Bulletin 5:34 - Special Issue: SOVA Summer '11 Report
- THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
Vol. 5, No. 34(155)- Special Issue, 28 December 2011
"Summer 2011: A New Batch of Neo-Nazi Convicts and Dreams of a Second Manezh"
By Natalia Yudina and Vera Alperovich. Edited by Alexander Verkhovsky
SOVA Reports and Analyses, 9 November 2011
RADICAL NATIONALISM AND XENOPHOBIC AGGRESSION IN SUMMER 2011
- Relations with established political parties
- Activity of the ultra-right at rallies
- Other types of non-criminal activity
COUNTERACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM AND XENOPHOBIA
- Creation of regulatory acts and interpretations of applying the law
- Criminal proceedings
--- Penalty for violence
--- Punishment for vandalism
--- Punishment for propaganda
- Administrative measures
--- Federal List of Extremist Materials
--- Deeming organizations extremist
--- List of terrorists and extremists
--- Other administrative measures)
APPENDIX. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT STATISTICS
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Summer 2011 saw the ultra-right movement continue its attempt to gain attention in the public sphere, in particular by holding various public events. In summer, they received good causes to organize protest actions similar to the December events on Manezh Square in Moscow.
The most remarkable causes were the murders of former colonel Yuri Budanov in June, and student Ivan Agafonov by the sportsman Rasul Mirzaev in August. Right radicals also attempted to create hype surrounding clashes in the villages of Sagra and Nevskaya Dubrovka, using similar techniques to those of nationalists in Kondopoga, in the Republic of Karelia.
While these stories enjoyed wide media coverage, none of the actions attracted significant public attention. We take this as a sign that Russian nationalists as a movement are unable to gain support not only from the majority of Russian citizens who share xenophobic prejudices, according to social surveys but even from the growing minority inclined to join actions like those of December 2010. Among the causes of this failure are not only Russians' general political passivity but also the fact that the majority of Russian nationalist organizations are associated with violence, which most average citizens find unacceptable. Additionally, those among the ultra-right who advocate underground fighting methods are not prepared to join actions organized by legal right radicals, because the latter have discredited themselves, or sold out, in the eyes of the former. Further, underground fighters do not want to risk being identified by law enforcement agencies.
In anticipation of Duma elections, nationalists more or less (mostly less) successfully attempted to regulate relations with so-called system parties (established parties, i.e. those registered by the Justice Ministry and allowed to run in parliamentary elections). With the help of the latter, the legal ultra-right organizations are trying to demarginalize themselves and thereby to become full-fledged political players with the ability to influence the agenda.
Nationalist organizations that actively attempt to take part in political life have reduced the number of social actions. Their interests are now more in the sphere of 'human rights defense,' which mostly ends up as the support of neo-Nazi convicts.
Due to the ultra-right's transition from street war with ethnic strangers to the political stage, the level of racist violence has significantly reduced during the period under report (despite the attacks on 2 August, the Day of Airborne Troops; racist violence on this day is an established tradition by this point). We also note a rise in law enforcement activity in recent years as another potential reason for the decrease in violence. An increase in the quality of criminal prosecution for racist violent crimes also continued this summer, along with an increase in the number of crimes solved. In particular, several sentences were given to members of big neo-Nazi gangs, i.e. the Borovikov-Voevodin gang, National Socialist Society North (NSO Sever), etc.
Unfortunately, the prosecution for xenophobic propaganda faces most of the same problems as always. While the number of verdicts rises, those accused are mainly people who commit insignificant acts; dangerous propagators who regularly spread propaganda and call for violence remain outside the attention of the law enforcement agencies.
In summer, several very diverse acts on counteracting extremism were introduced to the Duma, or approved there. The most notable, and most positive event in the creation of regulatory acts was the Resolution of the Supreme Court Plenum No. 11 'On Court Practice in Extremist Criminal Cases,' issued on 28 June 2011. It contains important interpretations of anti-extremism legislation.
The Federal List of Extremist Materials is still being supplemented actively, making it an increasingly complicated and ill-purposed instrument. The List of Extremist Organizations continues to be supplemented as well, but with a big delay.
A positive initiative was the publication of the 'List of Organizations and Natural Persons on whom there is Information of Involvement in Extremist Activity or Terrorism,' compiled by the Federal Service on Financial Monitoring and addressed to financial institutions. It was published in the Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
RADICAL NATIONALISM AND XENOPHOBIC AGGRESSION IN SUMMER 2011
In summer 2011, Sova Center registered sharp a reduction in the number of incidents of racist or neo-Nazi violence when compared with the same periods of previous years, though this we state with a glance to problems with operative access to information on racist crimes, and to the fact that we often receive information with a big delay. According to our data, at least 21 persons suffered, and four of them were killed (in summer 2010, at least 85 suffered; two of them were killed). In all, during the first eight months of 2011, 106 people suffered (in 2009, the same amount was registered in summer only), and 16 of them were killed. Apart from this, seven people received death threats.
From June to August, attacks took place in Moscow and St. Petersburg, the Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod regions, Mari El and Khakassia. During three summer months, the victims were people of 'Asian appearance' (seven persons), people with dark skin (six persons), people of Central Asian (four persons) and Caucasian (two persons) origin. One man was beaten while his assailants shouted, 'Beat the cassock!' In this relation we should note that attacks against priests motivated with religious hate are comparatively rare in our practice.
In compliance with a sad tradition, victims of the celebration of the Day of Airborne Troops on 2 August supplemented attack statistics. In 2011, racist incidents on this day were registered in at least seven regions: at least seven people were attacked in Moscow, Mari El and Khakassia, to say nothing of a mass brawl in Astrakhan.
(In 2010, at least 11 people suffered from attacks by paratroopers.) Though most stores traditionally close on this day, some laborers risk coming to their work places and even occasionally defending themselves. Thus, on 2 August a group of paratroopers attacked two chebureki vendors in Abakan. One of the vendors answered with a firearm, wounding one of the attackers. Remarkably, police set the vendor free.
We remind readers that we do not mention victims in the North Caucasian republics, nor victims of mass brawls in our data. During summer months, we registered at least three such brawls motivated by national hostility. Those were between Armenians and Azerbaijanians in Rostov-on-Don and St. Petersburg, and between Kurds and Russians in the Saratov Region.
In summer 2011, the ultra-right movement continued its subversive terrorist activity. In July, an explosion took place in Nefteyugansk, not far from a Chinese restaurant Harbin. This was only one of a series of explosions committed by a local ultra-right gang that was detained in summer 2011. There were reports on right radical blogs of attacks against state offices as well. Luckily, no one was injured.
