The Ultra-Right Shrugged: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2013

Edited by Alexander Verkhovsky

CRIMINAL MANIFESTATIONS OF RACISM AND XENOPHOPHOBIA : Systematic Racist and Neo-Nazi Violence : Attacks on Ethnic “Others” : Attacks on Members of LGBT Community : Attacks against Political Adversaries and against Homeless People : Violence Motivated by Religion : Other Kinds of Right Radical Violence : Vandalism
PUBLIC ACTIVITY OF ULTRA-RIGHT GROUPS : Spin on Criminal Incidents and Rallies against “Ethic Crime” : Anti-Immigrant Raids : Traditional Nationalist Actions. : Participation in the General Protest Movement : Party Building : Participation in the Elections
COUNTER-ACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM AND XENOPHOBIA : Public Initiatives : Criminal Prosecution : For Violence : For Vandalism : For Propaganda : Criminal Prosecution of Extremist Groups and Banned Organizations : The Federal List of Extremist Materials : Banning of Organizations as Extremist : Other Administrative Measures



The results of 2013[1] are extremely disappointing for the Russian society as a whole, and only nationalists have reasons to feel optimistic.

The decline in street racist violence, which lasted from 2009 to 2012, evidently came to an end. The past year was characterized by a notable surge in ethnic violence, evident even to casual observers. A real persecution was unleashed against migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus. People suffered from organized attacks as well as from casual xenophobic violence; weapons were used in some cases. In particular, there was an increase in the number of attacks on board of subway cars and suburban trains (“white cars”). In October, we witnessed unprecedented group raids against Tajikistan-bound trains. Combined with increasingly frequent semi-legal raids by ultra-right groups against migrants’ places of residence and employment, these events create an overall atmosphere of violence.

The number of local conflicts, which, with various degrees of success, were fueled and/or publicly presented as “ethnic” by the ultra-right increase in 2013. The most significant among such conflictswere the riots in Pugachev and Arzamas and the Moscow district of Biryulyovo.

A large-scale anti-migrant campaign was initiated by the authorities back in the spring and intensified in the summer in the wake of the Pugachev events and in connection with the electoral campaign.

As a result, the statistics on ethnic intolerance and support for nationalist slogans in the mainstream society grew to unprecedented levels.

These factors created a very favorable context for nationalists. Against this background, their initiative - a campaign for introducing the visa regime with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, and a series of rallies against “ethnic crime” - attracted a much greater public and media attention than their similar initiatives of recent past. However, we can’t claim that this level of attention resulted in a substantial increase in the nationalists’ political weight or in significant growth in numbers of their followers - they never managed to assume the leadership of any such protest, or to deliberately provoke one.

On the other hand, a shift in the government policies inspired the ultra-right to utilize more open and aggressive tactics against migrants. The incidence of raids with the purpose of searching for “illegal immigrants,” which occasionally turned into pogroms, grew to unprecedented proportions and became a principal tool of the nationalist movement. In the fall, the authorities indicated that such vigilantism would not be tolerated, and initiated criminal proceedings against several well-known ultra-right activists, thus forcing the rest to quiet down. However, on the other hand, the police and the Federal Migration Service cooperate with the ultra-right to a greater extent than ever, involving the latter in their raids and inspections in the course of the fight against “illegal immigration.”

Note that the autonomous neo-Nazis, the foot-soldiers of the radical militant Russian nationalist movement, have been much more active in taking to the streets in order to participate in meetings, rallies, pickets or raids. In turn, major nationalist organizations began to drift toward greater radicalism, moving away from their attempts to create the image of “nationalists with a human face,” undertaken in recent years. However, since they haven’t entirely abandoned their intent to legally enter the “big politics,” the nationalist organizations continue their attempts to register parties and participate in elections. So far, they have been almost entirely unsuccessful.

Thus, the potential support for the far-right movement has grown quite significantly in 2013, but the movement itself obviously took a step back to existence as a network of semi-legal radical cells. Considering this development, the right-wing segment is unlikely to attract a really significant number of new supporters among xenophobically-inclined Russians, but it becomes more appealing to the most active supporters of the radical nationalist ideology.


The federal authorities continue their traditional line of rhetorical confrontation against ethnic nationalists in general and violent manifestations of ethnic xenophobia in particular. This policy underwent no significant changes.

Criminal prosecutions of racist violence remained at about the same level as in the preceding year. Similarly to 2012, the convicted offenders include members of several dangerous gangs.

Meanwhile, the number of sentences for xenophobic propaganda increased dramatically, especially when compared to sentences for all other types of “crimes of an extremist nature.” Unfortunately, the quality of the prosecution in propaganda cases remains consistently low; the “extremists” were mostly identified via VKontakte social network. The majority of people, found guilty of inciting hatred, had indeed published racist remarks, but they possessed no notable reputation among the ultra-right, and their audience tended to be small, so that the rationale for the rapid growth in their criminal sentencing is questionable. To be fair, the punishments were usually adequate - the courts practically abandoned the use of prison terms for “words only” as well as suspended sentences; the offenders were mostly sentenced to mandatory or corrective labor.

We see gradual reorientation of the law enforcement agencies focus from racist violence to racist propaganda as the main reason for the end of the decline in racist violence on the streets.

Ever-accelerating growth of the Federal List of Extremist Materials makes its uselessness increasingly apparent; it definitely has no effect on manifestations of intolerance in society, but instead causes considerable social harm, and remains a target of indignant and sarcastic comments. We would like to reiterate that it is not practically possible to correct the List’s various and numerous errors, and there is no justification for the existence of this cumbersome and inefficient mechanism.

Thus, in 2013 the achievements of previous years were gradually lost, and the problems were compounded. Moreover, we see these negative trends continuing in 2014.


Criminal Manifestations of Racism and Xenophobia

Systematic Racist and Neo-Nazi Violence

In 2013, according to our data, 21 people died and 178 were injured as a result of racist and neo-Nazi violence, 9 people received credible murder threats. Our data does not include victims of mass brawls and victims in the republics of the North Caucasus. As of January 20, 2014, we know of 19 people killed and 191 wounded in 2012; two persons received death threats. Thus, racist violence is no longer declining - the number of murders motivated by hatred have already exceeded the corresponding number of the preceding year, while the number of wounded is, for now, a bit smaller, but, taking our annual data adjustments into account,[2] the level of violence has actually increased.

It is important to clarify that our statistics does not reflect the real level of racist violence, since we manage to identify only a small part of relevant incidents, even in cases of murder. We are even unable to estimate the ratio of the known cases to the total number of incidents. We can only state that, given that our methodology remains unchanged, we can estimate the dynamics of such violence according to certain parameters.

In the past year, attacks occurred in 32 regions of the country (compared to 31 regions in 2012). As before, Moscow (8 killed, 53 injured) and St. Petersburg (3 killed, 32 injured) top the list. Many people fell victims to attacks in the Lipetsk Region (4 killed, 15 injured),[3] the Moscow Region (8 injured), the Chelyabinsk Region (8 injured), the Krasnodar Region (7 injured, traditionally a hotbed of ethnic tensions due to its mixed population), the Voronezh Region[4] (6 injured), the Sverdlovsk Region (6 injured). In addition, a significant number of victims were observed in the Novosibirsk Region (5 injured), the Omsk Region (5 injured), the Samara Region (4 injured), and the Komi Republic (4 injured). The Samara Region and the Sverdlovsk Region were featured in our previous annual report as well. On the other hand, the situation in the Republic of Bashkortostan and in the Primorye Region, which had previously reported a significant number of victims, has since improved. The statistics for other regions have remained practically unchanged.

Attacks on Ethnic “Others”

The largest group of victims is traditionally those, perceived by the attackers as “ethnic outsiders.” We recorded the total of 136 victims of ethnically-motivated attacks. There were 115 such cases in 2012, up from 112 cases in 2011. Thus, the growth of ethnically motivated xenophobic violence is evident. Furthermore, this increase was observed despite the difficulties associated with collecting information on this particular group. The victims of such attacks usually shy away from publicity and rarely contact the police, community organizations or the media. In addition, the media tends to be selective about reporting such incidents. In most cases, even the names of the victims remain unknown. The exception are the attacks that target famous people, as was the case in the November 11, 2013 attack in Moscow, when Mais Kurbanov, the leader of Russian Federation of Migrants, sustained a stun gun wound.[5]

Usually ethnic attacks occured as part of organized violence, but casual xenophobic violence, i.e. violence that is spontaneous and situational, continued as well. However, the dynamics of the latter kind of violence is impossible to trace, since such cases usually don’t come to public attention, and, when they do, they are usually qualified by media and law enforcement agencies as mere hooliganism. Based on circumstantial evidence, the incidence of such violence did not drop. In addition, the Levada Center surveys indicated a sharp rise in ethnic xenophobia in 2013;[6] this development couldn’t fail to influence the level of casual ethnic violence. Every year, we record at least a dozen such cases (but don’t label it as such in our statistics).

The largest group of victims were migrants from Central Asia - 13 killed, 45 injured (vs. 7 killed, 36 injured in 2012). The number of casualties from the Caucasus increased significantly - 3 killed, 26 injured (vs. 4 killed and 14 injured in 2012). In addition, 29 victims (1 killed, 28 wounded) were of unspecified “non-Slavic” appearance, often described as “Asian”, so most likely, migrants from Central Asia constitute the vast majority of this group as well. A year earlier the corresponding figure was 16 (1 killed, 15 wounded).

If we analyze the number of attacks on these three groups of victims (natives of Central Asia, the Caucasus and “non-whites“) grouping them by month, the greatest number of attackes occurred in April (12 people), July (12 people), August (16 people) October (25 people), and November (19 people). The number of victims rose above average in April due to the soccer match schedules (many of those, attacked in April were fans of the soccer clubs from the Caucasus, FC Terek and FC Anzhi, who fell victims to xenophobia of the local football fans) and also due to the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday on April 20. The increase in the number of attacks in July and August was a consequence of the events in the town of Pugachev and of an “anti-migrant campaign”, unleashed by the authorities, which peaked in the summer and triggered, among other actions, a number of anti-immigrant raids organized by nationalists. In addition, the August featured traditional xenophobic attacks by drunken paratroopers, celebrating the Airborne Forces Day on August 2.[7] An even more pronounced increase in attacks in October (in particular!) and November was definitely associated with a mass riot in the Biryulyovo-Zapadnoe District of Moscow and yet another ensuing hunt for migrants. The Russian March on November 4 further aggravated the situation in November.

The number of attacks against dark-skinned people has dropped significantly (5 wounded in 2013 vs. 25 in 2012). These attacks have been systematically tracked by the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy. Interestingly, according to the Civil Assistance [Grazhdanskoe Sodeistvie] Committee, a significant portion of attacks against black foreigners in Moscow in late 2012 - early 2013 was geographically tied to the suburban train route on the Moskva-Kursk line.[8]

Despite the ever-present anti-Semitic rhetoric of right-wing blogs, actual anti-Semitic attacks have been rare in recent years. The most likely reason for this is the fact that the Jews are visually difficult to distinguish in a crowd, while attacks next to the synagogue, for example, are too dangerous. However, in the past year,[9] we once again recorded a violent incident of this kind. On the eve of Yom Kippur on the suburban train approaching Kraskovo station of the Moskva-Kazan line (i.e. near the famous synagogue in the Moscow Region)[10] an ultra-right group attacked a group of Jewish youth.

Attacks on other “ethnic others” under xenophobic slogans were also recorded (7 wounded). Natives of China were attacked in Moscow and Chelyabinsk; an Enets girl - in St. Petersburg, and a Roma man - in Chelyabinsk. Attacks motivated by hatred of ethnic Russian were also observed, with two victims in Astrakhan and St. Petersburg.

Besides attacks against lonely pedestrians, we observed a significant increase in the number of group attacks against alleged gathering places of “outsiders.” Thus, a group of hooligans attacked the cafe Tikhii Don in Chelyabinsk, whose owners were migrants from Armenia. Masked men attacked the cafe Vstrecha, owned by a native of Azerbaijan in Voronezh.

The number of “white cars”[11] organized by the ultra-right radicals in suburban trains and subway cars increased as well. On September 15, 2013, a group of nationalists even staged a “white tram” in Saratov.

Apart from the usual attacks on 'outsiders', including the ones that involve steel, firearms or and traumatic weapons, explosions and arson, motivated by racism, continued in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Lipetsk; several (at least five) attempts at arson and bombings targeted the houses, dormitories and other places of residence associated with migrants.

We also have to point out the unprecedented attacks against the passenger trains: Moscow-Dushanbe (the night of October 26, 2013) and Moscow-Khujand (October 27, 2013). They were carried out by a group of young people at the Ternovka station (the Voronezh Region) of the South Eastern Railway, and accompanied by nationalistic statements and threats against the passengers. Several people received minor injuries. After the incident, the embassy of Tajikistan addressed the Russian side with an earnest request to conduct an objective investigation into the incident, committed with the connivance of local law enforcement officers. Egamzod Muhammad, a spokesman of the Embassy of Tajikistan in Russia, stated that it had been the first such attack ever observed, and suggested that it had happened due to “intensification of anti-immigrant sentiment.”

Attacks on Members of LGBT Community

The LGBT community accounts for a significant group of victims (2 killed, 25 injured).[12]

Violence against LGBT or those, perceived as such, has acquired menacing proportions this year. The brutal murder of Vladislav Tornovoy in Volgograd on the night of May 9 -10, 2013 because of his suspected homosexuality was outrageous and caused a great deal of resonance.

As we wrote in the report for the first half of 2013,[13] the attacks targeted protesters against to the law banning “homosexual propaganda”, the adoption of which caused outrage among the LGBT community. Most protesters, if not detained by the police, suffered from attacks by neo-Nazis, Orthodox radicals, Cossacks etc. Such incidents took place in Moscow, Voronezh, St. Petersburg, the Komi Republic and the Khabarovsk Region. The police on duty during these events either did not interfere with the attacks or were unable to fulfill their responsibilities and protect LGBT from aggression.

