Winter 2011–2012: The Ultra-right — Protest and Party Building

Edited by Alexander Verkhovsky

Radical racist and xenophobic crimes : Violence : Vandalism
Public activities of the ultra-right : Rallies and other public actions : Nationalists within the structures of the protest movement : Other kinds of public activity : Party formation
Counteraction to radical nationalism and xenophobia : Counteraction by society : Criminal prosecution for violence : Criminal prosecution for propaganda : Federal List of Extremist Materials : Other administrative measures
Appendix. Statistics of Crime and Punishment (in word format).


The dramatic rise in protest activities following the December 4, 2011 parliamentary elections created new possibilities for opposition movements across the political spectrum. Of course, ultra-right groups – who were one of the most active political forces of 2011 – did not stand aside.

The ultra-right spent much of its time during the three winter months [1] participating in  general oppositional actions. At the same time, the process of building an ultra-right flank oriented at the expected “liberation” of Russia’s political system was just as important to the ultra-right agenda.

Since the first days of December, the ultra-right faced strong resistance from the protest movement’s liberal and leftist activists, but many others (both liberal and left) preferred unity to division. Step by step, nationalists managed to take firm hold of positions both among the organizers and, more importantly, in the lists of speakers at the main Moscow rallies. Their efforts made people see nationalists as a significant part of the common opposition field in the capital, in addition to many other regions of the country.

However, the number of ordinary radical right attendees at protests remained very low compared to that of the Russian Marches. Many nationalists have an extremely negative view of any cooperation with liberals, and the well-known organizations representing the ultra-right within the protest movement do not actually enjoy wide support in their own community.

Nor can one say that nationalists managed to significantly widen their circle of supporters, which is currently rather small. As in the past, the main obstacle is the radical image presented by the nationalist movement. This winter, moderate speeches from the movement”s leaders were counteracted by marches with racist slogans and attacks on people of “non-Slavic origin.”

Inspired by the coming liberalization of the law On Political Parties, nationalists began restructuring their movements and organizations into political parties. Consequently, beginning in January a number of national democratic, national patriotic, Orthodox-socialist, and monarchist “old” and “new” parties have applied to the Justice Ministry for registration. Many of them are definitely doomed for marginalization, but others have a chance of becoming the beginning or prototype for a nationalist party with representation in parliament.

In winter, the level of ultra-right and other racist violence remained the same as in previous seasons. However, ultra-right violence reoriented itself from targeting ethnic “strangers” to political enemies like antifascists and representatives of state bodies, although the activity in this sphere is not nearly as high as had been declared in neo-Nazi manifestos.

There were fewer verdicts relating to hate-motivated violent crimes than in 2010 and 2011 as a whole, and it is our position that too many suspended sentences were issued. If this is evidence that the government is aiming to appease and gradually reduce police pressure on the militant ultra-right, then we consider such a change of policy as undeniably premature.

The tendencies to prosecute on propaganda charges (excluding the clearly inappropriate prosecution that is not subject to this report) remain contradictory. The number of people convicted for racist propaganda was twice as big as that for racist violence. This runs counter to the practice of previous years. Courts evaded issuing sentences that would cause real deprivation of freedom. In the meantime, the asinine Federal List of Extremist Materials continued to grow in excess.

Winter 2011–2012 showed undeniable exception to the rules in many senses. At the same time, the events of this period were a continuation of previously formed tendencies. Now that the protest movement has inevitably receded in the face of the reelection of Vladimir Putin, the legalization of party registration for ultra-right elements and nationalists of various orientations, and the generally uncertain state of Russian society and government, it is difficult to predict how coming events will unfold.


Radical racist and xenophobic crimes


During winter 2011–2012, Sova Center registered at least 33 victims of racist violence, three of whom were killed. From the beginning of 2012[2], at least 28 people suffered, two of whom were killed. The autumn months of 2011 saw almost the same number of victims (36 people, four killed). In winter 2010-2011, 116 people suffered from racist violence, 11 of whom were killed. Such a gap can be explained by the continuing reduction in racist violence. But because of the exceptional events on Manezhnaya Square in December 2010 and the attacks that followed, we cannot reliably compare these winter periods to each other.

Attacks took place in eight regions of Russia (Moscow and the Moscow region, St. Petersburg, and the Kaliningrad, Rostov, Samara, Vladimir, Volgograd, and Voronezh regions). At the top of the list are still Moscow (seven people attacked) and St. Petersburg (seven people attacked, one of them killed), while the third place is occupied by both the Samara (four suffered, one of them killed) and Volgograd regions (four suffered, all of them students from Malaysia beaten in February).

The main targets this season were representatives of youth and informal groups (16 people, one of them killed). This is not surprising, as the winter period was marked by rising political activity in Russian society in general and among the ultra-right in particular. This led to a change in the objects of persecution, from ethnic strangers to “ideological enemies.” Participants in the all-Russian protest actions of December 24, actions in memory of the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Anastasia Baburova on January 19, and attendants of antifascist concerts and football matches all became potential and actual victims of attack.

The second group, which had previously occupied the first place, consists of people from Central Asia (five were attacked, one of them killed). Other groups of victims are people from Malaysia (four injured), the Caucasus (two injured), Jehovah”s Witnesses (one injured) and Jews (one killed).

The last case became widely known because of an anti-Semitic video entitled, “Extermination of a Dirty Jewish Brat” in the radical right-wing corner of the web, where a group of young people “helping themselves with a lantern are picking with a knife in the eye of a person with a blood-stained face showing no signs of life.”[3] First, the group NS/WP Nevograd claimed responsibility for the video, but later Andrei “Bladma” Pronskii was detained and provided a confession. Pronskii said while under examination that “the nationalist organization [he] took part in” forced him to commit the murder because it was his “turn to carry out a ritual execution and upload it to the web as a New Year gift for [my] comrades-in-arms.”[4]

The subversive terrorist activities of the ultra-right did not stop in winter. For instance, a 23-year-old nationalist from Samara attempted to blow up a criminal analysis center at the Penza station of the Interior Ministry.

Radical right-wing websites continue to publish threats addressed to “enemies.” In February, notable recipients were the participants of the “punk prayer” led by the female group Pussy Riot in Moscow”s Church of Christ the Savior, which caused a scandal in Muscovite and Russian society. Ultra-right websites distributed the girls” private information along with threats of reprisal. Representatives of the Southeast (Yugo-Vostok) Cossack community proposed to let a “court of parishioners” try the group.[5] Data published on the web were allegedly taken from materials collected by the Kitay-Gorod police department, where Pussy Riot had been detained after their action on Red Square. This leads us to believe that at least some of those at whom the threats were addressed did not even participate in the church action.



In winter 2011–2012, Sova Center registered at least 11 acts of vandalism motivated by hate or radical nationalist ideology in eight regions of the country. The vandals’ activities were nearly half what they were the year before: winter 2010–2011 saw at least 20 acts of vandalism.

Targets of ideological animosity from the ultra-right – monuments to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War, state buildings, etc. – suffered the most during the winter months (five cases). Apart from that, Orthodox and Jewish objects were profaned (three and two cases respectively), as well as a house of Jehovah’s Witnesses (one case).

In nearly half the cases, vandals confined themselves to graffiti (six cases). But there were also more dangerous acts: the Troitskii Cathedral was broken into and set on fire in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskii, as was a building belonging to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kineshma. In Moscow, the Cathedral of Saint Vladimir was looted, and the Tashkent Uzbek restaurant in St. Petersburg was attacked with a Molotov cocktail.[6]


Public activities of the ultra-right

Rallies and other public actions

The first relatively major attempt at an ultra-right action this winter was the rally near the Revolution Square (Ploshchad’ revolyutsii) Metro station on the day of parliamentary elections, December 4.[7] The action had already been announced at the November 4 Russian March, but still failed to draw a decent crowd. Between 100 and 150 people attended the action, and most of them were detained by police.

The second independent nationalist action, which took place in Moscow on December 11 to mark the anniversary of the riots on Manezhnaya Square, turned out to be a big disappointment for the leaders of ultra-right organizations.[8] It was organized by the Russians (Russkie) movement and took place on Bolotnaya Square, where nationalists had gathered the day before (see below). The organizers made clear that they expected at least a thousand people to attend, but no more than 350 came. After the rally, an ultra-right faction attempted to break out to Manezhnaya Square, where an unsanctioned rally in memory of football fan Yegor Sviridov was supposed to have taken place earlier. However, almost all of those participating in the break were detained (about 70 to 80 people) and the square was surrounded by riot police.

