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Racism and Xenophobia in November 2010

Source: (info), 01/12/10

· Racism & Xenophobia

In November 2010 as a result of violence motivated by racism and neo-Nazism five people died and not less than eight people were injured (in November 2009 five people died and 27 were injured). In total since the start of 2010, 35 people have died and at least 297 have been injured as a result of attacks of this nature in Russia.

The November attacks occurred in Moscow and Moscow region (three dead and three wounded), St. Petersburg and Leningrad region (one dead, one wounded), Volgograd region (one dead), Bashkortostan (two wounded), Blagoveshchensk (one wounded), and Novosibirsk (one wounded). In total since the beginning of the year racist attacks were registered in 44 Russian regions.

In terms of the level of violence, since the beginning of the year Moscow and Moscow region have continued to lead (17 killed, 113 injured), followed by St. Petersburg and Leningrad region (two dead, 43 injured) and Nizhny Novgorod (three dead, 16 wounded). In other cities the number of victims does not exceed 10 people.

As before, most of the attacks have been on people from Central Asia (14 killed, 62 wounded).

The number of acts of vandalism, which could be seen as motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi ideology, was low in November 2010. The sites of such attacks included a Muslim cemetery in Nizhny Novgorod region, a house of worship of Jehovah's Witnesses in Irkutsk, a statue of Lenin in Orel region, and several architectural monuments in St. Petersburg (including Clodt’s horses on Anichkov Bridge). In total since the beginning of the year there have been at least 86 acts of vandalism associated with religious hatred or other xenophobic motives.

In November 2010, the theme of neo-Nazi terror again appeared. In Primorsky Territory a criminal investigation was launched into the preparation of an assassination attempt against the investigator in charge of a case against the region’s racists. In late October and November there was a campaign of threats against prosecutors and judges connected with the prosecution of neo-Nazis in St. Petersburg and Moscow "the case of Vasily Krivtsov, and the NS/WP case). St. Petersburg neo-Nazis have claimed responsibility for mining railway lines outside the city on 13 November 2010 and claimed responsibility for a series of communications allegedly reporting that bombs had been planted at various objects on the eve of 10 November (Police Day).

The most important public event organized by the far right has become the traditional "Russian March". This year the event was a record in terms of the number of participants in Moscow (about 5,500 joined the march), and in terms of nationwide scale (in the form of marches, rallies, processions and pickets, activities under the brand-name "Russian March" were held in at least 29 Russian cities).

The most successful example of instigating inter-ethnic conflict along the lines of the Kondopoga scenario has been the conflict in the small town of Khotkovo outside Moscow. There a man was killed as a result of a fight between immigrants from Central Asia (who have already been charged with committing a hate crime) and local residents. As in the past with such conflicts, the incident sparked a series of demonstrations by local residents, that included the use of xenophobic slogans. Employers who had hired migrant workers were forced to evacuate them from the town. Ultra-right organizations continued a public relations campaign spreading rumours about "a small town outside Moscow terrorized by migrants”.

In November 2010 there were at least three convictions related to racist violence in which hatred was considered a motive: in Voronezh, Nizhny Novgorod and Samara. In these trials eight people were convicted, two of whom were exempted from punishment because of the statute of limitations, and four received suspended sentences without any additional sanctions.

In total since the beginning of the year there were at least 77 convictions and 264 persons were sentenced in cases involving violence involving hatred as a motive (those sentenced included 93 exempted from punishment because of the statute of limitations, or given suspended sentences with no additional sanctions).

In three court cases, five people were convicted in relation to xenophobic propaganda in November 2010 (in Kirov, Khabarovsk and Syktyvkar). All of them received suspended sentences.

In total since the beginning of the year 50 trials have ended with convictions of 60 defendants on charges of incitement to hatred (Article 282) (30 received suspended sentences; in respect of one person the sentence is not known at present). On charges of public incitement of extremist activities (Article 280), there were five trials of five people (all received suspended sentences) and six trials involved both Article 282 and Article 280, in which nine people were convicted (four of whom received suspended sentences, and two more were exempted from punishment on grounds of the statute of limitations).

In November in Tyumen a court convicted one individual under Article 214, Section 2 (vandalism motivated by hatred) for the desecration of a statue of Lenin. The court sentenced the vandal to a non-custodial sentence.

Since the beginning of the year for ideologically motivated vandalism four sentences have been imposed against five people (two of whom received suspended sentences).

In November, on three occasions (on 1, 13 and 18 November) the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated. Items Nos. 707-727 were added to the list. These updates were once again not unambiguous, including as they did both openly xenophobic texts, and individual responses on Internet fora. As of 1 December 2010 four items on the list, which now includes a total of 727 items, were annulled (the materials were removed while the existing numbering was maintained). Thirty-two items in the list are unlawful, since decisions determining the materials to be extremist in nature have been overturned by higher courts, and no other decisions to date have been adopted. Forty-seven items duplicate each other (not counting items included in the list that are one and the same text with different publication data, as, for example, the text "You Elected – You Must Judge”, which is included three times in the list).

On 13 November 2010 the Federal List of Extremist Organizations was updated. To the list were added items Nos.16 and 17: the international religious organization Al-Takfir wal-Hijra (decision of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dated 15 September 2010); and a local organization in Krasnodar city, Pit Bul ("Pit Bull") (decision of the October District Court of Krasnodar dated 24 August 2010).

As a result, as of 1 December 2010 this list includes 17 organizations whose activities have been prohibited by a court. Further conduct of their activities is punishable under Article 282-2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (organization of an extremist organization).

In the area of the unlawful application of anti-extremist legislation all the main tendencies of abuse have continued: both criminal and administrative prosecution of adherents of new religious and Muslim groups such as Scientologists and Jehovah's Witnesses, followers of Said Nursi, and others; the prosecution of National Bolsheviks; and increasing officials statistics on anti-extremism as a result of sanctions against libraries and schools.

Source: Sova Centre
Rights in Russia,
4 Dec 2010, 08:49