LGBT events unrelated to protests were targeted as well. On November 3, 2013, balaclava-masked men attacked LGBT activists, who gathered for tea in the office of an NGO on the Fontanka Embankment in St. Petersburg. One person, Dmitry Chizhevsky, was wounded in his eye; a woman activist suffered a minor wound on her back. There were several attempts to disrupt Side by Side (Bok o Bok) LGBT Film Festival with false reports about explosives in the building.

Victims of “pedophile hunters” are tallied in the same group. Basically, these “hunts” were organized by the participants of “Occupy - pedofilay” (more on this project below).

In some cases, the fighters against pedophilia even resorted to seeking the assistance of ethnic “diasporas.” In Novosibirsk, Russian vigilantes lured a homosexual - an ethnic Uzbek - to a meeting through a social network and then handed him over to the Uzbek community. On September 13, 2013, a video with scenes of brutal abuse was posted on social networks. The victim was forced to identify himself and undress. Then his clothes were burned. The man was handcuffed, beaten up, threatened with a gun and forced to rape himself with a bottle.[14].

Attacks against Political Adversaries and against Homeless People

In a marked change from the past years, the number of attacks on political, ideological or “stylistic” opponents of neo-Nazi was small (7 injured in 2013 against 1 killed and 55 injured in 2012). Antifascists in Cherepovets and rock musicians in Perm were among the victims.

An obvious reason for such a change was an almost complete halt of the street war between neo-Nazi and anti-fascists (although the information about the incidents still often simply fails to reach the media and NGOs). Antifascists explain it by a crisis within the movement and by the fact that some anti-fascist leaders were forced to withdraw from political activity or go abroad for fear of the government persecution after participating in the protest activities of 2011-2012. Another possible explanation suggests that the ultra-right switched from clashes with militant anti-fascists to attacks against other more defenseless groups, such as ethnic minorities or LGBT.

The number of attacks on homeless people was lower in 2013 than the year before - 2 killed and 3 injured vs. 6 dead and two injured in 2012. However, the number of attacks by the ultra-right (especially the straight-edge) against those known to be weaker and less able to defend themselves have remained quite high. We record only the cases where the investigation confirmed the motive for an attack, and this is obviously the exception rather than rule.

Violence Motivated by Religion

In the past year, the number of religion-based xenophobia victims doubled to 24 injured (vs. 12 in 2012).

Jehovah's Witnesses, who constituted the largest group among the victims, have been subjected to a government-organized repressive campaign for about five years. In 2013, at least 13 followers of the Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine were injured in the course of religiously motivated attacks, compared to at least 10 in 2012, and at least 24 in 2011.

The other victims included an Orthodox priest, Pentecostals and Muslims. Fortunately, none of the injuries were severe.

Other Kinds of Right Radical Violence

In 2013, right-wing blogs continued to post xenophobic and offensive videos that featured violent scenes of the ultra-right attacks against “non-Slavs” and “perverts.” For example, Hitler's birthday was marked in right-wing radical segment of the Internet by a video that featured an attack on a “janitor.”

For the most part, the far-right group Sparrows Crew from Yekaterinburg took responsibility for making these videos. However, they have also acquired followers. For example, a new group, Gas Ghow, gained notoriety in 2013. A similar group was active in Novosibirsk. It was unclear whether the attacks on the videos had been real or staged.

In the past year, we once again encountered provocative nationalist acts in the style of the Big Game.[15] One striking example of such an act was a fake explosive device, found next to the post office in the village of Monino in the Moscow Region on July 15, 2013: It was labeled “Bomb for the Russians. Die.” The right-wing forums have repeatedly discussed the notion that fakes carrying “anti-Russian” slogans, rather than neo-Nazi symbols and slogans, could produce a much greater effect and exacerbate hostility to “newcomers”. The majority of the ultra-right commentators agreed that it was a provocation.

Provocative actions of nationalists were generally quite popular in the past year. Two attacks against migrants from the Caucasus with incitement to riots were staged in St. Petersburg on October 15, the day of the Muslim holiday of Kurban Bayram (Eid al-Adha) (see below).


The theme of threats against government officials and civil society activists, whose work is related one way or another to the problems of xenophobia, remained relevant in 2013. We have already mentioned[16] that, on December 8, 2012 and February 10, 2013, the Moscow City Court received email messages with death threats against the Moscow City Court Judge Pavel Melekhin and his family. At the time, the judge was presiding over the trial of the NOMP leader, retired GRU Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov.

The law on “foreign agents” enriched this neo-Nazi activity with new overtones. On May 18, 2013, activists of Alexei Kolegov’s ultra-right organization Frontier of the North (Rubezh severa) attacked a meeting of the Memorial Human Rights Commission in the Komi Republic, shouting “Down with the foreign agents!” On June 4, Syktyvkar neo-Nazis affixed stickers that read “Foreign agent lives here” on the apartment doors of several Komi Memorial Human Rights Commission members.

The involvement of right-wing radicals in the environmental movement should also be noted. They have participated in protests against nickel mining in Elan copper-nickel deposits in the Voronezh Region. In the evening of June 22, 2013, the crowd of about a thousand people, including the nationalists and the Cossacks, broke into the exploration camp in Novokhopersk District and set the rigs and some buildings on fire.[17] Such radicalization of the environmental protest is atypical for Russia, and for the ultra-right movement such a large-scale attack is very unusual. According to some rumors, the most belligerent attackers could have been simply hired by the competitors.


In 2013, we recorded a significant reduction in the activities of vandals, motivated by religious, ethnic or ideological hatred. There were at least 70 such acts of vandalism in 38 regions of the country in 2013, while in 2012 and 2011, we recorded 95 and 94 such acts respectively.

This year, the greatest number of attacks was made against the sites belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church – 30 including 2 cases of arson. In the preceding year, the Orthodox objects were also more affected than others - 38 acts (only 5 of them arson). The reason for this, of course, was the growth of anti-clerical sentiment in society as a whole, expressed, among other things, through the acts of vandalism.

The second place belongs to the sites of new religious movements – there were there are 12 such cases, and, all of these buildings were owned by Jehovah's Witnesses (vs. 13 cases in 2012); the attacks included one bombing and two cases of arson.

Jewish sites are the third with 10 incidents including one bombing and two cases of arson. A year earlier, there were 8 such acts; this fact signals a break in a long trend of decline of specifically anti-Semitic vandalism.

Muslim objects are the fourth with 9 incidents (vs. 6 cases in 2012), including 4 cases of arson and one bombing.

Other kinds of vandalism motivated by religious hatred are represented by isolated cases, including a Baptist prayer house in the Belgorod Region, a pagan temple and tomb near Arkhangelsk and a Yezidi grave in the Volgograd Region.

Thus, compared to 2012, the number of attacks against the buildings of Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslim and Jewish targets went up.

Vandalism against ideological objects (monuments to politicians, the Great Patriotic War memorials, etc.), which ranked second from the top in the preceding year, and topped the list for a few years prior to that, was only on the fifth position in 2013 (7 cases in 2012 vs. 24 cases in 2011); the monuments were desecrated in Blagoveshchensk, Ufa, in the Leningrad Region and the Samara Region.

The number of the most dangerous acts, such as bombings, shootings and arson, has increased significantly (24 out of 69 cases in 2013 vs. 11 out of 95 cases in 2012. The proportion of such dangerous incidents have really become alarming.


Public Activity of Ultra-Right Radicals

Spin on Criminal Incidents and Rallies against “Ethic Crime”

The year of 2013 set a record in the number of criminal incidents involving local residents on one side and migrants on the other. These incidents achieved a degree of notoriety as “ethnic conflicts”, or even resulted in actual mass clashes motivated by ethnic hatred. Due to a large number of people involved and the extent of public resonance, these events became a factor that directed nationalist public activity in the past year, and not the ultra-right’s own actions, as was the case in 2011, or general protest events, as in 2012.

A promotion (spin) of the “ethnic relations” theme is largely the result of change in the media policy. However, much of the credit goes to the efforts of nationalist activists, who increasingly used all pretexts for staging public events and promoting their ideology in general and the theme of “ethnic crime” in particular. All conflicts, which, in reality, had flared up for everyday reasons, were interpreted in terms of the ethnic conflict and aggravated by the allegations that the government and the law enforcement officers always side with “non-Russians.”

The first such incident that achieved a degree of publicity was the death of Alexander Terekhov, a soccer fan of FC Rostov, during a fight with the migrants from the Caucasus on March 28 in Rostov- on-Don. The nationalists responded with a network action Russian Day of Wrath on April 13, held in at least 10 cities across the country. It had any noticeable effect only in Moscow, where about 200 people gathered at the event on Pushkin Square, held without a permit, tried (unsuccessfully) to block Tverskaya Street and then spread out through the city once the police started detaining them. In other cities the gatherings numbered from 5 to 50 people, and, besides Moscow, the actions resulted in detentions only in Krasnodar.[18] In general, especially due the riots in Moscow, this ultra-right initiative proved somewhat more successful than expected.

The Russian Day of Wrath showed that nationalists in the field are capable of self-organizing. As we already mentioned, the event took place in at least 10 cities, although it didn’t have a particular organizer, was not annual, and a reason for it was not very obvious. However, their organizational abilities shouldn’t be overestimated as well. In a number of cities the actions could not be held due to the lack of attendees despite the annoucements, and the ones that took place failed to gather much audience.


The next significant incident occurred in the town of Udomlya in the Tver Region, where, on June 1, there was a fight between some locals and migrants from the Caucasus. On June 8, a people’s assembly, also known on the Internet as “the Russian Day of Wrath”, took place in Udomlya. The Russian Party (Russkaia Partiia) leader Nikolai Bondarik served as an organizer. The event was widely announced on ultra-right websites and blogs; nationalists from other regions arrived to the city as well. The police estimated the attendance at about 300-400 people, and, as apparent from the video recording, young people shouting xenophobic slogans were the most active participants of the event, while the remaining crowd appeared to be mere onlookers. Fortunately, this event did not aggravate the situation in the town further.

A month later, however, a highly resonant incident took place - the conflict in Pugachev, where 20 -year-old paratrooper Ruslan Marzhanov, a local, was killed by a 16 -year-old native of Chechnya in a scuffle on July 6. In the following days, the locals conducted rallies without permits, repeatedly tried to block the auto route R226 (Volgograd-Samara), and attempted pogroms in the neighborhood that was home to a local Chechen community. Attempts by local authorities to stabilize the situation and pacify the disgruntled protesters, who demanded that all the migrants from the Caucasus be evicted, were unsuccessful at first, but the situation has more or less stabilized over time.

The main difference between the Pugachev incident and the one in Udomlya and others was that there was no need for the ultra-right to “rock” the situation to the point when the locals come out for manifestations under xenophobic slogans, the way they usually try to do (fortunately, in most cases to no avail). Here, the locals started rallying without them, but, naturally, the ultra-right couldn’t remain indifferent. On July 9, 10 and 11, nationalists made a number of attempts to get into the city, but were actively confronted by the police. The following persons were arrested on their way to Pugachev: the leader of the Holy Rus’ (Sviataia Rus’) movement Ivan Otrakovsky, the above-mentioned Nikolai Bondarik (was detained several times), the ROS leaders Ivan Mironov and Nikolai Kuryanovich and three Saratov activists of the same party, the head of the Russian Bloc – Saratov (Russkii blok- Saratov) movement Pavel Galaktionov together with three Cossacks of the Astrakhan Cossack troops, and several members of the Other Russia (Drugaia Rossiia) party. As far as we can tell, among the relatively well-known ultra-right activists only Vitaly Shishkin, the leader of the Rights for European Development (Pravye za evropeiskoiie razvitie) from Kaluga and a former head of the Kaluga Branch of the “the Russians” (Russkie) association, made it to the city and even addressed the locals during one of the gatherings.


The nationalists tried very hard to maintain a high level of mobilization of their actual and potential supporters. For example, a video showing a column of armored vehicles and reports that it is moving toward Pugachev to forcibly disperse protesters quickly started to make rounds online (later, it was revealed that it had been a column of peacekeeping forces en route to their military training). Reports of mass arrests of the locals appeared as well, and, as usual, led to complaints about “repressions” by the authorities against the inhabitants of the city. This way, the ultra-right tried to add a protest component to an existing anti-immigrant character of the action.

Similarly to the Day of Wrath in April, nationalists tried to make the Pugachev event the theme of a-Russia-wide action scheduled for July 18. Major ultra- organizations announced the events, but provided no list of cities or any other information. Apparently, as in April, they counted on people self-organizing, but in this case, in vain. By July 18, the situation in Pugachev stabilized, and the public lost interest in it.

In the wake of the Pugachev events, nationalists started regular rallies “against ethnic crime,” only formally timing them to random suitable incidents they snatched from criminal chronicles. This was done in hopes that actualizing the subject of “ethnic clashes” could lead to Pugachev-like “hot spots” forming across the country. However, this technology is not new, and a series of these actions began even prior to the Pugachev events.


These events took place as follows: on July 6 in Saransk (organized by the Slavic Revival (Slavianskoe vozrozhdenie) movement); on July 8 in Yekaterinburg (organized by Maxim Vakhromov, the leader of the Russian March - Ural movement); on July 15 and 16 in St. Petersburg (organizer - National-Democratic Party (NDP); attended by Dmitry Bobrov (NSI), Dmitry “Rabid” Yevtushenko from Slavic Strength - North-West (Slavianskaia sila – severo-zapad) and Maxim Kalinichenko from the Russian Run (Russkaia probezhka)); on July 28 in Tula (organized by the National Union of Russia (Natsionalnyi soiuz Rossii)); again in St. Petersburg on August 9 (organized by N. Bondarik); on August 18 in Rostov- on-Don (organized by the For Honor and Dignity (Za chest’ i dostoinstvo) movement), on August 4 in Voronezh (organized by People's Assembly (Narodnyi Sobor), Cossack groups, the Great Russia (Velikaia Rossiia) party and the Russian Imperial Movement (Russkoe imperskoe dvizhenie, RID)); on September 3 in Perm (organized by the Russian Perm (Russkaia Perm) group); again in St. Petersburg on September 1 and 21 (organized by N. Bondarik, with participation from Semen Pikhtelev’s National Democrats (Natsional’nye demokraty); on September 15 in Saratov (organized by the “Rights” (Pravye) group, White Saratov (Belyi Saratov) the Russian Run, and the Russians – Saratov (Russkie-Saratov) Association.). The number of activists who took part in these actions ranged from a few dozen to no more than 250 people. Notably, many of these events had been a form of “People's Assembly”, i.e. conducted without a permit, while, prior to the Pugachev events, the ultra-right activists had tried to obtain the consent of the authorities for most of their public events.