In St. Petersburg, an ultra-right rally also took place on December 11; it was called the march “against ethnic criminals.”[9] The march started near the Avtovo Metro station, and finished on Komsomolskaya Square. About 350 people, as many as in Moscow, took part. Several nationalist attacks on passersby took place after the event. In one case a person from the Caucasus was injured, and in another, a person from Central Asia.

The third major independent ultra-right action took place only two months later, on  February 18, and was devoted to the criminal case of sportsman Rasul Mirzaev, who is charged with the murder of Ivan Agafonov, a student. The reason for the rally was the ruling of the Zamoskvorechye Court (later cancelled by the Moscow City Court) to release Mirzaev on bail. Rallies took place in several Russian cities, but the most significant one was in Moscow. After it finished, about 100 right radicals marched down the central streets of the city shouting neo-Nazi and anti-Caucasus slogans; they also attacked two workers from Central Asia.[10]

Aside from these three actions, the public activities of the ultra-right were within the frameworks of the protest campaign For Fair Elections. Right radicals had finally been granted the opportunity to cooperate almost head-to-head with the representatives of other ideological factions.

The ultra-right speakers at the 5 December rally on Chistoprudny Boulevard were Alexander Khramov (the Russian Civil Union (RGS, Russkii grazhdanskii soyuz)) and Ilya Lazarenko (National Democratic Alliance (NDA, Natsional-demokraticheskii al’yans)). Ultra-right representatives attended the unsanctioned December 6 action on Triumfal’naya Square. They were both among rally members (up to the very radical movement Vol’nitsa (Free Rein)) and among members of United Russia’s Young Guard, which held its own counter-action on the square.

Konstantin Krylov (ROD) became the only one to represent right radicals among the speakers of the December 10 rally on Bolotnaya Square.[11] However, the nationalist column that marched from Revolution Square to Bolotnaya was led by almost all the leaders of the two main right radical coalitions, the Russians movement and the Russian Platform (Russkaya platforma).[12] In all, about 500 members of the ultra-right community participated in the action, standing under imperial black-yellow-and-white tricolors and RGS flags.

It was a rather unexpected development to hear the speech of Vladimir Tor (ROD) at the rally organized by the Yabloko party on Bolotnaya Square on December 17. The party had stated on numerous occasions that it did not cooperate even with moderate nationalists, and ultra-right activists were not spotted among the rally’s attendees.

Right radicals were most active at the December 24 rally on Sakharov Avenue.[13] Young people under imperial flags gathered on the spot an hour before the action began, and occupied the first section in front of the stage. When the rally started, the ultra-right faction whistled and shouted over the speeches of everybody whose position was not close to theirs. At the end of the event, they attempted to storm the stage, and to push Russians movement leader Alexander Belov onto it. Tor, Krylov (ROD) and Vladimir Ermolaev (Russians) represented the right radicals among the speakers at the rally.

On February 4, an ultra-right column took part in the march For Fair Elections down Bolshaya Yakimanka Street in Moscow.[14] At the beginning of the march the column consisted of about 500 people, but grew to about 850 people as latecomers joined the march as it entered Bolotnaya Square. The main participants were those from the Russians movement, under imperial flags, but other organizations also took part in the march, including the Russian Social Movement (ROD, Russkoe obshchestvennoe dvizhenie), the Russian People”s Union (ROS, Rossiiskii obshchenarodnyi soyuz), the Union of the Russian People (SRN, Soyuz russkogo naroda) and the Russian Sun project (Russkoe solntse). Followers of General Leonid Khabarov, who was arrested in July 2011 in Yekaterinburg on charges of participation in Vladimir Kvachkov’s conspiracy, marched at the head of the main group of nationalists. Behind them, a group of several people marched under the flags of the National Union (Natsional’nyi soyuz). Apart from that, small groups including the NDA (about 10–20 people) and RGS (about 20 people) marched within the “liberal” column, together with the Solidarity (Solidarnost’) movement and others. Therefore, the whole number of organized nationalists was hardly more than one thousand people. On Bolotnaya, nationalists actively forced their way towards the stage. This led to several skirmishes, but this time they did not succeed in reaching the stage. According to the preliminary arrangement, each of the three “political columns” (liberals, nationalists and representatives of the leftist movements) were represented by one speaker; Alexander Belov spoke on behalf of the nationalists.

The ultra-right nearly missed out on the White Circle action on February 26 in Moscow, first of all because party symbols were forbidden, so they were unable to distinguish themselves. Leaders of the Russians (Ermolaev, Belov, Demushkin) preferred to take part in the action as detached observers filming videos from their cars. It is reported that Georgii Borovikov (Russian Liberation Front “Memory” (Russkii front osvobozhdeniya (RFO) “Pamyat”)), Russians) attended White Circle.

The ultra-right’s behavior at rallies and marches For Fair Elections varied depending on the region. At most actions there were only a handful of ultra-right activists, waving imperial flags. However, right radicals were occasionally more active elsewhere than in Moscow, and in some places they even managed to become the main organizers of rallies For Fair Elections.

The ultra-right’s participation in St. Petersburg protest actions was rather remarkable. For instance, on December 10 the number of ultra-right representatives under imperial flags at the rally on Pionerskaya Square turned out to be undeniably higher than in Moscow on Bolotnaya Square.[15] Moreover, in Petersburg the ultra-right did not allow writer and journalist Viktor Shenderovich to speak, whistling and clapping over him. Moscow rally participants were, on the contrary, indignant at Konstantin Krylov’s speech – with many shouting “fascism will not do” and similar slogans.

The December 24 St. Petersburg action split into two camps. Nationalists and representatives of the so-called “extra-systemic opposition” rallied separately from the adherents of the established oppositional parties.[16] The “non-systemic” activists managed to gather about two thousand people for their action, most of them standing under the imperial flags used by both nationalists and the banned National Bolshevik Party. The nationalist speakers at the action were Russian Imperial Movement (RID, Russkoe imperskoe dvizhenie) representative Nikolai Bondarik, who spent time in prison for murder in the 1990s; head of ROD-St. Petersburg Andrei Kuznetsov; and Russians representative Dmitri Sukhorukov. Their speeches were far more radical than those of their comrades in Moscow on Sakharov Avenue.

At the St. Petersburg rally on February 4, antagonism between the ultra-right and other protest participants reached its peak.[17] In reply to the scandalous homophobic speeches of Bondarik and Slavic Force (Slavyanskaya sila) activist Dmitri “Mad” Yevtushenko, nearly everyone in attendance, together with the rally’s hosts, shouted “Off the stage!” and “Russia is for everyone!” The nationalist speakers, together with other ultra-right activists, shouted “We are the power here!” In the end, someone pulled the cable of Bondarik’s microphone and he fell off the stage.

The ultra-right’s biggest success in St. Petersburg was the February 25 march and rally For Fair Elections, which gathered roughly ten thousand people. The action was organized with the participation of the ultra-right, in particular Dimitrii Savvin (Russian All-National Union (RONS, Russkii obshchenatsional’nyi soyuz)), Bondarik, and activists from the Russian Platform. One of the co-hosts was ROD-St. Petersburg leader Andrei Kuznetsov. Representatives from each of the city’s nationalist factions took part in the march, but split into two columns. The first one, behind the banner “Russians Against Putin,” included activists of the Nationalist Socialist Initiative (NSI, Natsional-sotsialisticheskaya initsiativa) (Dmitri Bobrov), Slavic Force (Yevtushenko), RID, RONS and ROD. The second marched behind the banner “We Are Against Putin,” and included activists from the Free Rein (about 25 people), National Democrats (Semen Pikhtelev and Dmitri Sukhorukov), Russian Jogging (Russkaya probezhka) and the Autonomous Nationalists; Other Russia representatives marched together with them. Apart from nationalists, Left Front leader Sergey Udaltsov, Garry Kasparov and others spoke at the rally.

Other regions also saw the ultra-right become co-organizers and even main organizers of actions For Fair Elections. Thus, activists from the Union of the Russian People (SRN) took part in putting together a rally in Voronezh on 24 December. It was reported that one host was Leonid Koroteev, the leader of the local SRN branch. Ultra-right activists were also responsible for “keeping order” and “access to the microphone” at the action. In all, about 50 nationalists from RONS, SRN and the Minin and Pozharsky All-Russian People’s Militia (NOMP, Vserossiiskoe narodnoe opolchenie imeni Minina i Pozharskogo) attended, and 15 of them stood with imperial flags.

