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Bulletin 2:5 (2008)

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  • andreumland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 2, No. 5(10), 15 February 2008 Compiler: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 16, 2008
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 2, No. 5(10), 15 February 2008
      Compiler: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 30 JANUARY - 15 FEBRUARY 2008

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      I NEWS: 30 JANUARY -15 FEBRUARY 2008

      Hate Crimes Grew by 13% Last Year
      Moscow Times, January 30, 2008 Issue 3831. Page 2.

      Hate crimes are on the rise in Russia, with a growing number of
      attacks resulting in fatalities, while authorities often exploit
      xenophobic sentiments for political purposes, the Sova rights group
      said Tuesday.
      Sova said in its annual report that 67 people were killed in
      ethnically or racially motivated attacks in 2007, and more than 550
      were wounded across the country -- a 13 percent increase from the
      previous year.
      There has been "an obvious steady rise in racially motivated
      violence," Sova deputy director Galina Kozhevnikova said, adding that
      the attacks are becoming more brutal.
      "Neo-Nazis are out not to beat up [their victims], but to kill," she
      told reporters.
      Kozhevnikova said that in 2007 courts delivered only 24 convictions
      related to hate crimes, and said authorities turn a blind eye to
      ultranationalists' actions, such as public marches "as long as they
      abide by certain rules -- do not criticize authorities, show loyalty
      and stick to city outskirts."
      She also said pro-Kremlin youth groups were beginning to use the
      methods of nationalist groups. The best-known group, Nashi, has in its
      marches ahead of the December elections used ethnic and racist slogans
      such as "We won't let migrants rule [Russia]."
      The government did not immediately comment on the report; Maxim
      Karyakin, a duty officer for the Prosecutor General's Office, said the
      office had not seen the report, though he said prosecutors had been
      invited to attend the news conference.
      Nashi spokeswoman Kristina Potupchik denied that her organization uses
      racist slogans, saying that part of Nashi's agenda was to fight


      Russia To Create Electronic File On Each Foreigner – Official
      Interfax, January 31, 2008

      MOSCOW. Jan 31 (Interfax) - Russia is creating an information system
      of migration records that will respond to the entry of undesirable
      foreigners, Director of the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS)
      Konstantin Romodanovsky said. There will be a state information system
      of migration records and components of the central database on
      foreigners. The database already contains over 58 million personal
      information records, he said at a FMS meeting in Moscow on Thursday.
      "In fact, we are creating an advanced international system tracking
      the entry, stay and exit of foreigners," Romodanovsky said. "The
      system will enable the creation of an electronic file on every
      foreigner, the history of his stay in the country, and when necessary,
      it will promptly respond to any information it registers about
      unwelcome persons," the chief migration officer said.

      RFE/RL Newsline Vol. 12, No. 22, Part I, 1 February 2008

      Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov has reversed himself and has
      agreed to participate in televised presidential-election debates with
      Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky,
      Russian media reported on February 1. Earlier, Zyuganov said he would
      not debate unless First Deputy Prime Minister and presumed
      presidential successor Dmitry Medvedev also agreed to debate. Medvedev
      has declined (see "RFE/RL Newsline," January 29, 2008). Prior to that,
      Zyuganov had said that he would consider withdrawing from the race
      altogether if all candidates are not granted equal access to the media
      and if the Kremlin did not distance itself from the use of
      administrative resources to promote Medvedev. Analysts, however, noted
      that the Communist Party has never come into such direct conflict with
      the Kremlin and downplayed Zyuganov's statements. "Kommersant"
      commented on February 1 that the party has "once again demonstrated
      that it is not capable of decisive measures and, as a result, the
      presidential elections will seem solid, which is what the Kremlin
      wants." INDEM foundation analyst Yury Korgunchyuk told the daily that
      refusing to debate would have been a powerful gesture that would have
      gained Zyuganov votes and would have made the entire campaign look
      "absurd." Zhirinovsky and Democratic Party of Russia head Andrei
      Bogdanov have agreed to participate in debates. RC