Despite the fact that none of the incidents serving as the cause for the above-listed actions, actually “cought fire”, a record number of rallies under the anti-immigrant slogans and high level of media coverage in the wake of the Pugachev events, along other factors discussed below, were keeping the issue of inter-ethnic situation on the agenda.


Arguably the most important event of 2013 for the ultra-right occurred in October, when riots under xenophobic slogans broke out in the Biryulyovo–Zapadnoe district of Moscow, and quickly progressed to outright pogroms.[19] Wide resonance of this event can, to a large extent, be explained by the fact that the seed fell on a well-prepared soil: the locals had been complaining for years about a wholesale vegetable market, which was associated with many criminal incidents, and, in addition, a significant number of the neighborhood’s residents supported ultra-right views, which the media later paid much attention to, recalling the famous neo-Nazi groups with roots in Biryulyovo. [20]

The first set of political nationalists, who took interest in the events, were members of the “Russians” associations, who helped the locals to organize a people's assembly on October 13.[21] This assembly, in fact, escalated into the most significant incident of riots in the entire Biryulyovo event. It is difficult to judge today on the extent of the role, played by the “Russians”, but, most likely, the call from local nationalists, heeded by the local residents as well as their fellow-nationalists from the right-wing youth milieu all over Moscow, played a much more important role.

After the events of October 13, the Biryulyovo pogroms turned into a major media topic, and all the ultra-right websites, not just the “Russians,” encouraged their associates to support the Biryulyovo locals. Moreover, many resources started to post statements supporting and endorsing the pogroms. Even on the Yandex Maps that allow a user to map vehicle accidents people were posting messages like “Biryulyovo, Golyanovo is with you!” in the place of an accident data. The far-right forums and websites, as well as in the Biryulyovo group on VKontakte social network, started posting numerous inflammatory reports of attacks on locals by migrants and alleged retaliatory action being planned by the “non-Russians.”


Events in Biryulyovo came as a welcome gift for the ultra-right - after all, they failed to incite local residents to a public protest in Udomlya and got no role in the local residents’ protest in Pugachev. In Biryulyovo nationalists achieved both goals, and, moreover, they subsequently managed to utilize the April Day of Wrath technology, i.e. to use the Biryulyovo riots as a cause for public actions under anti-immigrant slogans.

Already on October 15, nationalists started raising yet another wave of protests in Moscow, organizing the “Our response to Kurban Bayram” meeting near Prazhskaya Metro Station. The protesters were supposed to gather at 7 p.m., but the activists started arriving on the square much earlier. The media noted that the vast majority of the participants were minors. When the gathering tried to line up and move towards Biryulyovo as a single column, the riot police stood in their way. Those who managed to escape detention disappeared into the courtyards, smashing car windows and overturning garbage containers along the way. 276 people were detained.

Nationalists were even more active and aggressive in St. Petersburg. Here, the action was scheduled for October 20 (they were unable to get a permit for an earlier date) and organized by N. Bondarik. The ultra-right kept the issue on the forefront as much as they could. They sent out mass mailings informing that the Biryulyovo rebellion was the beginning of the revolution and published information (sometimes accurate, sometimes not) of various conflicts and fights, presenting them as an unfolding process of “people’s revolt” against migrants and the current political regime. N. Bondarik, apparently, tried to maintain the relevance of the issue a little too hard. On October 16, the police arrested him on suspicion of provocation. According to the law enforcement, he bribed two young people into performing as victims of aggression by migrants. One 16 -year-old boy got a self-inflicted stab wound, and the other one, 25 -year-old Vasily Baranov, was shot in the back with a stun gun.[22] His arrest itself also served as a “cause;” it was used as an additional reason to mobilize, dedicating the event, among other things, to supporting the prisoner.

The action was planned as a rally, but it had been also suggested to turn it into a “mass sweep of the city” – to break up into groups and start smashing shops and stalls belonging to “non-natives.”

In the end, both scenarios were implemented. After the meeting on Marsovo Pole, where nationalists issued demands for the resignation of the St. Petersburg governor and of the Head of the Chief Directorate of the MOI of Russia in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, about 100 people tried to walk from Sadovaya street to Nevsky Prospekt, shouting racist slogans. The crowd went to Gostiny Dvor mall, and then onward to Apraksin Dvor market. Having entered the Apraksin Dvor territory, the nationalists began throwing stones and smoke bombs into the store windows and beating up the sellers. In response, the workers also began to beat up the nationalists with bats and iron rods. The riot police arrived at the scene and detained 16 people (11 of them minors). Several more nationalists were detained at the mall.

There also was an attempt to hold a public action in Moscow on October 20. The gathering of activists was scheduled for 16:00 at Yerevan Plaza shopping center by Tulskaya Metro Station. The event was originally planned as a militant action; the participants promised to “go and return the Russian land.” However, the action as such never took place; a large number of police officers descended on a gathering place and detained almost everyone who didn’t leave, altogether over a 100 people, most of them minors. The attempts to hold actions “in the wake” of the Biryulyovo events were also reported in the cities, other than St. Petersburg and Moscow, but none of them achieved much resonance.

Although the role of the ultra-right organizations in the Biryulyovo events was very noticeable, the nationalists were unable to use these riots as a catalyst for more riots across the country. Moreover, the Biryulyovo pogroms were triggered not by the series of rallies against “ethnic crime,” organized after the Pugachev events - the principal role in this case belonged to the Moscow authorities, who chose to speculate on the theme of “illegal migration” during the election campaign.

Whatever it was, this notorious incident had a whole series of effects.

First of all, the overall level of ethnic xenophobia increased; [23] the anti-immigrant discourse has spread wider than ever before; the social networks were filled with reports of casual manifestations of xenophobia and hatred towards migrants.

Next, the idea of introducing visa regime with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus became a subject of even more active discussion by representatives of all political movements and a number of media outlets. This discussion also brings the nationalists, who initiated this campaign in the winter (see above), into the spotlight.

Finally, the Biryulyovo riots showed the effectiveness of a pogrom as a method to combat any inconvenient phenomena of local life. Issues that had annoyed the locals were tackled exceedingly promptly after the pogrom - there was a promise to close the wholesale market; a criminal case was opened against its manager for facilitation illegal immigration; Yegor Shcherbakov’s murderer (the death that precipitated the events) was apprehended, and, for some reason, brought directly to the office of the Minister of the Interior, etc. These actions demonstrated that a pogrom was the surest way to quickly solve the problems, previously ignored by the authorities for years. The notion that it was extremely difficult to motivate the authorities to solve local problems, or even simply to perform their daily duties without resorting to a pogrom was also actively discussed.

On the other hand, the situation started to stabilize by October 20. The leaders of the ultra-right organizations switched to organizing the Russian March, and the fervor of rank-and-file activists somewhat subsided, since mass arrests in Moscow and St. Petersburg had shown that the law enforcement agencies are mobilized and will no longer permit any riots. As a result, a significant level of nationalist activity in July-October came to naught, and they failed to build on its success. Even the Russian March on November 4 failed to become a catalyst in this respect.

Only in December, the ultra-right returned, albeit unenthusiastically, to the theme of “ethnic crime,” trying to hold actions during the anniversary of the Manezhnaya Square events in Moscow on December 11, 2010.

A. Amelin served as the organizer of the Moscow action, but, basically, the event never materialized. There was no permit, and, partially for this reason, few people were willing to participate. Apparently, some of those, who gathered on Manezhnaya Square, were detained by police, and the rest dispersed.


In St. Petersburg, the action was called the March against Ethnic Terror and, unlike in Moscow, the nationalists were able to get an official permit. It was organized by the D. Bobrov’s National Socialist Initiative (NSI). The march started at 15:00, went through Avtovskaya and Krasnoputilovskaya streets and ended with a rally on Komsomolskaya Square. About 100-120 people attended the march, including activists of the NSI, Slavic Strength - North-West, and the Other Russia. Despite the fact that the march brought together the same number of activists as the year before, it did not get much traction in the media, and generated little enthusiasm in the ultra-right circles.

The ultra-right practically ignored a potentially winning series of events in Arzamas - there was an appropriate incident, “people’s assemblies” and a pogrom by radically-inclined locals. On the night of December 7, a quarrel in the local cafe Ochag between patrons and employees about the quality of the kebab deteriorated into a fight. As a result, two local young men received stabbing wounds. One died in an ambulance shortly thereafter; the second one was hospitalized. On the same day, the city held a “people's assembly” - about 50 residents took to the city's main square, demanding that the authorities close all shops, owned by non-Russian entrepreneurs. One of the murder suspects was detained the next day in Arzamas, and then two more. Neither the names nor the nationality of detainees were reported by the investigators. Nevertheless, on December 9, another gathering was held, with attendance estimates ranging from 300 to 1,000. Representatives of the city administration and the police once again addressed the people. After leaving the assembly, several groups of aggressive young men went on a “Russian March” through the city, shouting slogans like “Russia for the Russians” and “Russians, forward!” Not satisfied with the march, the protesters started pogroms in the city - the young men smashed two shop windows, destroyed property in cafes and kiosks that allegedly belonged to the “non-natives”, and broke a house window. Extra police forces were brought into the city; some rioters were detained.

On December 14, the third “people's assembly,” attended by about 200 people, took place near the administration building. Michael Buzin, the Mayor of Arzamas, came out to address the gathering. He tried to reassure the residents by saying that 15 Armenian families had already left the city, and their food businesses had been sold. “All Armenian business in Arzamas has been closed for good,”[24] he said. “Arzamas belongs to its residents. They are our guests and should obey our customs and honor our traditions,” he added.

Despite all the media attention, the situation in Arzamas aroused no significant interest among the ultra-right. Many large ultra-right organizations ignored these events altogether, and there were almost no related discussion on nationalist resources.

Another similar story was the murder of boxer Ivan Klimov in Omsk on November 23. According to the version spread by the ultra-right immediately after the incident, the 25 -year-old boxer was stabbed to death by members of the Omsk Roma mafia. This version is based on the fact that in March Klimov had a conflict with Jan Lebedov, a Roma, which ended by Lebedov shooting Klimov several times with a stun gun and then fleeing the city. Since the ultra-right didn’t intervene in the situation directly, the protest by locals was directed not so much against the Roma as against the police, who had failed to undertake proper efforts to arrest Lebedov after the March incident.

In general, Klimov’s murder aroused a greater deal of interest among the ultra-right than the Arzamas events, but still the usual excitement never arose. The group in the social network VKontakte, which announce the actions to demand investigation into the athlete’s death, features quite a lot of entries written by outspoken nationalists, even by A. Amelin, but still radical nationalists didn’t seem to take full advantage of the incident.

Absence of typical ultra-right attempts to enter the city and lead a protest of local residents in Arzamas and in Omsk could likely be explained by the fact that N. Bondarik, the most active “spinner” of such incidents in recent years, was under arrest, and the rest were afraid to follow in his footsteps. In the second half of the year, the law enforcement authorities opened criminal cases against a number of prominent representatives of the far-right, making it clear that they would no longer tolerate their excessive activity.

Anti-Immigrant Raids

Rapidly increasing prominence of nationalist raids against “illegal aliens” Was a key feature of 2013. From a secondary activity to fill the gap between political campaigns raids have turned into one of the focus areas. In the first half of the year, searching for illegal immigrants was a logical continuation of the nationalist campaign for the introduction of visa regime with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The trend intensified against the background of the media discussions of migration issues, which became more active than ever before. Sensing the growing public demand for anti-immigrant discourse, new actors started to appear like mushrooms after a rain. Major players, such as the NDP, the “Russians” association, Motherland party, and Andrei Saveliev’s Great Russia joined in as well. St. Petersburg activists tried to keep up with N. Bondarik and D. Yevtushenko creating their movement, the Russian Sweeps [Russike zachistki]; D. Bobrov’s NSI began to conduct their own raids. A number of regional ultra-right activists participated as well. Along with these new “migrant hunters,” those who had been involved in this activity earlier - for example, Aleksey Khudyakov’s Shield of Moscow (Shchit Moskvy) movement or Igor Mangushev’s Holy Rus (Sviataia Rus) - also continued their activities.

Even before the Pugachev events, nationalist raids started to attract the media and TV attention, thus providing the nationalists with a rare opportunity to promote themselves and their activities to a wider audience.

After the summer riots in Pugachev and in anticipation of the upcoming elections, including the mayoral elections of Moscow, the authorities have also decided to cash in on a popular topic and, using an attack against the police on Matveyevsky market as a pretext, they sharply intensified their demonstrative search operations against illegal migrants.

Despite the fact that most ultra-right activists regarded the police actions as a mere “window dressing”, they saw it as a license to conduct their own raids and doubled their intensity. The nationalist raids increased not only in number but also in the extent of their brutality. Feeling that their activity was condoned by the authorities and society, the organizers started conducting their raids in a manner more indicative of pogroms. The St. Petersburg nationalists from the Russian Sweeps were particularly uninhibited during their first actions in July and August. Not bothering to find out migrants’ places of residence, the activists gathered near a subway station and spent a few hours looking for neighboring shops, stalls and cafes that employed people of “non-Slavic appearance.” Frequently they trashed the merchandize, attacked the employees and demanded to see their documents and medical IDs. If the documents were not in order, the activists called the police. Since many of the raid participants were armed with baseball bats, and some used masks to cover their faces, upon seeing them the merchants often just abandoned their goods and ran away.

