moscow, ROD Saint-Petersburg (Andrei Kuznetsov), ROD Volga Region (Alex Razumov), ROD Primorye (Tatiana Uvarova), ROD Siberia (Rostislav Antonov) and ROD Krasnodar. Apparently, by switching from vertical to horizontal integration the ROD expected to attract small right-wing groups in the regions and to encourage local leaders to be more proactive, by turning them into the leaders of individual organizations, rather than the heads of local branches, directed from the capital. It is hard to judge whether the expectations of K. Krylov and V Thor to attract new supporters came true, but the leaders clearly succeeded in stimulating the activity of the ROD’s regional branches.

In September the ROD together with the allied Russian Citizens Union (Russkii grazhdanskii soiuz, RGS) and its leader Anton Susov formed the Russian Platform coalition. Shortly, it was joined by the previously unknown Moscow Defense League (Liga oborony Moskvy, Daniel Konstantinov),[26] S. Vorobyev's RID, D. Bobrov’s NSI and several smaller organizations. The fact that the RID and the NSI - both members of the rival coalition “the Russians” - have joined the RP means that neither coalition can yet serve as a full-fledged unifying prototype, and that the more promising competitor is not yet obvious (we have a reason to believe that the RID and the NSI believe the RP to be more promising).

Besides the Russian March, “the Russians” only distinguished themselves once by dispatching a delegation to Ramzan Kadyrov of Chechnya.[27] Meanwhile the RP managed to organize its own, even if not very broad, campaign "No more feeding the Caucasus" (see below) and publicly demonstrated their association with popular blogger Alexei Navalny, who participated in the above-mentioned campaign and walked with the Russian Platform members during the Russian March.

Relatively moderate “old” (i.e. founded back in the 1990s) national-patriotic organizations also attempted to create a unifying project, the National-Patriotic Front “Sovereign Union of Russia” (Derzhavnyi soiuz Rossii, DSR). Originally it brought together 17 organizations, among them Sergei Baburin’s Russian All-People’s Union (Rossiiskii obshchenarodnyi soiuz, ROS), the Officers Union (Soiuz ofitserov, Stanislav Terekhov), the Military Imperial Union (Voenno-derzhavnyi soiuz, Leonid Ivashov), the Volya party (Svetlana Peunova), the Russian Cossacks Union (Soiuz kazakov Rossii, Pavel Zadorozhnyi), the Slavic Union of Journalists (Slavianskiy soiuz zhurnalistov, Boris Mironov), the Union of the Russian People (Souiz russkogo naroda, Valery Erchak)[28] and the others. Later about 20 additional representatives from various groups joined the DSR as well. The project’s primary task was to launch a "people's candidate” campaign for the upcoming presidential elections. Subsequently, the DSR in concurrence with other organizations chose Leonid Ivashov as their representative. Besides Ivashov’s nomination (failed, of course, since the organizers never even managed to hold an official nomination meeting), we observed no other activity by the DSR.

Meanwhile, in December Sergei Baburin’s ROS – the leading coalition member – started developing its own project to transform the ROS into a political party (in the past the ROS had voluntarily rejected this designation). As a result of the convention, which took place on December 17 in Moscow, the following people formed the party’s political council: Nikolai Kuryanovich (former State Duma deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, known for his proximity to various right-wing groups), Roman Zentsov (leader of the Resistance group), Ivan Mironov (the son of Boris Mironov, implicated in the Anatoly Chubais assassination attempt), and A. Turik (SRN). The convention was also attended by the Russian Image representative Eugeny Valyaev; however, there were no reports regarding his organization’s participation in the ROS party.

Speaking of the Russian Image, we have to point out that the organization struggled throughout 2011 and missed all the unification projects. The underlying cause of it crisis was the scandal caused by the publication of the interrogation protocols of the former Russian Image leader Ilya Goryachev and Sergei Erzunov (soloist of the Right Hook (“Huk sprava”) music group, connected to the Russian Image). Both witnesses gave testimony (important for prosecution) in the case of Nikita Tikhonov and Eugenia Khasis. The organization came to the defense of the "traitors," and its credibility in the right-wing circles fell almost to nothing.

Besides attempts to unify publicly active organizations, their leaders constantly try to regain the trust of autonomous ultra-right groups. The projects to help the “right-wing political prisoners” constitute an important outreach method in this regard. This activity is definitely not new for the right radical milieu; however its visibility and popularity have increased noticeably following the high-profile trials of neo-Nazi groups in spring and summer.

A good example of this trend is the Day of Solidarity with Right-Wing Political Prisoners observed by the right radicals on July 25 (on this day in 2002 the law “On Counteracting Extremist Activity” was adopted). While on prior occasions the Day of Solidarity had been used as a reason for a series of small public actions (the more of them, the better), in 2011 almost all major organizations of the radical right concentrated on collecting money for the prisoners: The ROD, the Russian Verdict (Alex Baranovski), the Right League (Alexei Samsonov), Phoenix (Maxim “Tesak” Martsinkevich,)[29] and the NSI. However, these projects do not necessarily enjoy unanimous right-wing support. The inevitable squabbles have their impact. Moreover, once the veteran of United Brigades-88 Sergei “Oper" Golubev served as a witness against Tikhonov and Khasis, the entire structure of POW-Center[30] aid organization came crashing down, and some voices within the movement started calling for not trusting the other ones as well.

Public nationalist leaders never forget to stand up for the "right-wing political prisoners" in their speeches. In addition to demanding the abolition of the Criminal Code Article 282 (actually, a greater threat to these very leaders than to those, whom they refer to as "the guerillas"), these leaders always - including their statements during the December protest rallies - mention "thousands of political prisoners," referring to the members of the far right, currently held in custody for violent crime.

Thus, in 2011 the public segment of the far-right slightly changed its organizational structure, but the main players remained the same. As shown below, their consolidation failed to solve the basic problems of legal right-wing organizations: their lack of respect from autonomous neo-Nazis, their narrow social base and the government pressure.

Contacts with “Inside-the-system” Parties

The new strategy of ultra-right groups was aimed not just at attracting new activists, but also at establishing contacts with other players on the political arena.

Their movement into the ranks of the democratic opposition began with the “outside the system” segment (similarly in need of allies). The relationship was originally supposed to be built solely on the basis of a general aversion to the existing political situation.

Thus, in early February prior to his departure from the DPNI Vladimir Thor had a series of meetings with Boris Nemtsov, Denis Bilunov (the Solidarity), Sergei Zhavoronkov (the Democratic Choice), and Alexei Nekrasov (the Five Demands (Piat' trebovaniy) project). According to V. Thor, the purpose of the meetings was to discus prospects for cooperation and conducting coordinated actions with the common purpose of “protesting against the current political regime." However, in practice, their cooperation has never developed.

In addition to their negotiation initiatives, ultra-right organizations have decided to strengthen their contacts with other opposition leaders simply by joining their actions. For example, on March 18 the ROD Siberia, headed by Rostislav Antonov, practically led the retirees protest march in Novosibirsk against the abolition of transportation benefits, although the event was organized by other movements and initially had nothing to do with the extreme right. Other examples include participation of the DPNI and the NSI activists in the April 3 rally in St. Petersburg, organized by Yabloko party, or in the actions to protect the Khimki forest.[31]

However, the presence of right-wing groups on the actions was often welcomed neither by the opposition nor by other far right groups. For example, the news of Thor’s meeting with liberal politicians was ill-received even in the DPNI, where he was a member. The activists of the Yabloko party in St. Petersburg demanded that nationalists present at the rally take down their imperial flags and even asked the police to intervene. Yevgenia Chirikova took a lot of criticism from her colleagues, who felt that her association with right-wing radicals was unacceptable.

In spring and summer, as the elections approached, many political actors, including the “inside-the system” parties, felt the public demand for ethno-nationalism and began to include its elements into their rhetoric. This, in turn, increased their possible basis for cooperation with the far right, since now their relations had a broader base than just their shared opposition to the current political regime.

Thus in March the Just Cause (Pravoe delo) party conducted a round table with participation from the nationalists K. Krylov, A. Susov, A. Khramov, I. Lazarenko and Victor Militarev (the “former ROD”). The event demonstrated that the Just Cause included a significant number of those who partially or fully shared the nationalist views and were ready for cooperation.[32] When Mikhail Prokhorov joined the Just Cause party the situation didn’t change. V. Militarev remained on the list of candidates for the Moscow Regional Duma. Certain activists started making mildly nationalist statements, and the leaders of the party’s Moscow Regional branch and the Saratov branch declared that the Just Cause is willing to compete for nationalist votes. Changing the party emblem colors to the colors of the Russian imperial flag was intended as a positive signal toward the ultra-right. Another signal was Mikhail Prokhorov personally inviting Yevgeny Roizman to join the party. Roizman, the head of the City without Drugs (Gorod bez narkotikov) organization, has often made xenophobic statements, and became a popular figure among the right-wing activists after the events in Sagra.

However, in August the issue of nationalism in the Just Cause sparked a scandal. Izvestia newspaper published an article, alleging that Boris Nadezhdin was supposedly recruiting “young skinheads” into his organization. Prokhorov then declared that the party included no nationalists, the Just Cause leaders stopped making questionable statements on the subject, and V. Militarev was taken off the party list of candidates to the Moscow Regional Duma. Later Prokhorov resigned as the party leader, and the Just Cause practically left the election process. Any possible attempts by the right-wing radicals to restore relations with the party would have served no purpose. However, the inner nationalist club ("the Republican Club") of the party still exists. [33]

The Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (Liberal’no-demokraticheskaya partiia Rossii, LDPR) became yet another party willing to establish contact with the far right. In late spring the party began to organize round tables with participation from right-wing organizations ("the Russians", the ROD, the Russian Image, the RGS and the NDA) and other known right radical activists. In the early July this activity led to the establishment of the Russian Public Committee, with the K. Krylov and A. Belov among its leaders.

Moreover, on June 11 the LDPR conducted a joint rally with the ultra-right, the Day of the Russian People, where the speakers, in addition to Zhirinovsky, included A. Belov, K. Krylov, V. Thor, the leader of the Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (Soiuz pravoslavnykh khorugvenostsev) Leonid Simonovich-Niksic and the leader of the Danish National Front Lars Wittmann.[34] The party also introduced in the State Duma an obviously impassable bill that called for the abolition of the law “On Counteracting Extremist Activity” (hated by right-wing radicals).[35]

However, to the extreme right’s disappointment, the LDPR’s electoral lists included none of their representatives, and their joint activity (if exists) no longer enters the mediasphere.

The LDPR, unlike the Just Cause, have never repudiated its nationalist attitude. In the fall they took part in an anti-Islamic campaign unfolding around the Kurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha) holiday celebration, by introducing a draft bill in the State Duma that suggested regulating sacrifices on Muslim holidays.[36] In November Vladimir Zhirinovsky, commented on the ethnic situation in Komi Republic in such a manner that the Head of the Republic declared the LDPR leader persona non grata until he apologized. In December the LDPR faced a new scandal in connection with the anti-Semitic statements by its Duma deputy Andrey Tkachenko.[37]

The Just Russia (Spravedlivaia Rossiya) party has also been observed making contact with right-wing radicals. In June, the party's youth organization (OSA) became a collective member of the People's Cathedral (Narodnyi Sobor) movement; OSA’s leader, Nikita Slepnev at that time was a member of the Just Russia’s Central Council. In the autumn of 2011 Slepnev left the party.

However, the party’s contacts with right-wing radicals continued. On October 22 activists of the Just Russia took part in an unsanctioned rally "No more feeding Moscow!"[38] organized in Novosibirsk by the ROD Siberia, and on November 4th Ilya Ponomarev, the State Duma deputy from the Just Russia, addressed the Novosibirsk Russian March.

In contrast to all the above-listed parties, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) had no significant contact with ultra-right organizations and their activists. However, this lack of communication did not prevent their campaign from acquiring a xenophobic tone. In January, apparently inspired by the Manezhnaya Square events, they formally established the Russian Harmony (Russkii Lad) nationalist movement, headed by the State Duma deputy from the KPRF Vladimir Nikitin.[39] For three quarters of the year the movement barely functioned but in October the KPRF once again started actively promoting it, thus indicating its position on the "Russian question". In addition, in the same month of October a scandal unfolded around the Communist Party following the anti-Semitic statements of Sergei Igumenov,[40] its Samara Provincial Duma candidate. In November the KPRF candidate Pavel Grudinin was taken off the Moscow Regional Duma list for making a series of discriminatory statements in his interview to the Russian Reporter (Russkii Reporter) magazine.[41]

The ruling party also responded to public demand for ethno-nationalism. Over the summer the Congress of Russian Communities (Kongress russkikh obschin, KRO) reentered the political arena along with its former leader Dmitry Rogozin. Rogozin later called on the KRO members to support United Russia and Vladimir Putin personally.[42] In August the KRO received its registration from the Ministry of Justice, and in the fall they even worked out a deal for a bilateral agreement with United Russia (never actually implemented. During his brief reemergence, D. Rogozin, managed to provoke a scandal with his anti-Islamic statements regarding the Kurban Bayram[43] holiday celebration. He also held an early October meeting with representatives of youth organizations in the Presidential Administration building that included one of the Russian Image leaders among the attendees.