      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Hate crimes are on the rise in Russia, with a growing number of
      attacks resulting in fatalities, while authorities often exploit
      xenophobic sentiments for political purposes, the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center announced in its annual report released
      on January 29. In 2007, 67 were killed and more than 550 injured in
      ethnically or racially motivated attacks. The increase is 13% over 2006.
      The attacks are becoming more brutal, Sova deputy director Galina
      Kozhevnikova stressed. "Neo-Nazis are out not to beat up [their
      victims], but to kill," she told reporters.
      Kozhevnikova said that in 2007 courts across Russia delivered only 24
      hate crime convictions. She charged authorities with turning a blind
      eye to ultranationalists' actions, such as public marches "as long as
      they abide by certain rules -- do not criticize authorities, show
      loyalty, and stick to city outskirts." Pro-Kremlin youth groups have
      begun to use the methods of nationalist groups, she added. In its
      demonstrations prior to the December parliamentary elections, the
      best-known group, Nashi, employed ethnic and racist slogans such as
      "We won't let migrants rule [Russia]."
      There was no immediate government comment. But, the Associated Press
      reported that Nashi spokeswoman Kristina Potupchik denied that her
      organization uses racist slogans, saying that part of Nashi's agenda
      was to fight xenophobia.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Moscow police arrested five suspects in the murder of two Central
      Asians in two separate attacks, according to a January 25 report by
      the Russian Jewish web site Jewish.ru. Law enforcement sources
      revealed that the detentions took place the same day. All but one of
      the suspects are teenagers; they have all confessed to the killings.
      Police have found the murder weapons. It is not clear from the report
      if the youths face hate crimes charges.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Police detained four teenagers in connection with the grisly murder of
      a citizen of an unspecified former Soviet republic, according to a
      January 25 report by the news web site Regions.ru. The body of the
      25-year-old victim was discovered on December 8, with more than 60
      stab wounds. The savagery of the crime and the ethnicity of the victim
      suggest that ethnic hatred motivated the murder. But so far there is
      no information on the charges the youths face. They have, however,
      confessed to the killing.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      The Armenian victim of a knife attack in Moscow on January 23 died of
      his wounds in a hospital the following day, police said, according to
      "The Moscow Times." Passersby found the 20-year-old student at Moscow
      State Automobile and Road Technical University lying on the street at
      about 9:20 p.m., Northern Administrative District police spokeswoman
      Yekaterina Malyugina said. "We have no idea who attacked, or why they
      attacked," she said. "We are examining all possible motives." She
      declined to give the victim's name, which Interfax reported as
      Vladimir Karamzhyan. She said that the victim, who had been stabbed
      five times in the upper torso, was attacked near his home and that
      surgeons at City Hospital No. 50 had battled for hours to save his
      life. Interfax reported that five assailants aged from 12 to 18
      attacked the student, while Regnum.ru listed as many as 20 attackers.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Police in Moscow detained a group of youths who provoked a fight on
      the metro with a smaller group of Chechens, according to a January 31
      report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. On January 26, the
      youths spotted the Chechens and insulted their ethnicity. One Chechen
      responded, sparking a fight. Police also detained the Chechens, though
      it is not clear what charges, if any, they face.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Some 20 neo-Nazis attacked three "people of Asian appearance" in
      Moscow, according to a January 24 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. The assault appeared to be a
      well-planned operation, striking the victims with fists, kicks, and
      broken bottles before their leader ordered the group to withdraw.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      A gang attacked n ethnic Buryat boxer in Moscow, according to a
      January 25 report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. On
      January 19, Bato Batuev was set upon near the Vodny Stadion metro
      station. Increasing the likelihood that the attack was motivated by
      ethnic hatred, the attackers reportedly did not attempt to rob their
      victim who fought back and suffered two stab wounds to the stomach. He
      is in the hospital recovering from an emergency surgery.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Five neo-Nazis attacked an ethnic Korean citizen of Russia on a
      suburban commuter train near Moscow, according to a January 31 report
      by the news web site Gazeta.ru. The victim was hospitalized. The
      attack took place at the end of January and was first reported today
      after police announced they had detained six suspects, all but one
      under-aged youths. The suspects are all members of a neo-Nazi gang.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Ten members of the far-right Russian All-National Union (RONS)
      gathered in front of a synagogue in Ulyanovsk and screamed antisemitic
      slogans such as "We'll kill all the Jews!" according to a January 31
      report by Jewish.ru. The RONS members drew swastikas on the synagogue
      which has been vandalized numerous times in recent years and was once
      stormed by National Bolshevik Party members. Police arrested four
      attackers who resisted so violently that the officers used weapons to
      subdue them. The head of the Jewish community blamed the leader of the
      local RONS branch, an elected member of the city council in nearby
      Dimitrovgrad now running for a seat in the regional parliament.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Three youths attacked a synagogue in Nizhny Novgorod after a hockey
      game, according to a January 25 report by the Russian Jewish web site
      Jewish.ru. On January 23, the youths, fans of a hockey team visiting
      from Moscow, burst into the prayer hall, throwing the Torah, books,
      and religious items around the room and out the window. They did not
      injure any worshipers. Police detained the youths but it is unclear
      what charges, if any, they face.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      On January 19, unidentified individuals pasted racist leaflets on the
      door of a mosque in Nizhny Novgorod, according to a January 22 report
      by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The leaflet read, "There
      will be no mosques here!" and concluded with the threat, "The Russians
      are coming!" A Muslim activist accused students at the local
      university of printing the leaflets off of an Internet site. Community
      leaders reported the incident to the police.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      A court in Obninsk, Russia (Kaluga Region) sentenced eight youths to
      prison for posting videos of their racist attacks on the Internet,
      according to a January 21 report by the Sova Information-Analytical
      Center. The court hearing took place at the end of November 2007. The
      defendants, all but one of them are under-age, were convicted to
      between one year and two and a half years of prison after being found
      guilty of inciting ethnic hatred. The youths made an undisclosed
      number of such videos and edited in images of swastikas.
      Similar clips of neo-Nazi violence are widely available on the Internet.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 5 February 1, 2008

      Early morning on January 23, a fire damaged a Pentecostal church in
      Saratov, Russia, according to a January 25 report by the Slavic Legal
      Center which monitors religious freedom issues in Russia.
      Investigators do not exclude the possibility of arson but have not yet
      determined the cause of the blaze. However, the local pastor was cited
      in the report as saying that he and other members of the church
      regularly receive threats over the phone, and that in reporting the
      fire, the local media seemed to be avoiding the possibility that it
      was arson.


      Abjuring Holocaust study in Russia
      JTA, February 1, 2008

      A leader in the Russian Orthodox Church said Russian students should
      not study the Holocaust.
      Evgeny Nikiforov, chairman of the Radonezh Orthodox Society, said it's
      absurd that Russian students should learn tolerance by studying the
      murder of Jews during World War II rather than the Russian tragedies
      of the 20th century, according to the Interfax news agency.
      "The history of Russian tragedy -- the Russian Holocaust -- has not
      been written down yet and it is
      absolutely absurd to study the history of Jewish, Hungarian, Cambodian
      or other people's tragedies while our own history has not been
      studied," he said.
      Nikiforov addedthat he found it "strange that we Russians should learn
      tolerance from the Jewish nation's history," when "the richest Russian
      history, especially in the 20th century, gives a lot of positive and
      negative examples for tolerance study."


      Three Attacks Against Jews
      Moscow Times, February 1, 2008. Issue 3833. Page 2.

      Russia's Jewish community on Thursday reported three attacks in the
      last two weeks, including a raid on a synagogue and desecration of a
      memorial to Holocaust victims.
      In Ulyanovsk, a group of about a dozen young men painted swastikas
      Tuesday on the walls of a synagogue and cursed at members inside, the
      Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia said.
      In Volgograd, anti-Semitic slogans were scrawled on a memorial to
      Holocaust victims Sunday, the group said.
      Last week, several young men burst into a synagogue in Nizhny
      Novgorod, throwing religious books out a window and beating up a
      security guard, it said. (AP)


      January, 2008. Statistics on Racist Assaults
      SOVA, February 1, 2008

      In the first month of 2008, no less than 39 people, became victims of
      racial and neo-nazi violence, resulting in 13 fatalities. The attacks
      took place in Moscow (6 murdered, 17 injured people), in St.
      Petersburg (4 murdered, 1 injured), and also in Bryansk,
      Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Tula and Kaluga region.
      Individuals from Central Asia were attacked more often than other
      vulnerable groups in January (10 murdered and 6 injured).
      There were also 3 guilty verdicts issued in connection with the
      distribution of hate propaganda – in Karelia, in St. Petersburg and in
      There were no verdicts connected with the racist violence.