In addition to their separate raids, nationalists have often succeeded in their efforts to participate in the raids by the police and the Federal Migration Service, thus gaining in authority. Afterward, the ultra-right activists actively advertised these actions via the social networks, posting videos and reports to demonstrate that not only did they help the society to fight the “scourge” of illegal migration, but the police officers accepted them as equals. For example, on August 20, the radicals from such organizations as the Shield of Moscow, the Bright Russia (Svetlaia Rus), the Attack (Ataka - a breakaway part of M. Martsinkevich’s Restrukt), Reserve (Rezerv) military-patriotic club (the Great Russia’s project) and the Russian Moscow (Russkaia Moskva) movement, along with with the staff of the Izmailovo Local Office of the Ministry of the Interior detained about 150 migrants in the Izmailovo District and on the site of former Cherkizovsky Market in Moscow. Based on the video footage, the police allowed nationalists to behave in quite a harsh manner. Online ultra-right resources very actively shared videos of the raid, and the action itself was portrayed as an example of a well-prepared and sufficiently large-scale operation.

The St. Petersburg activity of the Russian Sweep achieved such notoriety that their VKontakte group membership grew to over three thousand people in August (over 6000 at the time of writing), many of whom had never been previously involved in any ultra-right group and, most likely, weren’t even consistent nationalists. The group actively promoted the raids, and called for taking to the streets rather than being the “internet warriors”. In addition, the leaders began collecting money for this initiative. Thus, as early as the summer, there were some attempts to turn the Russian Sweeps into a separate project, self-funded and filled by activists outside the traditional organizational divisions. In addition, there was an attempt to make it a Russia-wide project - the Russian Sweep groups appeared in a number of Russian cities.

By the fall, the situation has reached the point where “the migrant hunts” started to be viewed as a possible consolidating factor for the fragmented ultra-right milieu, which showed the examples of cooperation between different nationalist groups, united disparate local activists and provided a direction for their activity. In contrast to the Russian Runs, which had also claimed this role at some point, the raids on illegal migrants were openly aggressive in character; it was amply demonstrated by the Russian Sweeps in the summer or by the September raid by the members of the Shield of Moscow against a migrant residence in Kapotnya. In the latter case, a few dozen aggressive young men, armed with sticks, broke into the residence and started demanding documents from the tenants and kicking out into the street the ones, whose documents were, in their opinion, problematic. If tenants failed to open their doors, the doors were kicked down. The behavior of the nationalists sparked several clashes, some of which involved the use of firearms. At least two people received bullet injuries. [25].

In general, the police makes practically no attempts to prevent nationalist raids and even, as was shown above, frequently brings them along to participate in their own action, but this activity didn’t remain completely unpunished.

On many occasions, the police detained the participants of the raids and made records of their administrative violations; later the situation even resulted in a criminal prosecution. Thus, on July 31, the St. Petersburg police opened a criminal case under the Criminal Code Article 213 (Hooliganism) against several ultra-right activists, who conducted the Russian Sweep raids throughout the city markets, based on online video evidence of the raids posted by nationalists themselves. In addition, on October 1, the court arrested three participants in the attack against the migrants’ residence hall in Kapotnya: 26-year-old leader of the Shield of Moscow Aleksey Khudyakov, 21-year-old leader of Narco-Stop project Alexander Voznesensky and “Sh”, a 17-year-old activist of the Shield of Moscow.

Filing of these court cases contributed to the drop in the raids’ level of aggression, but failed to stop them. The actions continued, and neither the police nor officials have taken a stand regarding this phenomenon. The NSI raid, which took place on August 27, illustrates the point. The activists entered the shops and food establishments, checking the employees’ documents and medical IDs. The video recording shows that the NSI activists entered the first café along with police officers, who did not interfere, while the nationalists asked for the employee’s medical ID. Once the ID was found to be missing, the police reported on camera that they will compile a report of administrative violations against the employee. The nationalists accompanied by the police (it is unclear, whether the police officers were the same or different in both cases) also entered the second shop, but at this time the police did not collaborate, but instead informed D. Bobrov that his actions were illegal, and later demanded that the raid be stopped, threatening the nationalists with administrative responsibility under the Administrative Code Article 19.1 of (“Arbitrariness”).

In their raid activity nationalists try to cooperate not only with the police but also with other government and quasi-government agencies, and this cooperation is accepted, albeit without enthusiasm. For example, in September, the Russian Sweeps reported on their social network page that Elena Dunaeva, the Head of the Federal Migration Service in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region, had invited the Russian Sweep to participate in their raids. Alexander Rosenbaum, a singer, who serves as the chairman of the Public Advisory Board of Federal Migration Service, invited representatives of the Russian Sweep movement to join the Board (judging by the list of Board members, the nationalists were not included after all). As another example, in late October, representatives of the Guestbusters movement (the raid project of the “Russians” association) attended the meeting of the Municipal Control group of the Council on the Development of the Social Control at the Committee for Public Associations and Religious Organizations of the State Duma. After the meeting, the nationalists stated that they hoped “to plan further visits to such working groups in order to build understanding and communication with official local representatives of the authorities.[26]

By the end of 2013, despite the fact that the raids’ novelty effect was gone, and the police made it clear that it would not allow nationalists to organize all-out pogroms under the cover of community initiatives, the raids still remained one of the most important nationalist activities. Due to the permissive attitude of the authorities, this kind of activity allowed the ultra-right to build connections with law enforcement structures and provided them with a sense of power and self-righteousness. Nationalists offer to anyone, who joins them, an opportunity to direct their xenophobic feelings against migrants without the risk of a prison term. However, after the criminal proceedings had been initiated against the activists of the Russian Runs and the Shield of Moscow, the “migrant hunters” have become more cautious. They try not to take untested people along on the raids and behave in a somewhat more reserved manner. At the time of writing, the search for illegal migrants remains a major source of self-promotion and recruiting for the ultra-right.

This high popularity of raids against immigrants overshadowed another, recently popular raid initiative, “pedofile hunts.” Many small ultra-right groups engaged in this activity in 2012, but it lost its popularity a year later. The only person, who consistently continued to conduct the “pedofile hunts, was Maxim “Tesak” (Hatchet) Martsinkievich, the person, who initially popularized them by creating Occupy-Pedofiliay project within his Restrukt! Movement. The Neo-Nazis of Occupy-Pedofiliay were luring alleged gay pedophiles “on bait,” then proceeded to humiliate and abuse them, and published the video recording. Restrukt! has gained wide popularity and many followers in the regions thanks to this project, and not all followers showed restraint in their violence. The criminal case was filed, and Tesak left for Ukraine, where, together with his associates, he continued to work on trapping alleged pedophiles. Incidentally, Tesak and his colleagues conducted their Ukrainian actions much more harshly than those he had previously organized in Russia; [27] subsequently Tesak moved to Cuba. A criminal case was opened against M. Martsinkevich in December for incitement to ethnic hatred (CC Article 282) for posting several racist videos with incitements to murder. At the time of writing, the nationalist had already been expelled from Cuba and was arrested in Moscow. However, there is still a concern that many of his followers or competitors could continue the raids in their attempt to occupy the vacant place of the chief pedophile hunter.

Speaking about the Occupy-Pedofiliay project, we need to note an unexpected sequel, to this initiative that took place in the first half of the year. Ninth Grader Philip Denits,[28] who had formerly worked for Martsinkevich as “bait” to lure pedophiles, started his own movement called Occupy-Gerontofiliay. This movement also conducts raids, but targets not pedophiles, but boys, who agree to meet with adult men. The movement’s participants, posing as adults, lure children between the ages of 12 and 16 to a meeting, and then use threats to force them to talk about themselves on camera, humiliate and insult them, and, finally, they upload the resulting video online, and send it to the child’s acquaintances. In December, Denits was prosecuted for incitement to ethnic hatred, but the specific reason was, unfortunately, not reported. The teen announced that he was suspending the project for the duration of the investigation.[29]


Traditional Nationalist Actions

Traditional nationalist actions are the ones, repeated from year to year and possessing an established form and content. They got little attention in 2012, bu now that the ultra-right returned their focus to their independent activity, everything could be expected to return to normal.

The first in the series of traditional actions was the Heroes Day on March 1. The action was originally dedicated to the Pskov paratroopers, who died fighting in Chechnya in 2000, but this year it was decided to dedicate it to convicted Vladimir Kvachkov and Leonid Khabarov (see below). Compared to 2011 (comparison with 2012 is unhelpful, since nobody took responsibility for its organization), we see the expanded geography of the event, but no increase in numbers. The best- attended event took place in Moscow and brought together about 100 activists. [30]

The Russian May Day shows similar results; it managed to increase attendance in two capitals only and lost some activists in the regions, but expanded its geography by three additional cities. [31]

In excitement caused in the ultra-right circles by the Pugachev riots and the ensuing events, another traditional action - The Day of Solidarity with Right-Wing Political Prisoners, observed by the right radicals on July 25 since 2009 – went practically unnoticed. Small rallies and pickets took place in several regions of the country; in other regions activists limited their activities to displaying their banners; large ultra-right organizations focused on fundraising for prisoners, as they did last year. For example, the “Russians” association managed to collect about 230 thousand rubles, which were sent to incarcerated nationalists, including those convicted of violent crimes.

Nationalists demonstrated even less enthusiasm when organizing the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Ethnic Crime, commemorated in early October and timed to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Anna Beshnova. The rallies were held only in Moscow, Saratov and Ryazan, and, apparently, weren’t even planned in other cities.

Lack of enthusiasm for the traditional actions in 2013 was partially offset by the Russian March, which, as always, took place on November 4 in many cities across the country.

While the main Russian March of 2012 in Moscow was obviously affected by the general protest events, the event of 2013 was held in the wake of Biryulyovo events, which infused it with a corresponding mood and character. The March, held in Lublino, was organized by the “Russians” association, the National Democratic Party (NDP) and the Russian All-People’s Union (Rossiiskii obshchenarodnyi soiuz, ROS). About 6000 people attended the event, which was about 500 more than the year before, [32] and about the same as in 2011. [33] Most likely, the March organizers were expecting much larger attendance, given a general rise in xenophobia, but so far they only attained a partial return of the activists, who ignored the march in 2012 because they were unhappy with the involvement of large ultra-right organizations in general protest activities and with the fact that, against the background of the united opposition rallies, the main nationalist event of the year lost its status as the biggest oppositional rally.

Unlike the March of 2012, which included an unusually large number of middle-aged participants, with meager attendance by radical youth groups, the Russian March in 2013 was mostly attended by young people (many were clearly minors) in a very radical state of mind. Many of them were chanting slogans, which directly called for violence against people from the Caucasus and other city residents that belonged to ethnic minorities; a much greater number of the participants, compared to the previous year, were seen raising their hands in a Nazi salute. An incident occurred during the procession – marchers in the column of the Bloc of Free National Socialist Societies (Blok svobodnykh national-sotsialisticheskikh obshchestv), i.e. autonomous neo-Nazis, tried to use the smoke bombs. The police wedged into the column, and most of the demonstrators ran away, having broken through the fence and nearly provoked clashes with police.

Radicalism of the attendees and their unwillingness to comply with rules displeased even some of the organizers. For example, Dmitry Dyomushkin in conversation with colleagues demanded that those most actively raising their hands in a Nazi salute be removed from the columns, since they were being constantly photographed by journalists and discredited the event. After the incident with the police action against the “national-socialist” bloc, Vladimir Basmanov proposed to tighten the requirements for organizers of individual Russian March columns.

However, it is not very clear, what else the organizers could have expected after they had called for participation in the Russian March using the 14-word slogan, “We must secure our Russian land for [the] future [of] our people and [the] future [of] Russian children!”, which is a slight modification of the slogan of American neo-Nazi David Lane, “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children”.

The interrupted tradition of alternative nationalist marches was resumed in 2013. This time they both of them took place near the Oktiabrskoe Pole Metro Station.

The first march was organized by the Russian Coalition for Action (Russkaia koalitsiia deistviia) which includes People's Militia in the Name of Minin and Pozharsky (Narodnoe opolcheniie imeni Minina i Pozharskogo, NOMP), led by Yuri Ekishev, the Great Russia (Andrei Saveliev), and Russian Renaissance (Russkoe Vozrozhdeniie) led by Alexander Amelin (Russian Rescue Committee (Russkii komitet spaseniia)). A total of 550-600 people attended the march.

The second event was named the Russian Imperial March and brought together around 120-150 people. It was attended by Union of Orthodox Banner Bearers (Soiuz pravoslavnykh Khorugvenostsev) and three members of the Shield of Moscow movement. There were no political insignia, besides the little-known symbols of the Russian Orthodox Brotherhood (Russkoe pravoslavnoe bratstvo).

Thus, adding up the number of participants in all three major Moscow events on November 4, we see some growth in the number of people willing to attend a nationalist action on this day. According to our estimates, the marches in the capital (not counting the audience of the traditional LDPR rally) included about 6,700 participants, which may not be such a large number compared to the Bolotnaya Square rallies, but represents the absolute record for the Russian March.

Nationalists in St. Petersburg commemorated November 4 even more aggressively than in Moscow. [34] Here, a substantial portion of the ultra-right refused to participate in the march because it was organized by the allegedly pro-Kremlin Homeland (Rodina) party, and this refusal ultimately led to a number of riots in the city. Several dozen people were detained by police when trying to conduct an action near Oktyabrsky Concert Hall without a permit. The police also dispersed about 40 people, who were trying to dance “hardbass” on Dvortsovaya Square. After that, a group of the ultra-rights trashed the Udelny market; there were also several organized group attacks on nonwhite people in the metro (“white cars”). [35]

In addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg, the actions were held in at least 47 cities across the country, that is, the geographical spread of the Russian March continues to grow, albeit more slowly than before; the events took place in a total of 45 cities a year ago and in 32 cities two years ago. Nationalists in the regions, with few exceptions, also managed to either not lose their activists or even significantly increase their number.

