Bulletin 7:12 (2013)
- THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN
A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
Vol. 7, No. 12(200), 24 June 2013
Compilers: Fabian Burkhardt, Parikrama Gupta, Vildane Oezkan & Andreas Umland
I NEWS: 16 - 31 May 2013
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
III PRIMARY SOURCES (on Alexander Dugin)
[NOTE: When viewing an RNB issue in the Messages archive of the homepage and the end of the text is truncated, scroll to the end of the message and click "Expand Messages." Only then, the whole text of the - otherwise truncated - issue will appear. When quoting from an article found here, please, mention the RNB, as the source. Thank you!]
I NEWS: 16 - 31 May 2013
Three-fourths of Russians insist govt. should ban public display of homosexuality
Interfax-Religion, May 17, 2013
Moscow, May 17, Interfax - Homophobia is rather common in Russian society and attitudes toward the LGBT community have been changing slowly throughout the past year, sociologists said.
The same as a year ago, three-fourths of Russians brand gays and lesbians as morally loose (43%) or mentally deficient persons (35%). Only 12% acknowledge homosexuality's right to existence, the Levada Center told Interfax on Friday presenting a nationwide survey.
Yet the opinion of Russians whether gays and lesbians should have equal rights with heterosexuals has changed over last year: now 47% call for limiting their rights, as compared with 40% in 2012. The number of respondents supporting equality has reduced from 46% to 39%. The percentage of hesitant respondents remains rather high, 15% now and 13% a year before.
Public opinions were also split over a law banning discrimination based on sexual orientation: 37% supported that measure, 37% raised objections and 26% could not decide. The Levada Center said the opinions have not changed much since last year.
Some 73% of the respondents polled in 130 towns and cities in 45 regions in late April insist that the government must ban any public displays of homosexuality or excuses for such (14% disagreed). Some 44% of the respondents said that the government did not have to protect sexual minorities from possible aggressive acts, and 38% argued that security must be ensured.
The survey showed that Russians were more hostile to gays and lesbians than to people of other nationalities, religions, social statuses or values. Fifty-one percent of the respondents said that homosexuals "must be prosecuted" and given therapy. Only 8% said such people should be helped " to live a worthy life" in society, and 31% said they "should be simply left alone."
Some 45% of the respondents answered a direct question about the essence of homosexuality that homosexuals became such under the influence of society, 21% said it was an inborn feature, and 20% said "both variants were equally frequent." Fourteen percent failed to answer the question.
Russia does not have a federal law banning propaganda of homosexuality amongst minors, but some regions - Ryazan, Arkhangelsk, Kostroma and Novosibirsk regions and St. Petersburg - have passed such legislative acts.
Moscow police swoop on suspected illegal migrants
BBC, 16 May 2013
Police in the Russian capital Moscow say they have arrested 236 people suspected of being illegal migrants from Central Asia. They were detained in an industrial zone. A further 154 Central Asians were arrested in a separate raid, Russian media report. Russia increasingly relies on cheap labour from Central Asia, where many families depend on migrant earners. But the issue of migration has fuelled social tensions. Of the 236 people detained on Dorozhnaya Street, 100 were found to have illegal status, a Russian migration official later told Interfax news agency. Among items confiscated during the raid were an improvised pistol, five cartridges, two daggers and what appeared to be two stolen cars. Police also said they had discovered an illegal cafe at the site. The 154 Central Asians detained on Lyublinskaya Street, in the south-east of the city, were found in an abandoned building, police told Interfax, without giving details. Millions of Uzbeks, Tajiks and Kyrgyz people have migrated to Moscow and other parts of Russia in recent years, in search of work. Often poorly paid and badly housed, they are predominantly Muslim, creating tensions with central Russia's mainly Orthodox Christian population, and they frequently face discrimination. Moscow's lack of mosque space is a particular sore point. Russian officials have also voiced concern about the involvement of migrants in crime, such as the trafficking of heroin from Tajikistan. On Wednesday, 80kg of what appeared to be heroin were found aboard a train travelling from the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to Moscow, Russian police said.