      RFE/RL Newsline, February 4, 2008 Volume 12 Number 23

      Officials from the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi held a press
      conference in Moscow on February 1 to refute media speculation that
      the Kremlin intends to wind down the organization, "Vremya novostei"
      reported on February 4 (see "RFE/RL Newsline," January 29, 2008). The
      officials said the organization is being "reorganized," not
      "liquidated." Nashi leader Nikita Borovikov told journalists Nashi
      will hold its annual national camp at Lake Seliger this year. In
      addition, some 10,000 Nashi activists will make a tour of World War
      II-related sites in and around St. Petersburg this year and the group
      is organizing a train trip to the Chechen capital, Grozny. He also
      said that local Nashi activists will participate in the
      presidential-election campaign of First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry
      Medvedev. Duma Deputy Sergei Belokonev (Unified Russia), who formerly
      headed the Nashi election operation, said it is possible Nashi will be
      transformed into a political party. He added the group could become an
      opposition party if it feels that Unified Russia is not paying
      sufficient attention to the policies of Vladimir Putin. Borovikov
      added that Nashi will continue its work against "enemy states," naming
      in particular Estonia. He said the group is preparing a blacklist of
      Estonians it believes should not be allowed to enter Russia, adding
      that the list will be turned over to the Interior Ministry. Belokonev
      told strana.ru on January 31 that Nashi is planning a special project
      called "Nashi Media" that is intended as a response to the "howling
      that one hears in the mass media today." RC


      Turkish national killed in Moscow
      RIA Novosti, February 4, 2008

      A Turkish national has been stabbed to death by unknown assailants in
      southeast Moscow, a police source said on Monday.
      The body of the 27-year-old male, who worked as an electrician at a
      Moscow-based company, was found on Sunday evening in the doorway of an
      apartment house.
      Forensic experts said the man had died from multiple stab wounds. A
      criminal case has been opened.
      Routine attacks by skinheads and young gangs on foreigners and people
      with non-Slavic features have been reported across Russia in recent years.
      Earlier on Monday, four people in St. Petersburg, Russia's second
      largest city, were detained on suspicion of murdering a Kyrgyz man,
      the fourth murder of a Kyrgyz national in Russia in the last month.


      Worries Over Kyrgyz Deaths
      Moscow Times, February 5, 2008

      The Kyrgyz Embassy on Monday filed a diplomatic note asking the
      Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office to ensure the
      safety of Kyrgyz citizens after a string of killings.
      Four Kyrgyz citizens have been killed in Russia in the last month, and
      the Kyrgyz government in the note expressed "serious concern and deep
      sorrow about the increase of such crimes against the citizens of the
      [Kyrgyz] republic and foreigners in general," Interfax reported.
      In one attack, three teens in the Leningrad region slit the throat of
      a Kyrgyz man and carved a star on his chest, police said. Three
      suspects have been detained. (MT)


      Russia police arrest skinheads in 20 murders probe
      Reuters, February 5, 2008

      Police in Moscow on Tuesday said they arrested four Russian teenagers
      linked to a skinhead gang that prosecutors accuse of murdering at
      least 20 foreigners.
      Attacks on dark-skinned foreigners have risen dramatically in Russia,
      especially on migrants from former Soviet states in Central Asia and
      the Caucasus attracted northward by an economy stronger than their own.
      "They were all arrested in the course of an investigation into a group
      of skinheads guilty of the murder of at least 20 non-Slavic people," a
      spokesman at the Moscow Prosecutor General's office said.
      Police have now arrested nine members of the group headed by a
      17-year-old, the spokesman said.
      Last October Moscow's deputy mayor warned the Russian capital stood on
      the brink of an explosion in racist skinhead violence directed at
      (Reporting by Tanya Ustinova, writing by James Kilner, editing by
      Matthew Jones)


      Russians Won't Tolerate the Gays
      Kommersant February 5, 2008

      Most Russians are clearly intolerant to the gays, signaled the poll of
      Levada-Center, which results were reported today, February 5, 2008.
      In terms of moral, homosexuality is unacceptable for 84 percent, only
      5 percent of respondents don't view it as an issue of morality and
      just 3 percent said it's quite acceptable, signaled the poll that
      Levada-Center held in December to clarify the nation's attitude to the
      Of interest is that the number of people with negative attitude to
      homosexuality is growing in Russia, according to official statistics.
      In 2006, for instance, only 47 percent condemned the gays and the
      The Russians will never tolerate homosexuality, the analysts predict.
      Contrary to Europe, where the cultural anthropology stakes on
      individuality irrespective of the sex, the sex in Russia is
      traditionally viewed as an integral and fatal part of a human being,
      explained Alexander Dugin, director of Geopolitical Expertise Center.
      Another reason is the surge in xenophobia, as the growth in negative
      attitude to some minorities automatically fuels aggression towards
      others, the analysts said. Extreme popularity of the gay issue has
      also contributed to the sinking tolerance of the nation. The topic of
      gay parades is continuously covered in mass media, irritating the
      people that haven't paid particular attention to it before.

      RFE/RL Newsline, February 6, 2008 Volume 12 Number 25

      Ten organizations representing ethnic Kyrgyz living in Russia on
      February 5 expressed their concerns over the continuing rise in hate
      crimes that have specifically targeted Central Asians in several
      Russian cities, the 24.kg website reported. The Kyrgyz groups pointed
      to the murder of four Kyrgyz nationals in Russia in January 2008, and
      said that "the Kyrgyz diaspora in Russia has been following these
      bloody events with extreme anxiety and concern." The groups also
      appealed to Russian "state bodies and law-enforcement agencies to
      ensure the security of all people" in Russia. They also expressed
      their readiness to "closely cooperate with the federal and local state
      bodies and law-enforcement agencies" to combat hate crimes and to
      promote "interethnic dialogue." RG


      Nationalism, xenophobia "a time bomb" under Russia's sovereignty – Putin
      Interfax, February 6, 2008

      Xenophobia and appeals to ethnic hatred pose a threat to Russia's
      sovereignty, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
      "Belligerent nationalism, xenophobia, appeals to violence and ethnic
      hatred have always been and will always be a time bomb under our
      sovereignty," Putin said at a meeting of the board of the Russian
      Interior Ministry in Moscow on Wednesday.

      Red Square Military Parades Are Symbolic
      Interfax-AVN, February 7, 2008

      KHABAROVSK – Military parades on Red Square display the nation's
      capacities rather than intentions, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry
      Medvedev said on Thursday.
      The Far Eastern media asked him to comment on Western claims that
      Russia was 'excessively militarized' and criticism of annual military
      "These (parades) are symbols. One should not recall the tall missiles
      towed through Red Square20-25 years ago as a way to respond to certain
      threats," he said.
      The parades themselves "do not increase our defense ability," Medvedev
      said. "We are strengthening the defense with other methods. Orders
      given to defense plants must be funded on time, the armed forces must
      have enough money and military reform must be performed. In that case,
      our defense will be strong and they will have to reckon with us," he said.