Based on the above information, we can acknowledge the this year’s march as a success for the ultra-right, as was expected against the background of a general rise in xenophobic sentiments. In theory, the potential of the ultra-right movement in Russia is very high, since more than half of the population shares the xenophobic views, but the growth in the ranks of nationalists was deterred by the low level of urgency of this particular problem compared to the others as well as excessive (from the point of view of an average Russian) radicalism of the nationalist movement. Now, when the topic of ethnic relations came to the forefront, an alarming increase in numbers of the ultra-right can be anticipated, at least due to the youngsters, whose parents approve of nationalist ideas.


Participation in the General Protest Movement

The ultra-right started the year of 2013 with their refusal to participate in oppositional rallies (which they counted on for almost of the entire 2012), since the rank-and-file right-wing radicals demonstrated to the leaders of the nationalist organizations their sharply negative attitude toward the idea of cooperation with the liberal and leftist movements as early as the second half of 2012. As a result, until May 2013, the nationalist leaders consistently refrained from calling on their supporters to attend the joint opposition rallies organized by the Opposition Coordination Council (Koordinatsionnyi Sovet Oppositsii, KSO), in which the nationalists played a prominent role. They still made two exceptions to this rule - for the actions on May 6, marking the anniversary of the Bolotnaya Square riots, and the rally on June 12, held in support of the “Bolotnaya Square prisoners.” In both cases, the ultra-right apparently hoped for popularity of the subject of political prisoners among rank-and-file nationalists, but they miscalculated and the ultra-right participation was barely noticeable.

We should also mention the demonstration on May 5, organized by the entity, alternative to Opposition Coordination Council, namely the Expert Council of the Opposition. Their Spring Freedom March brought together about 500 people, half of them nationalists. Most likely, such a high proportion of ultra-right activists had to do with the fact that Nikolai Bondarik, a popular figure among the right radicals, declared his support for the action. Their attendance were also affected by the fact that the ulra-right are well-represented in the Expert Council of the Opposition - 10 of its 41 members openly identify as nationalists.

In the first half of the year, while Opposition Coordination Council remained active, nationalists successfully used this coalition for expansion and legitimation of their own, purely nationalist, actions and campaigns.

The campaign for the introduction of a visa regime with the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, started by the National Democratic Party in the winter can serve as an example. On April 14 the National Democratic Party (NDP ) has initiated a network action “Say YES to Visas!”[36] which attracted not only the ultra-right movements - the “Russians” association, the Common Cause (Obshchee delo), the ROD Human Rights Center, the ROS - but also the Democratic Choice (Demokraticheskii vybor), a liberal democratic party, led by Vladimir Milov. NDP along with its associates around the country had held small pickets and rallies to promote this initiative. [37]

Moreover, nationalists engaged the KSO itself in the campaign by bringing the introduction of visas up to vote. On February 10 the KSO, without a single dissenting vote, supported the abolition of visa-free regime, without any statements on the nature of the initiative, that is, who, how and under what conditions should get the visas, and who and for what reasons should be denied them. As such, the KSO decision came across as populism and flirting with xenophobic sentiments of the majority of Russia’s population, but it was a victory for the nationalists in the Council and added credibility to their initiative. In parallel with the NDP, Valery Solovey’s New Force (Novaya Sila) party launched a similar campaign; it collected more than 100,000 signatures in support of this initiative and even submitted them to the State Duma.

Thanks to these efforts, the ultra-right succeeded in attracting media attention to this, not too novel, initiative. A question on visa-free regime with the CIS countries became widely discussed not only online and in print, but also on the federal TV channels. Several TV shows even invited nationalists. For the first time in a long while, the far-right managed to keep their initiative on the agenda despite the clearly expressed disagreement from Kremlin. It is difficult to say with certainty what caused such a rare success – the already beginning governmental anti-migrant campaign or the connections established by nationalists in general protest structures.

However, since the mid-summer, the general protest activity continued to fade, and the involvement of the nationalist leaders gradually lost its purpose. Accordingly, they turned their attention to independent actions, especially since they experienced no lack of suitable occasions in 2013.


Party Building

Early in the year, the ultra-right were still more or less optimistic and believed that they would be able to register their parties, which they started creating over two years ago, once the registration procedures had been simplified. However, their efforts mostly failed. Valery Solovey’s New Force party submitted their registration documents to the Ministry of Justice twice, and received an official denial on June 25. The party leader promised that “the formal registration process of the New Force will be restarted in just a few days,” and that he hoped that “the registration will take place on a tight schedule.” [38] In fact, on July 6, the party once again registered its organizing committee with the Ministry of Justice. However, the process, apparently, progressed no further. There were no reports on the new party constituent assembly or on the filing of documents for registration. Moreover, in the winter, the New Force disappeared from the Ministry of Justice list of registered organizing committees of the political parties altogether. Most likely, V. Solovey decided to abandon his attempts to give the New Force an official status of a political party.

K. Krylov’s NDP was also refused the registration, as it reported in May. The party pretty quickly registered its organizing committee with the Ministry of Justice once again, and held a new constituent assembly in October. There have been no reports of applying for registration so far.

The Nationalist Party (Partiia natsionalistov) announced by the “Russians” Association showed almost no progress in obtaining its registration. In August, the “Russians” stated that they had planned to hold a constituent assembly, but it was sabotaged because the administration of the Izmailovo hotel complex, which was supposed to host the event, suddenly refused to rent its facilities to the ultra-right. As far as we can tell, the organizing committee of the party made no further attempts to hold the assembly, citing the criminal case against D. Demushkin, who headed the organizing committee. Meanwhile, the association continues to evolve under the “Russians” brand and not the Nationalist Party, apparently, not really counting on being able to register. In the course of the year, the “Russians” added offices in Krasnoyarsk, Astrakhan, Khanty-Mansiysk and the Altai Region, and they were all presented as the cells of, the “Russians” association, not of the Nationalist Party.

The split that occurred in the “Russians” association in the end of February due to the expulsion of Georgy Borovikov[39] resulted in yet another ultra-right party project - The Right Wing for European Development (Pravye za evropeiskoe razvitie, PZER). The party registered its organizing committee with the Ministry of Justice in the spring, but moved no further. PZER has practically no chance to obtain registration, so proclaiming itself a party had more tactical rather that strategic character, providing this insignificant new group with a higher status.

The leader of the Resistance (Soprotivlenie) movement, Roman Zentsov, who had previously left Sergei Baburin’s ROS, introduced his own party project earlier this year. The organizing committee of the new Order (Poriadok) party was registered with the Ministry of Justice; the constituent assembly was first scheduled for May, then moved to the fall, with the following comment from the party leadership: “We are not going to fire a “blank” and conduct an assembly until we are hundred percent certain in our ability to obtain the registration.”[40]. Since the fall assembly never materialized, we can assume that Zentsov’s level of certainty in his success has not increased.

The National Conservative Party of Russia applied for egistration on October 18. It is a far-right party with the Russian Orthodox focus headed by Andrey Kochergin, a member of the Union of Orthodox Combat (Soiuz pravoslavnykh edinoborstv).

Thus, the most important far-right associations that expressed their intentions to register so far had no success. However, it would be inaccurate to say that Russia has no parties with nationalist or near-nationalist ideology. Big players, such as Sergei Baburin’s ROS and Alexey Zhuravlev’s Motherland party, are registered, as well as a number of more or less ideologically related smaller parties, such as Nicholai Starikov’s the Great Fatherland Party (Partiia Velikoe Otechestvo) also joined by Vladimir Khomiakov, the co-chair of the People's Council (Narodnyi Sobor), Dmitry Merkulov’s Autocratic Russia (Samoderzhavnaia Rossiia), Andrei Kovalenko’s National Course (Natsionalnyi Kurs) and Svetlana Peunova’s Will (Volya) party.


Participation in the Elections

The scheduled election cycle allowed nationalists to try their hand at “big politics” in an attempt to win a place in the power structures during the September elections held in a number of regions.

From among the parties, the Motherland, led by A. Zhuravlev, was the most active participant in the elections. Almost in all cases where Motherland vied for the place in a regional parliament, it failed to score more than 1-3 % of the vote. The only exception was the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly, where it elected one candidate. The Motherland has proved much more successful in the municipal elections. For example, in the town of Koryazhma in the Arkhangelsk Region it received even more votes than the United Russia in the elections to the City Duma.

The ROS, led by Sergei Baburin, participated in the elections as well. The party nominated its list of candidates for the elections to the Smolensk Regional Duma, but was able to get only about 0.4 % of the vote. This, of course, was a very weak result, especially considering the fact that Sergei Baburin himself headed the list. Not a single candidate was elected among those who ran in single-mandate districts. Baburin himself scored 7.28% of the vote, finishing the third from the bottom.

Initially, the ROS leader was not planning to run for a place in the Smolensk Regional Duma, and tried, in vain, to register as a mayoral candidate in the Moscow Region. Two other prominent ROS activists declared their intention to personally seek important political positions - Ivan Mironov, who was going to run for governor of the Vladimir Region, and Nikolai Kurianovich, who aspired to the role of the mayor of Moscow. Neither one of them ever made it to the candidates’ list.

The ROS election campaign for the Legislature of the Irkutsk Region also achieved some notoriety. The electoral commission has not approved the party list on formal grounds and then refused to register Alexander Turik, the head of the local ROS cell. The latter appealed the withdrawal of his candidacy, and the court restored his rights. In the end, he and his fellow party member Dmitry Chalbyshev ran in single-mandate districts and got 1.52 % and 2.53 % of the vote respectively. It is worth noting that A. Turik subsequently sued the district election commission of Electoral District No. 5, demanding compensation for the moral and material damages in connection with the unlawful removal of his candidacy. According to him, due to the actions of the election commission, he had to spend a month on litigation, and lost the time he needed for conducting his campaign. In December, the court partially granted the request of the nationalist.

The ROS put forward its own candidate for the mayoral elections in the city of Khabarovsk. Leonid Razuvanov ended up last on the list and scored only 2.67 % of the vote. A similar scenario played out during the election to the Ryazan City Duma, where the ROS candidate Artem Kuraev received the fewest number of votes in the district, 1.25%.

As in the past, the nationalists’ electoral success remain modest. However, nationalists are denied registration quite often, so it is difficult to fully appreciate their electability.

Nationalists also could not remain indifferent to the mayoral elections in Moscow, which eventually led to a minor split in the ultra-right milieu on the issue of support for candidate Alexei Navalny.

The ROS stated: “... we, Russian nationalists and patriots, stand against Navalny and his allies, we are not on the same path as a defender of gay pride parades, a protege of the “democratic” leaders of the 90s, the “Russian orangeade” project and Yeltsin 2.0.” As a result, the party supported the election of the Communist Party candidate Ivan Melnikov. The latter even promised to appoint Sergei Baburin vice-mayor in case of victory.

The St. Petersburg activists N. Bondarik, D. Yevtushenko, M. Kalinichenko (the Russian Runs), and organizations within the Russian Coalition for Action agreed with the ROS. The difference between these opponents of Navalny and the ROS was that they suggested that nationalists not go to the polls altogether. The majority of autonomous ultra-right activists also concluded that Navalny could not be considered a nationalist, since he was a liberal and an “Orangeman.”

The National Democrats, i.e. the New Force, the NDP, the “Russians” Association and Vladimir Istarkhov’s Russian Right Party expressed the opposite opinion.

As a result, the confrontation resulted in two differently directed actions on August 31 in Moscow. The first one, the auto-rally in support of Navalny, was organized by the NDP and the “Russians”. The rally was held on the Garden Ring; about 10 cars took part in it, carrying the “Russians for Navalny” stickers on their rear windows. Contrary to the expectations of the organizers, the action failed to attract a significant number of participants, and police did not particularly try to block the vehicles.

The second ultra- right action, where the Russian Coalition for Action and Nikolai Bondarik urged to boycott the elections, was slightly larger. Their march, attended by 100 people, proceeded from the Oktyabrskoe Pole Metro Station towards Shchukinskaya Metro Station. Other far-right organizations did not attend the event.

Based on the small number of nationalist actions in support of A. Navalny, we can assume that the contribution of the ultra-right to his results was small.

Meanwhile, consistent nationalists and people with xenophobic views had a number of candidates to choose from at the recent Moscow elections, because almost all candidates, hiding behind the vague term “illegal immigrants,” were excitedly discussing the negative aspects of this phenomenon, albeit not offering any coherent concept of migration policy more sophisticated than “they should all just leave.” However, paradoxically, none of this managed to increase nationalists’ interest in the elections.


Counter-action to Radical Nationalism and Xenophobia

Public Initiatives

Public activity to counter xenophobia and radical nationalism in 2013 remained virtually invisible and took place within the framework of the traditional projects

On January 19, 2013, 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 15 cities in Russia. A year earlier, this event took place in 12 cities. The anti-fascist march in Moscow was attended by about 700 people. In St. Petersburg, the event was held in a picket format, since the authorities gave no permit for a march. Prior to the picket’s start, ultra-right activists made an attempt to attack the protesters, but, fortunately, the anti-fascists managed to escape, and no one was hurt. The antifascist events in Irkutsk and Ust-Labinsk (the Krasnodar Region) were also marked with incidents – the police detained the participants on account of their “unauthorized gatherings.”


Public activity increased in the fall, as expected.

From November 9 to November 16, the activists organized the annual International Week of Tolerance under the slogan “Kristallnacht - never again!” timed to the International Day against Racism and Intolerance. [41] Unfortunately, the week’s events included mainly a number of online informational campaigns, while the street events took place only in a few cities and failed to attract a large audience.

Two annual events took place in St. Petersburg. An action in memory of antifascist musician Timur Kacharava, who died on this day at the hands of neo-Nazis, was conducted on Novermber 13 near the Bukvoed bookstore on Ligovsky Prospect and brought together about 30 participants. The “March Against Hate,” instituted in 2004 after the assassination of scientist Nikolai Girenko by neo-Nazis, took place on October 27 (it was attended by about 200 people ).