In general, the government policies in this area during the election period seemed ambivalent and even inspired a theory that the authorities wanted to "privatize" the topic of ethnic nationalism, in order to gain additional political points. On the one hand, President Dmitry Medvedev in summer and fall of 2011 repeatedly called on the “inside-the system” parties to exclude any ethno-nationalist rhetoric from their election campaigns,[44] and, judging by the drop in xenophobic statements in the autumn months, the parties heeded his request. However, on the other hand, United Russia continued the above-mentioned contacts with the KRO and Dmitry Rogozin. Even more importantly, in response to the conviction of two pilots, the Russian and the Estonian, in Tajikistan, Russia initiated the deportation campaign against Tajik labor migrants, which was widely perceived as xenophobic. The ultra-right groups certainly welcomed the campaign, and several of them, such as the Moscow Defense League and Igor Mangushev’s Bright Russia (Svetlaia Rus’), even participated in the raids against Tajiks in the Central and South-Western Administrative Districts of Moscow alongside the police officers (which was, in our opinion, completely inappropriate).

The contacts between ultra-right parties and the accepted “inside-the system” parties only increased the overall xenophobia level of the election campaign, but never delivered any tangible benefits to the parties (the LDPR, which gained some votes from additional constituents with xenophobic views, might be the only exception). However, the mere fact that almost all of the “inside-the-system” parties participated in the ethno-nationalist discourse in one way or the other brought its visibility to a higher level.

Ultra-right Rallies and Marches

After the events on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow and the ensuing riots ultra-right groups enthusiastically took to organizing various public events, hoping to repeat the success of December 2010.

However, in the early months of the year, when the law enforcement agencies were demonstrating in every way their willingness to suppress any right-wing rally, the far-right was unable to organize a mass gathering. For a while actions, proposed by the December 11th Movement, seemed to represent the most promising option. The Movement’s proposal was to hold rallies on squares in different cities on the 11th day of each month in order to remind the public about the Manezhnaya Square events and about the existence of activists.[45] Despite their vigorous promotion of the first few actions, despite attendance by the leaders of extreme right organizations, and despite the fact that the majority of autonomous nationalists supported the idea, organizing anything that could qualify as a mass event proved to be impossible. By the fall right-wing radicals abandoned their futile attempts to conduct any events on the 11th day of each month and switched to other subjects.

The "No more feeding the Caucasus" rally in Moscow, organized by the ROD and the RGS on April 23 became the first significant public action of 2011.[46] The event attracted only about 250 participants, but the organizers did not abandon the issue; on the contrary they doggedly continued to pursue it further.

The Russian May Day[47] was the second relatively mass action which became a test of strength for “the Russians” coalition, even more so due to their conflict with the DPNI. The ROD Association did not participate in this Moscow event. The march brought together about 600 people, the same number as in the previous year. Given the fact that this was a traditional event that needed no further promotion, held against the backdrop of hope, triggered by the increased number of participants in the Russian March of 2010 and continuing high "post-Manezhnaya" right-wing mobilization, the attendance of 600 people was perceived as somewhat of a failure for the new coalition. “The Russians” were more successful in St. Petersburg, where the RID and the NSI (both of them the coalition members) were quite active. The event brought together about 250 people compared to 150 last year.[48]

The Russian May Day was also successful in Saratov. The Saratov march was organized by the Russian Bloc coalition, which, in addition to the National-Patriots of Russia (Natsional-Patrioty Rossii), led by Ilya Mayorov and the local DPNI branch (Pavel Galaktionov) also included the ROD Volga Region.[49] About 100 people attended the action, despite the fact that this was the first ever May Day event conducted in the region by activists of the radical right, and that their Russian March in the autumn of 2010 brought together no more than 50 activists. However, later the Saratov action provoked a conflict between the members of the Russian Bloc coalition, unhappy with the ROD Volga Region taking an exclusive credit for the event’s success.

In the summer right-wing radicals had several opportunities for high-profile public actions: the murder of ex-Colonel Yuri Budanov on June 10 in Moscow; the conflicts in two villages, Sagra and in Nevskaya Dubrovka, which occurred on July 1 and 11 respectively,[50] and the death of student Ivan Agafonov in a confrontation with athlete Rasul Mirzaev in Moscow on August 15.

Each of these events received considerable attention, partly due to the advocacy of the extreme right, but none of the associated actions attracted mass participation. Right-wing radicals attempted to publicize Sagra and Nevskaya Dubrovka incidents using the now-familiar "Kondopoga technology," but the outrage regarding the Sagra events dissipated as soon as the arrest of the bandits, who had attacked the village, was announced, and Nevskaya Dubrovka residents remained altogether indifferent to nationalist’s appeals call to come out for a public gathering. With regard to Sagra and other similar events, it should be noted that many media outlets play into the hands of right-wing radicals by interpreting conflicts as ethnic, even in the cases when they are, in fact, purely criminal in nature.

However, the largely accidental death of I. Agafonov and even the obviously political assassination of Yuri Budanov failed to generate anything even remotely resembling a "second Manezh" despite the expectations of many right-wing activists and mass media. Several possible explanations can be found in each case, but it is generally apparent that disturbances and riots are impossible to predict and not so easy to organize. Note that the ROD and the RGS, who pose as moderates, also undertook an attempt to organize the protests, fraught with the possibility of rioting, in connection with the Agafonov’s case.

As the election season approached, the street activity of right-wing radicals kept growing as well. The Russian Platform, established in the fall of 2011, declared and actually tried to organize a countrywide campaign under the slogan "No more feeding the Caucasus!" The first action of this new campaign was timed to coincide with the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Ethnic Crime, traditionally held on October 1. This provoked another conflict between the RP and “the Russians” coalition - the latter concluded that the RP wants to steal their idea (the idea of action "against ethnic crime" was proposed by the DPNI in 2009) and refused to participate in the campaign, organizing their own event instead. The RP managed to outperform “the Russians” bringing 300 participants to their march, compared to the 150-200 participants at the competing event.[51]

The Russian Platform tried to build on this success by imposing their "No more feeding the Caucasus!" slogan on other members of the far-right movement as the main theme of the upcoming Russian March. Soon, however, the organization abandoned confrontation. Probably, the small number of participants attracted by the nationwide event held under this slogan on October 22[52] cooled the RP’s ardor. In Moscow even widely announced participation of popular blogger Alexei Navalny had no effect on the size of the meeting (once again, about 300 people). Nevertheless, the action attracted media attention, and nationalists managed to become a significant element of the public agenda for the first time since the Manezhnaya Square events. The slogan was actively discussed outside of the far-right circles and was even mentioned during the December Straight Line (Priamaia Liniia) TV program with Vladimir Putin.

Traditionally, the Russian March became the main event of the autumn, taking place in at least 35 cities of the country (compared to 29 the year before)[53] on November 4, 2011. Despite being able to add several new cities to the list of participants (and, in some cases, gathering more activists than in previous years under the nationalist slogans) the Russian March of 2011 did not become as much of a sensation, as it was in 2010, because the number of activists on the most important sites - Moscow and St. Petersburg – did not increase. About 6000 people gathered In Lublino area of Moscow (vs. 5500 the year before), and only 500 (vs. 1000 the year before) in St. Petersburg’s South Seaside Park, despite the performance by the singer from the Kolovrat band, popular among the neo-Nazis. The Moscow event cannot be really considered a failure – after all, it was the highest attended Russian March in the event’s history - but the March clearly did not meet the expectations of its organizers, who projected the attendance of 20,000 people.[54]

Even participation of popular blogger Alexei Navalny had no effect on the size of the meeting. After the Russian March it became evident that the blogger’s fans mostly don’t share nationalist ideas and don’t plan to follow him to public actions organized by the radical right.

An annual rally in St. Petersburg, conducted for the past two years by the organizations that currently constitute “the Russians” coalition, showed that unification failed to produce even a medium-term cumulative effect. On the contrary, it led to a noticeable decline in numbers of activists ready to follow the leaders. Bobrov’s NSI suffered perhaps the greatest image losses from entering into a coalition; until then it still managed to maintain their authority and respect in the eyes of autonomous neo-Nazis (the NSI’s principal audience).

Finally, we would like to comment on the “Russian Runs” (Russkie probezhki), a new form of street action mastered by the ultra-right in 2011.

The "Runs" was a natural outgrowth of the two trends previously observed in the ultra-right movement. First, for the past several years nationalist organizations have sought to be included in various social projects (donorship, aiding orphanages and families with many children, neighborhood clean-up, supporting healthy lifestyle, etc.). These projects help right-wing radicals to build a positive image in the eyes of their potential supporters, the authorities and the general public. They also provide an opportunity to communicate directly with ordinary people, especially the youth. However, apparently due to the growth of specifically political activity, most of these projects went into decline (except for a few projects of the slightly isolated Russian Image), while the imperative to reach a fresh young audience remained.

Second, a significant number of people among the far-right youth are engaged in a variety of sports, usually martial arts or strength training. The Straight Edge subculture focused on the "healthy lifestyle" (HLS) has recently grown in popularity. The popularity of the "healthy lifestyle" has been a valuable resource for the ultra-right.

In early January of 2011 a new initiative was born and immediately attracted the attention of right-wing groups and the nationalism-inclined youth – jogging events under a general slogan “Russian Means Sober” These actions (thanks largely to the TV reporting) quickly gained prominence and continued in many cities even after the winter break. Right-wing organizations joined in actively promoting the races, taking part in them, and even organizing similar events of their own. Their interest in the action was further fueled by the official opposition, soon faced by the runners (activists were detained, and attempts to receive permission often failed) – so the event conveniently acquired a political interpretation, “the authorities prohibiting the Russians to jog.” Ina and of themselves, these activities carried no threat, but gradually they began to develop into a mechanism for involving secondary school students into the ultra-right movement. For example, during the Russian March in Moscow a separate column of young people held the "Russian Runs" banner, in St. Petersburg some activists arrived at the event after having attended the "Russian means sober" race, and in Vladimir, the "Sobriety Race" became the principal format of the event. Far-right groups lost interest in the races, once the government stopped official resistance, apparently having realized that creating obstacles for these events was bound to make things worse. The "Russian Runs" still continue.

Participation in the December Protests

The situation changed dramatically for the nationalists as a result of the December 4 elections. Prior to that, they rightly viewed themselves as the most active political force in the country (it is sufficient to consider to size of their public events, once we exclude holiday "folk festivals" organized by the KPRF and United Russia from comparison). They were confident that an event was about to happen that would bring out tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of their supporters. However, the post-election public protest spilled onto the streets not under nationalist slogans, but under liberal ones.

One of the prominent distinct ultra-right actions was an unapproved rally in the evening of December 4 near the Revolution Square metro station, announced as far back as the Russian March. Besides the leaders of the ultra-right organizations only 100-150 people attended the action; most of them were detained.

On December 5 some representatives of the ultra-right movement took part in a protest rally held on Chistye Prudy in Moscow. Activists from the organizations which sought contact with the Liberals back in 2010 – the Russian Citizens Union (Alexander Khramov, Anton Susov) and the National-Democratic Alliance (Ilya Lazarenko, Alexei Shiropaev) were standing with their flags. Lazarenko and Khramov even addressed the gathering. The rally was attended by K. Krylov and V Thor (the ROD), but they were not admitted on stage.

It is also remarkable, that during this action A. Navalny for the first time tried to emphasize his loyalty to the ultra-right in front of the mostly liberal and left-wing audience, ending his speech with a popular nationalist slogan "One for all and all for one." Known to each (post)Soviet man and woman, the slogan was picked up by the crowd, as people apparently, simply didn’t catch the nod to the nationalists.

The ultra-right also attended the unapproved December 6 opposition rally on Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow. Alla Gorbunova (from K. Krylov’s ROD) was seen on the square. Some right-wing radicals on the Square joined the other opposition (for example, the Freemen (Vol’nitsa) group), while others took part in the counter-rally of the United Russia's Young Guard (Molodaia gvardiia Edinoi Rossii’, MGER). Later, many right-wing radicals called for “exposing” those who participated in the MGER rally).