      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      Following the murder of four Kyrgyz citizens in Russia last month, the
      Kyrgyz embassy in Moscow filed a diplomatic note on February 4, asking
      the Foreign Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office to ensure the
      safety of Kyrgyz citizens, "The Moscow Times" reported. The note
      expressed "serious concern and deep sorrow about the increase of such
      crimes against the citizens of the [Kyrgyz] republic and foreigners in
      general," Interfax reported. In one attack, three teens in the
      Leningrad region slit the throat of a Kyrgyz man and carved a star on
      his chest, police said. Three suspects have been detained.
      Last month, the Turkmen embassy issued a similar statement. For years,
      most of the Central Asian and African embassies in Moscow refrained
      from filing such notes.
      According to a February 7 report by the Russian Jewish web site
      Jewish.ru, police are investigating yet another murder of an ethnic
      Kyrgyz man. On February 6, police found a body with more than 30 stab
      wounds, a telltale sign of a killing by neo-Nazis who often attack
      with extreme ferocity. Police have not ruled out a hate crime and are
      questioning a group of youths they detained.
      On February 5, 2008 the Bishkek-based news service Kabar reported that
      in 2007, 350 citizens of Kyrgyzstan died in Russia, an increasingly
      large number of them victims of hate crimes.

      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      The UN's refugee agency, the UN office in Ukraine, and the
      International Organization for Migration have expressed to the
      Ukrainian authorities their "grave concern" with the murder in Kiev of
      a 19-year-old asylum seeker from the Democratic Republic of the Congo
      and called upon Ukraine's government to examine the possibility of a
      race-driven attack, according to a February 1 statement at the refugee
      agency's headquarters in Geneva. Spokesman William Spindler said that
      the asylum seeker arrived in Kiev in June 2007 in search of protection
      and was registered by Kiev's migration service. On January 27, his
      body was found with "numerous knife wounds." He added that back in
      June, the UN agency expressed concern about the rise in attacks on
      asylum seekers and refugees in Ukraine. In 2007 in Kiev alone, some 17
      persons complained to the agency of mistreatment, including attacks,
      beatings, and verbal abuse. Last month, Spindler said, organizations
      monitoring the situation noted an increase in the number of incidents
      of violence against people of different ethnicity throughout the country.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      Police arrested two youths in Novosibirsk, Russia after finding a
      video tape of them killing a Turkish citizen and assaulting other
      victims, according to the local newspaper "Novaya Sibir" of February
      1. The youths beat their victim to death with baseball bats and then
      videotaped the killing on a cell phone, an increasingly common
      propaganda tactic of Russian neo-Nazis, who regularly post their
      attacks on the Internet. The suspects reportedly confessed that ethnic
      hatred motivated their action. However, prosecutors are so far
      charging them solely with murder rather than a hate crime and police
      are looking into whether they belong to a larger neo-Nazi gang.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      Three separate attacks on foreign students took place over the weekend
      in Voronezh, a Russian city notorious for neo-Nazi violence, according
      to a February 4 report by the national daily "Komsomolskaya Pravda."
      On February 1, three attackers beat up an Iraqi student near the
      Spartak movie theater. Two hours later, two assailants assaulted three
      foreign students from Yemen and Kyrgyzstan near Petrovsky Park. One of
      the students reportedly sustained a serious injury to his eye, the
      other a split lip.
      In the late hours of February 1, two Arab students and a French
      citizen got out of a taxi. While two of the students remained in the
      car to pay the driver, a third got out to buy food at a store. He was
      approached by a man who slammed his head into a window, leaving him
      covered in blood, and then calmly walked toward the students who were
      still in the taxi. When they noticed what had happened to their
      friend, a fight began between the students, the original assailant,
      and a second man who attacked the students from behind. The victims
      say that a police car drove by during the attack but did not respond
      to their cries for help. A police spokesman told the local press that
      the students were drunk, a charge they deny, citing the doctors who
      treated them.
      The victims of the third attack were the only ones who reported the
      weekend's violence to police. They were forced to wait three hours at
      the station before given medical treatment, leading one of them to say
      that he understands why other victims do not bother getting the police
      involved, and that if he were to suffer another such attack, he would
      not report it to law enforcement agencies. There was no information in
      the report indicating that the victims were robbed, increasing the
      likelihood that the attacks were hate crimes. Police are so far
      investigating the third attack as a case of "hooliganism."


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      On February 1, an unidentified individual threw Molotov cocktails at a
      mosque in Vladimir, Russia, the tenth time the mosque has been
      attacked over the past three years, according to a February 4 report
      by the web site Islam.ru. A security guard put out the blaze but not
      before it did significant damage to the building's facade. The mosque
      was previously firebombed, vandalized with swastikas, and recently a
      letter filled with mercury was left at the mosque entrance.
      The region's chief mufti, Vafa Yarullin, was quoted in the report
      criticizing the local police who opened an investigation. The mufti
      pointed out that in the previous nine attacks police have not brought
      anyone to justice.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk investigative department is probing a group of
      young people, members of the Slavonic Brotherhood organization, who
      have encouraged extremist behavior. A criminal case on charges of
      public appeals for extremist activity and hatred was opened on January
      17, a source with the Sakhalin department of the Investigative
      Committee told Interfax-AVN on January 29. The source said: "The
      Sakhalin regional department of the Russian Federal Security Service
      (FSB) found a web site with Nazi symbols. The site contained calls for
      extremist activity, hatred and violence against non-Slavs."
      Five young people aged from 22 to 29 have been questioned. One of them
      is a bank employee, another is unemployed, and the rest are students.
      All of them signed a written pledge not to leave the region during the
      course of the investigation.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      Police arrested four more suspects in a continuing investigation of
      the murder of 20 non-Russians in Moscow, according to a February 5
      report posted on the Russian Jewish web site Jewish.ru. The youths
      reportedly belong to a neo-Nazi gang headed by the already detained
      Artur Ryno who last year confessed to dozens of murders. The youths so
      far do not face hate crimes charges but are being charged with the
      rough equivalent of first degree murder. Four other suspects were
      arrested earlier.


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      With hate crimes in Russia expected to further increase, St.
      Petersburg is keeping its notorious status as one of the hot-beds of
      xenophobia in the country, "The St. Petersburg Times" wrote on
      February 1. The newspaper quoted Yuly Rybakov, a prominent human
      rights advocate with the St. Petersburg rights group Memorial, as
      saying that the authorities of turning a blind eye to the problem.
      "Usually it is democratic politicians or human rights advocates who
      report these cases," he said. "And most of the time, the prosecutors
      openly show their contempt for anti-fascists and democrats, sometimes
      with outright insults."
      Natalya Yevdokimova, an advisor to Sergei Mironov, the chairman of the
      Council of Federation, urged the authorities to commission an in-depth
      analysis of extremism and nationalism in St. Petersburg and Russia as
      a whole and to have the results widely publicized. "It does not help
      that only human rights groups are aware of the issues; ordinary people
      do not get the picture at all," she said. "The circumstances of and
      around these crimes — which are often classified as robberies,
      hooliganism or homicide without a hate motive — remain obscure to them."