On November 4, that is, on the day of the Russian March, Moscow hosted a public forum “Russia’s Unity Is in Solidarity of Its Citizens. Against Xenophobia and Nationalism” organized by the Yabloko party and human rights organizations. As a result, the Forum founded the Committee on United Resistance to Xenophobia and collected suggestions for further action. On December 10, the newly created Committee on United Resistance of Xenophobia held a picket in Moscow “against hatred,” dedicated to the Day of Human Rights and the International Migrants Day on December 10. The action on Tverskaya Boulevard near the Timiriazev monument was attended by about 15 people, including representatives of Yabloko, the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Inter-Regional Uzbek Fraternity “Vatandosh”, municipal deputies and civil society activists. Similar actions took place in several other cities and regions (Tambov, Krasnoyarsk, Bashkortostan, Smolensk, Kalmykia, Penza, Nizhny Novgorod and Tula ), but didn’t attract many participants.


Criminal Prosecution

For Violence

The number of verdicts for violent racist crimes in 2013 was the same as in the previous year. In 2013 there were at least 32 convictions, in which courts recognized the hate motive in 23 regions of Russia, compared to 32 convictions in 24 regions in 2012. In these court cases 59 people were found guilty, compared to 72 people in 2012.

When prosecuting racist violence in 2012, the judiciary used almost the entire range of the Criminal Code articles that contain hate motive as aggravating circumstance, for example Part 2 paragraph “l” of Article 105 (“murder motivated by hatred”); Part 4 of Article 111 (“infliction of grievous bodily harm”), etc. The Criminal Code Article 282 (“incitement of hatred”) was utilized in 9 convictions related to violent crimes. Use of this article for violent crime convicions was justified in these cases, since the attacks were either committed by a group in front of witnesses or the attackers recorded their actions on video and published them online. In accordance with 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,[42] the application of Article 282 to violent crimes is considered appropriate if the crimes were aimed at inciting hate in third parties, for example, through public and provocative ideologically motivated attack. The resolution implies that Article 282 should be used in conjunction with another appropriate Criminal Code article, such as “murder”, “bodily harm”, etc.)

There were two cases, when only Part 2 paragraph “a” of Article 282 (“incitement of ethnic hatred, committed with violence or threat of violence”) was utilized for the conviction. In one of these cases, this step was justified, since there had been no violence as such, but a public threat of violence, accompanied by anti-Russian slogans. In another case, the victim had suffered a beating, but the relevant article of the Criminal Code was, for some reasons, absent in the verdict.

Part 1 of the Criminal Code Article 280 (“public incitement to extremist activity”) was utilized in one verdict. This article was used in the conviction of the “Russian Breivik,” Dmitry Vinogradov, who shot seven people in a drugstore in November 2012. Vinogradov’s personal page on VKontakte social network contained the “My Manifesto” file, with propaganda of “people-hate” ideology.[43]


Court decisions in cases of violent crimes were distributed as follows:

  • 1 person was released under an amnesty;
  • 1 person found guilty but released from punishment because the statute of limitations had expired;
  • 2 people were found guilty but released from punishment due to reconciliation of the parties;
  • 12 people received suspended sentences;
  • 4 people were sentenced to mandatory labor;
  • 3 people were sentenced to correctional labor;
  • 2 people were sentenced to fines;
  • 1 person received a custodial sentence of up to one year;
  • 3 people – up to 3 years;
  • 11 people – up to 5 years;
  • 9 people – up to 10 years
  • 6 people – up to 15 years;
  • 2 people – up to 20 years;
  • 2 people received a life sentence .

Unfortunately, we only know of four verdicts where the offenders were ordered to pay a financial compensation to their victims for moral harm and medical expenses. Regretfully, the prosecutor’s offices very rarely report about such measures. We believe that these practice should be encouraged.

As you can see from the above data, 20 % of the convicted offenders (12 out of 59) only received suspended sentences. Some of these people were defendants on large group trials (including two minors), and it is possible that the prosecution failed to prove their direct involvement in the attacks, or that they received a light sentence in exchange for assisting the investigation. However, some sentences are puzzling, to say the least. A suspended sentence issued in the Kostroma Region for an armed attack on a Chechen woman was outrageously inappropriate. We have to repeat that that suspended sentences for violent racist attacks tend to engender the sense of impunity and do not stop offenders from committing such acts in the future. The renewed increase in suspended sentences for violent crimes is alarming.

We are also extremely unsatisfied by an outrageous verdict issued by the Prioksky District Court of Nizhny Novgorod against Nazi skinheads from the White Flock (Belaia staia) group, who were charged with at least 10 attacks against people of “non-slavic appearance” and “those thought to be pedophiles.” Out of seven offenders not a single one went to prison; the founder of the organization received a suspended sentence, and two others were sentenced to correctional labor. The cases against the remaining four offenders were discontinued due to reconciliation or amnesty.

More than half of the offenders (32 people) were sentenced to actual prison terms. Most of them were members of major racist groups (such as the three neo-Nazi skinheads from the Simbirsk White Power group in Ulyanovsk, two members of the Sverdlovsk neo-Nazi group Volksturm, a member of Ian Liutik’s gang from Moscow and four members of Monolith SS gang from Togliatti) or had previously been convicted of other crimes.

Two people received a life sentence. Unlike the cases from the previous years,[44] neither of the two belonged to a neo-Nazi group. They are the aforementioned”Russian Breivik” Dmitry Vinogradov and one of the Irkutsk “mallet-killers” Artem Anoufriev. [45]


The arrests of Ilya Goryachev, the former leader of the Russian Image (Russkii obraz) party in Serbia and Mikhail Volkov, a former member of the skinhead group OB-88, in Ukraine generated a great deal of resonance in the spring. Both men were on the internationalwanted listin relation to the case of the Military Organization ofRussianNationalists (Boevaia organizatsiiarusskikh natsionalistov, BORN) and were extradited to Russia. According to the prosecution, the organization also included Maxim Baklagin, Vyacheslav Isayev, and Yuri Tikhomirov. Other notorious BORN members include Nikita Tikhonov and Yevgenia Khasis convicted for the murder of Stanislav Markelov and Anastasia Baburova, as well as Alexey Korshunov, who died, when his own grenade exploded in October 2011 in Ukraine. The BORN members are suspectedof being involved ina number ofhigh-profilemurders inRussia, including the murdersof Moscow City CourtjudgeEdwardChuvashovandlawyer StanislavMarkelov. The investigation of this case was completed in December 2013.


The past year has shown that the members and leaders of well-known ultra-right groups, in addition to their ideological struggle, do not shy away from committing common crimes. The most notorious incident was the arrest, in April 2013, of Georgy Borovikov, the leader of the RFO Memory (Pamiat’), the former head of the Moscow office and the head of the “court of honor” of “The Russians” Association. He, along with his associates, was convicted of robbery with violence. Victor Konshin, the leader of the local cell of the far-right organization Slavic Strength (now part of “The Russians” Association) was arrested in Orel for organizing prostitution using the threat of violence. Finally, an almost comic story took place in Moscow, where two far-right activists - Roman “Zukhel” Zheleznov and Alexey “Anti-Gypsy” Kasich from the Wotan Jugend association - were detained and arrested for stealing merchanidize from the Auchan store.[46]

For Vandalism

In 2013, the prosecution of ethno-religious and neo-Nazi vandalism was more active than in the preceding year - we know of 8 sentences issued to 11 people in 8 regions. We know of 5 convictions of seven people in 2012.

In six cases the charges were brought under Part 2 of the Criminal Code Article 214 (“vandalism motivated by ethnic or religious hatred.”). In one sentence (for the destruction of the graves of the Yezidis in the Volgograd Region) the charges were brought under Part 2 paragraphs “a” and “b” of Article 244 (“desecration and damage to gravestones by a group of persons, motivated by ethnic hatred”). In two other cases Article 214 was aggregated with Part 1 of Article 282, and in one case, additionally, with Part 2 of Article 213 (“hooliganism motivated by hatred”).

In addition, two cases contained charges under the Criminal Code Article 167 (“attempted destruction of other people’s property by means of explosion”) in Novosibirsk and Petrozavodsk -the former for attempted arson of a mosque, the latter for arson of an Orthodox church. In these cases Article 214 was not applied, and we do not know whether the hate motive was imputed by paragraph “e” of Article 63.

Two people received custodial sentences, one was sentenced to correctional labor, one - to mandatory labor, and one received a suspended sentence. Another offender was sentenced to 1 year of coercive educational measures. In one case, the vandal, who poured ink over two icons in the Christ the Savior Cathedral, in addition to a prison sentence, lost his right to visit churches for a year. We do not consider such penalties for graffiti on the walls and icons defaced with ink to be excessive.

Uncharacteristically, the majority of convicted offenders (five persons) received custodial sentences. Two people had been previously convicted of other crimes. The vandal from Segezha was already serving a sentence for theft at the time of sentencing, and Vladimir Smirnov, the well-known St. Petersburg personality, who planted a fake pig's head near the mosque, had repeatedly received suspended sentences for racist crimes.[47] Three defilers of the Yazidi graveyard in the Volgograd Region, members of the “Grey Dogs” group, also went to prison.


From among the vandalism convictions, two sentences were handed down under the Criminal Code Aricle 214 for swastika graffiti in the hallways of apartment buildings. Most similar crimes (desecration of buildings, houses, fences) in the past year were traditionally qualified not as vandalism but as propaganda under Article 282 (see the next chapter). Apparently, the difference is due to the fact that in the above cases the xenophobic graffiti appeared on objects that, unlike religious buildings or monuments, could not be vandalized.

We have no knowledge of any sentences imposed for arson and explosions, that is, for acts that are really dangerous, in 2013. The number of such offenses increased (see “Vandalism”), but we receive almost no information on their investigation, and the annual number of convictions to these most dangerous vandals remains extremely small - one in 2012, vs. 2 in 2011.

For Propaganda

The number of propaganda-related convictions in 2013 was more than three times greater than the number of violence and vandalism convictions combined, and the number of people, convicted for propaganda constitutes almost twice the number of violent convicted offenders and vandals. At least 131 convictions for xenophobic propaganda against 133 people were delivered in 2013 (one person was acquitted) in 57 regions of the country. In 2012, 91 verdicts were issued against 105 people in 45 regions.

Article 282 was utilized in the 124 sentences to 125 people. An overwhelming majority (100 people) were charged under this article only, seven cases only involved Article 280, in seven additional cases people were sentenced under the aggregation of Articles 282 and 280, and two people – under the aggregation of Articles 214 and 280 (see also “Vandalism”).

Three people were convicted under articles 282 и 2052 (“public incitement to terrorist activity or public apology of terrorism“): Alfred Ahmadullin and Azat Valishin accused of membership in Al-Takfir wa al-Hijrah organization, banned in 2010, and of preparing a terrorist attack in Tatarstan, and Aleykhanym Vakhid-Kyzy Mikailova charged with advocating terrorism via the Ahli al-Sunnah wal-Jamaat VKontakte group in the Rostov Region. Note that, as in the previous years, the sentences under Article 2052 were only imposed for radical Islamist propaganda.

Some participants of group trials, such as the above-mentioned members of ultra-right groups Volksturm in Yekaterinburg and the Simbirsk White Power group in Ulyanovsk (see “Violence” chapter) were charged under an aggregation of violence and propaganda articles. In some sentences Article 282 was used in aggregation with other nonviolent chriminal charges, such as the Criminal Code Article 158 (“theft”) or Article 223 (“illegal manufacture of weapons.”)


The court verdicts for the propaganda cases were distributed as follows

  • 1 person was acquitted;
  • 5 people were released from punishment because the statute of limitations had expired;
  • 1 person referred for educational measures;
  • 3 referred for compulsory medical treatment ;
  • 14 people received custodial sentences;
  • 12 people received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
  • 20 people were sentenced to various fines;
  • 41 people were sentenced to mandatory labor;
  • 30 people were sentenced to correctional labor;
  • 1 person to restrictions on freedom ;
  • 4 people received a suspended correctional labor sentence;
  • 1 person lost the right to engage in profession or trade
  • 1 - penalty unknown.

In 2013, convictions that involved real prison terms were delivered in conjunction with the Criminal Code articles other than propaganda. They were issued to the members of neo-Nazi groups (Simbirsk White Power, Volksturm), members of the above-mentioned Al- Takfir wa al-Hijrah, who tried to blow up a sales office of the Chistopolsky Branch of the zonal electronic communication node, the leader of the Self-improvement Fund (Fond samosovershenstvovaniia) group in Orenburg, which, besides “applying psychological pressure on minors to force them into sexual promiscuity,” also advocated a racist, neo-fascist ideology.

Lone offenders also faced the verdicts that involved real prison terms, either in conjunction with their previously committed other crimes - as in the cases of the leader of the Union ofthe Russian People of Volgograd and Volzhsky (Soiuz Russkogo Naroda Volgograda i Volzhskogo), who attacked a police officer with an ax, or Petr Molodidov, the author of the essay “Cossack land for Cossacks”, who was already serving a 17 -year sentence for the murder of several people. The only incarceration sentence that provides any reasons for doubt was imposed in Novgorod on a VKontakte social network user for his calls “to commit violent acts against people of non-Slavic nationality,” but perhaps we do not know all the circumstances .


Another notable verdict was issued in the case of Colonel Yuri Menzhege, an professor of the St. Petersburg Interior Troops Military Institute of the Russian Interior Ministry, who was deprived of the right to practice his profession for three years due to his negative statements about religion and non-Slavs during his lectures. This is the first time we encounter such a verdict in the past two years.

We also observed a ban on profession used as an additional penalty in the case of above-mentioned Petr Molodidov, who was banned from publishing his work in the mass media. It is unfortunate that bans on practicing a profession are not being used more extensively, since such a ban constitutes the most effective punishment for people, who regularly engage in nationalist propaganda, including professionally, in the mass media or among students.