Football fans continued to express racism. In particular, in June in Samara a spectator threw a banana at Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos, captain of FC Anzhi Makhachkala during a match against the local FC Krylia Sovetov. In Vladimir, fans from Voronezh exchanged neo-Nazi rhyming slogans with Vladimir fans and threw flares.
The confrontation between the ultra-right and representatives of informal youth movements (mostly anti-fascist ones) also remained active. Thus, in June 2011, a mass brawl took place in St. Petersburg between fans of the local FC Dynamo and fans of Karelia Discovery, who are famous for their anti-fascist position.
From June to August 2011, Sova Center registered at least 21 acts of vandalism motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi ideology. (In summer 2010, at least 30 such acts were committed; 22 in summer 2009.)
During summer 2011, six acts of vandalism were committed against monuments with ideological significance (defacement of Lenin monuments in Murmansk and Sergiev Posad, a military cemetery in St. Petersburg, a memorial to Soviet pioneer heroes in Chelyabinsk, etc.). Six were committed against Jewish targets (monuments in Kaliningrad were defaced on two occasions). Two were committed against Muslim targets (a mosque in Sverdlovsk region and tombs in Nizhny Novgorod region), two against Orthodox targets (an Orthodox church in Primorye and Saint Basil's Cathedral in Moscow), and two against Jehovah's Witnesses' buildings (in Kurgan and in Volgograd region). Apart from this, we are aware of at least two notable graffiti actions in Moscow and at Sakhalin.
Most of the vandalism attacks were registered in July (at least 13); several in Moscow took place on the night of 12 July. These were: an explosion at the prosecutor's office on Zhivopisnaya Street, an attempted arson at a synagogue in Otradnoe, and neo-Nazi graffiti on a house on Bashilovskaya Street and the Mexican Embassy in Bolshoy Levshinsky Lane. These actions were possibly tied to the verdict in the case of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Society North (NSO Sever) issued on 11 July.
In all, from the beginning of the year Sova Center has registered at least 52 acts of neo-Nazi and xenophobic vandalism in 23 regions of the country.
Relations with established political parties
Ultra-right public activity was rather high this summer, which can be explained by the fact that parliamentary elections are coming, first of all. In spring, right radical groups concentrated their attention on establishing tactical unions with each other, whereas in summer their goal was to arrange contacts with the established political parties.
The first party to officially declare its readiness to cooperate with the right radicals was the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). Since the end of spring, the party began organizing roundtable discussions in the State Duma, inviting leaders of ultra-right organizations like Russians (Russkie; Alexander Belov, Dmitry Demushkin, Georgy Borovikov, etc.), the ROD (Russkoe obshchestvennoe dvizhenie, Russian Social Movement; Vladlen Kralin aka Vladimir Tor, Konstantin Krylov, etc.), Russian Image (Russkii obraz; Alexei Mikhailov), the Russian Civil Union (Russkii grazhdanzkii soyuz, RGS; Alexander Khramov), and the National Democratic Alliance (Natsional-demokraticheskii alians; Alexei Shiropaev). Additionally, one of the discussions was attended by Moscow State Institute of International Relations professor Valerii Solovei, political writer Leonid Volodin, and Vladimir Ivanov (Istarkhov), author of the book 'The Stroke of the Russian Gods' (Udar russkikh bogov), which is included in the Federal List of Extremist Materials. All these events were widely covered in Russian media. Besides, in order to show the party's ideological closeness to its ultra-right companions and a new potential electorate, the LDPR proposed a bill on 20 June suggesting the abrogation of the law 'On Combating Extremist Activity.' This was undoubtedly a populist motion, as it fails to take account of changes in the legislation made since 2002. The LDPR does not actually expect the bill to be approved.
After several roundtable discussions, the LDPR established a Russian Social Committee (Russkii obshchestvenny komitet), with Krylov and Belov joining its panel.
According to the committee organizers' project, its members could form their proposals as bills for the LDPR to address in the Duma. Thus, three bills were discussed at the first committee session. One was devoted to the legalization of short-barreled arms, the second to family funding (the party suggests that family funding be received only by inhabitants of regions where the death rate is higher than the birth rate), and the third to an option for Russian citizens to list their nationality in their passport. After the committee was established, nationalists noted their cooperation with the LDPR as a way to break into the sphere of public politics. However, when journalists asked them whether they could take part in parliamentary elections in the party slates, they replied they had not yet made such an agreement with the party. Later, party leader Igor Lebedev confirmed that there has yet been no discussion on the inclusion of the ultra-right in party slates for parliamentary elections.
In addition to the LDPR, Just Russia (Spravedlivaya Rossia) has also started to arrange contacts with the ultra-right. Thus, the movement People's Council (Narodny Sobor, NS) reported that the OSA youth movement (adherents to the Just Russia) was now a member society. A cooperation agreement was signed on 10 June by Oleg Kassin (NS), and Nikita Slepnev (OSA), who also joined the NS himself. At the April Just Russia congress, Slepnev and several members of his organization were elected into the party's Central Council.
The Right Cause (Pravoe delo) party actively continued communications with the ultra-right, with Viktor Militarev (of the 'older' version of ROD) being included in the preliminary slate of Right Cause candidates for the Moscow regional Duma. The party itself redesigned its logo by changing red and white to the black, yellow and white of the Russian Imperial tricolor traditionally used by Russian nationalists. Some leaders of the organization made soft nationalist statements, and the heads of the Moscow and Saratov departments confirmed the party's intention to fight for the vote of people with moderate nationalist views. Apart from that, the party's then leader Mikhail Prokhorov, possibly after the clash in Sagra (see below), invited the head of the City without Drugs (Gorod bez narkotikov) foundation Evgeny Roizman to join the party. Roizman is famous for his xenophobic statements, among other things, and the party's leadership gave Roizman one of the first places on Right Cause's slate. After the clash in Sagra, Roizman's authority among right radicals has risen sharply.
In August, a scandal broke around the Right Cause when Izvestia published an article alleging that the party's Moscow regional department leader Boris Nadezhdin drew "young skinheads" to join. In response, Mikhail Prokhorov declared, "we did not and will not include any nationalists in any party slates." Nadezhdin himself said he was misunderstood and that he "fully shares Prokhorov's position that the slogan 'Russia for the Russians' is inadmissible for a liberal party in the multinational state of Russia." However, later, discussing this episode in public, he confirmed for example that he stood for the slogan "The Moscow region is a Russian land," which implied harsh assimilation for all ethnic non-Russians.