      Bigotry Monitor Volume 8, Number 6 February 8, 2008

      Evgeny Nikiforov, chairman of the Radonezh Orthodox Society, called it
      absurd that Russian students should learn tolerance by studying the
      murder of Jews during World War II rather than the Russian tragedies
      of the 20th century, according to an Interfax item picked up by the
      Jewish Telegraphic Agency on February 1.
      "The history of Russian tragedy -- the Russian Holocaust -- has not
      been written yet and it is absolutely absurd to study the history of
      Jewish, Hungarian, Cambodian or other people's tragedies while our own
      history has not been studied," Nikoforov was quoted as saying. He
      added that he found it "strange that we Russians should learn
      tolerance from the Jewish nation's history," when "the richest Russian
      history, especially in the 20th century, gives a lot of positive and
      negative examples for tolerance study."


      Another Possible Neo-Nazi Murder in Moscow
      FSU Monitor, February 11, 2008

      A security camera recorded the murder of a citizen of Azerbaijan in
      Moscow, the latest in an almostdaily series of attacks on minorities
      in Russia's capital, according to a February 10, 2008 reportby the
      news web site Kavkazsky Uzel. Video footage reportedly shows three
      young men dressed in blackapproach Rafik Ishaev, engage him in a brief
      conversation, and then stab him over 15 times, killinghim. There was
      no information in the report indicating that the youths robbed their
      victim, increasing the likelihood that the murder was a hate crime.


      Muslim Prayer House Burns Down in Ivanovo Region
      FSU Monitor, February 11, 2008

      A house used for prayers by the small Muslim community of Shuya,
      Russia burned down Thursday evening in what may have been an arson,
      according to a February 8, 2008 report by the Interfax news agency.
      Local officials refuted initial reports that the building was a
      mosque, perhaps seeking to avoid negative publicity, and while that is
      technically true, local Muslims used the privately-owned house for
      prayers on Fridays and community meetings.


      Neo-Nazis Attack Anti-Fascist Musicians in Bryansk
      FSU Monitor, February 11, 2008

      Neo-Nazis attacked anti-fascist musicians in Bryansk, Russia,
      according to a February 11, 2008 report by the Regions.ru. news
      agency. Around seven neo-Nazis ambushed the lead singer of an
      anti-fascist punk rock band near his home on February 9. The victim
      suffered a concussion and injuries to his kidneys. Later that day,
      around 10 neo-Nazis attacked members of another anti-fascist band near
      the entrance of a nightclub; none of the victims of that attack
      suffered serious injuries.


      Police Arrest Neo-Nazi on Suspicion of 2004 Murder
      FSU Monitor, February 12, 2008

      Police on Friday arrested a resident of Penza in connection with the
      December 2004 murder of a citizen of Tajikistan in Moscow, according
      to a February 8, 2008 report by the RIA Novosti news agency. The
      suspect was 17 years old at the time and was a member of a neo-Nazi
      gang that engaged in multiple attacks on non-Russians in the southern
      part of Moscow. Police are investigating the suspect's possible
      involvement in similar attacks.


      Police Charge Omsk Neo-Nazis With Murder
      FSU Monitor, February 12, 2008

      Four neo-Nazis in Omsk face murder charges after allegedly killing a
      dark-skinned ethnic Russian who they thought was a person from the
      Caucasus, according to a February 8, 2008 article in the Siberia
      supplement to the national daily Izvestiya. The four youths claim that
      they were approached by a neo-Nazi emissary from Moscow who asked them
      how the "battle for the national idea" was going in Omsk. They
      reported that one of their number murdered a Kazakh man in 2006 and is
      now in prison, to which the Moscow neo-Nazi reportedly replied that
      his imprisonment should be avenged by killing another non-Russian.
      Arming themselves with pipes and broken bottles, the skinheads went
      hunting for a victim and found a 40 year old ethnic Russian
      construction worker returning home late at night from work. Their
      victim had dark hair and skin, which was enough for his assailants to
      assume he was a non-Russian. They beat him to death, fracturing his
      skull and ribs in multiple locations. The suspects reportedly placed a
      video of the killing on the Internet, making it relatively easy for
      local police to establish their identities. The mysterious emissary
      from Moscow, however, is nowhere to be found. The suspects have
      allegedly confessed to the killing, bragged about similar attacks, and
      stated to the police that non-Russians should be driven out of the
      country violently.


      Russia's Medvedev says more patriotic films, channels and websites needed
      Interfax-AVN, February 12, 2008

      Moscow, 12 February: First Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian
      Federation Dmitriy Medvedev thinks that it is necessary to adjust the
      Russian system of cadet education.
      "The time has come for drafting proposals for adjusting the system of
      cadet education. An instruction to this effect has already been
      issued," Medvedev said at a meeting with veterans on Tuesday (12
      He said that cadet education was in high demand in the country, noting
      that not only ordinary parents but also parents from so-called "very
      well-off" families prefer to send their children to cadet schools.
      Speaking to the veterans, the first deputy prime minister also touched
      on the issue of media products.
      "We do have a dominating presence of foreign media products. This
      happened because we were not making quality products in the 1990s,"
      said Medvedev.
      As an example, he cited the American cinematography, which has made
      numerous "very good quality" patriotic films.
      Medvedev said that the making of patriotic films started in Russia
      three or four years ago. "I can say that something has already been
      achieved in this respect, and some of the films are, in my view, of
      decent quality," said Medvedev.
      He also said that it was necessary to pay attention to the creation of
      patriotic channels and internet sites.
      (Medvedev welcomed the idea of using veterans in the fight against
      bullying. A 1245 gmt report on 12 February by Interfax-AVN quoted him
      as saying: "Veterans command unquestionable authority among those
      serving today, officers and soldiers, and I think that the idea is
      sensible". "This will allow us to involve veterans in this very
      difficult work, but it should be conducted carefully," he said.)

      Skinheads accused of murdering 8 people to stand trial
      PanArmenian.net, February 14, 2008

      Five young skinheads accused of a series of nationalist assaults in
      Moscow willmstand trial. The prosecutor's office said the gang
      consisted of students of vocational schools aging 16-19. During a
      search in their homes, investigators found extremist literature and
      video materials. The teenagers also visited web sites to get
      information how to commit a crime and avoid responsibility.
      Armed with axes, hammers and knifes, the teens hunted out persons of
      non-Slavonic nationality and assaulted them. Five people from
      Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia as well as one Russian citizen were
      killed from February to April 2007. Two people died immediately. Three
      were taken to hospital and survived.
      The gang members are accused of incitement of national hatred,
      abasement of human dignity and violence.
      The case was brought before the court today, ITAR-TASS reports.