The post-election political activity caused a split in the ultra-right movement. Some right-wing radicals regarded the rising tide of protests as a sign of an impending revolution and urged their supporters to participate in the new actions as actively as possible in order to seize the initiative. In particular, “the Russians” suggested that nationalists stand as a separate column, use as much imperial symbolism as possible, and shout down liberal slogans with their own ones. The Russian Platform member organizations took a similar position. The other activists characterized the actions as “Jewish”, “Orange” (referring to the Orange Revolution in Ukraine), and “paid for by the US State Department,” and urged the far right not to participate in them, and even to counteract the protesters. This category includes, first of all, a substantial part of autonomous neo-Nazis, although not all of them (see above re: the Freemen). [55]

The Moscow rally “against election fraud” on December 10 showed that the majority of the capital's right-wing radicals chose not to participate. Those, who still decided to attend, gathered mainly near the Revolution Square metro station (the original intended location, before the authorities moved the action to Bolotnaya Square) in order to demonstrate that, unlike the liberals, they will not “bow to the rulers." However, as time went on, it became clear that all political groups arrived at the same decision - to gather on the Revolution Square and march from there to Bolotnaya Square, so nationalists found themselves in the same column with anti-fascists (however, no clashes were observed). The action was attended by leaders of “the Russians” coalition and the Russian Platform, as well as by Valery Solovey,[56] the MGIMO professor, whose popularity among the moderate wing of the ultra-right has been noticeably increasing. Overall about 500 people walked in groups with the imperial flags and the RGS flags.

The rally organizers gave the floor only to K. Krylov (at Alexei Navalny’s request) from among all the nationalists. Krylov’s address almost completely matched the liberal tone of the meeting, and after his single reference to the "Russian Revolution" the majority of those present at the rally expressed their obvious disapproval. Other attendees also explicitly protested any attempts by ultra-right activists to shout their own slogans, use torches, etc.

Unlike the Moscow rally, the rallies in other cities had no overwhelming majority of purely "non-partisan" but rather liberally-oriented attendees over activists of various political groups, so the latter played a more visible role. Right-wing radicals particularly benefitted from the situation, since their activity was much more visible than in Moscow. In St. Petersburg the right-wing radicals booed several speakers or silenced them by clapping, for example, not permitting Viktor Shenderovich to finish his address.

A rally in Nizhny Novgorod brought together about 5000 people, including a very active subset of nationalists. They got the crowd excited and led it in the singing of "Katyusha" (a protest activity suggested by the December 11 Movement). Several times the crowd, directed by the nationalists, chanted the slogan "Glory to Russia." However, a conclusion about the mega-popularity of nationalists in Nizhny Novgorod would be premature, since the rally attendees could have failed to identify the "Katyusha" song and even the "Glory to Russia!" slogan as the ultra-right attributes.

After the high-profile events of December 10 one could expect many nationalists, unhappy with the success of the "liberals,” to retaliate by attending the December 11 action marking the anniversary of the Manezhnaya Square riots. [57] However, even in Moscow their approved meeting on Bolotnaya Square failed to attract more than 300-400 people, much fewer people than gathered at the same place the day before. Part of the crowd attempted to break through onto Manezhnaya Square, but almost all of them were detained by police.

The following round of the opposition-wide protests was planned for December 24, but, in the meantime, other rallies, also attended by nationalists, were taking place. At the December 17 Yabloko rally on Bolotnaya Square nationalists had little visibility, but the organizers still gave the floor to V. Thor, despite the fact that the Yabloko party had repeatedly proclaimed its refusal to collaborate with even moderate nationalists. In St. Petersburg on a large rally on December 18 at Pionerskaya Square nationalists were represented by Andrei Kuznetsov, the ROD- Petersburg coordinator. The ratio of nationalists at the event was low, but, as on December 10, they acted in a coordinated manner and actively booed liberal speakers, such as Boris Nemtsov. At the end of the meeting Igor Cherkasov, a member of the Other Russia (Drugaya Rossiya) party, waving the imperial flag from the podium, called for the audience to "attack Smolny” (in reference to the October Revolution). Some other far-right activists also tried to find their way to the podium, but the organizers managed to restore order.

For a while nationalists seemingly became an integral part of the protest movement. Seeking equal participation in the protests, nationalists attempted to exert a simultaneous pressure on the liberal and the leftist activists, prevalent in the informal leadership of the movement in preparation to the December 24 rallies. Without going through all the details of the December events, we have to mention a few moments.

Nationalists very actively used several online voting sites for selecting the candidates, who were to speak at the most important rally on December 24 in Moscow. It was obvious from looking the top candidates from these sites that they were favored not by the public leaders of nationalist organizations, but rather by activists, who perceived these leaders in a negative light. The highest rating was attained by the ex-leader of the banned group "Format 18" Maxim “Hatchet” (Tesak) Martsinkevich, who had served a prison term under Article 282, and whose appearance on stage was clearly unrealistic.

The nationalist leaders submitted an entire package of proposals for events to be held on December 24, openly competing with the protest movement’s Organizing Committee, and apparently trying to force a compromise. They rejected a separate site in Lublino, offered by the Moscow authorities, reasonably concluding that a separate nationalist rally would look pathetic compared to the general one.

Simultaneously, the nationalists tried to find their way into the decision-making structures that formed spontaneously in December. There were two most important structures at that moment: the Initiative Group (Initsiativnaia Gruppa, IG) and the Organizing Committee. The Organizing Committee made the final decisions, only partially taking the IG’s decisions into account, and was formed, without any procedure, to include the known cultural figures along with the left-wing and liberal politicians. The nationalists as a movement were not included in the Organizing Committee at all, and A. Navalny ended up being the only person, who represented their position (he only joined the Organizing Committee after his release from the 15-day imprisonment, which he served, along with many others, after breaking through the police cordon following the rally on December 5). The IG was also formed without any procedure, or, more precisely, everyone, who came to the IG session, became its member. De facto, the key role in the IG was played by activists of various left-wing and nationalist groups, who, despite their mutual opposition, were equally interested in remaining in the forefront of the protest movement, and not being displaced by liberal and "nonpartisan" activists. Therefore, the IG stood for the broadest possible representation from all political sectors. Representatives of Memorial (and to some extent of the For Human Rights (Za prava cheloveka) movement) were unsuccessful in their attempt to bring up the issue of admissibility criteria for certain personalities, and whether their presence in the IG and on stage during the rally was appropriate.

At the IG meeting on December 22 the nationalists (A. Belov, B. Thor, K. Krylov, I. Mironov, Natalia Shalimova and others) came to an agreement with the Left to form a list of speakers at the December 24 meeting - partially based on the online voting results, and partially based on the “radicals” quota for both sides of political spectrum, which was set to 5 people. However, on the next day the Organizing Committee made a different decision. The list of speakers showed only minimal correlation with the Internet voting results (and not a single nationalist was included), and the quota for the radicals was reduced to three. Navalny, who actively defended the nationalists’ presence at the meeting, was supposed to be the Committee’s liaison to the nationalists regarding their specific candidates.

The ultra-right activists arrived an hour early to the civil protest of December 24 on Moscow's Sakharov prospect and, in an organized manner, occupied the right sector next to the stage. Their numbers are not exactly known, but observers counted about several hundred people, perhaps a few more than on December 10.[58] During the rally the “right contingent" actively shouted down and whistled down the speakers it did not like (i.e. almost everyone).

V. Tor, K. Krylov (the ROD) and V. Ermolaev ("the Russians") spoke on behalf of the radical right. This time elements of nationalist rhetoric appeared more frequently in their speeches, although their overall message was broadly democratic. At the end of the event, the ultra-right activists tried to break onto the stage, but were pushed back by the rally organizers. It is worth noting that the organized "right contingent", while demonstrating support for their "official leaders", at the same time (and with no less enthusiasm) demanded the podium appearance of Tesak, who was the leaders’ sworn enemy.

In Volgograd, on the contrary, the right-wing activist speaker Igor Mogilev (previously convicted under the Criminal Code Article 282),[59] who stated in his speech that liberals are working for the U.S. State Department, was booed. In response to the booing the right-wing radicals present at the rally began chanting "The Russians, forward!"

In several cities, such as Novosibirsk, Murmansk, Sochi, Ulyanovsk, and others, the ultra-right activists peacefully coexisted with the other participants of the rally.

The situation was quite different in St. Petersburg, where two separate rallies "for fair elections" took place on December 24. The first one, on Pionerskaia Square, attracted about 6-7 thousand people, mostly representatives of the “inside-the-system” parties, with no nationalists among them. The second rally on Sakharov Square brought together about two thousand people, and people with imperial flags - that is, the nationalists and the National Bolsheviks - comprised a significant share. Nikolai Bondarik, the RID representative (who served a prison term for murder back in the 1990s), A. Kuznetsov, the head of the ROD-St. Petersburg and “the Russians” representative Dmitry Sukhorukov addressed the gathering.

Another action worth a separate comment took place in Syktyvkar. While in St. Petersburg the two opposition rallies were split along the “inside the system”/”outside the system” line, in Syktyvkar the nationalists themselves became a reason for a split. Two events took place at the same time on Teatralnaya Square: about 35 people under the imperial flag attended the rally organized by the ultra-right Northern Frontier (Rubezh Severa) organization, while about 250 people gathered under the Russian tricolor. Each rally had its own speakers; there was no conflict between the extreme right and the other event participants.[60] In general we can say that the ultra-right activity "against electoral fraud" is quite noticeable (and noted by almost every media outlet), but remains quite low-key, much lower than it could be, if we compare the number of the attending activists with the number of the Russian March participants. This can be explained by the fact that most people in the right-wing circles remain undecided on the issue of joint actions with "rotten liberals," not prepared for the actual seizure of power by force. Based on discussions on the ultra- right forums and blogs, we can conclude that the majority decided to wait, hoping for possible deterioration of the situation and a transition from rallies to "action".

Thus, the current leaders of right-wing public organizations seem to have decided on the strategy, but unable to determine their target social base, and therefore, could not always follow the course.

On the one hand, these leaders proclaim with increasing insistency that their target audience is not simply a thin and rather marginal layer of right-wing youth, dreaming of the "white revolution," but the 50-60% of the Russian society, who, according to the opinion polls, to some extent support the slogan "Russia for the Russians." As far as we can tell, the nationalists’ new moderate rhetoric and the challenging endeavor of joining the democratic opposition have been pursued specifically in order to attract this currently unaffiliated majority of Russians.

However, on the other hand, the majority of actions organized by nationalists in 2011 targeted soccer fans and other radicals, thus undermining their own efforts to attract a wider social base of xenophobic Russians, who are unprepared to take to the streets together with "skinheads." The "Stop feeding the Caucasus!" campaign was, perhaps, the only project truly designed with mass appeal in mind. However, this attempt proved to be unsuccessful; the campaign produced a lot of noise, but, by and large, failed to bring in either unaffiliated radicals or apolitical Russian citizens.

Uncertainty and instability of the chosen course is clearly visible from the nationalists’ behavior during the December rallies "for fair elections." The leaders of the ultra-right organizations declared their willingness to cooperate with representatives of other movements while, at the same time, handing out whistles to their flock of right-wing radicals, who explicitly demonstrated their disregard for most speakers on the rally. In fact, the behavior of whistling and screaming young people under the imperial flag destroys the fragile image of "nationalists with a human face" that leaders of the right-wing movements are trying to create.

Counter-action to Radical Nationalism

Public Initiatives

The activities of civil society representatives to counter xenophobia and radical nationalism in 2011 took place within the framework of their traditional projects.

On January 19, 2011 the All-Russian campaign in memory of Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova and all those who died at the hands of neo-Nazis took place in at least 23 Russian cities. In Moscow, in contrast to the previous year’s event,[61] there were no incidents. The anti-fascist march and rally were attended by about 600 people. [62]

From March 14 to March 21, 2011 an International Week of educational activities "Stop Racism!" took place under the umbrella of the European Action Week of UNITED network for Intercultural Action. However, the week engaged only a handful of Russian cities, and the number of events was modest.

Public activity slightly increased in the autumn months, as expected. From November 9 to November 16 at least 12 Russian cities hosted the annual International Week of Tolerance under the slogan "Kristallnacht - never again! On November 13 a picket took place in St. Petersburg in memory of the antifascist musician Timur Kacharava, who died on this date at the hands of neo-Nazis. The event attracted several dozen people. In addition, the day before, St. Petersburg anti-fascists symbolically renamed Kolokol'naya Street into "Timur Kacharava Street,” by taping a new name plate over the street sign.

Another annual St. Petersburg event, the "March against Hate", instituted in 2004 after the assassination of scientist Nikolai Girenko by neo-Nazis, was organized this year by the regional branch of United Russia. Human rights activists have decided not to hold a march, so as not to "politicize" the event, and this tradition has, in fact, been exhausted.