Possible cooperation with the Right Cause sowed discord in the Russian Bloc (Russkii blok) in Saratov that was formed out of the ROD's Saratov department (ROD-Povolzhye), the Russian Imperial Movement (Russkoe imperskoe dvizhenie), 300 Saratov Residents (300 saratovtsev), the Russian Club (Russkii klub), the Russian Force (Russkaya sila), and the National Patriots of Russia (Natsional-patrioty Rossii). One of the organization's leaders, Pavel Galaktionov (a former member of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, DPNI, Dvizhenie protiv nelegal'noi immigratsii) said in June that his organization intended to join the Right Cause gradually: "...in the near future, the first 'tranche' of 50 people will join the ranks of the party in order to 'investigate' whether the party line corresponds with our principles and ideas. If we can benefit the country by joining the Right Cause, then the first group will be followed by other activists of the Russian Bloc." This plan was positively considered by the leadership of the local Right Cause department, but two other leaders of the Russian Bloc, Ilya Maiorov (National Patriots of Russia) and Alexei Razumov (ROD-Povolzhye), declared that the organization did not intend to join anything and that Galaktionov had no right to make such statements on its behalf.
Vladimir Putin's All-Russian People's Front (Obshcherossiiskii narodny front, ONF) is also keeping terms with nationalists, beginning with a June roundtable organized by ONF's youth wing; it featured Alexei Mikhailov and Viktor Militarev as representatives of the ultra-right. They attempted to persuade attendees that the ONF should include 'a solution to the national issue' and the fight against alcoholism into its program, and to set a goal to not allow a 'liberal revanche.'
In August, the Congress of Russian Communities (Kongress russkikh obshchin, KRO) once again received its official registration from the Ministry of Justice. Immediately thereafter, information spread through the media that the KRO intended to join the ONF. The return of Russia's NATO representative Dmitry Rogozin into public politics and possible cooperation with the ruling party was seen, predictably, as negative by ordinary ultra-right activists, while the leaders of ultra-right organizations were not so categorical. In particular, Vladimir Tor (ROD Association) said in an interview that he thought nationalists in the public political sphere to be good for the movement as a whole, irrespective of whom they were cooperating with.
We find it difficult, in this case, to disagree with Tor. To view, the cooperation of the established parties (whether that is the LDPR, Just Russia, Right Cause, or any other) with marginal ultra-right organizations can only effect an artificial demarginalization of the latter, which in turn would lead the ethno-national discourse to a higher, official level. The established parties (except for the LDPR perhaps) cannot and as such will not assume radical nationalist positions, so the ethno-xenophobic and radical nationalist mood of the public will still receive no representation (or, none that could diminish the level of radicalism in the nationalist milieu, at least). We would submit that such ideas are rooted in a political system that allows the rise of xenophobia in general.
Activity of the ultra-right at rallies
This summer, ultra-right optimism grew due to powerful events in Europe, such as riots in Great Britain and the terrorist attack committed by Andres Breivik in Norway.
The ultra-right movement in Russia has always positioned itself as part of the 'white pride worldwide,' and these events became a new reason to declare: 'Look, the West is together with us, they have the same problems as we have.' Besides, as it was said above, the coming elections also contributed to the rise of the right radicals' activity in their hopes to enter the public space. In compliance with tradition, one of the ways to reach this goal is to organize public mass actions this summer saw many occasions for them to do so.
The first such occasion was the murder of the former colonel Yuri Budanov on 10 June, on Komsomolsky Avenue in Moscow. Budanov was always held in esteem by the ultra-right movement, and after his murder, his status grew even closer to that of hero.
Budanov's murder was immediately followed by a surge of anti-Caucasus rhetoric. Calls to hold protests against the 'Caucasian outrage' were spread on right radical websites and blogs, as were threats towards the parents of the Chechen girl Elza Kungaeva, for whose murder Budanov had been jailed. Many directly blamed Kungaeva's parents for ordering Budanov's murder.
Apart from that, right radicals attempted to use the ex-colonel's murder for a new wave in their campaign against police, albeit without much success. They blamed law enforcement agencies for not providing Budanov with necessary defense and for being slow in investigating the 'clear' case.
Several actions were held in memory of Budanov throughout the country, but only in Moscow did they attract significant numbers. Leaders of right radical organizations, mostly those from the Russians movement, made it a point to not miss any of those actions.
- On 10 June, Georgy Borovikov (Russians, Russian Liberation Memory Front (Russkii front osvobozhdenia RFO 'Pamyat'') was detained at a spontaneous action of laying flowers at the spot of Budanov's murder.
- On 11 June, Alexander Belov, Konstantin Krylov, Vladimir Tor, Leonid Simonovich-Nikshich (the Union of Orthodox Gonfalon Carriers (SPKh, Soyuz pravoslavnykh khorugvenostsev), and Lars Wittman, leader of the Danish National Front who is in hiding in Russia from prosecution, spoke at an LDPR rally on Pushkin Square sanctioned by the authorities.
- On the same day, Borovikov, Tor and Vladimir Ermolaev (DPNI, Russians) were detained during a protest as part of Strategy 11 on Manezh Square, where they attempted to organize a presentation of the Manifesto of Russians as a new organization.
- On 13 June, Belov, Maxim Kalashnikov (Motherland: Common Sense (Rodina: zdravy smysl)) and Simonovich-Nikshich attended Budanov's funeral in the Moscow suburb of Khimki.
- On 19 June, Belov, Demushkin, Borovikov, Ermolaev and DPNI activist Elena Denezhkina organized an action in memory of Budanov on the ninth day after his death. Together with about 25 activists, they laid flowers at the spot where the ex-colonel had been killed.
It is evident to us that the ultra-right, receiving a supposedly good cause for mobilization for the first time since the Manezh riots, expected mass protest action. But those actions did not take place.
The second reason to organize public events were the conflicts in two villages, Sagra and Nevskaya Dubrovka,which took place almost simultaneously.
On 1 July, an armed conflict between locals and drug dealers and their supporting gang of criminals took place in Sagra, in the Sverdlovsk region. On 5 July, a brawl took place between local Russians, and Uzbeks and Azerbaijanis living there.
The ultra-right first painted the Sagra conflict according to the 'Kondopoga technique', declaring it an interethnic conflict, with Russians succeeding in repulsing bandits of non-Russian origin. The drug dealer was a Gypsy and his supporting gang was first labeled Azerbaijani, although later its membership turned out to be mixed in terms of ethnicity. Nationalists used traditional rhetoric on 'Gypsy drug dealers,' as well as the non-traditional expression, 'punitive squad' for the bandits. Concerning the atmosphere in society, it is remarkable that almost everyone, not only nationalists, considered the Sagra conflict to be interethnic, although there was no ethnic element in the story.