      Moscow Prosecutors Charge Two Suspects With Hate Crime
      FSU Monitor, February 14, 2008

      Two residents of Moscow face hate crimes charges after allegedly
      stabbing a citizen of Uzbekistan 12 times, according to a February 14,
      2008 report by the national daily Kommersant. On January 31, 2008 two
      young men attacked Sayfulo Mirpattulaev as he was coming home from
      work. The victim reported that one of his assailants asked him, "Why
      did you come here?" before stabbing him, leaving him unconscious. One
      of the suspects, seeking to avoid hate crimes charges, claimed that he
      was standing up for this girlfriend, but witnesses disputed that
      account. Police detained the suspects on
      February 7 and brought them to court two days later. However, for some
      reason, the judge did not show up, and the suspects had to be set free
      because 72 hours had passed since their arrest. On February 12, a new
      judge took over the case after the debacle was reported in the media,
      and police re-arrested the suspects. A search of the suspects'
      apartments discovered extremist literature and drawings portraying
      neo-Nazis killing ethnic minorities.


      Study Finds Russian Textbooks Antisemitic
      FSU Monitor, February 14, 2008

      A joint study by the prestigious Russian Academy of Sciences and the
      Russian Jewish Congress finds many Russian textbooks to be antisemitic
      [http://www.fsumonitor.com/stories/111802Russia.shtml%5d, according to a
      February 13, 2008 report by the Russian Jewish web site Jewish.ru.
      Aleksandr Lokshin, the lead author of the study, reported that many
      school history textbooks completely avoid the subject of the
      Holocaust, despite the fact that the Nazis and their collaborators
      killed millions of Soviet Jews. When the subject is mentioned, it is
      not treated as, "probably the only event in history during which a
      state tried to completely eliminate a single people," Lakshin said.
      Not one textbook mentioned the "doctor's plot" which Stalin planned to
      use as a pretext for massive repression against Jews, who were most
      likely spared that fate only by the dictator's death before he could
      put his plans into action. Nor were pogroms during the Russian Civil
      War mentioned.
      One textbook reportedly dramatically under-counted the number of Jews
      in the Russian empire in the 19th century, putting their number at a
      mere 175,000. Another textbook accuses Jews of having hostile
      attitudes towards other residents of the Tsarist empire. The
      researchers were unable to find a single textbook that adequately
      assesses the role of Jews in Russian history, and they plan to ask the
      Ministry of Education to review their recommendations.



      Review Article: Russianness in Historical Perspective
      By David Brandenberger (University of Richmond)
      H-Russia, November 2007

      Nicholas V. Riasanovsky. _Russian Identities: A Historical Survey_.
      Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005. 257 pp. Notes, bibliography,
      index. $49.95 (cloth), ISBN 0-19-15650-1.