On the eve of the 2018 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Russia, heads of soccer clubs and the Russian Soccer Union (Rossiiskii futbol’nyi soiuz, RFS) were forced to address the issue of racism among football fans, especially since racist incidents continued to occur throughout the year. Racist incidents (primarily against black players) were reported in Samara, Vladimir, Krasnodar, and St. Petersburg. The RFS Control and Disciplinary Committee had to impose a fine on Zenit soccer club for the manifestations of racism at St Petersburg’s Petrovsky Stadium on March 21. The fans of Spartak soccer team received fines for the riots that had taken place during the central match Rubin (Kazan) - Spartak (Moscow), held on October 16 in Kazan.

The RFS in collaboration with the Russian Premier Soccer League (RFPL) started developing the draft law "On the law enforcement and public safety in sporting events and other mass events in the Russian Federation." On the basis of these discussions they developed the Spectator Code of Conduct and Security at the Stadium, adopted on September 8 and approved by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on September 30.[63] Among other things, the code prohibited "shouts, chants, slogans and singing, public display of signs and/or other symbols, the distribution of printed materials, as well as other actions insulting event participants and spectators, offending morality or extremist in character, or intended to incite racial, social, and ethnic hatred.” Political actions and Nazi symbols are banned in a separate statement.

At the same time the RFS announced the publication of the list of symbols banned at stadiums, as an attachment to the above-cited Code of Conduct. In August 2011 the leadership of the Russian Premier Soccer League announced the release of the photographic album of neo-Nazi symbols developed for the information of law enforcement officials and the soccer clubs leadership. The album was based on the UEFA materials "Racist and neo-Nazi symbols in Soccer: A manual for stewards and security personnel," and the list was compiled by the FARE (Football against Racism in Europe) organization in preparation for Euro-2008. We do not know whether the album has been released in print, but its electronic copy has been disseminated via forums of most Russian soccer fan clubs.

Creation and Clarification of Regulatory Acts

The most important and positive development of the year was neither a law nor a legislative proposal; it was Resolution No. 11 of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation “Concerning Judicial Practice in Criminal Cases Regarding Crimes of Extremism” adopted on June 28, 2011,[64] already cited in this report on several occasions.

The Court clarified a number of controversial issues regarding the distinctions that determine different qualifications of alleged extremist acts.

First, it confirmed that mass distribution of prohibited materials could be considered a criminal offense under Article 282, if the prosecution proves direct intention of inciting hatred.

Second, the court found the application of Article 282 to violent crimes, if they were aimed at inciting hate in third parties, to be appropriate; for example, through public and provocative ideologically motivated attack. Various acts of vandalism, when they result in a public message, such as, for example, a graffiti inciting hate, should be considered under the aggregation of the relevant articles (i.e. Articles 214 and 244) and Article 282.

Third, the court stated that in order to find a person guilty of involvement in an extremist group (Article 2821 of the Criminal Code) any form of participation was sufficient, even if no other crimes were committed.

The ruling also contained a number of important points, which had been raised by experts and human rights advocates for many years, and were needed primarily in order to eliminate inappropriate law enforcement.

First, the court stated that criticism of officials and politicians should not qualify under Article. 282, since, in this respect, they cannot be held equal to ordinary citizens.

Second (and this is even more important in the context of Article 282), the criticism of political, religious and ideological beliefs and associations, as well as national and religious customs in and of itself does not constitute hate speech.

Third, the court prohibited to ask the experts (linguists, psychologists, and others) any questions related to the legal evaluation of the offense. For example, the examiner can not ask the question of whether the materials under review were intended for inciting national hatred. Thereby, the Supreme Court merely restated a founding principle of the criminal procedure legislation - the legal issues always remain the responsibility of the investigation and the court.

However, the Resolution did not eliminate all the blind spots in the anti-extremist legislation. In particular, it gave no clarification regarding the kinds of groups enjoying the protected status under the anti-extremist legislation, in its part relating to the motive of hatred toward a social group. The core meaning of the Criminal Code Article 2822 ("organization of an extremist group") also remained without any clarification; for example, whether activities conducted under a different name and logo, but by the same persons and for the same purpose, could be considered a continuation of activities by the banned organization.

Finally, based on experience, we don’t expect the courts to accept the unusual Supreme Court clarifications quickly. Nevertheless, we already saw some cases, where the verdicts clearly reflected these clarifications.

The presidential bill, expanding the use of "professional restrictions" under some "extremist" articles of the Criminal Code, went into force on July 26. It reformed Articles 280 ("public incitement to extremist activity"), 2821 ("organization of an extremist community") and 2822 ("organization of an extremist group"). In some cases the punishment in the form of ban on occupying certain positions or engaging in certain activities was newly introduced, and in other cases its use was expanded.

In this case we support more stringent "bans on professional activity,"[65] as well as the fact that prison sentences were not increased; we believe that a prison term is not an appropriate punishment for "mere words."

The issue of location, where the offenders convicted under some of the "extremist" articles should serve their prison time, had been raised by the presidential law "On Amendments to Articles 73 and 81 of the Penal Code of the Russian Federation (aimed at increasing the efficacy of measures taken to counter terrorism and extremism)" that took effect on August 1.

According to the adopted amendments, people convicted under Article 2821, Article 2822 and Part 2 of Article 208 ("participation in illegal armed formations") of the Criminal Code, will not necessarily serve their sentence in their region of residence, or in the region where the conviction took place, but according the decision, made by the federal agency of the criminal-penal system. This measure was previously utilized for those convicted under the Criminal Code articles dealing with terrorism, banditry, insurgency and other similar acts, as well as for extremely dangerous criminals sentenced to life imprisonment.

In our opinion, this bill has both positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, it could help in preventing powerful radical groups within a single prison, but, on the other hand, it has a corruption potential, and could be used, for example, for blackmailing defendants with an opportunity to serve their term in a "good" or "bad" colony.

The presidential bill presenting extensive humanization of the Penal Code (including “crimes related to extremism") went into force on December 7, 2011. Under this legislation, custodial sentences will be less frequently imposed for offenses under Part 1 of Article 280, Part 1 of Article 282, Part 2 of 2821 and Parts 1 and 2 of Article 2822 of the Criminal Code, as these crimes will now be considered minor offenses, to which custodial sentences shall not apply in the absence of aggravating circumstances. We welcome this initiative, since it relates to sentences for offences that involve "mere words" or the fact of membership in a group.

Amendments will indirectly affect the practice of giving a suspended sentence for these crimes. A suspended sentence is usually given in lieu of a prison term, and, since such custodial sentences are now expected to become rare, the number of suspended sentences should decrease as well. We welcome these changes, because we believe that an ideologically-motivated offender tends to perceive a suspended sentence as, essentially, a non-punishment.

In addition, the law provides for the introduction of a new type of punishment, mandatory labor, which will now be considered as a prison alternative for crimes of minor to moderate severity, as well as for the first instance of certain serious crimes. It is assumed that the offenders will serve this punishment in dedicated correctional centers. The introduction of mandatory labor is scheduled for 2013.

In general, the adoption of these laws and the Supreme Court Resolution together already constitute a positive trend. The government finally assumed the task of reforming anti-extremist legislation or even law enforcement. Unfortunately, the major faults still remain in the system, and the authorities are not yet prepared for a serious overhaul of this legislation. The draft reform of the legislation, developed with SOVA Center’s active participation and submitted by the Council for Human Rights in the Administration of the President in early July, was rejected.

In addition, in 2011 two seriously problematic pieces of anti-extremist legislation were introduced.

On August 4 the government sent a bill to the Duma that dealt with financing extremist activities and propaganda of extremism on the Internet. It provides:

- Introduction of a new article of the Criminal Code, 2823 ("funding of extremist activity"), with penalty ranging from a fine to up to 6 years' imprisonment;

- Inclusion of valuables intended to finance extremist activity into the list of confiscated property;

- Giving the Internet the media status in relation to Articles 280 and 282;

- Setting procedural deadlines associated with the recognition of extremist materials. The judgment should be sent to the Ministry of Justice within three days, and the Ministry of Justice should add the decision to the Federal List within 30 days.

We believe that the introduction of article on financing extremist activities serves no useful purpose, since the Criminal Code already assumes that providing funds for the commission of a crime is a form of participation (Article 33 of the Criminal Code). However, the addition of this article is not expected to cause any harm.

As for treating the Internet equally to mass media, this initiative seems to us very ill-conceived. First, not all material posted on the Internet is publicly accessible; it can be hidden behind a password and accessible only to a narrow range of users, making this arrangement no different from a group e-mail. Second, in any propaganda crimes the degree of publicity is critical. While the extent of public exposure is sufficiently clear when applied to the media, for the statements made online exposure can vary greatly - from a broadcast, exceeding the circulation of most newspapers, to a conversation in a crowded room.

The proposed bill encourages serious prosecution (especially under Article 280) for Internet remarks, even when public danger is only negligible because of the small audience size. In fact, the amendment does not essentially change the disposition of Article 282, which already mentions the Internet, along with the media. In case of Article 280, however, utilizing the media (and, according to the proposed bill, the Internet as well) constitutes a qualifying clause, so that any call to extremist activity on the Internet would have to be punished under this article by nothing less than imprisonment for up to five years. The motivation for such a harsh innovation is not clear. Even now, nothing prevents the prosecution from filing charges based on illicit statements posted on the Internet, and a considerable case base (of both legitimate and inappropriate application of the law) has been accumulated.

The bill shows no signs of advancing through the Duma, and, considering the growing resistance, might never pass in its current format.

On October 11, 2011 President Dmitry Medvedev submitted to the State Duma a draft federal law Concerning the Introduction of Amendments to Article 22.1 of the Federal Law “Concerning the State Registration of Legal Entities and Private Entrepreneurs” and articles 331 and 351.1 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation."

The bill concerns the restrictions on working with juveniles. Now it is prohibited to everyone, who have been convicted or charged (and never acquitted) under a good half of the Criminal Code articles. The bill proposes to add crimes against the foundations of the constitutional order (Chapter 29 of the Criminal Code) to the list, including offences under Articles 280, 282, 2821 and 2822.

We have no objections against the law itself, but would like to emphasize a considerable amount of wrongful convictions imposed under these articles of the Criminal Code. This means that victims of anti-extremist legislation misuse would face an even greater deprivation of rights, if this bill passes.

Criminal Prosecution for Violence

In 2011 the prosecution of violent racist crimes was very active, although the number of cases was numerically smaller than the year before. In 2011 there were at least 59 convictions[66] for violent crimes, where hate was a motive in 32 regions of Russia (in 2010 there were 91 convictions in 36 regions). As a result of these trials, 200 persons were found guilty, compared to 320 in 2010. A decrease in comparison with 2010 should not be surprising; first, the number of individuals, convicted of such crimes, can’t be expected to grow indefinitely, and second, we must take into account a large (about two years) time interval between a crime and the associated sentence. Hate-motivated crimes reached their peak level in 2008.

In prosecution of racist violence the judiciary used almost the entire range of the Criminal Code articles that contain hate motive as aggravating circumstance: Part 2 paragraph L of Article 105 ("murder motivated by hatred"); Part 2 of Article 119 ("murder threat motivated by ethnic hatred"); Part 2 paragraph "e" of Article 111 ("infliction of grievous bodily harm motivated by ethnic hatred) and Parts 3 and 4 of the same article; Part 2 paragraph "e" of Article 112 ("infliction of moderate bodily harm motivated by hatred"); Part 2 paragraph "b" of Article 115 ("infliction of bodily harm motivated by hatred"); Part 2 paragraph "b" of Article 116 ("beating motivated by hatred"), Part 1 paragraph "b" of Article 213 ("hooliganism committed motivated by hatred") and Part 2 of the same article. [67] Of course, in some cases these charges were combined with others.

In 2011 the Criminal Code Article 282 ("ethnic hatred”) was utilized in 11 convictions related to violent crimes (against 40 persons, except in cases, for which the statute of limitations had expired). Note, that according to Resolution No. 11 of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation “Concerning Judicial Practice in Criminal Cases Regarding Crimes of Extremism,” adopted on June 28, 2011 (see more about this resolution in our "Creation and Clarification of Regulatory Acts” chapter), it is appropriate to apply Article 282 to violent crimes, if they are aimed at inciting hate in third parties, for example, through public and provocative ideologically motivated attack.

Previously, we opposed the application of Article 282 to violent crimes, believing that an aggravating circumstance relevant to the article was sufficient to denote the racist nature of the crime. However, after the Supreme Court ruling with detailed commentary on this issue, we accept this application of the article as well. We emphasize, however, that the criterion of publicity is crucial for verdicts made under Article 282, so the existence of a substantial "audience" has to be demonstrated.

In 2011 almost all cases of utilizing this article in the violent crime convictions were justified. In most cases the attacker shouted incitements of hatred in front of witnesses during the incident. In two cases we have some doubts regarding the extent of publicity, but we may not be aware of all the relevant details of the incident. In some cases propaganda activities were directly linked to violence, but did not constitute a single action with it; that is, the criminals filmed their attacks and posted them online.