The story's public resonance was caused not only by the conflict itself but by the actions of law enforcement agencies, or at least by how these actions were covered. Evgeny Roizman, of City without Drugs, took an active part in covering the Sagra situation from the very beginning. He spread information that the police detained locals who defended themselves from the bandits, and did not attempt to search for the attackers. Ultra-right websites followed Roizman's manner of coverage. As a result, an anti-migrant protest was joined by an anti-police one, similar to the case of Egor Sviridov.
However, in spite of right radical efforts, the wave of protests faded away almost immediately after information appeared that the bandits were detained.
The ultra-right used the same scenario while attempting to hype up the case of Nevskaya Dubrovka in the Leningrad region. Here, the conflict burst out of a domestic incident: a local made a remark to an Uzbek girl who was talking loudly into her cell phone on a minibus. The next day, her friends and relatives proposed the young man 'settle' the problem, leading to a brawl between Uzbeks and their Azerbaijani acquaintances, on one side, and friends of the young man who had made the remark, on the other. The ultra-right (Russians, ROD Association, Russian Imperial Movement) who actively covered this case from the very beginning succeeded in dictating their version to the media. The conflict was positioned as a showdown to find out who is the boss in the village, and made use of rhetoric about "occupiers establishing their order." Many articles devoted to the conflict quoted Semen Pikhtelev (Russians, ex-DPNI) who said that "policemen took Russian participants of the conflict to the police station and forced them to sign slanders of themselves in the presence of a group of Uzbeks," and that "unidentified persons are calling the Russians, who took part in the conflict, on the phone and threatening them, demanding they renounce their claims against Uzbeks and not to go to hospitals with their injuries."
But here too, the 'Kondopoga scenario' failed. A gathering of the people organized partly by the ultra-right did not turn into a mass action because almost all the local inhabitants disregarded it.
The Nevskaya Dubrovka and Sagra conflicts became the main subject of the 11 December Movement's July protests. The most remarkable one took place in Moscow, as is usually the case.
On 11 July, representatives of the Russians association (Belov and Demushkin) held a gathering supporting the people of Sagra. Among the public persons in attendance were Belov, Dmitry 'Schulz' Bobrov (National Socialist Initiative (NSI, Natsional-sotsialisticheskaya initsiativa)), Borovikov, Ermolaev, Denezhkina, Oleg Melnikov (Rus's Companions-of-Arms (Soratniki Rusi) group, Alternative (Al'ternativa) movement), and Tor, who was almost immediately detained by law enforcement officials. In all, the action was attended by 50 to 70 people.
The last summer event that right radicals appropriated as a cause for protest action was the murder of student Ivan Agafonov, committed by sportsman Rasul Mirzaev on 15 August in Moscow.
The ultra-right were indignant at the court's ruling to release Mirzaev on bail, and protest actions took place on 25 August in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In Moscow, participants (about 150) gathered near the Novokuznetskaya Metro station and went to the Zamoskvoretsky Court. A special police squad started to gradually force them out, and some activists were detained, among them were Alla Gorbunova (ex-DPNI, ROD), Dmitry Feoktistov (RGS), and Alexander Khramov. About 50 participants retreated to the embankment and started a procession shouting 'Russians, forward!,' 'Down with Caucasus!,' etc. They threw stones at cars passing by and kicked parked cars. Law enforcement officials divided them into small groups that later dispersed to different parts of the city.
In St. Petersburg, about 50 people gathered near the Baltic Bank building. As in Moscow, the participants of the action attempted to march with xenophobic slogans but were dispersed by the special police squad. About 10 participants were detained.
The Moscow action became known, likely as its organizers had planned, because of the media's endless guessing over whether it would grow into the 'second Manezhnaya.' However, it did not attract the numbers the organizers had wished. We believe this was, firstly, because the ultra-right had not clearly considered Mirzaev's case, and secondly because football fans had remained indifferent to the calls and as such very few of them showed up. Later, many ultra-right fans who discussed the protest on websites and blogs called it a "kids' protest," noting that most of its participants were not more than 15-16 years old. Many people also claimed that leaders of RGS and DPNI attempted to headline the rally. This, in turn, became a reason for some to urge others not to take part in rallies in memory of Agafonov.
So in spite of the publicity for each of the described stories and numerous, diverse rallies, none attracted significant participation or backing. The number of participants did not exceed 150, which in any case is the average rate for Moscow nationalist rallies. This is a direct consequence of the fact that legal ultra-right movements, which in most cases directly take part in organizing the actions, remain marginal to society as a whole, and to the ultra-right milieu as well.
It is true that about 50 percent of Russian nationals have long supported the slogan 'Russia for the Russians,' while every fifth person confesses his or her hostility towards 'people of other nationalities.' The number of people who believe 'the defiant behavior of national minorities' is the reason for Russian nationalism has risen from 37 percent in January 2011 to 44 percent. However, the overwhelming majority remains politically passive and is not ready to participate in rallies together with Nazi skinheads, who they view as too radical. In many cases, people have no means (nor will) by which to be made aware of any upcoming protest.
At the same time, members of autonomous fighting groups who share the goals and aims of such rallies, and are typically very much aware of them, do not strive to take part in protests organized by legal right radicals due to their view of the latter as traitors and poseurs. Further, they are not prepared to be spotted by law enforcement for this.
Other non-criminal activity
In summer, the number of social activities continued to shrink noticeably, whereas before, ultra-right organizations and separate activists held them quite a lot. (This process seems to have started in the beginning of this year.) The social activities in question included visits to children's houses and gathering money for them, patronage, organizing sporting events for children, public cleanups, etc. The only organization that continues to hold such actions more or less regularly (though still less often than before) is Russian Image. We should remind readers that it became an outcast in the ultra-right milieu after Ilia Goryachev gave evidence in the case of Nikita Tikhonov and Evgenia Khasis.
Right radicals were likely to consider the turn to social projects as an interim measure when state pressure created obstacles in distributing public propaganda and there was little hope for the mobilization of members. However, after the Manezh riots and a certain reactivation in the country's political life, they switched their attention to endeavors with bigger potential political dividends.
One of these subjects is the aid to 'right-wing political prisoners.' This is by no means a new activity for the ultra-right milieu but it has been activated anew during the summer months.
Firstly, it gained traction amidst the media circus surrounding the case against Nikita Tikhonov and Evgenia Khasis, and was buoyed by the fact that after spring and summer court hearings, members of several big and well-known right radical groups were suddenly in custody. Collections of donations for ultra-right convicts became far more common, with almost all the big ultra-right organizations taking this activity upon themselves to a greater or lesser degree.