      Despite its modish title, Nicholas V. Riasanovsky's _Russian
      Identities_ fits well within the author's greater _oeuvre_. In some
      senses a distillation of his epic _History of Russia_ (2000), it also
      can be seen as a broad contextualization of ideas aired first in his
      important _Nicholas I and Official Nationalism in Russia_ (1959).
      Glimpses of Riasanovsky's other books, particularly _Images of Peter
      the Great in Russian History and Thought_ (1985), are also clearly
      reflected in the text. Indeed, _Russian Identities_ is better read as
      a broad introduction to Riasanovsky's contributions to the field over
      the course of the past four decades than as the complex,
      interdisciplinary literature on Russian national identity. In the
      brief introduction, Riasanovsky introduces the work of a few modern
      theorists of nation and nationalism (including Ernest Gellner and
      Benedict Anderson), and he questions their stress on the modern
      "constructedness" of the phenomenon.[1] Echoing Anthony D. Smith's
      theory of politically conscious premodern "ethnie,"[2] Riasanovsky
      argues that "even if we accept in the main the modern view of
      nationalism, we have to recognize that nationalism in each case
      descended upon not a tabula rasa, but a society with a past. Moreover,
      the descent usually took many years, decades, even centuries, with
      most of the people in question still belonging most of the time to the
      old world" (p. 4). Historical continuity, in other words, leads
      Riasanovsky to question the recent advent of something so significant
      as national identity. Riasanovsky also questions the modern origins of
      the nation in light of the fact that national identities are often
      defined at least in part by historic individuals and events dating
      back hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Unconvinced by Eric
      Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger's work on the "reinvention" of these
      symbols in modern times for modern purposes,[3] Riasanovsky declares
      that the past's influence over the present is much more direct and
      unmediated. "What happened long ago can be significant, even decisive
      today," he argues. "For example, if I were to name the single
      historical event most significant for Russian identity and Russian
      nationalism, I would propose not Napoleon's invasion of Russia in
      1812, not Stalin's turn to a limited and strictly controlled
      nationalism in the late 1930s, not even the emancipation of the serfs
      in 1861, but the so-called baptism of the Rus in 988" (p. 4). More of
      a skirmish with the literature on nationalism than a drawn out
      engagement, Riasanovsky's introduction also serves to foreshadow the
      role that continuity and great names and dates play in the nine
      chapters that follow. Effective in this regard, the introduction is
      too brief to fully contextualize the nature of Riasanovsky's views on
      identity, nation, and nationalism. For example, Riasanovsky's
      expertise in intellectual history allows him to demonstrate
      convincingly that Russian elites possessed hints of national identity
      long before such concepts found broader resonance within society. But
      does this argumentation really call into question Gellner's and
      Anderson's work on the effect of industrialization and print culture
      on nonelites? Is it not almost axiomatic that issues of continuity and
      historical fame will always be of greater interest to elites than to
      commoners?[4] Riasanovsky's conceptual brevity leaves other questions
      unanswered as well. In particular, he proposes to use terms like
      "identity," "nationalism," and "patriotism" interchangeably without
      explaining the conflation. Many of these assumptions make sense to
      those familiar with Riasnovsky's entire _oeuvre_, of course, but are
      never explicitly articulated in the present book under review.
      Riasanovsky begins the core of _Russian Identities_ with
      prehistory--something he readily admits to following only through the
      secondary literature. His first chapter focuses on defining the nature
      and extent of the eastern Slavic peoples before recorded time.
      Surveying limited archeological and ethnographic evidence, he
      concentrates on linguistic and folkloric research, particularly that
      of B. A. Rybakov.[5] Through the latter's work, Riasanovsky presents
      the eastern Slavic world before recorded time as not only
      demographically dynamic, but surprisingly united by commonly held
      cultural and mythological beliefs. This impression is carried over
      into chapter 2, which provides a statist reading of the history of
      Kievan Rus', beginning with this minor Slavic principality's
      all-important decision to join the Byzantine religio-cultural orbit in
      988. Literacy among the clerical elite followed, as did
      centralization, international respectability, and marriage alliances
      between the Rus' and the royal houses of western Europe. Responding to
      scholars who question the influence of this experience on Muscovite
      political culture, Riasanovsky offers a strong defense of Russia's
      claim to a tenth-century pedigree, warning that any questioning of the
      Kievan inheritance results in a "postponement of Russian history to an
      inchoate emergence of some northeastern principalities, possibly
      Finnic or Turkic as much as Slavic, to the Mongol invasion and,
      especially, to the rise and dominion of Moscow" (pp. 21-22).
      Riasanovsky, then, considers Kiev and the Byzantine inheritance to be
      absolutely central to pre-Petrine Russian identity. Chapter 3 develops
      this statist line further, treating the decentralization of the
      appanage period of early Muscovite history as an anomaly within an
      otherwise triumphalist narrative surrounding Moscow's "gathering of
      the Russian land." Tatar-Mongol influence during this period is
      likewise rejected in favor of the traditional picture of subjugation
      and isolation. Ivan III "the Great" returns Russia to its proper path,
      and neither the excesses of Ivan IV's reign, nor the Time of Troubles
      that follow, do more than temporarily delay Russia's reunion with
      Europe that occurs in chapter 4 under Peter the Great. First Peter and
      then Catherine the Great introduce Russian society to the European
      Enlightenment and its concomitant agenda of reform and rationalization
      (in chapter 5). Chapters 1 through 5 thus provide a chronologically
      organized narrative that readers of Riasanovsky's _History of Russia_
      will find quite familiar. Identity factors into the discussion chiefly
      through its stress on historiography. Although Riasanovsky refers to
      the _byliny_ and other sorts of ostensibly medieval folklore in
      passing, he focuses neither on elite mentalité nor on the worldview of
      the eastern Slavic peasant during the first third of _Russian
      Identities_. Instead, he discusses early Russian national identity in
      a way reminiscent of the nineteenth-century state school of Russian
      historiography and its Soviet heirs after 1934. Such a historiographic
      perspective is intriguing and useful; it would have been even more
      enlightening if Riasanovsky had addressed some of the limitations of
      this school's construction of Russian identity--particularly its
      teleological and ethnocentric dimensions. Following this detailed
      exploration of the Russian state school, Riasanovsky segues to other
      subjects of inquiry in the book's middle chapters on Alexander I,
      Nicholas I, and the remainder of the imperial period. A leading
      intellectual historian of the nineteenth century, Riasanovsky surveys
      a series of prominent personalities--Nikolai Novosil'tsev, Mikhail
      Speranskii, Sergei Uvarov, Mikhail Pogodin, Petr Chaadaev, Aleksei
      Khomiakov, Ivan Kireevskii, Konstantin Aksakov, Vissarion Belinskii,
      Mikhail Bakunin, Alexander Herzen, Ivan Turgenev, Dmitrii Pisarev,
      Nikolai Chernyshevskii, Nikolai Dobroliubov, Petr Lavrov, Nikolai
      Mikhailovskii, Fedor Dostoevskii, Lev Tolstoi, Konstantin
      Pobedonostsev, and Georgii Plekhanov--in an eloquent essay-like style
      that echoes the most influential work in his greater _oeuvre_. With
      the exception of a discussion of Uvarov's ideology of "official
      nationalism," however, these chapters focus much more on Russian
      intellectual debates than on the way that these intellectuals thought
      about their ethnicity, the developmental trajectory of their state and
      society, or their membership in the nascent Russian nation. Although
      attention to these latter topics would have tied chapters 6 through 8
      more tightly into the book's overarching theme, they do survey issues
      of vital interest for students of the Russian nineteenth century.
      Perhaps the best way to read these chapters is to look to them as an
      illustration of how a disparate array of famous Russian personalities
      thought about their society over the course of the nineteenth century.
      Riasanovsky concludes the book with a ninth chapter on the Soviet
      experience and a speculative conclusion on the future of Russian
      society's sense of self in the post-Soviet era. His treatment of the
      Soviet period is somewhat schematic and focuses on the flawed nature
      of Marxism-Leninism rather than addressing the Soviet Union as a
      distinct stage in Russian state history or a context for another
      series of engaging character studies. The reasoning behind this
      narrative choice is clear: in Riasanovsky's mind, the Soviet
      experience was "a departure and a deviation in the history of Russian
      identity and nationalism" that allowed the grand patterns and
      continuities of Russian history to resume only in 1991 (p. 6). In his
      conclusion, Riasanovsky balances optimism over the resumption of
      Russian national traditions--Orthodox belief and patriotism--with
      misgivings over the rampant corruption, criminalized economy, and
      political turmoil that have retarded the consolidation of Russian
      identity since the fall of communism. Ending with a line from
      Nekrasov--"you are both mighty, and you are impotent,
      Mother-Russia!"--the author seems uneasy about what the future may
      hold for the society. Broadly conceived and elegantly executed,
      _Russian Identities_ is best viewed as an element of Riasanovsky's
      greater _oeuvre_--an inquiry into a series of subjects and individuals
      that have interested a prominent Russian historian over the course of
      his entire career. But due to its breadth, readers will not find the
      book to offer either a deep, systematic discussion of Russian identity
      over the _longue durée_ or a major contribution to the literature on
      nation and nationalism.
      [1] Ernest Gellner, _Nations and Nationalism_ (Ithaca: Cornell
      University Press, 1983); and Benedict Anderson, _Imagined Communities:
      Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism_, rev. ed.
      (London: Verso, 1983).
      [2] Anthony D. Smith, _The Ethnic Origins of Nationalism_ (New York:
      Blackwell, 1987).
      [3] Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger, eds. _The Invention of
      Tradition_ (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983).
      [4] Anderson says it best himself: "the new imagined communities ...
      conjured up by lexicography and print capitalism always regarded
      themselves as somehow ancient. In an age in which 'history' itself was
      still widely conceived in terms of 'great events' and 'great leaders',
      pearls to string along a thread of narrative, it was obviously
      tempting to decipher the community's past in antique dynasties."
      Anderson, _Imagined Communities_, 109.
      [5] B. A. Rybakov, _Iazychestvo drevnikh slavian_, 2d ed. (Moscow:
      Nauka, 1994). The first edition of this tendentious book dates to 1981.