A similar rally in Kaliningrad on February 26 was organized by Cossack farmstead ataman Evgenii Labudin and chairman of the ultra-right People”s Assembly (Narodnoe sobranie) Alexander Ivanov. In addition to nationalists under imperial flags, it was attended by activists from the Communist Party, Just Russia, the Union of Russian Officers and the Committee of the Social Self-Defense (KOS, Komitet obshchestvennoi samozashchity). About 70 people took part.

There were many conflicts between nationalists and other participants of the rallies For Fair Elections. For instance, on December 24 in Volgograd the ultra-right speaker Igor Mogilev, who had previously been convicted under Article 282[18], was catcalled after saying that liberals were working for the U.S. State Department. In response to the whistling, right radicals shouted “Russians, go ahead!” At the march on February 4 in Voronezh, nationalists who were upset that the organizers sent them to march at the end of the column moved to the other side of the street in protest and shouted “Russians, go ahead!” In reply, the left column started to boo, whistle and shout anti-fascist rhyming slogans.

The sharp growth in the protest mood between parliamentary and presidential elections, and the fact that the protest actions were held mostly under liberal slogans, caught the ultra-right community by surprise. The lack of preparedness for such a turn of events was shown most clearly in the split that happened almost immediately in the ultra-right community. One faction of activists summoned their comrades not to attend the “dirty Jewish” actions “paid for by the U.S. State Department,” but instead to continue preparing for the White Revolution. Others used all means possible to campaign for attendance at such actions.

As is to be expected, nationalists hoped to use the new political situation in Russia as a prelude for revolution. For instance, several ultra-right media published a letter[19] from the neo-Nazi Nikolai Korolev, who is serving a life sentence, summoning nationalists to move for the seizure of power by force as soon as possible. Well-known author of political essays Maxim Kalashnikov also supported the idea of such a scenario. However, he proposed a joint coup d’e'tat by Vladimir Putin and some “third force,” that being nationalists and a leftist faction, against the ruling bureaucracy and “orangeists” (adherents of “the Orange Revolution”). Kalashnikov even promised private defense to Putin if the latter clandestinely provided weapons to “the third force.”[20] NSI leader Dmitri Bobrov expressed the opposite ideas in his article “Theses of the Democratic Revolution.”[21] He pointed out several goals (the resignation of Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin, the recalculation of votes, the dismissal of Central Election Commission chief Vladimir Churov, etc.) and said cooperation with other political forces was admissible in order to achieve these goals. Earlier, Bobrov saw no possibility of cooperating with liberals and other representatives of the opposition.

Advocates of participation in joint opposition actions called on activists not only to go out to the squares but also, when possible, to coopt the initiative from liberals, blaming the latter for “usurping” the people’s discontent. However, it  was not to be. Since many right radicals preferred not to take part in the “liberal riot,” the number of nationalists at the rallies was far lower than it could have been otherwise. For instance, not a single Moscow rally For Fair Elections was attended by more than a thousand nationalists, while ultra-right leaders managed to gather up to six thousand followers to join the Russian March.


Nationalists within the structures of the protest movement

Leaders of the various ultra-right organizations attempted to coopt the protest initiative from the liberals not simply on the street, but by forming structures that could be – despite serious reservations – considered the ruling structures of the protest movement.

Here, as well as at the rallies, the nationalists played a double game by presenting themselves as allies and simultaneously as aggressive rivals. Ultra-right leaders addressed a series of requests regarding the Moscow rally on December 24, attempting to impose a compromise in organizing the rally by openly challenging the protest movement’s organizing committee. However, Moscow authorities rejected requests from nationalists to hold rallies on central squares. Instead, the City of Moscow proposed the traditional location of the Russian Marches, the southwestern district of Lyublino. The right summarily rejected this proposal, as it did not give them more authority in the negotiations. That is, it did not allow them to twist other organizer’ arms by blackmailing them with the more or less real scenario of a split in the protest, or to impose their own vision of the protest on others. The nationalists began forcing their way into the leading bodies that appeared during the organization of the first rallies. In December, there were two such structures; the Organizing Committee that made final decisions, and the Initiative Group (IG) that acted as a consultative body.

Nationalists were represented for the first time in the Organizing Committee only by the popular blogger Alexey Navalny, who does not belong to any particular political movement; others were not given an option to join. Ultra-right representatives who chose not to stand aside became active members of the IG, trying in turn to use it as a vehicle to put pressure on the Organizing Committee. No one could obstruct them from joining the IG, for in order to become a member one had only to visit one of its meeting sessions. Here nationalists quickly found allies, if only tenuous ones, among leftist activists who shared an interest in not being forced out of the protest movement by liberals and other civic activists. Nationalists stood together with leftists for the right of equal access to the microphone for representatives of each of the “ideological sections.”

Obviously unfair methods were used during the process of online voting for which candidates would speak at the rally on Sakharov Avenue. Nationalists received improbably high results on the largest – and least transparent – online voting resource. The winner was the ex-leader of the banned group “Format-18” Maxim “Hatchet” Martsinkevich, who has been convicted under Article 282. Representatives of the Organizing Committee accused the ultra-right of unfairness and did not let most of the “winners” speak. The latter, in reply, declared that their victory was stolen from them. As a result, the idea of quotas for each of the ideological directions appeared. Those quotas were surely not equal due to the absolute prevalence of liberals in the Organizing Committee, but the extreme left and right were assured that each “wing” could nominate up to three people to speak at the main protest rally.[22]

Later, it was the idea of equal representation of the different ideologies that became the ground for dividing people into columns at the 4 February march on Bolshaya Yakimanka Street. The real proportion of political forces showed itself there, too. The biggest of the three was the liberal one (two columns, that of the Yabloko party and the other of all others, together consisting of three to four thousand people); the smallest one was the nationalist one (about 800 to 900 people). About 45 participants of the march and the rally preferred not to join the ideological columns.

It was far easier to achieve equal representation not on the street but “in the committees.” During a January 17 IG session, an agreement was reached to transform the Initiative Group into the Civic Movement of Russia (Grazhdanskoe dvizhenie Rossii) that would elect a constant body, the Civic Council (GS, Grazhdanskii sovet). According to the agreement, the GS would consist of 60 people from four curiae – 10 from each of the three types of political organizations (nationalists, liberals and leftists) and 30 civil activists.

At the end of January, nationalists declared that they would not declare a solid ten representatives to act as their “curia” members. They said that four coordinators (Belov, Demushkin, Krylov and Tor) would determine the membership prior to each session. Thus, the Russians and the Russian Platform actually seized the right to determine who would represent nationalists in the protest movement. The rest of the nationalist community (football fan movements, Orthodox monarchist ultra-right organizations and rather moderate “old” national-patriotic movements mostly founded in the 1990s) was left out. We should note however that most of the ultra-right had no intention to take part in the protest movement anyway.

Apart from this, the nationalists actively strived to take seats from the “civil curia.” Fifteen of 30 “civil” organizations were immediately elected into the Civic Council, with not a single one of them oriented at nationalists. But 15 more were to be determined by SMS voting, which opened broad possibilities for all the political groups.

The Russians movement promoted their information resource, the National News Service (NSN, Natsional’naya sluzhba novostei), and called on supporters to vote for several clandestine ultra-right groups or groups close to nationalists. Those were the Civil Support for Alexei Navalny, Blagosta Charity Movement, Right Ecology, Rock Musicians, the Russian Sun project (Russkoe solntse), the Union of Inhabitants of Khot’kovo (a town in the Moscow region), the Center of Independent Journalistics (Tsentr nezavisimoi zhurnalistiki, that is Yurii Mukhin’s By Their Right Names (Svoimi imenami) newspaper[23]), L.G. Ivashov’s Headquarters, and unions of officers and Cossacks. Apart from those, some other groups that were nominated for the GS were also close to nationalists or nationalist ideology. These were Viktor Militarev’s Russian Republican (Russkii respublikanets), the Association of Municipal Deputies of Moscow, the Our City (Nash gorod) initiative, Valery Ganichev’s Union of the Writers of Russia[24] and Dmitri Baranovskii’s Simply Russians (Prosto rossiyane). Mukhin’s followers were likely to be represented by two more groups: For Responsible Authorities (Za otvetstvennuyu vlast’) and the Antifascist Tribunal. As a result, two of Mukhin’s followers, NSN candidate Dmitri Yager and Right Ecology candidate Vladimir Perederii represented the “civil curia” in the council. Leftist activists’ attempts to use their veto right to ban some nationalists from the civil “curia”[25] faced resistance from Just Russia deputy Ilya Ponomarev, and the issue was never voted upon.