Another controversial issue concerns the use of the term "social group" for various categories of people. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court Resolution did not provide any clarifications regarding the term "social group" that appears in the Criminal Code in the context of describing the possible motives of hatred (the Supreme Court pointed out that Article 282 should not be used to protect officials from criticism, but this caveat represents only a fraction of the problems generated by the use of this term in the Criminal Code). In 2011 such categories as "immigrants," "bureaucrats,"[68] "punks," "anti-fascists," and "hooligans (gopniki)" were recognized as social groups. Declaring these categories (particularly the last two) to be social groups in need of extra protection through the use of anti-extremist legislation is, at the very least, debatable.

    In 2011 the court decisions in cases of violent crimes motivated by hate were distributed as follows:

  • 3 people were acquitted;
  • 11 people were found guilty but released from punishment because the statute of limitations had expired;
  • 63 people received suspended sentences;[69]
  • 1 man was sentenced to be placed in disciplinary military unit;
  • 4 people were sentenced to correctional labor;
  • 14 people received a custodial sentence of up to one year; [70]
  • 3 people received a custodial sentence of up to 3 years;
  • 18 people - up to 5 years;
  • 38 people - up to 10 years;
  • 12 people – up to 15 years;
  • 14 people – up to 20 years;
  • 8 people – 20 and more years;
  • 8 people received a life sentence.

In at least two cases the court ordered the offenders to pay a very large-scale financial compensation to their victims. Unfortunately, reports about such measures are rarely encountered in the news, although the victims should be entitled to monetary compensation for moral and physical harm.

We observed two contradictory trends in the penalties data, shown above. On the one hand, in 2011 we observed a record number of life sentences due to the completion of several major trials, featuring defendants, who had repeatedly committed particularly brutal murders.

On the other hand, the tendency to give suspended sentences for violent crimes have not weakened; the proportion of suspended sentences in 2011 amounted to about one-third (60 out of 189 people, who received any form of court-ordered punishment, compared to 100 suspended sentences out of 297 people in 2010).

Some suspended sentences were understandable. They were partially the result of deals with prosecutors in large group trials. The verdict by the City Court of Protvino, Moscow Region in the trial of the local DPNI branch leader illustrates the case; he was given a suspended sentence of five years for the crimes that included beatings and even complicity to murder of immigrants from Tajikistan. Obviously, such a disproportionately light punishment resulted from a deal with the prosecution.[71] Some defendants from the group trials received suspended sentences because their direct involvement in the attack could not be proved. Some received suspended sentences under the "light" articles (Articles 115 and 116) of the Criminal Code, which did not provide for severe punishment. At the same time, some suspended sentences appeared inconsistent with the gravity of the offense. For example, it is hard to explain the suspended sentence in Tver, received for the knife stabbing of a visitor from Tajikistan, or a suspended sentence in Izhevsk handed down to two young men for throwing rocks at people.

Once again, we have to repeat that suspended sentences for racist attacks do not deter offenders from committing similar crimes in the future. The example of right-wing Irkutsk leader Evgeny (“Boomer”) Panov, mentioned in this report for the second consecutive year, illustrates the point. Previously, Panov had been implicated in several criminal cases related to the neo-Nazi violence that he had committed together with various groups of young people. Despite this, he remained at liberty for a long time. During this period Panov managed to commit at least two attacks, and only after yet another beating, he was finally arrested on charges of killing a Kyrgyz citizen and an Uzbek citizen in 2009. In September 2011 Panov was sentenced to 18 years in a maximum security penal colony. [72]

Somewhat earlier in 2011 Boomer was also given a suspended sentence in another high-profile and prolonged case involving Nazi violence (although the court did not utilize the hate motive in its verdict). In November 2011 the Angarsk City Court finally handed down the verdict in the case of an attack by neo-Nazi skinheads on the camp of environmentalists in Angarsk (Irkutsk region) in July 2007, in which eight people were seriously injured, and 21-year-old Ilya Borodaenko died.[73]

Several high-profile court trials took place in 2011, and several notorious criminal cases ended with guilty verdicts.

During this period several well-known neo-Nazi gangs were convicted for carrying out a series of violent murders, the most famous being the Borovikov – Voevodin[74] gang in St. Petersburg (12 people convicted) and National-Socialist Society -North (NSO-Sever)[75] in Moscow (13 people convicted). Most gang members were sentenced to long prison terms, and seven people received life sentences. Among other major groups, convicted in 2011 we can list the Yekaterinburg Volkssturm group (9 members convicted), the Team of White Inquisitors (Komanda belykh inkvizitorov) from Ryazan (7 members convicted), the White Legion (Belyi legion) from Dzerzhinsk Region (4 members convicted), the Lincoln-88 from St. Petersburg (19 members convicted) and the Kazan Patriotic Front (Front kazanskikh patriotov) from Tatarstan (two sentences convicting a total of 8 people).

One of the most high-profile convictions was the May 6, 2011 ruling by the Moscow City Court regarding the notorious murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. The verdict imposed a life sentence on Nikita Tikhonov and a prison term of 18 years on Eugenia Khasis.[76]

Among other verdicts for violent crimes committed for ideological reasons, despite the absence of the hate motive in the indictment, we must point out the sentence imposed on the NSO activist Sergei Marshakov for assaulting a government official (in September 2009 he opened fire on two FSB employees, who came to search his house). Marshakov was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

In 2011 only one sentence was imposed in connection with the Manezhnaya Square riots of December 2010. Five people (three of them members of the Other Russia party) received from 2 to 5 years in prison for participating in mass riots.[77] The degree of severity of this sentence is difficult to assess due to the fact, that judicial practice relating to participation in riots is nonexistent. These offenders were clearly neither the instigators of the riots, nor the only active participants. In several cases the verdict seemed excessively harsh. We might still see other trials related to the Manezhnaya Square events, but we don’t have any information about the progress of those investigations.

Most importantly, we know nothing about criminals charged with numerous racist attacks that occurred in December 2010 - January 2011 on Manezhnaya Square and in its vicinity. Ilya Kubrakov, the eighth-grader (at the time), who is suspected of organizing riots on Manezhnaya Square, and of the next day murder of a Kyrgyzstan native, remains the only exception.

Criminal Prosecution for Vandalism

In 2011 we know of 7 convictions for the total of 12 people for ethnically-motivated and neo-Nazi vandalism, and for vandalism motivated by religion (in 2010 we recorded 9 convictions for the total of 18 people) handed down in Arkhangelsk, Moscow, Kurgan, Orenburg and Penza Regions and in Khabarovsk Kray.

In all these cases the charges were brought under Part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 214[78] ("vandalism motivated by ethnic or religious hatred.") In one of the verdicts it was aggregated with Article 282, in another one - with Articles 282 and 280 ("public incitement to extremist activity ").

We would like to point out that in these two sentences the Court already took into account the above-mentioned Supreme Court Resolution of June 28, 2011, stating that “if the destruction or damage of monuments is accompanied by actions aimed at inciting to hatred or hostility (e.g., inscriptions or drawings of relevant content or nationalist slogans in the presence of other people) Article 282 should be added to the qualification.

Four people received suspended prison sentences; three more were sentenced to fines of 10,000 rubles, and three - to restriction of freedom (a new form of punishment, also known as house arrest, was introduced in the Criminal Code as a major penalty at the end of 2009).

These penalties were imposed for drawing racist graffiti on fences and house walls and swastikas on the mosque building. In this case we agree that the punishment seems to fit the crime.

Two men were sentenced to prison terms. The first of them, the ideological vandal Ilya “Schizophrenic” Petrov, was punished for committing a series of hate-motivated crimes, including bombings and arson. The Penza Regional Court has pronounced the verdict based on the aggregation of Article 214 with a whole series of other Criminal Code articles: Part 1 of Article 222 ("illegal acquisition and possession of firearms and explosives"); Part 3 of Article 30; Part 2 of Article 167 ("attempt to destroy other people's property"); Part 1, Article 223 ("illegal manufacture of weapons"), Part 1, Article 282, Article 317 ("encroachment on the life of a law enforcement officer"), and Part 1, Article 318 ("use of violence against a government representative"). The second vandal got a non-trivial prison term for attempting to set fire to the wooden John the Warrior in Rostov-on-Don.

As can be seen from the above data, the number of convictions for xenophobic vandalism is an order of magnitude smaller then the number of vandalism incidents recorded by our organization (see above). The small number of convictions (handed down primarily for xenophobic graffiti) can be explained by the fact that, due to the dual nature of these crimes, some cases could be qualified not as vandalism, but rather as propaganda under Article 282. The sentence under Article 282 for anti-Semitic graffiti on the building of the Barnaul Jewish community[79] provides a typical example.

This happens partially because the article addressing incitement to hatred is better known in the community and the media (and, likely also, among law enforcement officers responsible for "countering extremism.") But the main reason is that most xenophobic graffiti applied to objects that, unlike the religious buildings or monuments, can’t be vandalized (walls or fences), so the qualification of such acts under article other than vandalism is appropriate. However, in our opinion, such minor offenses (swastikas and graffiti on the walls) should not even be subject to criminal prosecution.

Unlike xenophobic graffiti, the actions of vandals, who use explosives and arson, present a clear danger. Unfortunately the number of convictions addresses only a fraction of these crimes. At least we have not encountered any information about the progress in investigations of the past explosions and arson attacks.

Criminal Prosecution of Propaganda

In 2011 at least 71 trials related to xenophobic propaganda ended in guilty verdicts for 79 defendants (two people were also acquitted in two separate verdicts)[80] in 40 regions of the country (in 2010 we recorded 71 verdicts to 82 people respectively).

The convictions for 75 people out of 79 were based on Article 282 of the Criminal Code. The overwhelming majority (59 people) were convicted solely on the basis of this Criminal Code article; seven more were convicted under the aggregation of Article 280 and other articles of the Criminal Code. Two of verdicts additionally referred to Article 214 (they are also cited in our “Criminal Prosecution of Vandalism” chapter), one referred to articles 214 and 280 (also cited in our “Criminal Prosecution of Vandalism” chapter), one more verdict was additionally based on the Criminal Code articles 280 è 282 (“organization of an extremist group,” see below), another one – on articles 280, 2821, 115, 167 (the verdict to the Protvino DPNI leader also cited in our “Criminal Prosecution of violence” chapter). One conviction was additionally based on articles 2821, 115 è 105 (“murder”, the verdict to the leader of the Yekaterinburg Volkssturm group), and, finally, one was based on Article 242 (“propaganda of pornography”). Three defendants were convicted solely on the basis of the Criminal Code Article 280, one more - under the aggregation of articles 280 è 2052 (“public incitement to terrorist activity or public apology for terrorism”) and two under the aggregation of the Criminal Code articles 280, 282 è 2052..

The conviction under the Criminal Code articles 280 è 2052, mentioned in the previous sentence, was handed down in the case against 26-year-old Maykop resident Alexander Arteev for writing “extremist” slogans on the walls of the city’s buildings, and, additionally, for writing some articles in 2009-2010 and publishing them on a terrorist organization’s web site. In his articles Arteev “addressed Muslims inciting them to extremist and terrorist crimes, and called for murder and sabotage.” It is worth noting, that convictions under the Criminal Code Article 2052 are exceedingly rare in the judicial practice and given, almost exclusively, for radical Islamist propaganda (as in the above case); Article 205 have never been utilized in the cases of equally radical propaganda of racist violence.[81]

The very last verdict, mentioned on my list of the propaganda convictions, is unique in assembling almost a complete set of the Criminal Code propaganda-related articles (280, 282 and 2052). This verdict was handed down to two Bashkirian nationalists with leanings toward radical political Islam: Airat Dilmukhametov, editor-in-chief of the Maidan newspaper (previously charged under Articles 280 è 282) and Robert Zagreyev, editor-in-chief of IA Revinform web site. Initially, in April, the court sentenced them to 6 and 3.5 years in custody respectively, but on October 4, 2011 the Supreme Court of the Republic ruled that their publications did not qualify as full-fledged media outlets and applied Part 1, rather than Part 2 of Article 280, thus substantially reducing their sentences (to 3 years of penal colony settlement for Dilmukhametov and 6 months of the same to Zagreyev).

In 2011 the court verdicts for the propaganda cases were distributed as follows:

  • 2 persons were acquitted;
  • 2 persons were released from punishment because the statute of limitations had expired;
  • 1 case was dismissed due to the active repentance;
  • 1 person was referred for compulsory treatment;
  • 14 people received custodial sentences;
  • 30 people received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
  • 15 people were sentenced to mandatory labor;
  • 2 persons were sentenced to correctional labor;
  • 1 person was sentenced to restriction of freedom.

In 2011 convictions involving prison terms were mostly delivered either in conjunction with punishment for additional crimes (illegal drug trade, theft or violent crimes) or taking into account the unserved punishment for earlier crimes. So discussing the distribution of prison sentences in this report would serve no useful purpose.