      "Street Justice": Russian Jurors Viewed as Prone to Acquit Ethnically
      Motivated Lawbreakers
      By Andrey Kolesnikov
      Gazeta.ru, January 29, 2008

      Just days ago, a Moscow Oblast Court jury acquitted Roman Polusmyak
      for the second time. In the presence of a large number of witnesses he
      killed a young Armenian man on a commuter train, then in the interval
      between acquittals managed to attack a Dagestani as well.
      It is a jury's right to acquit, because they, in contrast to a
      professional judge, are there to decide only one issue: guilty or not
      The "court of the street," as the great Russian jurist Anatoliy Koni
      called trial by jury in a positive sense, is being transformed into
      "street justice" that reflects all the fears, prejudices, xenophobia
      and stupidity of the common man.
      It has become a miniature replica of the mass consciousness, which for
      example does not like foreign spies and hates the "natives." And so
      juries acquit the murderers of a Tajik girl and view scientists who
      disseminate information known to all to be guilty of serious state crimes.
      In this case we are not talking in particular of xenophobic
      sentiments. In the era of Putin stability, notable for unprecedented
      nationalism that is now enshrined even in the highest level of
      government, and for a serious indifference on the part of the public
      toward what is happening in the country, reports of an Armenian, a
      Tajik, a Vietnamese, an Indian or an Azerbaijani being murdered have
      become commonplace in the news headlines. That is definitely a problem.
      The absence of irreversible punishment is part of that problem, a
      factor that contributes to the increase in the number of ethnically
      motivated crimes.
      But the greater tragedy is that society is frequently in solidarity
      with the murderers. No, not everyone is ready to head out armed with
      crowbars and knives, sweeping through the empty, dreary courtyards
      between apartment buildings in the bedroom communities with just one
      purpose in mind: to kill a "native." That kind of hunt is for the
      young. But public opinion considers those young people with knives and
      clubs in hand to be innocent. On the contrary, these freaks believe
      that the guilty one - if only on account of his own bad mood - is the
      Central Asian common man.
      And a jury is a part of the people, a part of public opinion. And why
      should jurors decide any differently than would the majority that
      secretly or openly wants to drive out the "aborigine," and do so by
      any means necessary, including beatings, derision, murder and
      extra-judicial vengeance.
      The expression "there's too many of them here!" bears little
      resemblance to a courtroom verdict, but nevertheless it is more and
      more often becoming one.
      There is a huge distance between a jury that can acquit the murderers
      of Armenians or Tajiks, and the jury that acquitted Vera Zasulich. It
      is no coincidence that the judicial system that emerged following the
      reforms of 1864 and was called by Vladimir Nabokov "the splendid
      institution" was immediately dismantled by the Soviet authorities as
      their first order of business, out of hand, starting with Decree No.
      1. The assistant trial lawyer Ulyanov knew where to begin (along with
      the mail, the telegraph and the telephone).
      The judicial tradition was interrupted, though one could scarcely call
      the legal system that existed in the era of mature socialism
      inefficient or unprofessional. The law was, of course, Soviet, but its
      foundation nevertheless belonged to the so-called Romano-German legal
      family. And the profession of lawyer, despite a certain ideological
      tinge to it, presumed not only a knowledge of the letter of the law
      (or of the instruction, as is now the case), but also of the spirit of
      the law. The judicial corporation was closed and often even shuttered,
      but it was a professional, workmanlike kind of closed. It was
      precisely why that professional milieu took a skeptical view of the
      gradual introduction of the institution of jury trials that was
      rationalized in most cases by citing the logic of the country's
      transformation. (Just like many other institutions, including, for
      example, magistrate's courts). In any event, it is unlikely that a
      professional judge, faced with the existence of well-documented
      evidence in the case, would have acquitted murderers, even if the
      murders were sanctified by the sacred motto of "Russia for Russians!"
      But nonetheless the problem is not with the very existence of juries,
      which in recent years have been so unique in their interpretation of
      justice. A jury is one of the most representative institutions in
      terms of society. Having the state that we have, and the society that
      exists, means having juries that acquit someone for committing murder
      on the basis of interethnic hostility and hatred.
      Today society supports those in power. And those in power in our
      country do not like spies and visitors from neighboring republics. So
      then why should the people like them, either?
      Simply by getting their hands on such a powerful weapon for "speaking"
      his opinion as a jury, the ordinary citizen utilizes it as best he
      can: to acquit the poor boy who is unhappy with the stranglehold of
      the "blacks."
      In this context it becomes clear why there have been so many motions
      surrounding the latest change of jury in the Kvachkov case: it is very
      difficult to choose jurors who would not have a feeling of ideological
      hatred toward a victim named Chubays, and whose views did not coincide
      with those of Kvachkov.
      In short, the future of juries - which according to 2006 Public
      Opinion Foundation data were less trusted than ordinary courts by 21%
      of respondents - is not a given in Russia. As indicated by another
      figure: 30% of those surveyed are unsure how they feel about this
      Not yet ready for a democratic judicial system? No, it is more likely
      that over the period of time since juries have become established in
      Russia something has happened with society itself - the "street"
      mentality has taken hold of it. In the negative sense of the word.

      "Farewell to the Assault Mob": Kremlin Orders Eradication of Nashi as
      Centralized Organization
      By Ilya Milshteyn
      Grani.ru, January 30, 2008

      "Fascism will not work here," Grigoriy Gorin, a wise man, once said,
      "because nothing ever works here."
      This remark comes to mind every time another load of filth falls from
      the commanding heights and crashes on the pavement below. This is not
      always a case of the well-known saying about the harsh laws that are
      mitigated by the negligence of the people applying them, however.
      Sometimes the filth was supposed to be short-lived and it crashed
      fully in accordance with the commanders' plans. This is not always
      apparent, however, and then we can only guess: Was it a boy?
      There were boys, and there were girls too.
      Adorned in T-shirts depicting the face of the Dear One, they
      selflessly flushed Sorokin's harmful books down the toilet. They raged
      against terror at protest rallies. They happily preyed on Mr. Mikhail
      Kasyanov and Sir Anthony Brenton. They dreamed of wiping the Estonian
      Embassy off the face of the earth. Guided by their national leader
      Vasya, they filled the streets and squares of Russian cities, perking
      them up with jarring shouts and cheerful phrases. They were the
      members of Nashi, Marching Together, the Young Guard of Russia, the
      movement "For Putin," and some kind of "Teddy Bears".... They were
      taken to Seliger, taught the methods of fighting fascism, and infected
      with patriotic attitudes. Their adult mentors told them, loudly
      through microphones and quietly in heartfelt talks by the campfire,
      that they soon would join the closed ranks of the Russian elite and
      become the "new generation of politicians."
      They believed this wholeheartedly, and we also believed it, looking
      into the eyes of this young and alien tribe and realizing in despair
      that this was it -- the first generation of citizens of the free
      Russia, with no memory of communism, the dream of the incorrigible
      liberals. There t<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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