Nationalists also kept watch on the liberal curia, from which NDA leader Ilya Lazarenko was elected to the GS. Lazarenko is a veteran Russian neo-Nazi. The symbol of the Nav’ Church (or Gnostic Church of the White Race, which he founded in 1996) is the same as the NDA symbol. (Nav’ is a Russian folkloric term meaning the dead awaken.)

It is noteworthy that the nationalist presence in the Civic Movement  faced serious resistance (as it had earlier in the Initiative Group) from a significant portion of leftist and liberal and human rights activists. For instance, the Moscow Memorial Human Rights Center refused to join the GS because of the high share of ultra-right representation. However, this resistance was unable to gain enough support because, on the contrary, many liberal and leftist activists supported the preservation of a unified body with the nationalists. Some openly supported nationalists, for instance, Solidarity member Mark Feigin and Forum.Msk.Ru web edition editor-in-chief Anatoly Baranov of the Left Front.

The readiness of some non-nationalist representatives to cooperate with the ultra-right was demonstrated in the formation of the Russian Political Committee, which was established in opposition to “Yeltsinite liberals” in the beginning of January. The committee attempted to directly compete with the Organizing Committee of the rallies For Fair Elections. For instance, it submitted separate requests for actions on the same days that the common oppositional rallies were scheduled.

The committee’s manifesto[26] was signed by nationalists Krylov and Tor (ROD), Alexandr Khramov (RGS), Nadezhda Shalimova (former Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI, Dvizhenie protiv nelegal’noi immigratsii), editor-in-chief of the Issues of Nationalism (Voprosy natsionalizma) magazine, Ilya Lazarenko (NDA) and Alexandr Krasnov (the Great Russia party (Velikaya Rossiya)). Other movements were represented by Baranov (Left Front) and Feigin (Solidarity), as well as the well-known Islamist Geidar Dzhemal (International Union (Internatsional’nyi soyuz) and Left Front), N. Ivanov and Nikolai Nikolaev (International Union), Olga Kurnosova (chairman of the St. Petersburg department of the United Civic Front (Ob’edinennyi grazhdanskii front)), etc.

To sum up, we should note that the efforts of the Russians and Russian Platform leaders were not in vain. Due to their active participation in protests, they managed to achieve a higher status in the eyes of society, which started to consider them as competent opposition members and legitimate representatives of the ultra-right movement as a whole. Although it does not represent the facts, and the overwhelming majority of right radicals disapprove of the leaders of these organizations, this winter’s protests allowed them to make a big step on their way to demarginalization.[27]

In order to achieve such a significant goal, right radicals nearly fully withdrew the specific ultra-right rhetoric from their speeches at the Moscow rallies; in its place they inserted criticism of the current political regime. However, the apparent moderation of their speeches does not by any stretch mean that the leaders of the movement or ordinary ultra-right activists reject the views that easily combine an oppositional orientation with unmasked racism and xenophobia. As it has been clearly seen from the example of St. Petersburg, where not even all the leaders of the ultra-right organizations were ready to give up parts of their ideology in order to join the rows of protesters. Ordinary ultra-right activists definitely did not intend for that to happen. Even those who attended protest rallies as part of the general radical right mass generally adhere to a far more radical version of nationalism than their leaders are willing to show from the stage.

Therefore, we see a paradox emerging: the figures who have now become the so-called official representatives of Russian nationalism in the eyes of society actually represent nothing but a small sector of the common nationalist community, and are able to publicly defend only a small part of this community’s demands.


Other kinds of public activity

In addition to its participation in protest actions this winter, the ultra-right headed several non-political campaigns.

Igor Mangushev’s Bright Rus (Svetlaya Rus’) continued to carry out raids in Moscow in search of illegal immigrants in cooperation with representatives of the Federal Migration Service (FMS); these began in autumn and have been conducted on a regular basis since. The initiative was brought about by the Northern Wolf (Severnyi volk)[28], a Novosibirsk ultra-right organization that began conducting raids and inspecting migrants’ documents together with the FMS. As we have noted before, it is Sova’s position that cooperation between right radicals and law enforcement bodies in such activities is totally inadmissible.

Rostislav Antonov’s ROD-Siberia held several non-political actions this winter in a continuation of its policy to attract local residents’ attention by way of various social activities with no clear nationalist tinge. We should remind readers that ROD-Siberia has actively participated in rallies against the cancellation of pensioners’ benefits, pickets for “defrauded shareholders,” and in the campaign “Stop Feeding the Caucasus!” under the slogan “Stop Feeding Moscow!”

Firstly, Antonov established the Civil Patrol organization, the main activity of which is the carrying out of raids through grocery stores in order to reveal food being sold past its expiry date.

Secondly, ROD-Siberia actively took part in a series of actions in several regional cities against the construction of a ferrosilicomanganese plant in Novokuznetsk. The actions were held under the slogan “For fresh air in Siberia.”

Such a policy allows the ultra-right to gain a positive image and, in some cases, to successfully cooperate with local authorities and law enforcement agencies. But in general, the activation of political life in the country has led to a reduction in the number of socially motivated, as opposed to politically motivated, actions. A year ago, there were far more social actions here. The right radical practice of helping orphanages or donating money to imprisoned comrades, etc. remains virtually unnoticed.

Ultra-right charity activity is currently aimed mainly at imprisoned nationalists. Gathering donations for “right prisoners of conscience” became a prestigious and virtually obligatory activity within the community. Maxim Martsinkevich wrote a notable article in this connection, summoning nationalists to stop helping “vegetables” (i.e. simple Russian citizens) that could be helped by “other vegetables,” and to concentrate on helping only the “right convicts” who were unable to receive help from anyone except for their comrades.

This subject was reflected in the ultra-right’s attempt to prompt other opposition activists to include the convicted nationalists in lists of political prisoners, in particular those who were charged with violent crimes (for instance, Nikita Tikhonov, sentenced for the murder of the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova). They have not had any visible success so far in this campaign.[29]

We should comment separately on the much-talked-of action of football fans in the town of Maloyaroslavets in the Kaluga region on January 21. About 300 fans of FC Spartak, Lokomotiv, Dinamo, CSKA, Torpedo, Khimki, and Saturn held a march in the town in order to render a petition to the authorities in support of Spartak fan Alexei Ershov. In September 2011, Ershov received several knife wounds in a mass brawl involving Armenian nationals, and spent a month in hospital. Nineteen-year-old Armenian Alik Simonyan was charged with inflicting the wounds, and was at first arrested but later released and placed under restricted residence. Ershov claimed that he had received threats from Simonyan’s compatriots after returning from hospital. In addition to this, Ershov faced a counterclaim that accused him of attacking a person from the Caucasus during the brawl. Fans came from Moscow to Maloyaroslavets to protest the accusations. They were able to meet with a local deputy and the head of the town’s administration, who promised to take the case under his control. Some of the football fans marched through the town asking locals to sign a petition demanding that Simonyan not be allowed to evade punishment. Sheets of paper with signatures were given to the prosecutor’s office and the town administration, after which the, fans left Maloyaroslavets without incident.

This action is notable mostly due to its expressly non-political and peaceful character, opposite to what could be seen on Manezhnaya Square in December 2010. Such behavior is likely to be a result of organizers distancing themselves from the ultra-right.


Party formation

The break in public actions from the end of December to January allowed the ultra-right to act on the inspiration provided by the bill simplifying party registration, which President Medvedev introduced on December 23, 2011. In that connection they began establishing their own party projects.