A change in the manner of celebrating the Day of Solidarity with Right Political Prisoners, which right radicals mark on 25 July, is remarkable in this regard. (on this day in 2002, the law 'On Combating Extremist Activity' was approved). In years prior, the ultra-right hedged that it could hold as many rallies in as many regions of the country as possible, while now they emphasize the importance of gathering money for the benefit of their convicted comrades. As Bobrov (Schulz) stated in his blog, "It was decided not to hold any pathetic public actions these days but simply to render the prisoners with financial aid."
The Russian Verdict (Russkii verdikt, Alexei Baranovsky), Phoenix (Fenix, Maxim 'Hatchet' Marcinkevich), NSI and ROD Association were among the most active organizers of the Day of Solidarity with Right Political Prisoners.
ROD announced a charity marathon to gather money for the convicts while others issued a joint statement calling all comrades and like-minded people to hold an event of any kind supporting the prisoners. However, the Russian Verdict, Phoenix and NSI themselves (with support of other members of the Russians organization) did not take part in organizing rallies in the regions, and instead concentrated on advertising the Moscow and St. Petersburg events (the main goal of which was gathering money), and the ROD's Charity Marathon. As a result, the Moscow action organized by the Right League (Pravaya liga) and the Russian Verdict gathered 53,600 rubles (roughly USD $1,750), the St. Petersburg rally held by NSI gathered 25,110 rubles (roughly USD $820), and members of ROD gathered 185,000 (roughly USD $6,050). We remind readers that in 2009, when Russian Image organized the Day of Solidarity with Right Political Prisoners, its main success was 120,000 rubles (today, roughly USD $3,930).
The legal ultra-right organizations' fundraising efforts to help the 'right political prisoners' is evidently an attempt to gain trust among autonomous neo-Nazi groups. However, the rise in number of collectors produced an opposite effect; more and more often, people are demanding proof that the collected money reaches its intended addressees.
Legal right radical organizations are in an ambiguous state in that they are forced to please both radical neo-Nazis and the xenophobic majority of society, which has no taste for radicalism; success on one side often leads to defeat in the other. Thus, the refusal to condemn violence and the support of prisoners convicted for violent crimes allows them to gain approval from 'militant' ultra-right factions, but causes society to reject them. On the other hand, Demushkin and Belov's trip to Chechnya and their positive comments on the region allowed them access to media resources (though temporarily) and to assert themselves widely, but caused a hailstorm of criticism from autonomous right radicals.
COUNTERACTION TO RADICAL NATIONALISM AND XENOPHOBIA
Creation of regulatory acts and interpretations of applying the law
The Supreme Court Plenum No. 11 Resolution 'On Court Practice in Extremist Criminal Cases,' issued on 28 June 2011, was significant in its interpretation of anti-extremist legislation.
The court spoke on a number of controversial issues regarding the various methods of qualifying what actions can be deemed extremist.
First, the court confirmed that mass distribution of banned materials could be considered a crime if an intent to incite hatred has been proven.
Secondly, the court approved the use of Article 282 for violent crimes if they are aimed at inciting a third person to hatred, for instance, by means of an ideologically motivated, demonstrative attack in public. Acts of vandalism of various sorts, if committed with a public message, an inscription inciting to hatred for instance, should be qualified under a totality of respective articles and Article 282.
Thirdly, the court noted that it is enough to find a person guilty of participation in an extremist organization (Article 2821) if he or she participated in any kind of its activity, regardless of having committed any crimes.
The resolution contains a number of points raised by experts and human rights activists for years in hopes of ending the misuse of the legislation.
First, the court noted that criticism of officials and politicians should not be qualified under Article 282 because it cannot be equated with that against ordinary citizens.
Secondly, criticism of political organizations, ideological and religious associations, political, ideological and religious beliefs, national or religious customs as such should not be considered as an action aimed at inciting to hatred, the court said.
Thirdly, the court said that an expert who agrees to testify in an extremist case should not be faced with legal issues outside his or her competence concerning the action in question. For instance, the expert should not be asked whether examined materials are aimed at inciting to hatred.
However, despite the significance of these points, the resolution did not liquidate every problem area of the anti-extremism legislation. In particular, nothing is said on what groups are indicated in the extremism legislation concerning hatred against a social group. Article 282/2 ('Arrangement of the activity of an extremist organization') is left without interpretation: it is still unclear whether an activity under a changed name or with changed symbols, but with the same personalities and content, should be considered as continuation of the activity of a banned organization. Finally, according to our experience, one cannot expect the courts to immediately challenge unusual interpretations of the Supreme Court.
There was also much legislative activity this summer. Several bills foreseeing changes in the Criminal Code, as well as a number of other legislative acts, were introduced to the Duma.
On 20 July, the Duma passed the President's bill calling for broadened 'employment bans' in several 'extremist' articles of the Criminal Code.
Articles 280 (public calls for extremist activity), 282/1 (organization of an extremist community), and 282/2 (arrangement of the activity of an extremist organization) were reformed. In some cases, deprivation of the right to obtain certain jobs or to practice certain professions was introduced where it had not been used before, while in other cases where this penalty was already in use, its terms were increased.
We support the toughening of employment bans and the fact that real prison terms were not increased, as we do not consider prison terms a necessary means of punishing words.
On 7 June, President Medvedev introduced another bill to the Duma calling for the wide-scale humanization of the Criminal Code. This included 'extremist crimes.'
If the bill is approved in the form it was introduced (at the moment this report is being written, the bill is still under consideration, though on 6 September it was approved in the first reading), crimes under articles 280 part 1, 282 part 1, 282/1 part 2, 282/2 part 1 and 2 will be considered as crimes of low degree and will receive deprivation of freedom less often than in current practice; only in cases of aggravating circumstances. We endorse this initiative because most of the cases under these articles are instigated against propagators.
These amendments will indirectly affect the practice of suspended sentences for committing such crimes. As a rule, the courts use suspended sentences while using deprivation of freedom as a penalty, so if such sentences are to become rare there will be fewer suspended sentences as well. We support this measure as well because we think that a suspended penalty actually means the lack of penalty for an ideologically motivated criminal.
Besides, the bill calls for a new type of penalty - compulsory labor, which would be considered as an alternative to deprivation of freedom for crimes of low or average degree, and for committing some first offenses of crimes of high degree. Convicts are supposed to serve such sentences in special correctional centers. It is planned to introduce this kind of penalty in 2013.
Yet another bill proposed by President Medvedev this summer mentioned the place for convicts charged under some 'extremist' articles to serve their sentences. It was approved in the third reading, on 17 June, and came into force on 1 August. It introduced changes to articles 73 and 81 of the Correctional Code (on improving the efficiency of measures aimed at combating terrorism and extremism).