However, in several cases we found the sentences to be unreasonably harsh. In addition to above-mentioned Dilmukhametov and Zagreyev, in January 2011 three people in Tatarstan (Ruslan Ibatov (a.k.a. “Heinrich Himmler”), Aleksei Borisov, and Anton Tkachev) were each sentenced to one year of penal colony settlement for distributing anti-Semitic and anti-government leaflets; in February in Kalmykia a Dagestan native was sentenced to two years of penal colony for distributing anti-Kalmyk leaflets; in Komi Vladimir Masalovich was convicted to 8 months of penal colony settlement for posting online xenophobic anti-Komi comments.

Minimal use of custodial punishments for “mere words,” represented, more or less, the only positive trend in xenophobic propaganda prosecution, and even in this respect, as you could see, there was a number of exceptions. Otherwise the situation showed no signs of progress.

Meanwhile, the rate of suspended sentences for propaganda crimes remained very high (30 out of 73 convicted offenders) and comprised 39% of total number of convicted offenders, practically unchanged from the previous year when they had comprised 41 % (31 out of 75 people). It is debatable, whether a suspended sentence constitutes a long-term punishment due to substantial damage to one’s career and reputation. However, in reality we observe that the majority of convicted offenders (whether youth and teenagers, not yet concerned about their future, or idea-driven ultra-nationalists) are not being deterred by these verdicts.

Almost the same number of convicted defendants (31 people) received punishment, not involving loss of freedom (fines, mandatory and correctional labor), which we consider more effective.

In the past year for the first time ever we witnessed a dismissal of the case due to active repentance of the defendant. In April the Kamyshino City Court in Volgograd Region made this decision regarding a man, charged with publishing a xenophobic online comment. He pleaded guilty and supplied the court with a written apology published on the same web site.

In 2011 the convictions were given for the following activities (not counting the acquittals):

  • 50 convictions for distribution of materials online, on social and local networks, including:
  • - Web sites (17);

    - Social networks and forums (31), including 20 convictions involving the VKontakte social network, 4 convictions involving unidentified social networks, one case involving the Odnoklassniki social network, six convictions for distributing materials via various online forums)

    - Video sharing on local networks (2);

    - Sending materials via email (1);

  • Eight convictions for graffiti (on walls, doors and pavement including graffiti on religious objects);
  • Eight convictions for printing and distribution of leaflets;
  • One conviction for publishing a newspaper;
  • One conviction for shouting slogans during a march;
  • One conviction for statements made during the lecture on extremism prevention;
  • Two convictions to the leaders of ultra-right radical groups[82] for incitement to violence.

As this data clearly demonstrates, the propaganda prosecutions of 2011 focused mostly on publications and online statements. Social networks and online forums became principal venues to monitor for possible offences. In this respect, there are frequent debates regarding general applicability of the Criminal Code Article 282 to the Internet.

The content of Articles 280 and 282 applies to all public statements and has to include the online speech as well. However, as we have noted on many occasions, applying these Criminal Code articles (used for the majority of the Internet-related cases of 2011) appropriately calls for the court examination regarding the extent of public exposure. The estimate of potential audience size should be an integral component of such cases (regardless of its evaluation of the statement’s content).

For example, in case of a printed newspaper article, the newspaper’s circulation numbers provide us with a realistic estimate of potential audience (even through, obviously, all of them can’t be assumed to have read this particular article). Estimating potential audience for an online statement is much more complicated. Obviously, we cannot assume that all the Internet users constitute potential audience of any online statement. In case of an article, published on a regular web site, we can assume that the potential audience size equals the number of site visitors, but it is not clear what time interval should be used for the site traffic estimate; moreover, it is not always possible to reliably ascertain the number of past visitors.

Along the same lines, in case of social networks or forums, we cannot base our estimates on number of visitors across an entire (often very extensive) forum, or number of users of an entire site, such as Instead, we need to consider a size of a particular segment, such as a forum section, a social network group or community, a circle of “friends” or subscribers, who follow the author/publisher of the statement in question. At this point quantitative assessments become even more problematic. However, in order to achieve a fair verdict, they still need to be made, at least to a certain degree.

The extent of public exposure remains a relevant issue even if an online group is restricted, i.e. if reading the content requires special authorization. Such restricted groups can be very large, and then a statement made within their virtual space should be considered public. However, if the author addresses a specific selected group of readers by name, then this action can no longer be considered a “public statement” directed at an undefined group of people (a standard interpretation of the notion of publicity, used in the majority of the Criminal Code commentaries). All these questions could be resolved by the Supreme Court, but, until further clarifications arrive, we have to evaluate the extent of publicity on the case by case basis, gradually developing practical guidelines. Unfortunately, so far, the extent of publicity has never been taken into account. For example, the 2011 trial in Chuvashia resulted in a conviction for sending files via email, despite the fact that this action did not constitute a public statement. In our opinion, the majority of publications and statements that ended up in courts in 2011 did not have sufficient visibility and accessibility to constitute actual public danger – and, therefore, should not have faced criminal prosecution.

Among the offenders convicted in 2011 there were almost no well-known propagandists, who were regularly engaged in xenophobic propaganda with public incitement to violence. The offenders were predominantly little-known bloggers, high school students, younger university students, or students of vocational schools. Among those, who faced criminal charges in 2011, we would like to single out Valery Uskov, the editor-in-chief of a relatively high-circulation local newspaper Pravda Goroda Zlatousta, charged with publishing an article that contained incitement to violence with the motive of national hate. Moreover, this article was not an exception; the newspaper had previously received a warning about the unacceptability of extremist activities, and the editor had been questioned regarding his possible involvement in the dissemination of leaflets with swastikas and leaflets calling the readers to join the "punitive brigades" of the “Russian Liberation Army." However, despite all of the above, the case of V. Uskov ended with his acquittal.

Definitely, not all the hate propaganda-related criminal cases are without merit. Airat Dilmukhametov, mentioned above, had engaged in incitement and hate propaganda for many years. Another notable conviction of 2011 happened in the case of 21-year-old Denis Kuznetsov (a.k.a. “Dima Skhe”), the leader of neo-Nazi group Nord-East-88, whose members are suspects in a series of attacks and murders.[83] Participation of the group’s leader and ideologist in the attacks was never proven, so he was convicted to one year in custody for propaganda. However, this was one of the very few 2011 cases of punishment for obvious incitement of violence. (The other cases that could be included in this category were the convictions of Anton Mukhachev and Oleg Troshkin, the activists of the Northern Brotherhood (Severnoe Bratstvo), found guilty of “organization of an extremist group,” see more on them in the relevant chapter below.)

In 2011 much fewer verdicts were made in response to activities outside of the World Wide Web. While tentatively agreeing with appropriateness of criminal prosecution for the dissemination of leaflets and shouting racist slogans during the “Russian March,” or for xenophobic propaganda disguised as a lecture, we do not consider minor actions, such as graffiti, worthy of criminal charges.

Criminal Prosecution of Extremist Groups and Banned Organizations

In 2011 we know of 12 sentences under the Criminal Code Article 2821 ("organization of an extremist community") and Article 2822 ("organization of an extremist group ").

Anton (“Fly”) Mukhachev and Oleg Troshkin, the leaders of the Northern Brotherhood (Severnoe Bratstvo) were charged under Article 2821 of the Criminal Code both in aggregation with Article 159 of the Criminal Code ("Fraud"), and Ilya Boydakov, the leader of the DPNI branch in Protvino was charged under Article 2821 (in aggregation with a number of articles, see our "Criminal Prosecution of Violence" chapter for more detail).

As expected, the Criminal Code Article 2821 was applied to the groups that had systematically committed violent crimes, such as the Kazan Patriotic Front from Tatarstan, (two verdicts), the NSO-North, the White Legion in Dzerzhinsk (Nizhny Novgorod Region), and Yekaterinburg Volkssturm.

Semyon Sorokin, the creator of the Russian National Front association in Magnitogorsk (a local branch of the National-Socialist Society (Natsional-sotsialisticheskoe obshchestvo, NSO)) was charged under Article 2822 in aggregation with Articles 282 and 280 of the Criminal Code). The unnamed organizer of an Imarat Kavkaz[84] cell in Oktiabrskiy village in Bashkiria was charged under the same article in aggregation with the Criminal Code Article 222 ("illegal purchase, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons"), and the activists of Krasnodar association Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus' (Dukhovno-rodovaia derzhava Rus’) Nikolai Lozinskiy, V. Tolstov and V. Gerasev were convicted under Article 2822 too.

Two men were fined (V. Gerasev and V. Tolstov); two received suspended sentences (I. Boydakov and S. Sorokin). The rest received actual prison terms. With regard to Mukhachev, Troshkin, the Imarata Kavkaz leader and the members of violent groups, the verdict reflects an aggregation of anti-extremism legislation with other articles of the Criminal Code. However, the verdict handed down to N. Lozinskiy (one year of settlement colony just for membership in the organization) seems excessive.

It is noteworthy that the right-wing radicals charged under the Criminal Code Article 2822 belonged almost exclusively[85] to the Rada of Kuban Land Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus' (Rada zemli Kubanskoi dukhovno-rodovoi derzhavy Rus’), a local branch of right-wing neo-pagan organization Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus', which was declared extremist in April 2011. It is unlikely that law enforcement officers set out to persecute members of this particular organization (previously, some of its members had been referred by the courts for compulsory psychiatric treatment, and some were convicted of violent acts, including the racist ones). Rather, this organization attracted official attention by its members’ surprising level of activity; they were methodically sending their propaganda to various official agencies, including the prosecutor's office.

Continuing activity of other right-wing organizations, which had been deemed extremist, has never been actually prosecuted. Some of them actually ceased their actions (the NSO or Format-18), however, the other ones, such as the DPNI or the RONS, have definitely continued. In 2011 a charge under this Article was filed against Dmitry Demushkin, who undoubtedly continues to operate, albeit under a different name, his Slavic Union organization, prohibited as far back as 2010.

Neither the law nor legal commentaries give us any guidelines on telling apart the continuing activity by an illegal organization from actions of its former members that are similar in nature. Clearly, this issue should be resolved by law enforcement agencies and courts on the basis of common sense and analogy. Judicial practice in this area does exist. Practice under Article 2822 relating to membership in the NBP, Hizb ut-Tahrir and other organizations is quite extensive and ready for analysis (including criticism) and advice from legal scholars and the Supreme Court.

Article 2821 of the Criminal Code has been applied to the far right much more frequently over the past few years, since law enforcement agencies started to realize that it perfectly fits the cases of informal groups focused on committing various hate-motivated attacks. While in 2009 8 people were convicted under this article, in 2010 the number grew to 30 people, and dropped slightly to 21 in 2011. The verdicts also included other articles in each case. Meanwhile, the frequently mentioned Supreme Court Resolution of June 28, 2011 explained that the offense under Article 2821 applied to a member of the community starting at the moment, when a community began to function.[86]

The Federal List of Extremist Materials

In 2011 the Federal List of Extremist Materials continued its rapid growth. It was updated 34 times and grew from 748 to 1066 items.

318 added items demonstrate the following thematic distribution:

  • xenophobic materials by Russian ethno-nationalists (the reasons for including some of them are questionable) – 154 items;
  • xenophobic materials by other nationalists[87] – 12 items;
  • materials of Muslim extremists (mostly from the North Caucasus) – 63 items;
  • materials of “unofficial movements” in Islam (Said Nursi's books, the texts of the Salafis, the materials of the Hizb ut-Tahrir organization– 57 items;
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses materials – 16 items;
  • materials related to historical fascism – 3 items;
  • materials of the Orthodox fundamentalists – 8 items;
  • web sites of the National Bolshevik Party (Natsional-bolshevistskaia partiia, NBP) – 2 items;
  • materials, containing radical anti-government slogans (not included in the above categories) – 1 item;
  • unidentified materials – 2 items

At least 109 items among the List additions represent online materials.

A noticeable shrinking of the Federal List needs to be pointed out as a positive initiative from the Ministry of Justice.[88] On May 3, items 632–660, 667, 677–679 and 682 were removed. Some duplicate items (nos. 667, 677–679 and 682), and 29 books by L. Ron Hubbard (nos. 632–660, added to the list for no valid reasons,)[89] were removed without change in item numbering. Unfortunately, many items that deserve to be removed for similar reasons remained on the list.

Despite this reduction, the list is still rapidly growing in length; meanwhile the same cannot be said about its quality. The majority of the materials are impossible to identify. The Federal List does not follow any bibliographic rules; materials are described by their appearance, by their cover, or by their first and last sentences. The List features duplicate items, resulting from parallel bans by different courts (there are 39 such duplicates; Udar Russkikh Bogov [The strike of the Russian Gods] by V. Istarkhov made the List three times.)[90] The list also contains obvious errors, in content (for example, it states that the leaflet Call by Hizb ut-Tahrir to sincere Imams was published by Russkaya Pravda publishing house; Russkaya Pravda of course, published no such thing), as well as in grammar and spelling (even in the city and court names).