The first to mention is the party project begun by Valerii Solovei, a professor at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, who at one time had achieved note as an academic expert on Russian nationalism, and later became a prominent theorist of ethnic nationalism. His proposed party is called the New Force (Novaya sila), and its main slogan will be “Freedom, Nation, Justice.” According to Solovei, the New Force is a national-democratic project aimed at making nationalist objectives clear and relevant not only for current ultra-right activists but also for other Russian citizens. In particular, Solovei declares that traditional nationalist objectives like the rejection of articles 280 and 282 and the governmental formation of a statute for the Russian people are unclear to society, while simple anti-migrant slogans are insufficient. In this case, the professor proposes adopting democratic and social slogans: “If nationalists want to win these elections they should stop being nationalists only, and become democrats and defenders of the social state as well (and first of all!)”[30]

The working group on forming the party reportedly included, among others, Solovei, Dmitri Feoktistov (RGS) and Alla Gorbunova (Krylov’s ROD). In addition to them, representatives of the Russian Imperial Movement (RID) and the banned Russian All-National Union (RONS, Russkii obshchenatsional’nyi soyuz) were delegated into the working group. Solovei invited Daniil Konstantinov (Moscow Defense League (Liga oborony Moskvy)) to join the project, but he did not respond to the proposal.[31]

According to a February 17 declaration made by the leaders of the New Force in Moscow, well-known ultra-right activists will not take part in the project. As party organizing committee member Gorbunova reported, “the DPNI and leaders like Dmitri Demushkin and Alexandr Belov (Potkin) remained in the past as did representatives of the old liberal guard, those Nemtsovs, Ryzhkovs and Kasyanovs. People are tired of them; they need new leaders. That is why the New Force did not hunt after “media” figures and decided to promote itself from scratch.”[32] However, the party’s ideology contains nothing significantly novel. Political democracy, the cancellation of financial preference to the republics of the North Caucasus, the release of political prisoners, and the freedom to possess weapons – such demands do not contradict those usually pronounced in public by the ultra-right.

Most autonomous right radicals unsurprisingly treated the news of the establishment of the party negatively. They called it another “dirty Jewish” and “liberal” project and summoned their comrades not to deal with those who were going to “play the game of the system,” but to concentrate their efforts on the seizure of power by force. However, there were some who decided to support the new organization, referring to Solovei’s authority and “adequacy.”

Almost immediately after the announcement of the establishment of the New Force, Konstantin Krylov reported his intention to launch a party project, the Russian National Democratic Party (RNDP, Rossiiskaya natsional”no-demokraticheskaya partiya), which would form on the base of ROD (Krylov) and the RGS (Khramov). The main principles of the party are a national democratic state, a republic with a strong executive branch and a government controlled by the parliament, the promotion of small and medium business, a progressive scale of staff assessment, and federalism.

Krylov said his new party would be open to all comers, as such attempting to pit his “open” project against Solovei’s “closed” one.

As expected, non-aligned members of the ultra-right community considered the appearance of a new national democratic party almost identical to the first one in ideology as another attempt to break up the ultra-right flank.

In addition to Solovei and Krylov, veteran nationalist Sergei Baburin started the formation of a party. He had declared already in December that he intended to return political party status to his Russian Nationwide Union (ROS, Rossiiskii obshchenarodnyi soyuz). Earlier, ROS denounced this statute itself. The party was joined by Nikolai Kuryanovich (ex-LDPR Duma deputy known for his closeness to various ultra-right groups), Roman Zentsov (the leader of the Resistance (Soprotivlenie) movement), Ivan Mironov (charged and acquitted of complicity in the attempted murder of then-head of electric power monopoly RAO UES Anatoly Chubais), and Alexandr Turik (the Union of the Russian People (SRN, Soyuz russkogo naroda)). Russian Image (Russkii obraz) representative Evgenii Valyaev attended the ROS conference but it was not reported whether his organization had taken part in forming the party.

On February 18, the founding session of the Right Conservative Alliance (PKA, Pravo-konservativnyi al’yans) took place in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel. The alliance represents itself as an opposition organization, but is rather moderate towards the authorities – that meaning it is ready to cooperate through Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin, former leader of the parliamentary nationalists. The list of participants of the session points to the fact that the coalition would include the Russian Social Movement (Viktor Militarev’s “old” ROD, Russkoe obshchestvennoe dvizhenie), Resistance (Zentsov), and the Russian Image (Alexei Mikhailov). Representatives of organizations close to the Russian Orthodox Church were also present, such as the relatively official Universal Russian People’s Assembly (Vsemirnyi russkii narodnyi sobor) (Alexandr Rudakov) and Council of Orthodox Organizations (Sovet pravoslavnykh organizatsii) (Maxim Markov), and the marginal Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods (Soyuz pravoslavnykh bratstv) (Yurii Ageshchev). The Center of Conservative Research at Moscow State University’s Sociology Department, led by Alexandr Dugin, was represented by Valerii Korovin et al.

However, soon after the session a scandal erupted over the participation of former Russian Image leader Ilya Goryachev - via Skype. We should remind readers that Goryachev is considered a traitor due to his testimony in the trial of Nikita Tikhonov and Evgeniya Khasis. Zentsov quickly issued a statement that Resistance would not form coalitions with discredited organizations and people. Militarev attempted to defend the new organization’s authority, declaring that he himself was ready to agree with the opinion that Goryachev and the Russian Image were traitors only after the presentation of serious evidence of Tikhonov’s innocence and the claim that Goryachev had planted the gun to Tikhonov was proven.

In any case, after Zentsov, who is well regarded in the ultra-right community, made it clear that he would not take part in such an organization, it became evident that the idea of the PKA had failed. Neither Militarev’s ROD nor the Russian Image, despised by most right radicals, have enough resources to establish a vital ultra-right coalition, and the Orthodox political organizations are generally not popular in the community.

The Russians coalition displayed party ambitions only in March. In winter it focused mostly on broadening membership by establishing regional departments, for example in Nizhny Novgorod, Orenburg, Pskov, Volgograd and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The most active branch was the Nizhny Novgorod department, which held several actions – none of which gathered more than 35 people even when Dmitri Demushkin arrived from Moscow to join.

Apart from that, the national patriotic movements of 1990s and early 2000s became active again. Like Baburin, they started to restore old or establish new organizations in order to register them later as parties with the Justice Ministry.

Our Motherland (Nasha Rodina) submitted a request to register a party consisting of a union of fragments of the Motherland party led by Dmitri Rogozin. Those are Andrei Savel’yev’s Great Russia, Mikhail Lermontov’s For Our Russia (Za nashu Rossiyu), and Vladimir Filin’s Motherland – Common Sense (Rodina – zdravyi smysl).[33] The union was formed in spring 2011[34] but has not shown itself yet. The only relatively live part of this union is Great Russia, which at least attempted to hold its own actions and become somewhat notable. Great Russia made news when its adherents quit the Congress of Russian Communities (KRO, Kongress russkikh obshchin) in December 2011 after the latter started openly campaigning for Vladimir Putin. Later, those who refused to quit KRO were expelled from the party.

Motherland - Common Sense, led by Mikhail Delyagin, submitted a separate request for registration.

Veterans of the ultra-right Conceptual Unity Party (KPE, Kontseptual’naya partiya “Edinenie”) movement revived it under the moniker Making the Course of Truth and Unity (Kursom pravdy i Edineniya). Its chief ideologist Major General Konstantin Petrov died in 2009, and the party leadership was passed on to Yurii Moskalev. We should remind readers that the KPE’s ideology is based on a collection of documents under the name Conception of Social Security “Healing Water” (Kontseptsiya obshchestvennoi bezopasnosti “Mertvaya voda”), a strange combination of Stalinism and mysticism. In particular, SSSR (USSR) is deciphered as Svyataya Sobornaya Spravedlivaya Rossiya (Saint Conciliar Just Russia), and Joseph Stalin is considered an example of an effective manager. The Conception assumes the world is the result of a conspiracy (predictor) perpetrated more than three thousand years ago by hierophants in Ancient Egypt who control a World Masonic Government.[35]

Yurii Mukhin, leader of the Army of People’s Will (Armiya voli naroda), banned in October 2010, established a new party. It was called People - the Socialist People’s Party of Russia (Sotsialisticheskaya narodnaya partiya Rossii “Narod”).

We list below some minor groups that are now attempting to become officially registered political parties.

Another “old” organization that decided to resume its work is the Orthodox National Conservative Party of Russia (Natsional’no-konservativnaya partiya Rossii). Its ideologist Sergei Lykoshin died in 2006, and now the organizing committee is chaired by Novosibirsk chapter head Alexandr Shevchenko.

Viktor Pugachev’s Rus - Party of National Unity (Partiya natsional’nogo edinstva “Rus’”) applied for registration. This party is called simply RNE or Rus - National Unity in the ultra-right community (RNE (Russian National Unity, Russkoe natsional’noe edinstvo) was a radical organization popular in the 1990s, led by Alexandr Barkashov). Its founders included about 20 people, many of them previously active in DPNI, RNE, the Slavic Force (Slavyanskaya sila), the Russian Party of the National Great Power (Natsional’no-derzhavnaya partiya Rossii), the Nationalist Socialist Community (NSO, Natsional-sotsialisticheskoe obshchestvo) and the Minin and Pozharsky All-Russian People’s Militia (NOMP, Vserossiiskoe narodnoe opolchenie imeni Minina i Pozharskogo). The party participated in the Imperial Russian March on November 4, 2011 and actions in defense of Colonel Viktor Kvachkov, who was charged with attempting to start an armed riot, organized by NOMP.