According to the approved amendments, people convicted under articles 282/1, 282/2 and 208 part 2 (participation in the activities of an illegal armed unit) will not serve sentences necessarily in the region in which they live or were convicted but in a location to be determined by the federal penal system. Such a measure aimed at those convicted under articles on terrorism, brigandage, mutiny and similar acts, and for especially dangerous criminals sentenced to death, life imprisonment, etc.
To our point of view, this bill has its advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it can help prevent the formation of influential groups of radicals in a certain penitentiary. On the other hand, it can become a ground for corruption and a means for blackmailing persons under investigation with a possibility to serve their sentences in a 'good' or 'bad' penal colony.
An important bill was introduced to the Duma on 4 August by the Cabinet, but has not yet been considered. It concerns funding extremist activity and extremist propaganda on the Web.
The bill calls for:
- the introduction of a new section of Article 282/3 to the Criminal Code on funding extremist activity, with a penalty from a fine to six years of deprivation of freedom;
- the inclusion of valuables aimed at funding extremist activity into the list of confiscated property;
- equating the Web with the media concerning article 280 and 282;
- setting procedural periods tied to deeming materials extremist: a court ruling should be addressed to the Justice Ministry in three days, and the Ministry should include this ruling into the Federal List of Extremist Materials within 30 days.
We question whether the inclusion of an article on funding extremist activity makes sense, as the Criminal Code already supposes that granting funds for committing a crime is a form of complicity (Article 33). However, such an article cannot do any harm.
As for equating the Web with the media, we consider this initiative to be extremely wrong. First, not every material put on the Web is public: it can be concealed with a password and accessible to only a narrow circle of users. Such a publication does not differ from an address dispatch. Secondly, the level of publicity is critical concerning any kind of propaganda crime. In the case of the media, it is evident whereas in cases of online statements, this parameter can vary strongly, from a far higher level than that for a lot of newspapers, to a lower one than that of a conversation in a crowded room. The proposed bill induces serious prosecution (especially under Article 280) for statements on the Web the social danger of which is simply trifling due to an insignificant audience. The matter is that the bill does not change anything in essence in Article 282, because the Web, as well as the media, is mentioned after the words 'in particular,' whereas in Article 280, the use of the media - and according to the bill, the Web as well - is a qualifying indication, so any call for extremist activity on the Web should be punished under this article with deprivation of freedom, with a term up to five years. It is difficult to understand the motives of such severe and novel proposals. For now, nothing prevents the prosecution of unlawful statements on the Web; there is a lot of examples of both appropriate and inappropriate legal practices in such cases.
One can note in general that bills proposed this summer, along with the resolution of the Supreme Court, show that the authorities are realizing their goal of legislative reform. Unfortunately, the main defects of anti-extremism legislation remain the same, and the authorities remain unready to reconsider them. In particular, the project of reforming this legislation was introduced to the Medvedev Administration by the Council for Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights, with Sova Center's active participation, but was rejected.
Penalty for violence
In summer 2011, criminal courts continued proceedings considering acts of racist, hate motivated violence. During this period, at least 14 sentences in 14 regions were passed with 60 people convicted, slightly fewer than in spring 2011 - when 18 sentences against 80 people were passed. In all, from the beginning of 2011, 39 sentences were passed in 23 regions against 154 people.
The following articles are used to qualify penalties for racist violence from June to August: Article 116 Part 2 Items 'a' and 'b' (hate motivated beating), Article 213 Part 2 (hate motivated hooliganism), Article 115 Part 2 Item 'b' (causing minor harm to health with a hate motive), Article 112 Part 2 Item 4 (causing nonsevere harm with a hate motive), Article 111 Part 4 (hate motivated causing severe harm to health leading to death), Article 119 Part 2 (hate motivated death threat), Article 105 Part 2 Item 'l' (hate motivated murder). In five cases, Article 282 was added to the sentence. This article was used only in cases when violence was accompanied by propaganda actions (for instance, when a racial hate motivated beating was photographed and published for free access on the Web). Thus, the use of Article 282 concerning violent crimes seems to be in a gradual process of adjustment in accordance with common legal sense, as confirmed by the June Resolution of the Supreme Court (see above in the section 'Creation of regulatory acts and interpretations of applying the law').
The punishments were allocated as follows:
- five persons were released from punishment following expiry of the statute of limitations;
- 14 persons received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
- two persons were sentenced to correctional labor;
- six persons were sentenced to prison terms up to one year;
- two persons were sentenced to prison terms from one to three years;
- three persons were sentenced to prison terms up to five years;
- eight persons were sentenced to prison terms up to 10 years;
- seven persons were sentenced to prison terms up to 15 years;
- four persons were sentenced to prison terms up to 20 years;
- one person was sentenced to 23 years;
- o ne person was sentenced to custody in a disciplinary military unit;
- seven persons were sentenced to life imprisonment;
- two persons were acquitted and released.
As it can be seen from the data shown above, two thirds of convicts (39 of 60) during the period were sentenced to various prison terms, while seven were given life imprisonment. In the past, it has been extremely rare for neo-Nazis to be sentenced to life imprisonment. Such a significant portion of such convicts in only one season is tied to the simultaneous finalization of several major cases relating to numerous especially cruel murders.
The share of people receiving suspended sentences is shrinking when compared with the previous period (in spring 2011, there were 31 of 80 with such sentences). For convicts, suspended sentences were well grounded. They were mostly members of groups of defendants whose participation in violent crimes failed to be proven, or they cooperated with the investigation. However, some people were given suspended sentences for serious violent acts; in June 2011, two Nazi skinheads received suspended sentences for throwing rocks at people. The prosecution of the third defendant in the case was stopped because he was under the age of criminal responsibility. As we have written on so many occasions before, suspended sentences for violent attacks lead convicts to a feeling of impunity and do not keep them from committing similar crimes in the future. For instance, in summer 2011, Irkutsk ultra-right leader Evgenii 'Boomer' Panov appeared once again on local law enforcement's radar, and in July the fifth case on racist attacks committed under his leadership was sent to court. We should remind readers that in the past, Panov has been charged in several criminal cases tied to neo-Nazi motivated violence but remained free for a long period. During this time, he committed at least two attacks and was detained finally after another beating. Remarkably, Panov committed every attack with a different gang of young people.
In summer 2011, sentences were simultaneously passed against several big neo-Nazi gangs.