As in previous years, the new additions included long-gone Internet resources, forum posts (e.g. the sixth comment to “The cry from the heart of the Bashkirian woman” article …), and other cases where no further distribution (the List’s primary focus, after all) was intended.

Some items were inappropriately classified as extremist materials. The most glaring example was the ban, imposed by the Zasviyazhsk District Court of Ulyanovsk on two sites, listed as and www.TATARLAR. Evidently this entry actually denotes the weblog service site and the popular Tatar portal This ban is tied to the case of the Tatar nationalists from the Vatan organization. It is possible that nationalist materials were indeed published on forums and weblogs at and However, the Court considered it possible to ban entire portals, serving hundreds of thousands of users, in punishment for several articles. It is likely, that in August the ban already took place, since, according to the reports by Ulyanovsk Internet users, when trying to reach they were redirected to the web site of the Prosecutor General's office of the Russian Federation.

In addition, the courts of the Republic of Bashkortostan continue to augment the Federal List with works by the leaders of NSDAP and the National Fascist Party of Italy (in the period under review they added SS Member and the Blood Question by Heinrich Himmler, and The Diaries of Joseph Goebbels, 1945,)[91] The courts’ decisions are based on the lawsuits filed by the district attorney Amir Akhmetov.

Meanwhile, 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” (Part. 3 Article. 1), so Akhmetov’s activity is completely superfluous.

A legislative draft, introduced by the Ministry of Justice in October 2011 indirectly confirms the fact, that the Ministry is increasingly unable to maintain the List. In this legislative proposal, the Ministry suggested that its authority to give warning to civic and religious organizations about unacceptability of extremist activities, its right to ask the court to deliver a ban on the organization, and its obligation to maintain the Federal List of Extremist Materials should all be rescinded. The Ministry intended to shift these functions to the Prosecutor General's office. However, this draft met with a negative response within other government agencies and is unlikely to merit official consideration.

The Banning of Organizations

In 2011 the Federal list of extremist organizations[92] continued its active growth. The following 10 organizations (the same number as in the previous year) were included into the Federal List:

  • The Slavic Union (Slavyansky soiuz, SS) inter-regional public movement 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 (Blagorodnyi Orden Diavola) recognized as extremist by the Supreme Court of Mordovia on 27 December 2010;

  • The Army of People’s Will (Armiya voli Naroda, AVN) inter-regional public movement recognized as extremist by the Moscow City Court on 19 October 2010 (the decision went into effect on 22 February 2010 after its approval by the Supreme Court);

  • The National Socialist Initiative (NSI) group in the city of Cherepovets, recognized as extremist by the Cherepovets City Court of Vologda Region on May 16, 2011;

  • The inter-regional public organization Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus' (Dukhovno-Rodovaia Derzhava Rus’) was recognized as extremist by decision of the Moscow Regional Court on April 5, 2011;

  • Tatarstan regional branch of the Russian National Unity (Russkoe natsional’noe edinstvo), a nationwide patriotic movement, recognized as extremist by the Supreme Court decision of May 21, 2003 [sic!]

  • the religious group of Sokolov O.V., Russkikh V.V., and Petin A.G. professing, cultivating and spreading ideas of the doctrine of the Ancient Russian Inglist Church of Orthodox Ingling Old Believers (Drevnerusskaya Inglisticheskaya Tserkov’ Pravoslavnykh Staroverov-Inglingov) deemed extremist by the Maykop regional court of the Republic of Adygea on December 12, 2008. (The title is written as it appears on the list, even though the same doctrine is mentioned elsewhere on the same list using an alternative spelling, in which the word ‘Ingliisticheskaya’ contains a double ‘i’, in the middle, as it does in the organization’s documents).

  • the interregional association Russian All-National Union (Russkii obshchenatsional’nyi soiuz, RONS) was deemed extremist by a Vladimir provincial court ruling on May 30, 2011.

  • the interregional public organization Movement against Illegal Immigration (Dvizhenie protiv nelegal’noi immigratsii, DPNI) was deemed extremist by the Moscow provincial court on April 18, 2011, and by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation on August 9, 2011.

The recognition of the two most prominent nationalist organizations, the DPNI and the Slavic Union,[93] as extremist became a landmark decision. The DPNI was banned by the Moscow City Court in April 2011. The decision was appealed, but the Supreme Court upheld the DPNI ban. This decision caused a lot of controversy in the nationalist circles, but we have no doubt that the court acted appropriately. One can argue about individual elements of the indictment and the conviction, but the DPNI leaders and members indeed repeatedly made really dangerous inflammatory statements, and, most importantly, the organization was directly linked to racist violence, and a number of its members commit xenophobic violent crimes. The validity of banning the Slavic Union is even more obvious for the same reasons. Despite the ban, the DPNI and the Slavic Union continued their activity and soon formed a new joint organization, “the Russians” Ethno-Political Association (Etnopoliticheskoe ob’edinenie – Russkie).

In addition, the oldest and well-known far-right organization the Russian All-National Union (RONS) was banned, along with several local groups (NSI - Cherepovets, Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus), whose members practiced violence. The Format 18[94] organization was banned as well for effectively promoting racist violence through manufacturing and distribution of video with scenes of racist attacks and torture of the homeless by the Nazi skinheads (Maxim Martsinkevich, the group’s leader, even announced the best video contest with cash prizes).

The group Orthodox Ingliing Old Believers of Adygea, also on our list, has been deemed extremist for the similarity of their religious symbols and cult practices to the Nazi ones. Perhaps the court had other reasons for closing the organization: the Ingliing religious doctrine contains some openly racist proposition (and, despite the name, actually has no relation to the Old Believers), and the first four organizations on the Federal list were banned in Omsk in 2004 for that very reason.

The prohibition of the Noble Order of the Devil and the Army of People’s Will are, in our opinion, inappropriate. In the case of the Noble Order of the Devil the grounds on which the organization was deemed extremist were not clear; the crimes (illegal sexual acts), for which its members were convicted, do not fall under the definition of extremism. In addition, by the time of the ban the organization practically ceased to exist. In the case of the AVN, the decision to ban public association, grouped around the Duel newspaper (later known as To the Stand (“K barieru”) and now as the True Names (“Svoimi imenami”) and its editor, Yuri Mukhin was based on the inappropriate ban of the leaflet "You are chosen - you will judge" (and not on some other articles by these publications that actually did break the law).

Of course, some organizations on the list could have been banned much earlier (the DPNI, the SS, and Format 18; the latter no longer existed by the time it was listed), and the reasons for several other bans are controversial, but the fact that the majority of organizations, added to the list in 2011, actually existed and were added on legitimate reasons already represents a positive development.

Other Administrative Measures

On July 6 the Rossiiskaia Gazeta first published the “List of organizations and physical persons involved in participation in extremist activity or terrorism” prepared by the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of Russia. The list consists of two parts, a "foreign" part (104 organizations, 401 persons) provided by the Foreign Ministry and based on the official UN lists, and a "Russian" part (46 organizations, 1510 persons), provided by the Ministry of Justice and the Prosecutor General's Office. Only the “open part” of the list (i.e. the one including organizations and individuals already covered by the existing court decisions) is published. There also is a “closed part” that lists entities suspected of extremism and terrorism.

The list is addressed primarily to "credit institutions that are required to inform the authorities about any suspicious financial transactions." The Federal Financial Monitoring Service of Russia plans to update the list regularly.

We regard publishing the open part of the list as a positive step, despite its errors (the list includes, for example, the Council of Balkar People Elders, even though its ban and its extremist status has been revoked by the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation), since it gives individuals and organizations an opportunity to challenge their inclusion on this list, if they have grounds for such a challenge.

In 2011 the K Barieru newspaper was closed on the charges of extremism. It was a successor to the Duel newspaper, which was closed after a multi-year litigation. Shutting down K Barieru took a long time as well. In June 2010 the Ostankino District Court in Moscow made a ruling to this effect, but the newspaper appealed to the Moscow City Court, and in August 2010 the Moscow City Court sent the case back for reconsideration. In April 2011 the court once again decided to close the newspaper. However, the Svoimi Imenami newspaper instantly emerged to replace it, and, at the time of writing this report, has already received two warnings by the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (ROSKOMNADZOR).[95] Roskomnadzor is currently asking the Moscow City Court to terminate this newspaper as well.

In 2011 the Roskomnadzor issued 25 warnings to media editorial staff for extremist activities (there were 28 warnings in 2010).

We consider at least 10 of these warnings to be inappropriate (the same number as in 2010). In four additional cases, we cannot say anything about the warning’s legality because the incriminating texts were not available or because of our inability to read the local languages.

In addition to the above-mentioned Svoimi Imenami newspaper, three other newspapers also received two warnings each, namely the Russkaya Zhizn’ (the Russian life), the Russkii Vestnik (the Russian Courier) and the Donskoe Vremya (the Don Times). The site received its third warning (the first two were made at the end of 2010) thus enabling the Roskomnadzor to begin the process of closing down these media outlets.

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.

Due to the lack of information, the trends in the law enforcement under the Administrative Code Article 20.3 ("propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi attributes or symbols”) and Article 20.29 ("mass distribution of extremist materials, as well as their production or storage for the purpose of mass distribution") are almost impossible to track. Evidently, such sentences are not uncommon. We know of nine instances of punishment under Article 20.3 and of 8 instances of punishment under Article 20.29 (counting only the sentences that we consider appropriate). Fines were imposed in all cases. The offences included Nazi memorabilia trafficking, online distribution of xenophobic texts and videos (including the ones listed on the Federal List of Extremist Materials), wearing of Nazi symbols, and unrest at the soccer match.

The majority of anti-extremist operations by the prosecutor’s office remain opaque. The prosecutor's reports refer to numerous "acts of prosecutorial response," but the nature of acts is not specified. We know about 32 submissions regarding the illegality of extremist activity, handed down to school principals for the absence of content filtering software in their educational institutions. The idea of fighting extremism using Internet filters on school computers does not seem very productive. In addition, prosecutorial inspections across the country found out that the filtering software, installed in Russian schools by Federal Agency for Education in March 2008, was unable to handle this task.[96]

The practice of making prosecutorial notifications to municipal services for ignoring neo-Nazi graffiti on city streets continues as well. These measures intensified, at least to some extent, the work of municipal services, such as painting over graffiti on the building walls.

[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. 127 of the President of the Russian Federation, issued on 2 March 2011.

[2] Please remember, that our calculations do not include victims of mass brawls, and the events in the republics of the North Caucasus, attacks with a profit motive and other questionable cases. We also do not track attacks on homeless people and sexual minorities (unless the court acknowledged the hate motive.

[3] Media covers such crimes with a significant delay; more and more often we find out about the incidents of racism with a delay of a year or more, when the murder has been solved, and the criminal has been convicted.

[4] After several years of ignoring this problem

[5] Mostly they are victims of attacks in the wake of mass ultra-right actions, such as the Russian March.

[6] Based on the materials from several ultra-radical blogs

[7] We left this data out of our statistics, since we don’t have any details or the exact number of victims. In addition, the attackers’ motives have not been fully established.

[8] The investigation obtained a video recording that showed “young people cut off the murdered woman’s ear, cut her mouth, stuck a knife in her eye and nose, with accompaniment of each other’s approving chuckles” See Molotochniki // Number one. 2011. 13 April. (

[9] The group has since changed its name to “Help Artem Anufriev – the group of those, who want to help Artem or simply supports his activity”

[10] His photos from the Russian March - 2010 in Irkutsk (including the one where he is wearing a gauze bandage with the “Peoplehate” sign) can be found online.

[11] Pikhanov Igor. Molotochniki dali eksklusivnoe interviu [The mallet-killers gave an exclusive interview] // Vesti-Irkutsk. 2011. 9 June (

[12]Verkhovsky Alexander; Kozhevnikova Galina. The Phantom of Manezhnaya Square: Radical Nationalism and Efforts to Counteract It in 2010 // SOVA Center. 2011. May 05 (

[13] “Fighter” is a suspect in two additional murders, committed after his release.

[14] In 2010 the journalist’s last name was published on one of the “hit lists.”

[15] More on attacks on the members of the Russian Orthodox Church see: Alperovich V., Yudina, N. Summer 2011: A New Batch of Neo-Nazi Convicts and Dreams of a Second Manezh // SOVA Center. 2011. 9 November (

[16] In November, 2011 in Yaroslavl, the second imam of the local mosque was killed. He had received threats from the Nazis, but the motive for the killing has not been established, so this case is not included in the statistics.

[17] Not including the victims of the mass brawl in Astrakhan.