One more party that applied for registration is the Party of the Revival of National-Socialist Justice in Russia (Partiya vozrozhdeniya natsional’no-sotsial’noi spravedlivosti v Rossii). Formed in May 2010, its head is Konstantin Klimov. The party actively aids “right prisoners of conscience” and embraces a type of classical National Socialism.

Sergei Zhuravlev, leader of the Voronezh LDPR department since 2006, submitted documents to register his All-Russian Political Party - the People’s Party of Russia (Vserossiiskaya politicheskaya partiya “Narodnaya partiya Rossii”).

Vladislav Karabanov’s Common Cause party (Obshchee delo) held its forming session on February 4 and 5 of this year. It was established on the base of the Agency of Russian Information (, Agentstvo russkoi informatsii), of which Karabanov is the editor-in-chief. ARI is a neo-Pagan group that has actively cooperated with the Northern Brotherhood (Severnoe bratstvo) and its ideologist Petr Khomyakov in the past.

Apart from that, several minor Orthodox proto-parties with obvious nationalist elements applied for registration:

The People’s Movement Holy Rus (Narodnoe dvizhenie “Svyataya Rus’”), led by Russian Milk company head Vasilii Boiko-Velikii. He became well known in summer 2010 when he promised to fire female employees for abortion and forced all his married workers to undergo wedding ceremonies in a church, threatening to fire them if they did not obey.

The Party of Orthodox Justice (Partiya pravoslavnoi spravedlivosti) is a Russian Orthodox socialist party led by the former head of the OSA youth organization and ex-member of Just Russia Nikita Slepnev. He addressed Vsevolod Chaplin, the archpriest and chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for Interaction Between the Church and Society, with a request for help in elaborating the new party’s ideology. We remind readers that last summer, Slepnev became a member of the ultra-right People s Council (Narodnyi sobor) organization.

Sergei Zhitinskii and Andrei Karpov’s Orthodox Socialist Party of Russia (Pravoslavnaya sotsialisticheskaya partiya Rossii) is ideologically close to Slepnev’s. Zhitinskii and Karpov also held a meeting with Archpriest Chaplin on February 10, 2012. Slepnev announced he was ready to cooperate with this new party.

Finally, Viktor Aksyuchits, leader of the Russian Christian Democratic Movement (Rossiiskoe khristianskoe demokraticheskoe dvizhenie) that existed from the end of 1980s to the mid-1990s (“democratic” was later changed to “of the national great power” (derzhavnoe)), began forming the People’s Party of the Majority (Narodnaya partiya bol’shinstva).

Several monarchic parties also lined up for official registration. Among them were Dmitri Merkulov’s Autocratic Russia (Samoderzhavnaya Rossiya, a fragment of the Union of the Russian People), the Monarchic Party (Monarkhicheskaya partiya), the Monarchic Party of Russia (Monarkhicheskaya partiya Rossii), and the All-Russian Political Party “Monarchic Party of Russia” (Vserossiiskaya politicheskaya partiya “Monarkhicheskaya partiya Rossii”).

Several Cossack parties had the same wish. They are the Cossack Party (Kazach’ya partiya), the World Brotherhood of Special Mission Units of Cossacks and Officers (Vsemirnoe bratstvo kazach’ego i ofitserskogo spetsnaza), the People’s Cossack Consolidation of Resistance to Bureaucrats Violating Laws, the Constitution, and Cossacks’ Natural Right for Self-Organization and Self-Governent — the Union of Cossack Formations of the Russian Federation (Narodnaya Kazach’ya Konsolidatsiya protivodeistviya chinovnikam, narushayushchim zakony, Konstitutsiyu i prirodnye prava Kazakov na samoorganizatsiyu i samoupravlenie “Soyuz Kazach’ikh Formirovanii Rossiiskoi Federatsii”).

We should note that the ROS (S. Baburin), For Our Motherland (M. Lermontov) and the KPE (Yu. Moskalev) were the only nationalist organizations among those mentioned here that were represented at President Medvedev’s meeting with non-registered parties.

Moscow municipal elections, held at the same time as the presidential elections, gave old and new ultra-right organizations an opportunity to try their strength in a real political struggle.

The coalition formed by the Russians and the ROD promoted eight candidates: Andrei Ambartsumov, Alexei Prikhodko, Maxim Maiorov, Alexandr Gruzinov, Matvei Tszen, Sergei Stashevskii, Petr Miloserdov, and Nadezhda Shalimova. The first four candidates managed to gather the needed number of votes, while Tszen, Miloserdov and Shalimova – who are more popular in the ultra-right community – were unable to gain public support.

The Right League (Pravaya liga) also took part in the Moscow municipal elections by nominating four candidates in the Yuzhnoe Tushino region (all of them represented Just Russia). Only one of the four, Mikhail Lifanov, received public support.

The Party of the Revival of the Nationalist Socialist Justice in Russia (see above) was more successful. Its candidates were its leader Konstantin Klimov, and activist Tatyana Ivanova (both represented Just Russia). Both became deputies.

My Yard (Moi dvor) movement leader Mikhail Butrimov and member Sergei Rublev (who represented the LDPR) managed to enter the Municipal Assembly. Third candidate Sergei Tsyganov (representing the KPRF) did not receive the needed number of votes.

Unfortunately, the specificity of municipal elections does not allow us to estimate the contribution of the candidates to their own victories. In most cases, the voter votes either for a candidate from the party that impresses him (most nationalists were nominated by parties) or according to a candidate’s brief biography printed on the ballot.

It is still difficult to estimate the perspectives of the ultra-right parties. At this moment, no organization has even the minimum sufficient number of adherents to be ready for a legal political struggle. As a rule, the ultra-right activists who are able to go out in the streets are oriented more to action by force. Meanwhile, potential adherents among xenophobic Russian citizens are not ready to respond to nationalist organizations’ calls. And since the next elections to the federal parliament are not likely to be held soon, right radicals will aim not at federal political life but at the regional and local levels instead. Only Krylov’s ROD maintains more or less self-reliant and active departments in the regions, but even they have almost no political weight. Other organizations mentioned above have extremely weak regional departments, or the organization’s coalition members are well known only in one region, like RID in St. Petersburg or RONS in the Vladimir region. Therefore, one should expect a sharp rise in the competition between nationalists for regional nationalist movements that have already gained repute.

Even if we suppose that the Russian political system will be liberalized enough that right radicals would be freed of obstacles, internal controversy and the absence of an electoral core, i.e. enough consistent adherents, make their success in any real political struggle dubious in the nearest future.


Counteraction to radical nationalism and xenophobia

Counteraction by society

The most remarkable event within the framework of society’s counteraction to radical nationalism and xenophobia was the all-Russian action in memory of the lawyer Stanislav Markelov and the journalist Anastasia Baburova, held for the third time on the anniversary of their murder, January 19. It took place in various forms in at least in 15 Russian cities.[36] (This is significantly lower than in 2011, when it was held in 23 cities.) Between 500 and 600 people took part in an antifascist march and rally in Moscow, which was approximately the same number as in the year before.

The murder of antifascist Nikita Kalin in Samara on February 9 2012 also brought informal activists to hold memorial actions in nine Russian cities.


Criminal prosecution for violence

Xenophobic violence was not criminally prosecuted very actively in winter. During the three winter months, at least six sentences were passed for violence accounting for the hate motive. In all, nine persons were convicted in St. Petersburg, the Irkutsk and Tula regions, the republics of Altai and Tatarstan, and the Khabarovsk Krai. In 2012, three sentences were passed for racist violence, in which four people were convicted.

In order to qualify the crimes, the following articles of the Criminal Code were used: Article 105, Part 2, Items “g”, “k” (hate-motivated murder); Article 30, Part 3 and Article 105, Part 2, Item “k” (attempted hate-motivated murder); Article 119, Part 2 (threat of homicide motivated by hate against a social group[37]); Article 213, Part 2 (hate-motivated hooliganism); Article 116, Part 2, Item “b” (nationalist hate-motivated beating): and Article 111, Part 2, Item “f” (nationalist hate-motivated cause of serious harm to health). We are not aware of any case where Article 282 (incitement of national hatred) was used to qualify an attack as racist. However, Article 280, Part 1 (public calls for extremist activity) was mentioned in one sentence but was related not to the violence itself but to the convict’s other activities.