On 14 June, a St. Petersburg city court issued a sentence in one of the longest processes, against the Borovikov-Voevodin gang. Almost all of the defendants were found guilty. Alexei Voevodin and Artem Prokhorenko were sentenced to life imprisonment, ten persons received prison terms from two (suspended) to 18 years. Two persons were acquitted and released in court. Soon afterwards, on the night of 30 August, one of them, Andrei 'Fighter' Malyugin, was detained in St. Petersburg under suspicion of two murders committed after his release.
On 11 July 2011, the Moscow District Martial Court issued a guilty verdict against members of the ultra-right group National Socialist Society North (a subdivision of the National Socialist Society). They were charged with 39 hate-motivated crimes, including 27 murders. Five gang members were sentenced to life imprisonment, others received prison terms from 10 to 23 years. Only one person was given suspended sentence for pleading guilty and cooperating with the investigation.
Apart from these two gangs, activists of two other big gangs were convicted: the Volkssturm group in Ekaterinburg, and the Team of White Inquisitors (Komanda belykh inkvizitorov) in Ryazan.
Punishment for vandalism
In summer 2011, at least two sentences were issued for xenophobic vandalism against five persons, in the Arkhangelsk region and Khabarovsk Krai. In both cases, people were charged under Article 214 Part 2 (national- or religious hate motivated vandalism). The second sentence also included a charge under Article 282. We should note that the Khabarovsk sentence took account of the Resolution of the Supreme Court plenum No. 11 'On Court Practice in Extremist Criminal Cases' issued on 28 June 2011 (see above in the section 'Creation of regulatory acts and interpretations of applying the law'), according to which, "if the destruction or damage of monuments is accompanied by actions aimed at inciting to hatred or hostility (e.g., inscriptions or drawings of respective content or nationalist slogans in the presence of other people) Article 282 should be added to the qualification."
In the first case, the defendants were sentenced to minor fines; in the second, the defendants were given suspended terms of deprivation of freedom. Such punishments were issued for drawing graffiti on the walls of houses and shops in places where the defendants lived.
In all, from the beginning of the year four sentences against eight people were issued for vandalism.
Punishment for propaganda
In summer 2011, at least 19 sentences were issued for xenophobic propaganda against 21 persons in 18 regions (Arkhangelsk, Chelyabinsk, Kirov, Kurgan, Pskov, Sakhalin, Sverdlovsk, Tomsk, Tula, and Tyumen regions, Altai and Krasnoyarsk Krai, the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District (Yugra), and republics of Altai, Chuvashia, Karelia, Komi, and Udmurtia). In all, during the first eight months of 2011, 42 such sentences were passed in 32 regions of Russia, with 51 individuals convicted.
In the majority of cases (17 of 19 sentences), Article 282 Part 1 was used; it was the only one in 12 cases. In two other sentences, only Article 280 was used.
There were also combinations of articles:
- Article 282 and Article 280 Part 1 in three sentences;
- Articles 280 and 282 in one;
- Articles 282 and 214 in one (this sentence is also mentioned in the section 'Punishment for vandalism' of this report).
Summer 2011 court rulings for propaganda were allocated as follows:
- three persons were sentenced to deprivation of freedom;
- six persons received suspended sentences without additional sanctions;
- two persons were sentenced to various fines (100,000 and 150,000 rubles);
- seven persons were sentenced to obligatory labor;
- one person was sentenced to limitation of freedom;
- one person was released from punishment due to expired statute of limitations;
- one person was acquitted.
Among positive moments, we should note a tendency that has begun to show since winter 2011, that being a reduction in the share of suspended sentences. In summer 2011, there were six suspended sentences of 20; in spring, five of 15; in winter, four of 11. A slightly bigger portion of convicts (10 persons) faced more effective punishment not tied to deprivation of freedom, however. Thus, the tradition of issuing mostly suspended sentences for propaganda appears to be waning. In particular, for the first time the limitation of freedom was used as a punishment for propaganda (in compliance with humanizing amendments to the Criminal Code approved in the end of 2009).
All those sentenced to various terms of deprivation of freedom were convicted for aggregate crimes and articles (one together with illegal drug trafficking, one together with theft, one for unserved sentences for previously-committed crimes).
In spite of the rise in number of sentences, they are still being issued for minor crimes such as xenophobic discussions on blogs, publication of racist films on the web, and pages on the Vkontakte social network.
During the last six months, we are not aware of any punishment of a really dangerous propagator of xenophobic propaganda by public calls for violence, in particular. On a related note, the practice of profession bans is has stagnated. Propagators who work with people or the media, or are linked to publishing activity, remain beyond the reach of law enforcement agencies.
In summer 2011, we registered two cases of the use of Article 282/1 (organization of an extremist community).
In august 2011, one of the leaders of the Northern Brotherhood organization (Severnoe bratstvo), Oleg Troshkin, was convicted under this article. He was given five years of deprivation of freedom for a combination of crimes, together with Article 159 Part 4 (fraud). The other convict, 21-year-old Semen Sorokin, established the Russian National Front (Russkii natsional'nyi front) in 2008 as a local cell of the ultra-right NSO, which had been deemed extremist in February 2010. The court gave him a suspended sentence of one year as well as eight months of deprivation of freedom.
In all, in 2011 this article was used in three sentences.
Federal List of Extremist Materials
During the three summer months, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated very actively (10 times), growing from 870 to 966 items.
It is still hard to identify a significant portion of the new entries as most of them were added without output data, and some URLs were obviously misrepresented.
During summer, the list was supplemented by:
- Islamic materials (such as issues of the Al-Waie magazine; a video lecture Zakaat of former prisoner of Guantanamo, Airat Vakhitov; Sheikh Abd Al Rahman Nasir Al Sadi and Sheikh Abd Al Rahman Ibn Hasan's Interpretation of The Book of Monotheism, The Life of the Prophet... translated from Arabic by Abdullah Nirsha);
- Jehovah's Witnesses' materials;
- materials of Tatar nationalists from the Watan organization.
The final case is probably linked to the 5 May 2011 ruling of the Zasviyazhskii Area Court in Ulyanovsk, which banned two websites marked in the Federal List as www.livainternet.ru and www.TATARLAR, the misrepresented URLs of the Liveinternet.ru blog service and the tatarlar.ru Tatar web portal. The Tatar nationalist materials could be published in web diaries and forums at Liveinternet.ru and Tatarlar.ru, but the court found it possible to ban the portals, thereby blocking various services to hundreds of thousands of users for several publications. In August, the ban seemed to have come into force because as Ulyanovsk web users report, landing on Liveinternet.ru leads to an automatic redirect to the website of the Prosecutor General's Office.