The trend of diminishing proportion of suspended sentences for propaganda, observed in in 2012, has persisted. It only came to 8% in 2013 (12 of 134 convicted offenders). We see this trend as unambiguously positive, since, in our experience of many years, the majority of convicted propagandists do not view a suspended sentence as a serious punishment and are not being deterred from similar activity in the future.

The majority of convicted offenders (95 people) received penalties, not involving loss of freedom that we believe to be more effective (fines, mandatory and correctional labor. In our opinion, such sentences constitute an appropriate punishment for graffiti on buildings and fences or online social network activity.


Similarly to 2012 and 2011, the propaganda convictions overwhelmingly related to online publications (101). As expected, their share keeps increasing. The number of convictions for online propaganda in 2013 was almost three times larger than the number of convictions for offline propaganda (30).

Materials that resulted in convictions for online propaganda were posted on the following Internet resources

  • Social networks – 88 convictions (VKontakte – 68, unidentified social networks – 17; other (Odnoklassniki, V krugu druzei, Moi mir) – 3);
  • Unspecified Internet resources – 8;
  • Sharing books via local file-sharing networks – 3 (Mein Kampf in all cases);
  • Blog post – 1;
  • Sending via e-mail – 1.

Thus, the prosecution of propaganda for two years changed only in their quantity. Law enforcement officers continue to search for extremism on the VKontakte social network. Such attention to VKontakte is due to the fact that this network is popular among the Russian youth, particularly its ultra-right segment. In addition, its users are easily identified, since page owners have to provide their personal data and phone number during registration, and network administrators easily provide this information upon request from the law enforcement.

Unfortunately, all the shortcomings of the Internet-related law enforcement remain unchanged[48] For example, no attempts were made in 2013 to resolve the key issue for the “propaganda” Criminal Code Articles, namely, there were no clarifications regarding quantitative assessment of public exposure. This criterion is not even taken into account either in filing criminal charges or in sentencing. Meanwhile, the audience size obviously varied widely within the hundred sentences, issued over the course of the year.


The genre distribution of the criminal online materials also remained largely unchanged from the year before:

  • Video (including the notorious The Execution of a Tajik and a Dagestani (Kazn’ Tadzhika i Daga) – 52 convictions;
  • Audio (including the song by the music bands Kolovrat and Cyclone-B) – 7 convictions;
  • Images (photo or drawings) – 22 convictions;
  • Articles or other complete texts – 14 convictions;
  • Comments on articles or forum posts – 10 convictions;
  • Unknown – 7 convictions.

Similarly to the preceding year, the sentences for visual materials predominate. This is easily explained by the fact that that these materials are more straightforward and understandable than the text. In addition, linking to videos is technically simple, and the verdicts mostly pertain to references to materials posted elsewhere (e.g. on YouTube). Unfortunately, numerous re-publishers of these videos are the only ones facing responsibility. We think that it would have been much more appropriate to focus on identifying those who created and uploaded these videos, or, better yet, those who committed the crimes demonstrated on the video, especially when it comes to violence, since such recordings are not always staged (see: “Violence” above).

As for the texts, it is difficult to judge the degree of their public danger, as they are almost never available to us, and the message or the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor's Office does not provide any explanation. It is also unfortunate, that prosecution pays almost equal attention to the original texts and individual comments in social networks, blogs or forums .


There were far fewer (30) convictions for off-line propaganda. They were distributed as follows:

  • Graffiti – 11 convictions;
  • Lectures in an educational institution and the Army – 2 convictions;
  • Public xenophobic insults in the course of a casual attack – 5 convictions;
  • Public insults against the members of the military – 2 convictions;
  • Speech at the rally – 2 convictions;
  • Shouting slogans during a rally– 2 convictions;
  • Distribution of leaflets – 1 conviction;
  • Newspaper publications – 1 conviction;
  • To members and leaders of ultra-right groups for specific (unspecified) incidents of propaganda– 4 convictions.

We largely agree with the the sentences, imposed for xenophobic propaganda delivered in the form of a lecture, a newspaper article, or public insults, especially if they occur in the course of an attack, public humiliation of the soldiers, public speeches and distribution of leaflets during the rallies (obviously, depending on their content). However, we find criminal prosecution for the street graffiti to be excessive; meanwhile such cases represent 37% of the verdicts (11 out of 30)

Criminal Prosecution of Extremist Groups and Banned Organizations

The prosecution under the Criminal Code Article 2821 (Organization of an extremist community) and Article 2822 (“Organization of an extremist group “) was more intensive then in the preceding year. We know of five such verdicts, compared to three in 2012 (not including the obviously inappropriate ones).

Article 2821 was appropriately used against the groups guilty of systematic violence, such as the members of the Ulyanovsk right-wing group Simbirsk White Power (already mentioned several times in this report), the Irkutsk “mallet-killers,” and the Rostov-on-Don group that tried to plant a bomb in the local FMS office. In all these cases the defendants were sentenced to long prison terms, and the charges in every single case included other “violent” articles of the Criminal Code.

A very unusual verdict was delivered in Vorkuta under Part 3 of the Criminal Code Article 30 and Part 1 of Article 2821 (“attempted creation of an extremist community”) against a young man, who, along with his accomplice, planned to create in the Komi Republic an “organized group to prepare and commit extremist crimes against citizens of different ethnic backgrounds” in Vorkuta. However, their efforts to recruit anyone into their ranks were unsuccessful, and a would-be organizer received a suspended sentence.

Activists of neo-pagan right-wing radical organization Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus' (Dukhovno-rodovaia derzhava Rus’) were once again convicted under the Criminal Code Article 2822. The members of this organization mail their propaganda to various government offices, including the Prosecutor’s office on regular occasions. In 2013, Oleg Popov, the leader of Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus', “the Tsar of Orda and the Great Prince of Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus”, faced a fine of 100 thousand roubles.[49]

Finally, the NOMP members, including both of its leaders Vladimir Kvachkov and Leonid Khabarov, were convicted in Moscow and Yekaterinburg under Article 2051 (“involvement in terrorist activity”); this was a de-facto verdict for the activity of this organization.[50]

The Federal List of Extremist Materials

In 2013, the Federal List of Extremist Materials continued its rapid growth. It was updated 46 times and grew from 1589 to 2179 items.[51] Note an increase in its rate of growth – it added 590 items, compared to 522 items added in 2012, 318 items added in 2011, and 281 items in 2010.

The additions are thematically distributed as follows (some items included a variety of materials):

  • xenophobic materials by modern Russian nationalists – 283 items;
  • materials by other nationalists – 38 items;
  • materials by nationalist ideologues and classics (from books, written a hundred years ago to “venerable” modern authors)– 40 items;
  • materials of Islamist militants and other calls for violence, issued by political islamists – 136 items;
  • other Muslim materials (Said Nursi's books, materials of the banned organizations, including Hizb ut-Tahrir, etc.) – 42 items;
  • anti-Muslim and anti-Christian materials (not including materials by Russian nationalists – 3 items;
  • other religious materials (from L. Ron Hubbard, to Metropolitan Andrei Sheptitsky) – 6 items;
  • various anti-state materials, inciting to riots and violence (including anarchist materials) – 16 items;
  • anti-LGBT materials – 3 items;
  • materials calling for violence against neo-Nazis - 1 item;
  • materials not classified above (including oppositional materials such as an article by Yuri Afanasiev and video by Alexei Navalny) -- 12 items;
  • materials that could not be identified– 12 items.

At least 333 items out of 590 are online materials.


The share of inappropriate bans is growing. It is obvious despite the fact that for many bans we are unable to evaluate the extent of appropriateness. In 2013, the list added many items that clearly were banned without a proper legal justification. For example, the books by Said Nursi, Jehovah's Witnesses materials, a critical review by R. Oshroev of Z. Kipeeva’s the book Peoples of the North- Western and Central Caucasus : migration and resettlement (1760s. –1860s) (Narody Severo-Zapadnogo i Tsentral’nogo Kavkaza: Migratsii i Rasseleniia (60e gody XVIII v. 60e gody XIX v.) – a completely baffling prohibition. Addition of an article by liberal historian Yuri Afanasyev to the List is similarly puzzling.[52]

In March, the List once again came to the center of media attention when it added the entire contents of Issue No. 2 (2011) of the Radical Politics newspaper, which had been recognized as extremist by the Central District Court of Omsk. The Court provided a comma-separated list of materials in the banned issue. As a result, the List came to include articles by Vladislav Inozemtsev, Director of the Center for Research on Postindustrial Society (re-published from the Ogonyok magazine), by well-known Omsk human rights activist Victor Korb (previously re-published on several Internet resources), by Polish journalist Andrzej Poczobut and by Pavel Lyuzakov, Chief Editor of the Svobodnoe Slovo newspaper. The media paid a particular attention to the item “Congratulations from the President”, identical to the texts published on on the website of the United Russia party. After the scandal in the media, the court decision was overturned by a higher court; the case was sent back for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence, and No. 1674 (which included the entire newspaper issue ) was excluded from the List, with numbering intact. However, some articles from the issue were once again recognized as extremist in September and re- added to the Federal List – and the reasons for prohibiting of many of these are still unclear.

The list is growing in size (it contains 2,212 items at the time of writing), but its quality remains unchanged. Materials are still entered with numerous and various errors, including spelling errors (“Korna “ instead of “Koran”, “katakhezis” instead of “katekhezis,” etc.). Courts keep adding the same materials to the list due to parallel judicial decisions (this is the case for at least 64 items), or the same material is entered in different editions, or, in case of online materials, published on different sites. Almost identical editions of the book cannot be formally identified as duplicates due to their different imprints. For example, the decision of the Temryuksky District Court of the Krasnodar Region recognized as extremist the book Udar Russkikh Bogov [The strike of the Russian Gods] by V. Istarkhov (collective pseudonym of V. Ivanov and V. Selivanov) for the fourth (!) time, and the brochure Racial Hygiene and Demographic Policy in the National Socialist Germany[53]- for the third time. Sometimes the items directly duplicate each other.

Description of materials do not conform to bibliographic rules. Even leaving the bibliographic literacy aside, the List items are described in a way, that makes them impossible to identify. For example, No. 1715 is described as “a leaflet, containing calls for extremist activities aimed at inciting hatred, hostility and humiliation of human dignity, that was publicly distributed in the hallways of the apartment buildings, located on Mira street and Internationalnaya Street in Shakhtersk, Uglegorsky District, Sakhalin Region

By the way, the practice of recognizing as extremist the leaflets that are only locally distributed (as in the example above) and deal with local current events seems highly questionable.

The majority of the online materials on the List look questionable and confusing as well. The electronic address (URL) of a resource is intentionally distorted prior to being added to the list. Thus, the list essentially contains dead hyperlinks. Obviously, the Ministry of Justice does not want to advertise extremist materials, but in this case the agency’s actions end up being simply meaningless.

Banning of Organizations as Extremist

The Federal List of Extremist Organizations, published on the Ministry of Justice website[54] added four entries in 2013:

- Northern Brotherhood (Severnoe bratstvo) interregional public organization, banned by the Moscow City Court in early August 2012;[55]

- Horde (Orda) religious association, recognized as extremist by a decision of the Kizilsky District Court of the Chelyabinsk Region in November 2012. We doubt the validity of this decision;[56]

- Omsk office of the Russian National Unity (Russkoe natsional’noe edinstvo), recognized as extremist back in October 2002 (sic!) by the decision of the Omsk Regional Court, but only added to the list ten years later;

- Kirov Regional public organization Fan Club of FC Dynamo-Kirov (Klub Bolelshikov Futbol’nogo Kluba Dinamo Kirov) recognized as extremist by the Kirov Regional Court.[57]

Thus, at the time of writing, the Federal List of Extremist Organizations contains 33 organizations (not counting organizations recognized specifically as terrorist), whose activity has been legally banned, and any continuation of the activity is punishable under the Criminal Code Article 2822 (“Organization of an extremist group”).

An unprecedented decision was made regarding the Autonomous Combat Terrorist Organization (Avtonomnaia boevaia terroristicheskaia organizatsiia, ABTO), whose members were responsible for a series of bombings and arson incidents in 2009-2010. In June, the Moscow City Court banned ABTO specifically as a terrorist organization (not simply as an extremist organization). It will become the item No. 20 in the List of the Terrorist Organizations,[58] but have not been added yet. This is the first time such a designation was applied to a right-wing rather then an Islamist group.

Other Administrative Measures

In 2013 Roscomnadzor issued 21 warnings to media editorial staff for extremist activities (compared to 12 warnings in 2012). We view only five of them as appropriate – the warnings to the editorial boards of the newspapers “Pretenziya” Agentstva zhurnalistskikh rassledovanii (for publishing the article “Size Matters”), Svoimi Imenami (for publishing in different issues the articles by M. Shendakov, “An Open Letter to an Enemy of the Homeland and a Traitor of the Russian People” and by N.P. Zubkov, “The Red Guard of the Kremlin. Are they also Masons?”), Komsomolskaya Pravda (for Ulyana Skoybeda’s column “Politician Leonid Gozman said that Pretty Uniform is the only Difference between the SMERSH and the SS’”), and Russkaya Liniya (for publishing monk Afanasy’s brochure “Give us Back our Homeland or Station-Baku (no luggage).”

Almost all of the remaning 16 warnings were issued for posting the materials (videos or images) on Pussy Riot collective or for publishing the news about Artem Loskutov, who was fined for creating t-shirts with a Pussy Riot image stylized to look like an icon. We found 7 inappropriate warning in 2012. Thus, the efficiency of the agency is rapidly declining.


No newspapers were closed for extremism in 2013 (it must be noted that decisions to close media outlets for publishing extremist articles are exceedingly rare). The Svoimi Imenami newspaper received three warnings in one year, and Roscomnadzor has been requesting that the Moscow City Court shut it down since the fall of 2011.[59]


On the other hand, administrative prosecution related to “extremism” are not uncommon. Unfortunately, prosecutors don’t always inform the public about such measures.Thus, our data is purely preliminary. It does not include the court judgments that we view as clearly inappropriate.