Punishments were allocated as follows:

  • four persons received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
  • two persons were sentenced to three and five years of deprivation of freedom respectively;
  • one person was sentenced to eight years of deprivation of freedom;
  • two persons were sentenced to 11 and 13 years of deprivation of freedom respectively.

In 2011, suspended sentences were given to approximately one third of the convicts, but in winter the share became despondently high – making up nearly half of all sentences (four of nine persons). The most outrageous case is the suspended sentence given by a St. Petersburg court to three ultra-right activists from Vladislav Gavrichenkov’s group, who were charged with organizing over 30 bombings in places where Middle Asian and Caucasian people live and work, and with setting their property on fire.[38]

In February, the first sentence we are aware of was issued for an attack committed in December 2010 following the events on Manezhnaya Square in Moscow. On February 2, 2012, the Zyuzinskii Regional Court in Moscow found Sergei Vnenk and Denis Fomin guilty of killing 22-year-old Uzbek Damir Karshiev. The defendants asserted they had interceded for a girl Karshiev had allegedly attacked (but who was unable to found or identified). Finally, the hate motive was excluded from the sentence. We consider this interpretation of the crime dubious, especially concerning the period during which it was committed and the fact that xenophobic literature was confiscated from one of the defendants. Fomin was convicted for causing serious harm leading to the death of the victim, and sentenced to seven years of deprivation of freedom in a maximum-security colony. Vnenk was convicted only for causing minor harm to the victim’s health and got off with a suspended sentence.


Criminal prosecution for propaganda

In winter 2011–2012, at least 15 sentences were passed for xenophobic propaganda, against 22 people. Sentences were passed in 14 regions of Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Arkhangelsk, Kemerovo, Kursk, Murmansk, Novgorod, Ryazan, Saratov, and Tyumen regions, the republics of Khakasia and Udmurtia, and the Zabaikalye Krai). Since the beginning of 2012, 13 such sentences were passed in 12 regions of Russia, convicting 20 people.

The number of sentences for propaganda was nearly double that of sentences for violence and vandalism (six and two sentences respectively) during this period. We should note that such a number of sentences for propaganda, and such a proportion of sentences, are both quite rare in our practice.

In most of the sentences (13 of 15), Article 282, Part 1 was used as usual. In two cases, it was used together with Article 280. There was one sentence where only Article 280 was used: a 16-year-old was convicted in the town of Noyabrsk, Tyumen region, for making and distributing leaflets with calls for violence against “non-Slavic people.”

Apart from that, the statistics were supplemented by the previously noted sentence to the St. Petersburg would-be terrorists. It included not only Article 213, Part 2; Article 167, Part 2 (intentional destruction of someone else’s property); Article 222, Part 3 (illegal storage of ammunition); Article 223, Part 3 (fabrication of explosive devices by an organized group); and Article 116, Part 2, Item “a” (beating), but also Article 280, Part 1.

The court rulings for propaganda were allocated as follows:

  • one person was sentenced to deprivation of freedom combined with a ban on engaging in his professional occupation;
  • five persons were given suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
  • three persons were fined for various amounts;
  • eight persons were sentenced to obligatory labor;
  • one person was sentenced to educational work;
  • one person was sent to compulsory medical treatment;
  • three persons were released from punishment following the expiry of a statute of limitations.

As we have written on numerous occasions, we approve the tendency not to punish by deprivation of freedom for words only. During the winter months, there was only one sentence for propaganda that ended in deprivation of freedom. Fifty-four-year-old Alexandr Ishchenko in Abakan (Khakasia) was convicted after distributing bulletins of the local department of the Minin and Pozharsky All-Russian People’s Militia (NOMP) and making a DVD for distribution with materials already included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials. However, he was sent to prison because he had not served a previous sentence delivered after he was convicted for attacking an authority.

The sentence against the Abakan NOMP activist is also remarkable because it was the only one to put a ban on engaging in one’s professional occupation during the period under report. The court barred the defendant from organizing or carrying out any executive activities in the media for two years. We consider the practice of banning one from engaging in his professional occupation as an adequate punishment for propagandists who spread xenophobic ideas in public. Unfortunately, this measure is taken quite rarely. As far as we know, in 2011 it was not used at all.

The share of suspended sentences for propaganda (five of 22 people) significantly diminished compared to the previous period (eight of 19 people in autumn 2011) and made up 23 percent of all the convicts. Most convicts (12 of 22) faced other kinds of punishment not related to deprivation of freedom (obligatory labor, educational work, fines), which is undoubtedly more adequate for such crimes.

Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies are still focusing energy on fighting insignificant activities. They continue to supplement the statistics with sentences for violations like the publication of Mein Kampf in social networks, xenophobic videos posted online, comments on web forums. In many cases statements that were not widely accessible enough to become a subject of legitimate prosecution were prosecuted anyway. The same can be said of graffiti.

In winter 2011—2012, we saw once again the use of articles 2821 (organization of an extremist community) and 2822 (organizing the activity of an extremist organization). The former was used against one of members of the neo-Nazi gang Front of Kazan Patriots (Front kazanskikh patriotov)[39], who was sentenced to three years in a general regime colony for a combination of charges including those mentioning violent crimes (articles 213 and 116 in particular). The latter was used against a Krasnodar activist of the Rada of the Kuban land–Rus the Spiritual Tribal Power (Rada zemli Kubanskoi Dukhovno-Rodovaya Derzhava Rus’, a local chapter of the radical right neo-Pagan organization Rus the Spiritual Tribal Power, which was deemed extremist in April 2011), who was given a suspended one-year sentence with a one-year trial period.


Federal List of Extremist Materials

During the three winter months, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was supplemented 13 times with items from 1042 through 1081.

These were:

  • books by Jehovah’s Witnesses
  • various Islamic materials including leaflets of Hizb ut-Tahrir and publications from radical Islamist websites and (the latter site was added in its entirety)
  • various xenophobic materials including books released by the Russian Truth (Russkaya pravda) publishing house, a book by fantasy writer Yurii Petukhov, a brochure and leaflets related to RONS, nationalist newspapers (Our Tribune (Nasha tribuna), Russian Front of Moskovia (Russkii front Moskovii), Resonance (Rezonans)), xenophobic websites and video files.

The list is still difficult to work with. The materials that are being supplemented cannot be identified properly due to bibliographic and grammar negligence in the descriptions.

Apart from duplicates that appear due to parallel court rulings (there are 39 such items), the list still grows due to similar texts with differing output data. During the period under report, Valerii Demin’s From Aryans to Sons of Rus (Ot Ariev k Rusicham), published by Russian Truth in 2008; and Vladimir Istarkhov’s Stroke of the Russian Gods (Udar russkikh godov), published by LIO Redaktor in 2001 were included in the list (items 1046 and 1058 respectively). Previous editions are already in the list. Demin”s 2005 edition is under item 553, and Istarkhov’s Russian Truth release was entered in the list twice (289 and 918[40]). The different editions are nearly identical, but formally they are not duplicates due not to different output data. We doubt the practicality of including the same book in the list several times. As the report is being written, the list contains 1096 items.


Other administrative measures

In winter 2011—2012, the Federal Service for the Supervision of Information Technologies and Communications (Roskomnadzor) reported issuing at least seven anti-extremist warnings to editorial staff. We consider at least one of those to be inappropriate. It was sent to the editorial staff of the Dawn (Zarya) newspaper, which had spread information about the banned National Bolshevik Party (NBP, Natsional-bol’shevistskaya partiya) on the web. We also doubt the appropriateness of two other rulings. These are a warning to the editorial staff of the newspaper Don Cossack Republic (Donskaya kazach’ya respublika) for the publication of articles supporting the Cossack movement and the establishment of a Cossack republic,[41] and a warning to the editorial staff of APN.Ru for the publication of Konstantin Krylov’s speech at the rally “Stop Feeding the Caucasus!”[42] In summer and spring, we found about a half of all warnings issued to be inappropriate, while during 2011 as a whole the portion was closer to 40 percent (10 of 25).