Human rights activist Pamfilova: 'Demand for change in Russia is increasing'
Deutsche Welle, 17 May 2013
The Kremlin's strong political line will not last forever, says Ella Pamfilova, a renowned human rights activist and former adviser to the Russian president. She told DW that the first signs of change are visible. DW: You criticize the lack of trust in Russia's civil society. What do you think is behind that? Ella Pamfilova: If you compare the NGOs' awareness levels to the degree of trust they enjoy, you will get totally different results. NGOs are becoming more and more visible. Just a couple of years ago, less than 20 percent of Russian citizens knew that NGOs existed. Now, more than half of the population is aware of that - about 56 percent. But trust in NGOs is still quite low. It slowly increases by 1 percent per year. This can be explained by the fact that Russian citizens are generally very distrustful. Of all societal organizations, it's the well-known institutions that are trusted the most: the president, the church and the military forces. The political parties are hardly ever seen as trustworthy. In a sense, Russians only trust their relatives and friends. Do you think Russian society is changing? There are signs that society is coming together. The main human need is the desire for justice, especially for social and legal justice. We have carried out an extensive study and found out that people are most concerned about issues like alcoholism and drug addiction. Issues like housing and local economy come second; after that it's security and medical care. People are unified in their protest against corruption and arbitrariness. There is an increased interest in solving ecological problems. Even the interest in respecting human rights has risen. In the past, only about 2 percent of the interviewees have said it was important; today there are regions where some 10 to 15 percent regard this as important. In 2010, you stepped down as head of the president's council on human rights and civil society. Do you regret this decision in light of recent developments in Russia? I stepped down when everyone was still excited about a liberal Dmitry Medvedev [Russia's former president and incumbent prime minister]. But I knew very well where all of this was going to end. Putin and Medvedev competing against each other - what a bluff! I know this from an insider's perspective. I stepped down because I understood that I wasn't able to fulfill my duties anymore without losing my self-respect. I couldn't fight against what was looming over Russia on my own. I don't see a place in this system for me. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin speaks with Russian Olympic team athletes in Vancouver from Moscow (photo: ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images) Things will change after the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, said Pamfilowa When could Russia change? Very soon, I think. There's a desire for change within society. I am sure that Vladimir Putin will start to change his policy because of several reasons: It's due to the citizens' pressure, but also because he realizes how dangerous the current system is - that it destroys itself. He needs to change the system if he no longer wants to lean on the pillars of power that might be loyal but are decayed. Even if he just wants to preserve power, he needs to change the current system from the core and allow more political competition. Some first steps have been made. The situation will get better after the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014. You will remember my words then. And what are all those NGOs supposed to do that have been searched? Should they just wait and see? No, they should continue working. This craziness - as we have seen with these mass searches - is going to cease. The way this was done has appalled many people. Even uncomfortable, oppressive authorities can be overcome. I think Putin will realize that this approach is only damaging - damaging to him and his reputation as well. I would advise NGOs to inform the public more about their work and to be very transparent in everything. It's more important to look for support in Russia instead of support from foreign countries - and to organize resistance from within the country. From 2004 to 2010, Ella Pamfilova headed the president's council on human rights and civil society which was founded by then-and-current President Vladimir Putin. At the time, many civil rights activists claimed she was too moderate. But she took on Putin's party United Russia, only stepping down the day after a controversial law on Russia's internal security agency (FSB) came into force. Previously she had called on then-President Medvedev not to expand the FSB's rights.
Moscow authorities block LGBT rally bid
By Anna Arutunyan
Moscow News, 17 May 2013
Moscow City Hall has refused a request by LGBT activists to hold a "Rainbow Rally" in Moscow's Gorky Park on May 25, citing last day of school festivities scheduled for the same day. Earlier, an announcement on Rainbow Rally's Facebook page said that a rally with about 200 people would be held in support of gay rights on a square next to the Krymsky Bridge in Gorky Park. But on Friday, a City Hall official said the rally would not be held. "This event will not take place because all squares will be occupied May 24-25 for last day of school festivities," RIA Novosti quoted Alexei Mayorov, head of City Hall's regional security department, as saying. Earlier this month, Moscow introduced several so-called Hyde Park zones in Gorky Park and Sokolniki Park, modeled on the Hyde Park Speaker's Corner in London, as places where various groups could express their views. Unlike rallies held in the city, where organizers have to obtain permission from City Hall, those who want to assemble in "Hyde Park zones" need only to fill out an application on the park's site. According to Mayorov, end of school festivities will mean that most "Hyde Park" events will not be approved on May 25-26. Earlier Moscow authorities blocked a bid by LGBT activists to hold a march and a rally in central Moscow on May 25, while Gorky Park refused to approve a bid to hold a rally on the territory on May 26. Gay activists have tried to hold authorized rallies in the past, but Moscow authorities have never approved them. Unauthorized events will be dispersed by police, City Hall said.