Other various kinds of xenophobic materials were also included in the list. Among them were books by Viktor Korchagin and Vladimir Romanenko; the Athenaeum (Atenei), Corpus (Korpus) and Russian Will (Russkaya volya) magazines; the Russian Order (Russkii poryadok) newspaper; ultra-right drawings; articles and videos including those of the Format-18 group and from the Blood of the Reich website; Strategy-2020, published by the Russian department of Blood & Honour; xenophobic materials from the Vkontakte social network; racist leaflets including one entitled 'Look ye, prince what s..., infested within the Kremlin walls!' (a leaflet with a very similar title 'Lookye prince, what scum infested within the Kremlin walls!' had already been included in the list under item 414).
It is worth noting separately that Vladimir Istarkhov's book 'The Stroke of the Russian Gods' (Udar russkikh bogov), which is popular among right radicals, was added to the list once more. In July 2009, the book was deemed extremist by the Verkh-Issetsky Area Court of Ekaterinburg and included in the list under item 289. However, this court ruling was cancelled for formal reasons on 27 January 2009 by the Sverdlovsk Regional Court. After the cancellation, in spring 2009 the prosecutor's office sent the case for the second time to the Verkh-Issetsky Area Court, which refused to consider the case for other formal reasons. In December 2009, the prosecutor's office addressed the court again, and on 23 December the same Verkh-Issetsky Area Court finally deemed the book extremist.
Item 918 (the book) was added in accordance with the December ruling of the Verkh-Issetsky Area Court, so the book is added to the list appropriately. However, item 289 is now there inappropriately due to the respective court ruling's cancellation.
As this report is being written, there are 968 items in the list. Thirty-eight items are 'zeroed' (materials withdrawn while the numbering was maintained), five of them removed because they duplicated others, and 33 removed because court rulings that had deemed the respective materials extremist were cancelled. Thirty-seven items reflect duplicate court rulings (to say nothing of the items corresponding to similar texts with different output data). One item duplicates a court ruling already mentioned in the list.
Deeming organizations extremist
The list of extremist organizations published on the Justice Ministry's website has also been supplemented. During summer, it grew to 25 items (as this report is being written, there are 26 items).
During the period under report, three organizations were added to the list: the public organization National Socialist Initiative (NSI) of the town of Cherepovets, which was deemed extremist by a ruling of the town court of Cherepovets in the Vologda Region, on 16 May 2011; the interregional public association Rus the Spiritual Tribal Power (Dukhovno-Rodovaya Derzhava Rus'), deemed extremist by a ruling of the Moscow Regional Court on 5 April 2011; and the Tatarstan regional department of the all-Russian patriotic movement Russian National Unity (Russkoe natsional'noe edinstvo, RNE), deemed extremist by a ruling of the Supreme Court of Tatarstan on 21 May 2003.
As for the first organization of the three mentioned, there is no doubt that its ban was appropriate. The group, whose members began carrying out violent attacks in the town of Cherepovets in early 2010, was formed as a local branch of the eponymous St. Petersburg NSI movement, led by Dmitry 'Schulz' Bobrov. Bobrov had been sentenced to six years of deprivation of freedom in 2005 for leading the well-known neo-Nazi group Schulz-88.
The second organization is one of the oldest operational ultra-nationalist groups in Russia. It exists since the 1990s, and became well known upon declaring sovereignty from the Russian Federation (or at least a desire to be recognized by the Russian authorities as a region of the RF with a further possibility to secede), issuing death sentences against several state officials in the process. Some members of the organization were convicted for violent actions, racist ones in particular, while some others were sent to compulsory psychiatric treatment.
The third organization was banned in May 2003, one of the first to be banned in accordance with the then-new law 'On Combating Extremist Activity.' However, the Justice Ministry recalled its decision only now. The organization used Nazi attributes in its symbols, and activists of the RNE Tatarstan regional department spread leaflets and the Russian Order (Russkii poryadok) newspaper with xenophobic texts in the republic. In May 2008, members of the organization were convicted in Kazan under a totality of 'extremist articles.' Not only xenophobic literature, symbols and attributes were seized from them but also ammunition. As far as we know, the organization no longer exists.
Apart from this, in June 2011 a Vladimir court deemed the interregional Russian All-National Union (Russkii obshchenatsional'nyi soyuz, RONS) extremist. And in August, the Supreme Court approved the ruling deeming the DPNI as extremist. Rulings on banning these two organizations have come into force, but they are not included in the list yet.
List of terrorists and extremists
On 6 July, the Russian Newspaper published for the first time the 'List of Organizations and Natural Persons About Which There Is Information on Their Involvement in Extremist Activity or Terrorism,' compiled by the Federal Service on Financial Monitoring. The list consists of two parts: 'foreign' (104 organizations, 401 people), based on the information provided by the Foreign Ministry according to official lists of the UN; and 'Russian' one (46 organizations, 1510 people), presented by the Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor General's office. Only the open part of the list, which is devoted to juridical and natural persons against whom there are already court rulings, is published. There is also a closed part that includes suspected extremists and terrorists.
The list is addressed primarily to 'credit organizations that are obliged to inform law enforcement agencies about all kinds of suspicious money operations.' The Federal Service on Financial Monitoring plans to update the list on a regular basis by supplementing it or withdrawing items when necessary.
Although the list contains inaccuracies, we consider the publication of the open part as positive because it allows natural persons and organizations to dispute their inclusion if they have grounds for doing so.
Other administrative measures
In summer 2011, the Federal Service for the Supervision of Information Technologies and Communications (Roskomnadzor) issued at least six anti-extremist warnings to editorial offices.
Similar to our spring 2011 report, we consider half of these warnings inappropriate. We cannot assess the appropriateness of one warning (to the editorial office of the Tatar, Uyan! newspaper for the publication of the material 'An ode to the Bashkir people' in issue No. 2, April 2011) because the texts from this newspaper that stands for the equal rights of Tatars in Bashkiria are available only in the Tatar language.
Two other warnings are appropriate. The Moscow web edition Segodnya.Ru was punished for distributing the 'Leningrad Kondopoga' by Sergei Spiridonov, which tells the story of a conflict between a Dagestani and an inhabitant of the village of Kobralovo, Susanino rural settlement, Gatchina area, Leningrad region, that burst into a brawl between two groups of young people. The story is told in terms of an interethnic conflict only and is painted as an armed group of Dagestanis' attack on peaceful civilians. Apart from that, the article quotes anti-Caucasian comments from blogs and forums. The Rostov newspaper Russian Life (Russkaya zhizn') received a warning for a publication under the joint title 'Violators covered by special police squads shot unarmed Cossacks' in issue No. 2, 5 December 2010, which the story of a conflict in the town of Zelenokumsk, Stavropol Krai, and contained anti-Dagestani and anti-Chechen statements.
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