In 2013, we are aware of 41 cases of penalties under the Administrative Code Article 20.29 (“mass distribution of extremist materials, as well as their production or storage for the purpose of mass distribution”). There were 16 such decisions in 2012. The verdicts were imposed for dissemination of xenophobic material on the Internet and through file-sharing networks (songs and video by Kolovrat, the songs of Chechen armed resistance bard Timur Mutsurayev, “Format-18” video, the book Azbuka Domashnego Terrorisma [Home Terrorism Primer], Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the movies Rossiia v Krivykh Zerkalakh [Russia in Distorting Mirrors], Rossiia s Nozhom v Spine [Russia with a Knife in Its Back], Evreiskii Fashizm i Genotsid Russkogo Naroda [Jewish Fascism and the Genocide of the Russian People] , the Eternal Jew and Jew Süss), singing “banned songs” during a march, and selling books listed on the Federal List of Extremist Materials. The perpetrators faced the fines ranging from 2 to 20 thousand rubles.

We also know of 20 cases of penalties under Article 20.3 (“propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi attributes or symbols”), vs. 10 cases in 2012. In most cases, the offenders were fined for openly posting photographs of themselves in Nazi uniform or an image of Nazi swastika on the online social networks. Also fined were the owner of the store that sold swastika-decorated clothing, a member of the banned Spiritual and Tribal Sovereign Rus', who sent letters with multiple swastikas to a number of government agencies, and a penal colony inmate who demonstrated his own swastika tattoo. In addition, three people was subjected to administrative detention: for racist graffiti at a bus stop, for displaying a flag bearing Nazi symbols on a soccer match, and for walking around a store, carrying a flag with swastika.

Two sentences were imposed under the aggregation of two Administrative Code articles mentioned above, both for the posts on VKontakte social network. In the first case, a resident of Togliatti was fined for posting a photo with the swastika and a song by Kolovrat. In the second case, a resident of the Tomsk Region was sentenced to six days of administrative detention for publishing racist images, videos and texts.

In Rostov-on-Don, the mother of a 15-year-old girl, who made”Glory to Russia” graffiti in the hallway of her apartment building, was found liable under the Administrative Code Article 5.35 (“improper fulfillment of child-rearing responsibilities by parents or other legal representatives of juvenile”). The student herself was exempt from punishment.


Unfortunately, information about the anti-extremist activity of the Prosecutor’s Offices is markedly incomplete when compared with data from other law enforcement agencies, so we will only outline its principal directions. The number of motions made by prosecutors, demanding that local Internet providers block access to “extremist” websites, has increased. This is the principal current method for fighting extremism on the Internet.[60] We know of at least 77 cases in 2013, not counting the clearly inappropriate ones (compare to 69 in 2012). Please keep in mind that the prosecutors and the Internet service providers do not always report on such measures, so we know our data to be incomplete and fragmentary. To the best of our knowledge, the law on the Registry of Banned Sites,[61] which entered into force on November 1, 2012, was almost never applied against the websites with “extremist” materials. [62]These sites are blocked using the old system.

Motions on the impermissibility of extremist activities sent to the management of schools and libraries due to the lack of content filtering software in their educational institutions still remain a common prosecutorial response measure. We know of at least 35 such motions, compared to 38 in the preceding year. We have repeatedly commented[63] on fight against extremism on school computers. Once again we have to reiterate that the idea of pressuring schools in hopes of forcing them to block extremism by using Internet filters seems to us highly problematic. Ideal content filters do not exist, since it is impossible to compile an all-encompassing list of keywords and addresses. Experience has shown that the program, installed in Russian schools by the Federal Agency of Education in March 2008, is unable to cope with its assigned task.

[1] This report was prepared as part of the project, imlemented using the state support grants per Decree No. 115rp of the President of the Russian Federation, issued on March 29, 2013

[2] In our 2012 report we reported 19 dead, 187 injured and 2 murder threats. See: Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The Ultra-Right on the Streets with a Pro-Democracy Poster in Their Hands or a Knife in Their Pocket: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2012 // SOVA Center. 2013. 15 March (

[3] An ultra-right youth group focused on systematic attacks against migrants became active in Lipetsk in the past year.

[4] The Voronezh Region also topped this sorry list in 2005, 2007 and 2008.

[5] The leader of Migrants Federation was wounded in Moscow // SOVA Center. 2013. 11 November (

[6] Russians on migration and ethnic tensions / Levada Center. 2013. 5 November (

[7] At least 10 people in 5 regions suffered from the racist attacks by the paratroopers on August 2, 2013 (compared to 5 people in 2012).

[8] For more details see comments by N. Yudina in “ Serial attacks against citizens of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the Moscow District of Butovo” / / The official website of the Civic Assistance (Grazhdanskoe sodeistvie) Committee.. 2013. 18 September (

[9] On anti-Semitism in Russia in 2013, see: Antisemitic incidents in Russia in 2013. Analytical report of the Russian Jewish Congress and SOVA Center / / Website of the Russian Jewish Congress. 2014. 22 January (

[10] Group of Jewish youth was attacked in on a train in the Moscow Region // SOVA Center. 2013. 9 October

[11] The action when the ultra-right walk through the subway or train cars, beating up the passengers of “non-slavic appearance”

[12] LGBT organizations cite larger numbers, but, as with other groups, we don’t include the victims in our statistics, unless we are sure that it was, specifically, a hate crime.

[13] Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed Right Radicals Toward New Goals: Xenophobia, Radical Nationalism and Efforts to Counteract It in Russia during the First Half of 2013 // SOVA Center. 2013. 12 июля (

[14] Video with scenes of brutal homophobic abuse // SOVA Center.SOVA Center. 2013. 17 September (

[15] For more details on the Big Game.see: Galina Kozhevnikova, Anton Shekhovtsov et al. Radikal’nyi Russkii Natsionalizm: Struktury, Idei, Litsa, Moscow: SOVA Center, pp. 236-237 [Radical Russian Nationalism: Structure, Ideas, People]

[16] See Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed….

[17] Ibid.


[19] For more details see: Nationalist Riots in Biryulyovo: // SOVA Center. 2013. 15 October (

[20] The Biryulyovo front” is suspected of organizing pogroms // SOVA Center. 2013. 21 October (

[21] From among the ultra-right public figures, the assembly of October 13 was attended by the “Russians” leaders Aleksandr Belov and Dmitry Dyomishkin, and Aleksandr Amelin, former coordinator of the “Russians экс- and now the leader of the Russian Renaissance (Russkoe Vozrozhdeniie) movement.

[22] St. Petersburg: Nikolai Bondarik detained and arrested. He already faces charges. // SOVA Center. 2013. 16 October (

[23] Russians on migration and ethnic tensions / Levada Center2013. 5 November (

[24] About 200 attended a “people’s assembly” in Arzamas // 2013. 17 December (

[25] Nationalist conducted a raid in a migrant workers residence in Kapotnya // SOVA Center. 2013. 30 September (

[26] Guestbusters in the State Duma ! // Internet-diary of the Guestbusters community

[27] Ukraine: More abuse by Tesak // SOVA Center. 2013. 2 December (

[28] Denitz-notthe real nameandnickname, taken in honorof KarlDoenitz, who ledGermany afterAdolfHitler'ssuicideat the end ofthe Second WorldWar

[29] The search in the house of the founder of the Occupy-G erontofiliay project // SOVA Center. 2013. 26 December (

[30] See Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed...

[31] Ibid.

[32] Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The Ultra-Right on the Streets…

[33] Vera Alperovich, .Natalia Yudina, Alexander Verkhovsky, Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya: Xenophobia and Radical Nationalism in Russia, and Efforts to Counteract Them in 2011 // SOVA Center SOVA Center. 2012. 24 February ( Toc316432009).

[34] The Russian March 2013 in the regions of Russia // SOVA Center. 2013. 6 November (

[35] For more details see: St. Petersburg, “white car” and a pogrom on the Udelnaya Metro Station Market. // SOVA Center. 2013. 5 November (

[36] Nationalists conducted events in Moscow and other cities to call for limiting migration from Central Asia and the Caucasus // SOVA Center. 2013. 16 April (

[37] For more details see Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed….

[38] Valery Solovey: “The courage to continue” // The official website of the New Force (Novaya Sila) party.

[39] For more details see Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed….

[40]Frequently asked questions about the Party // The official website of the Resistance (Soprotivlenie) movement. 2013. 13 April.

[41] On November 9 1938 was the beginning of a massive pogrom against the Jews in Germany, called "Kristallnacht," which became the first step toward the Holocaust.

[42] For more details see: Vera Alperovich, Alexander Verkhovsky, Natalia Yudina, Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya….

[43] Ibid. for more on the people-hate movement.

[44] In the period from 2005 to 2013 the total of 22 people were sentenced to life in prison for motivated violent crimes (19 of them were members of organized neo-Nazi groups).

[45] More on mallet-killers see: V. Alperovich, .N. Yudina, A. Verkhovsky, Between Manezhnaya and Bolotnaya …

[46] More detailes see: Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed....

[47] Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The Ultra-Right on the Streets…

[48] N. Yudina : Virtual Anti-Extremism: On the use of anti-extremist legislation on the Internet (2007–2011) // SOVA Center. 2012. 17 September (

[49] Earlier, in April 2004, Oleg Popov, on the third attempt was sent for inpatient psychiatric examination during a criminal case on the insult of President Putin, whom the neo-pagan called “a lackey of Judeo-Nazism”. In 2004, he repeatedly faced criminal charges for his threats against public officials and prosecutors of various levels (including “the death sentence” he issued to Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov and the like).

[50] For more details see Vera Alperovich, Natalia Yudina, The State Duma Directed….

[51] As of January 20 ,2014 39 items on the list were voided (materials excluded with the numbering intact): five of them were removed as duplicates, 34 were removed when a decision to recognize these materials as extremist have been canceled. 62 positions reflect duplicate judicial decisions (not counting the items referring to the same text with a different imprint) and two repeated the decision already reflected on the list.

[52] The article by liberal historian Yuri Afanasyev “Is Liberal Mission Possible in Russia Today” was published on February 16, 2011 on the website of the Liberal Mission (Liberal’naia Missiia) foundation.Then the article was republished on the Radio Svoboda website on March 22, 2011, without attracting any law enforcement attention. The version of article that was added to the List was the one republished on Free Speech/Svoboda Slova website with a modified name, anti-Russian images and xenophobic foreward, but with its content unchanged.

[53] Make a Fool Pray: Udar Russkikh Bogov has been banned for the fourth time; Racial Hygiene – for the third time …”// SOVA Center. 2013. 5 April (

[54] The official name - A list of public and religious associations, and other non-profit organizations, in respect of which the court accepted is a valid decision on liquidation or ban on activities on the grounds stipulated by the Federal Law "On Combating Extremist Activity".

[55] It was a network structure around the websites Severnoe bratstvo, V Desyatku and Bolshaya Igra: Slomai Sistemu [The Big Game: Break the Sysem]. The organization's website was recognized as extremist in March 2008. Ideologist of the Northern Brotherhood Petr Khomyakov was sentenced under Part 1 of Article 2821 and Part 4 of Article 159 of the Criminal Code ("fraud committed by an organized group or on an especially large scale") to four years in prison in October 2012. Other memers of the group, A. Mukhachyov and O. Troshkin, were convicted under the same articles. For more details about the organization, see: G. Kozhevnikova, A. Shekhovtsev, ibid. pp. 231–240.

[56] The fact that the followers of the organization experienced psychological effects and practiced non-traditional treatment methods (such as the holy water, appeals to the spirits, lashing, and visiting the holy places) was sited as the reason for the ban, but these actions do not fall within the definition of extremism. The same Horde organization (the successor to the Ata Zholy [The Way of the Ancestors] religious organization, banned in Kazakhstan) was shut down in July 2011 by the order of the Leninsky District Court in Ufa. However, we do not know whether it was recognized as extremist at that time or simply liquidated for violating the law “On freedom of conscience and religious organizations.”

[57] The club was closed in 2013 for“extremist actions by its members;” the prosecutors found on the club website a number of publicly accessible “photos and videos depicting Nazi symbols and people using Nazi greeting”; the organization used an official seal “carrying an image that was similar to the extent of confusioin to the symbols used by a number of army units in Hitler’s Germany in 1942-1945.” One of the club’s members was convicted for incitement to ethnic hatred and enmity, and two others faced administrative responsibility for propaganda and public demonstration of Nazi paraphernalia or symbols or public display of attributes and symbols of extremist organizations.

[58] Single federal list of organizations, including foreign and international organizations designated terrorist by Russian courts // FSB Website (

[59] The Svoimi Imenami newspaper is a successor of the K Bar’eru newspaper, closed in April 2011. K Bar’eru, in turn, succeeded the Duel newspaper, also closed after a multi-year court proceedings.Remember that Svoimi Imenami had previously received three Roscomnadzor warnings.

[60] See N. Yudina : Virtual Anti-Extremism …

[61] For more details see.: M. Kravchenko. Inappropriate Use of Anti-Extremist Legislation in Russia in 2012 // SOVA Center. 2013. 24 April (

[62] In 2013, we know of the case indicating that the new law affected the dissemination of extremist materials. In March 2013, the Internet provider Rostelecom blocked access to social networks VKontakte and Odnoklassniki, YouTube and blog platform in the Orel and Ryazan Regions ( in Ryazan only). Rostelecom clients attemting to visit the site, found a notification that the resource is blocked due to its inclusion on the Unified Register of Banned Websites. The websites were added to the register due to some materials, posted on their pages, which had been previously banned as extremist. All these services were taken off the registry on the same day, but Rostelecom had already blocked them. Similar information on the actions of the Internet provider was reported from the Bryansk and Voronezh regions .

[63] See for example “Sancions against the Heads of Educational Institutions // SOVA Center. 2011. 30 июня (