Foreign grantmakers must get approval of Ministry of Education & Science posted
HRO-org, 19 May 2013
Foreign philanthropic and academic foundations working with Russian researchers and academic institutions will be obliged to obtain the approval of the Ministry of Education & Science. Grani.ru, citing the newspaper Vedomosti, reports that a government decree lays down this demand. Grantmakers henceforth must present the Ministry with their founding documents and information about the research project for which money is being provided. Moreover, they must give the officials their own bank details and the numbers of the bank accounts of the grant recipients. All these documents must be translated into Russian. The officials can refuse the philanthropists if they consider that the goals of the research conflict with the Russian legislation or do not correspond with the established priorities for the development of science and technology. The right to work without the permission of the Ministry of Science & Education is retained for 13 organizations, including six agencies and organizations of the United Nations, particular European and intergovernmental associations (the Council of Ministers of the Northern Countries, the Council of States of the Baltic Sea) and the Intergovernmental Foundation of Humanitarian Cooperation of the CIS. Earlier, academic institutions had been removed from the list of organizations affected by the law on 'foreign agents.' This government decree now puts academics receiving financing from abroad on an equal footing with organizations registered as 'foreign agents.' Experts asked by HRO.org said that they expect that prosecutors will visit academic institutions that are recipients of grants, and that there will be more prosecutions of academics.
Prosecutors say more than 50 kinds of NGO activity are 'political'
HRO.org, 19 May 2013
On the basis of more than 30 warnings issued by prosecutors to NGOs under the law on 'foreign agents', the human rights organization Agora has counted more than 50 kinds of activity that have been classified as 'political.' Pavel Chikov, director of Agora, told Vedomosti that 'all socially useful activities' have been classified as political activity, including legal consultations for those who took part in protests in December 2011 and the publication of a leaflet such as 'The International LGBT Movement: From Local Specifics to Global Policy.' In general, Pavel Chikov concludes, coming forward with any initiative can be considered political activity, from making recommendations to the authorities to the holding of demonstrations. Chikov says that the label 'foreign agent' can be applied to any active NGO. For this reason, Chikov supports the proposal by the Presidential Council on Human Rights that the criterion 'political activity' be excluded from the definition of a 'foreign agent', and that the sole criterion be the presence or absence of foreign funding. Rosbalt news agency reports that recently the Presidential Human Rights Council held a special session on the NGO inspections being conducted in Russia. The results of the session have been published by the Council. This points out that starting in March 2013 in many regions of Russia the prosecutors have been conducting mass inspections of non-profit organizations. The Human Rights Council states that the inspections have already affected several thousand NGOs, including groups that have won wide recognition for their work in the areas of human rights, the environment, research, education, sport, religion and other areas. In particular, the report states that these inspections have been carried out in violation of the established law regulating oversight by federal bodies of the work of NGOs.
Russians become calmer about Pussy Riot
May 20, 2013
Russians' attitude towards the Pussy Riot girls' punk band has become calmer, the Izvestia newspaper writes. The number of citizens who believe that the girls got their prison term fairly has decreased over the past year by 22 percent.
According to the Yuri Levada Analytical Centre, over the past year Russians have become more tolerant towards the Pussy Riot band and the action of its members in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.
Last September, the verdict of Moscow's Khamovnichesky Court that sentenced Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Mariya Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich to two years in prison, was supported by 78 percent of the survey participants. And 43 percent of those polled thought that the sentence was too lenient.
Over this period, the number of supporters of the prison term for them has decreased by 22 percent - in April 2013 only 56 percent of respondents agreed with the court decision. At the same time, the number of those who think that the punishment is excessive or see no crime components in the actions similar to those staged by the group has increased significantly. If last September 14 percent of the respondents regarded the punishment for the girls "excessive," then this April their number was 26 percent. And the number of those who believe that radical performances' participants should not be brought to criminal liability increased from 2 to 9 percent.
Deputy Director of the Levada Centre Alexei Grazhdankin believes that the softening of the attitude of Russians towards the punk performance participants at Moscow's Christ the Saviour Cathedral is logical.
"The confrontation and scandal are gone, and the people have a calmer and more sober view on the events. When the problem is ideologised and politicised, the severity of assessments and inclination to the most extreme and harsh measures is always growing," the sociologist said.
Pussy Riot member Yekaterina Samutsevich believes that people are gradually getting rid of the influence of television propaganda.
"There is much less noise now, the harassment campaign, which was at the time of the trial, has practically ended. And maybe people are not influenced any more by television. They have a more sober outlook on the situation," she says.
Chairman of the Synodal Department of the Russian Orthodox Church for public relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin believes that Russians have forgotten the severity of the offense committed by Pussy Riot.
"I think the disgusting nature of the committed act has been forgotten. Forgotten partly because the society and then the state have given a tough response to this action and made sure that nothing like this happens again. Therefore, everything was done correctly, we can defend our shrines, our society is morally healthy," said the cleric.
Deputy Secretary of the General Council of the United Russia party Sergei Zheleznyak agrees with him.
"The peculiarity of human memory is to forget the bad. The situation with Pussy Riot has become less relevant and now it is easier for people to be complacent," he said.