[18] For more on the Black Hawks see Kozhevnikova G. Under the sign of political terror: Radical nationalism and efforts to counteract it in 2009// SOVA Center. 2010. 10 March (

[19] For more details see Alperovich V., Yudina, N. Winter of 2010–2011: December and its consequences // SOVA Center. 2011. 6 May (

[20] For more details see: Alperovich V., Yudina, N. Autumn 2011: The Ultra-right’s Pre-Election Maneuvers // SOVA Center. 2012. 14 February (

[21] The recipe for restoring peace from the DPNI and the Russian Image // SOVA Center. 2010. 29 September (

[22] DPNI is accused of extremism in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. 16 February (

[23] The Vladimir prosecutor’s office calls for declaring the RONS an extremist organization // SOVA Center. 2011. 21 March (

[24] The Slav Power leader is charged under Article 282-2? // SOVA Center. 2011. 19 April (

[25] The Slavic Union was deemed extremist // SOVA Center. 2010. 27 April (

[26] Defense league is a popular brand of the Western European ultra-right movement on the boundary between parliamentary (or aspiring for that) far right parties and informal groups that practice racist violence.

[27] The association between leaders of “the Russians" with the Chechen leadership, which continued in 2012, likely means mutual recognition of each other as the "ethnic leaders." This reveals us more about Ramzan Kadyrov, than about Belov and Demushkin, although these two are clearly interested in receiving such recognition. However, in the ultra-right circles this move by “the Russians" has caused far more criticism than understanding.

[28] A part of the larger Union of the Russian People that split into three separate organizations

[29] In 2011 Martsinkevich was released upon completing his prison sentence under Article 282 and initially limited his activity to launching a new project to help “the right-wing political prisoners.”

[30] POW is an international abbreviation for prisoners of war. Those members of the far right, who don’t want to grant legitimacy to the current political regime, consider their members to be POW, when in custody. The POW-center was associated with the OB-88 group, which played an important role among Nazi-skinheads the early 2000s and then became a more informal support structure consisting of the movement’s veterans.

[31] For more details see: Alperovich V., Yudina, N. Spring 2011: Causes Célèbres and New Ultra-right Formations // SOVA Center. 2011. 12 July (

[32] The Just Cause (Pravoe delo) party conducted a round table on the problems of nationalism // The cities of Moscow Region 2011. March (

[33] V. Militarev participated in the Initiative Group of the late 2011-early 2011 protest movement as a member of this club.

[34] LDPR rally with participations from the ultra-right took place in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. 14 July (

[35] LDPR proposes to repeal the federal law On Counteracting Extremist Activity // SOVA Center. 2011. 20 June (

[36] No more feeding Moscow!" is a modified “No more feeding the Caucasus” slogan. The action was framed as part of the “No more feeding the Caucasus” campaign

[37] Sokolov Andrei. The LDPR Deputy Andrey Tkachenko is accused of anti-Semitism // Komsomolskaya Pravda. 2011. 1 December (

[38] LDPR introduced a draft bill regulating the sacrifices on Muslim holidays in the State Duma // SOVA Center. 2011. 24 October (

[39] Russia needs the “Russian Harmony!” // The Official Site of the KPRF. 2011. 18 January (

[40] Anti-Semitic statements of the KPRF activist in Samara // SOVA Center. 2011. 11 October (

[41] Vishnevskaia Iulia. Palnikolaich Imeni Lenina // Russkii Reporter, 2011. 31 October (

[42] Rogozin called on his followers to support Putin // Ëåíòà.ðó. 2011. 21 September (

[43] Jalilov Rustam. A Typical Bureaucrat. Islamophobic statements by Rogozin caused confusion in the society // IslamNews. 2011. October.

[44] See for example: Medvedev on nationalism during the elections: I am Russian, but I root not just for Russians, but for the other nations as well // 2011. 11 November (

[45] The Ministry of the Interior started an investigation based on the online Manifest of a new ultra-right movement. // SOVA Center. 2010. 22 December (

[46] Anti-Caucasus rally took place in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. 23 April (

[47] March of Nationalists in Moscow 1 May // SOVA Center. 2011. 1 May (

[48] May Day Actions of Nationalists in Different Cities // SOVA Center. 2011. 4 May (

[49] Later other organizations joined the coalition: the RID, The 300 from Saratov, the Russian Club, and the Russian Strength

[50] For more details see: Alperovich V., Yudina N. Summer 2011: A New Batch of Neo-Nazi Convicts and Dreams of a Second Manezh.

[51] Nationalist Actions Took Place in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. 3 October (

[52] Nationalist Rallies in Russia // SOVA Center. 2011. 24 October (

[53] The Russian March on Town and Country // SOVA Center. 2011. 7 November (

[54] For more see: The Russian March - 2011 in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. 4 November (

[55] See also the similar statements of Alexander Sevastianov, a veteran of Russian nationalism: Alexander Sevastianov, “Boloto imeni Saharova” // Web site of Sevastianov A. N. 2011. 24 December.

[56] In early 2012 he became a leader of a dynamic party project New Strength.

[57] Nationalists rallied in Moscow on December 10 and 11. There were fewer of them on Bolotnaya Square on December 11 // SOVA Center. 2006. 12 December (

[58] Nationalists attended the opposition meeting in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. 26 December (

[59] Igor Mogilev receives his verdict // SOVA Center. 2006. 18 December (

[60] For more details regarding the participation by nationalists in the rallies “for fair election” see “Nationalists on the Rallies against Electoral Fraud in Russia” // SOVA Center. 2011. 27 December (

[61] For more details see The Action in memory of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova took place in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2010. 21 January (

[62] There were 1500 participants in 2010, and about 500 on January 19, 2012.

[63] The full text is available on the RFPL web site at

[64] Òhe text of Resolution No. 11 of the plenary meeting of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation “Concerning Judicial Practice in Criminal Cases Regarding Crimes of Extremism” adopted on June 28, 2011// Web site of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation. 29 June ( See also: SOVA commentary on the Resolution of the Supreme Court plenary meeting regarding extremism // SOVA Center. 2011. 1 July (

[65] Please keep in mind that inappropriate verdicts are being handed down under Articles 280 è 2822 as well.

[66] One of the verdicts was based on Part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 105 (“attempted murder of two or more people committed by a generally dangerous method for reason of ideological hatred”) to the Islamist terrorist Musa Yasulov, the organizer of the Volgograd explosions. This is the first time we know of applying an “ideological hatred” qualification to this kind of crime. Islamist militants are usually charged under the Criminal Code articles related to terrorism.

[67] In our opinion, this Article is an example of problematic points in this legislation, because, by the Criminal Code definition of "hooliganism," the article ought to imply a violation of public order done for a purpose of violating public order, i.e. without any other purpose. The presence of paragraph about the hate motive makes this article self- contradictory. For details, see: The Press Conference "What will the art group "War" receive - a prison term or a government award?" // SOVA Center. 2011. February 21 (

[68] In the text of a propaganda conviction

[69] One of them also received an additional fine.

[70] The distribution of prison terms is approximate, since in some cases, we do not exactly know the sentencing distribution within a group trial. In such cases, we counted all the punishments as equal to the lowest possible punishment known for the case.

[71] The DPNI branch leader in Protvino received a suspended sentence for the murder of a Tajikistan native // SOVA Center. 2011. 24 January (

[72] For more details see verdict handed down in the fifth case of Irkutsk neo-Nazi and his co-defendants// SOVA Center. 2011. 21 September (

[73] Four people received lengthy prison terms for this attack, and 16 received suspended sentences. The conviction failed to convince both the prosecution and the defenders, and the court decision was contested. At the time of writing the results of the appeal are not known.

[74] The verdict in the Borovikov – Voevodin gang trial was delivered by the City Court of St. Petersburg on June 14. Nearly all the defendants were found guilty. Alexei Voevodin and Artem Prokhorenko received a life sentence; ten people received sentences ranging from two years' probation to 18 years in prison. Two men were acquitted and released in the courtroom. One of them, Andrey “Fighter” Malyugin was arrested shortly after (on the night of August 30) in St. Petersburg on suspicion of two murders committed after his release. For more details, see: The verdict in the Borovikov – Voevodin gang trial was delivered in St. Petersburg // SOVA Center. 2011. 14 June (

[75] On July 11, 2011 the Moscow district military court convicted members of the group NSO-North, who were accused of committing 39 crimes motivated by hatred, including 27 murders. Five gang members received life sentences, the rest were sentenced to terms ranging from 10 to 23 years in prison. Only one man, who turned himself in and made a deal with the investigation, received a suspended sentence. For details, see: The NSO-North neo-Nazi group was sentenced in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2011. July 11 (

[76] For more details see: Alperovich V., Yudina N. Summer 2011: A New Batch of Neo-Nazi Convicts and Dreams of a Second Manezh.

[77] The charges also included part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 318 (“Use of Violence Against a Representative of the Authority”). On of them was also charged under Part 4 of Article 150 (“Involvement of a Minor in the Commission of a Crime”) è Part 1 of Article 282.

[78] In one of the verdicts (for attempting to set fire to the Orthodox church building in Rostov-on-Don.) we are not completely confident regarding the qualification used by the prosecution

[79] The defendant was sentenced to mandatory labor under Article 282. She was not charged with vandalism.

[80] One of these two defendants, however, was found guilty of slander.

[81] We do, however, know of one case when the charges against right-wing radicals were brought under this statute. The case in point is a speech by Olga Mukhacheva (a former "chief of staff" of the Red Blitzkrieg group, known in the right-wing radical circles as Matilda-Don; the wife of Anton (“Fly”) Mukhachev, a leader of the Northern Brotherhood (Severnoe Bratstvo). The speech was delivered during the rally in support of “Russian political prisoners” on Triumfalnaya Square on April 19, 2008. In late December 2010 she was charged under the Criminal Code articles 2052 è 280.

[82] Members of these groups were convicted for violent crimes.

[83] The legal process regarding the group in general is still ongoing.

[84] Likely this organizer is Ilnur Shakiryanov, who was convicted to three years of settlement colony for setting up an improvised explosive device in May 2004.

[85] The only other case, known to us, is the trial of the Russian National Unity (Russkoe natsionalnoe edinstvo, RNE) – Tatarstan members in 2008.

[86] Citing paragraph 14 of the Resolution: Criminal liability for the creation of an extremist society (part 1 of Article 282-1 ) is incurred from the moment of the actual formation of that society, that is, from the moment of the association of several persons for the purpose of preparing or committing extremist crimes and the carrying out of their intended acts for creating conditions for committing extremist crimes or demonstrating the readiness of the extremist society for carrying out their criminal intentions, regardless of whether the participants of such a society performed the intended extremist crime. Evidence for the readiness of an extremist society to commit the indicated crimes may consist in, for example, reaching an agreement to use force in public places with respect to persons on the basis of their belonging to (or not belonging to) a certain sex, race, nationality, linguistic or social group, or having a certain descent or attitude toward religion.

[87] Not including radical Muslim groups from the Caucasus, who might be nationalist, but are counted in a separate category.

[88] We know of no prior cases of materials being removed from the List except for Nikolai Andrushchenko’s articles in Novyi Peterburg newspaper (items 362-364) and the MGER leaflet against the Hare Krishna movement

[89] See “Saturday shift at the Federal List of Extremist Materials: the books by scientologists and some duplicates removed // SOVA Center. 2011. 3 May (

[90] “The Federal List of Extremist Materials now includes three “Strikes of the Russian Gods” // SOVA Center. 2011. 23 December (

[91] For more information see: Rozalskaya Maria. Inappropriate enforcement of anti-extremist legislation in Russia in 2010 // SOVA Center. 2011. 11 April (; Verkhovsky A., Kozhevnikova G. Ibid.

[92] The official name ofthe 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.

[93] The Slavic Union was banned in December 2010, but only added to the list in early 2011. After the ban, the organization continued to operate as the Slav Strength, retaining the symbols, style and abbreviation (SS) of its predecessor, and ceased to operate only when “the Russians” coalition was created.

[94] Russian National Union (RONS) is an ultra-Orthodox organization, established in 1990. Igor Artemov, who served several terms in the Vladimir Regional legislature until 2010, has been perpetual leader. We are not quite clear, on the reason for their ban; it was reported that their materials, seized during the search of right-wing radicals in Vladimir, were deemed extremist. The RONS indeed conducted active ultra-right propaganda and was involved in violent acts.

[95] According to the federal law “On Counteracting Extremist Activity” if the media outlet editors, who received an extremism warning, never contested the it in the court of law, and failed to undertake the remedial measures prior to a specified deadline, or if the new evidence of extremism in the activities of the media outlet was uncovered, its activity is subject to termination. It became customary to press charges after the second warning that was either never contested in court, or contested unsuccessfully.

[96] For more details see: The sanctions against the heads of educational institutions // SOVA Center. 2011. 9 June (