However, among appropriate rulings took the form of warnings to the editorial staff of the New Region (Novyi region) newspaper for posting a video address by Chechen rebel leader Doku Umarov on the web; to the editorial staff of By Their Right Names (Svoimi imenami) newspaper[43] for the article Don’t Be Afraid of Anything! (Nichego ne boyat’sa!), calling on readers to lead the political activity of the “favorable part of the nation in the urge to take up arms,” etc.

As for the practice of prosecution under various articles of the Code of Administrative Violations, none were especially noticeable in winter. We are aware of only three sentences under Article 20.3 (propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi attributes and symbols), in Saratov, Kaluga region; and the city of Murov, Vladimir region. All the defendants were fined.

We know little about the activities of prosecutor”s offices. We have only seen reports of warnings issued against the workers of public utilities in Moscow and other cities (in Kaliningrad, Kaluga and Penza regions) for drawing swastikas on walls and fences, which were successfully removed after the prosecutor’s intervention.


[1] We have used the materials from Sova Center’s daily monitoring (including that performed in several regions) to prepare this report. The monitoring was held with state support allocated as grants according to the Direction of the President of Russian Federation #127-rp of March 2, 2011.

[2] All the 2012 data mentioned were registered up to the moment the report was being written, March 21, 2012.

[3] Grigorii Tumanov. Kazn’ otpravili na proverku // Gazeta.Ru. 2012. 2 February (

[4] See further in: V Podol’ske zaderzhan podozrevaemyi v ritual’nom ubiistve // Sova Center. 2012. 2 March (

[5] For the first time, the girls’ surnames and photos were published on the blog of the former leader of the Russian Image (Russkii obraz) Evgenii Valyaev, and on the ultra-right website Modus-Agendi. On the same day, addresses of the same five girls were published by a right radical blogger nicknamed colahost in his blog. See further in: Grigorii Okhotin. Za khram Khrista Spasitelya otomstili ne tem // Public Post. 2012. 25 February (

[6] In autumn 2011, a swastika was drawn at the signboard of the same restaurant.

[7] See further in: V den’ vyborov v Moskve byla presechena aktsiya protesta natsionalistov // Sova Center. 2011. 5 December (

[8] See further in: Natsonalisty mitingovali 10 i 11 dekabrya v Moskve. 11 dekabrya na Bolotnoi ploshchadi ikh bylo men’she // Sova Center. 2011. 12 December (

[9] See further in: Aktsii natsionalistov 10 i 11 dekabrya v gorodakh Rossii // Sova Center. 2011. 13 December (

[10] See further in: Natsionalisticheskie aktsii v Moskve // Sova Center. 2012. 18 February (

[11] See further in: Natsonalisty mitingovali 10 i 11 dekabrya v Moskve. 11 dekabrya na Bolotnoi ploshchadi ikh bylo men’she // Sova Center. 2011. 12 December (

[12] See further in: Natalia Yudina, Vera Alperovich, Alexander Verkhovsky. Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2011 // Sova Center. 2012. 5 April (

[13] See further in: Natsionalisty uchastvovali v oppozitsionnom mitinge v Moskve // Sova Center. 2011. 26 December (

[14] See further in: Uchastie natsionalistov v shestvii i mitinge v Moskve 4 fevralya // Sova Center. 2012. 5 February (

[15] See further in: Aktsii natsionalistov 10 i 11 dekabrya v gorodakh Rossii // Sova Center. 2011. 13 December (

[16] See further in: Natsionalisty na mitingakh protiv fal’sifikatsii vyborob v Rossii // Sova Center. 2011. 27 December (

[17] See further in: Uchastie natsionalistov v aktsiyakh “Za chestnye vybory” v raznykh gorodakh strany // Sova Center. 2012. 7 February (

[18] Vynesen prigovor Igoryu Mogilevu // Sova Center. 2006. 18 December (

[19] Nikolai Korolev. Vybory bez vybora // Pravye novosti. 2011. 9 December.

[20] Maxim Kalashnikov. Vtorata Kriminal’no-liberal’naya revolyutsiya: oranzhevaya //  M. Kalashnikov’s Livejournal. 2011. 25 December.

[21] Dmitri Bobrov. Tezisy demokraticheskoi revolyutsii // Russian Platform coalition website. 2011. 9 December.

[22] See further in: Vera Alperovich, Alexander Verkhovsky, Natalia Yudina. Mezhdu Manezhnoi I Bolotnoi: Ksenofobiya i radikal’nyi natsionalizm i protivodeistvie im v 2011 godu v Rossii //

[23] See further on the newspaper in: Roskomnadzor trebuet zakryt’ gazetu “Svoimi imenami” // Sova Center. 2011. 7 October (

[24] Antisemit v palate // Sova Center. 2005. 16 November (

[25] In order not to let political groups occupy the “civil” sector, it was provided, upon the initiative of nationalists, that two “political” curiae be able to block the election of any group from the civil “curia.”

[26] Manifest Rossiiskogo Politicheskogo Komiteta // National Democratic Alliance. 2012. 13 January.

[27] For the first time, nationalists did not have a word at the big protest rally on March 10, 2012. However, we are not aware whether it was because the Organizing Committee realized the problem of cooperation with the ultra-right.

[28] The North Wolf works under the guise of an historical reconstruction club, its activists take part in Russian Joggings.

[29] On February 20, representatives of the opposition gave the president Dmitri Medvedev a list of “political prisoners” that consisted of 39 persons. The president charged the Prosecutor General with paying attention to respective cases and attached the abbreviated list of 32 persons. The latter included only one ultra-right activist, Ivan Belousov, former activist of the National Socialist Society (NSO, Natsional-sotsialisticheskoe obshchestvo), convicted for the participation in an explosion on Manezhnaya Square in 2007. Some human rights activists agree with Belousov’s defenders that his guilt was not proven.

[30] V. Solovei. O russkoi partii // The Russian Platform. 2012. 12 January.

[31] On 22 March 2012, Konstantinov was arrested on suspicion of complicity to murder.

[32] V Rossii proizoshla moral’naya revolyutsiya, vperedi — politicheskaya i sotsial’naya // Novyi Region. 2012. 18 February (

[33] In spring 2011, Motherland - Common Sense split into two parts. Some activists remained together with its leader Mikhail Delyagin, while the others left with Vladimir Filin. The split happened after Filin and Delyagin expelled each other from the party.

[34] Natalia Yudina, Vera Alperovich. Spring 2011: Causes Ce'le`bres and New Ultra-right Formations // Sova Center. 2011. 12 July (

[35] See further on KPE in: Evgenii Moroz. Yazychniki-stalinisty, ili Kontseptual’naya partiya “Edinenie” // Sova Center. 2003. 24 November (

[36] On the eve of the action, the Committee of January 19 organized an exhibition in the Moscow Metro dedicated to antifascist posters since the beginning of the 1920s. Activists stuck reproductions of pictures by Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, Second World War posters by Kukryniksy, and works by Russian and foreign street painters in the lobbies, on stations and in carriages.

[37] The social group mentioned in the case was “migrants.”

[38] The full list of crimes see in: V Sankt-Peterburge pravoradikaly obvinyayutsya v novykh prestupleniyakh // Sova Center. 2010. 11 June (

[39] Earlier, another sentence was issued against members of this gang, also with the use of Article 2821.

[40] Further on the “Stroke of the Russian Gods” see: V Federal’nom spiske extremistskikh materialov teper’ tri “Udara russkikh bogov” // Sova Center. 2011. 23 December (

[41] We failed to find all the texts but similar texts of other articles by adherents of the Cossack autonomy contain no extremist statements or calls, according to our point of view.

[42] On 22 October 2011, Krylov attested “Caucasians” negatively at the rally “Stop Feeding Caucasus!” on Bolotnaya Square. He accused them without grounds of killing Russians and corrupting the police. Krylov was charged under Article 282. We consider this as an inappropriate measure because the things he said are insufficient for criminal prosecution.

[43] This newspaper is successor to the To the Stand! (K bar’eru), closed in April 2011. The latter is in turn successor to the Duel (Duel) newspaper also closed after years of court hearings.  Earlier, By Their Right Names received warning of the Roskomnadzor for the article “Kremlin Incites a People’s Revolution” (Kreml’ tolkaet narod k revolyutsii) in issue 11 (29) of March 15, 2011 and materials “What to Do? Revolution!” (Chto delat'? Revolyutsiyu!) in issue 31 (48) of 2 August 2011, “Smash the Rat Front!” (Krysinyi front razgromit'!), and “The People Will Win!” (Narod pobedit!) in issue 33 (50) of 16 August 2011. Now Roskomnadzor is attempting to close the newspaper.