Patriarch Kirill tells CoE's secretary general same-sex marriage sinful
Interfax-Religion, May 21, 2013
Moscow, May 21, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church will always insist on the depravity of same-sex "marriages", Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said.
"If people choose such lifestyle, this is their right but the Church's responsibility is to say that this is a sin in the face of God," the patriarch said on Tuesday at a meeting with the Council of Europe's Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland.
Patriarch Kirill said that the Russian Orthodox Church was concerned with the fact that "the sin is justified by law for the first time in the entire history of mankind."
The patriarch told Jagland that the Russian Orthodox Church was "very touched" that millions French were opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage and was "shocked no one listened to the opinions of these millions and the Senate passed this law with several votes."
Russians favor authoritarian leaders - poll
The Moscow News, May 22, 2013
Some of Russia's most authoritarian leaders are the most popular, according to a recent poll by the Levada Center, with Leonid Brezhnev, Vladimir Lenin and Josef Stalin leading the list.
By contrast, reformers like Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin were the most disliked, according to the poll, published Wednesday in the Kommersant daily.
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled from 1964 until his death in 1982, came in first with 56 percent of respondents saying they had a positive view of him. Brezhnev was associated with a tightening of political repressions after the thaw of his predecessor, Nikita Khrushchev. He was also associated with what is widely referred to as an era of stagnation on the one hand, and stability on the other.
Stalin, who oversaw one of the most repressive periods in Russia's history, followed with 50 percent of respondents viewing him favorably. "Although no one would want to live in the Stalin era, he stands for what's lacking today - justice and equality in fear," Kommersant quoted Valery Solovei, a professor of the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, was viewed favorably by 48 percent of respondents.
By contrast, 66 percent viewed Gorbachev negatively (for Yeltsin that number was 64 percent), a figure that experts linked with the breakup of the Soviet Union which he oversaw.
Experts pointed to a trend where harsh, authoritarian leaders were viewed more favorably than those who ruled during periods of increased freedom.
"Associating [President Vladimir] Putin with Brezhnev is not dishonorable for the government," Solovei added.
Ecuadorian Forward Tries to Ignore Russian Football Racism
RIA-Novosti, May 22, 2013
MOSCOW, May 22 (R-Sport) - Lokomotiv Moscow forward Felipe Caicedo has told R-Sport he tries to block out racist chants at Russian football stadiums.
"I try not to notice these things, not to react in any way," said the 24-year-old Ecuadorian. "It's not easy because you are agitated during the game and the smallest thing can throw you off the balance, but I try so it doesn't bug me."
Caicedo is completing his second season in Russian football after joining Lokomotiv from Manchester City in 2011, and has scored 18 times in all competitions since.
The forward is already accustomed to ingrained xenophobia in the Russian game.
"Yes, I often encountered racism, especially when the team is not playing very well or during away matches," Caicedo said.
But he added: "I think the opponents' fans always demonstrate racism towards any player, and not only black, but white as well."
Lokomotiv was plunged into scandal in March 2012, when a fan threw a banana at the Anzhi Makhachkala defender Christopher Samba at the team's stadium in northwest Moscow.
Last season, similar incidents happened twice with ex-Brazil international Roberto Carlos, though at different locations.
Earlier this season, Zenit St. Petersburg came under attack after their main fan club published a manifesto calling for an outright ban on the club signing black or gay players.
Officials are keen to eliminate the problem ahead of the 2018 World Cup, when Russia will host the event for the first time.
Radical Islamism is the most real threat to Russia - General Kulikov
Interfax-Religion, May 22, 2013
Russia has no honest allies in issues relating to the prevention of aggressive Islamism
Moscow, May 22, Interfax - Radical Islamism is now present in 55 regions of Russia, General Anatoly Kulikov, former interior minister of Russia and president of the Russian Military Commanders Club, said at the conference Islamism and National Security of Russia held on Wednesday.
"Of all existing threats, the most real threat to Russia is radical political Islam, or Islamism, which has declared a jihad in our country," Kulikov told the conference.
Kulikov recalled that "Islamist centers have been at war with us since the time the Soviet contingent was brought to Afghanistan."
"They assisted the Dudayev regime in Chechnya and they now continue helping the extremists in the Northern Caucasus with money, weapons, instructors and people, and they are ready to continue the war on the entire territory of the country," Kulikov said.
"The ways in which the role of Islamism is disseminated or increased on our territory is comparable to the way in which the West promotes its democratic values (interference in the internal affairs of other countries, use of force), and therefore it appears that further tolerance of radical movements has nothing to do with freedom of religion," Kulikov said.
Kulikov believes that "Russia has no honest allies in issues relating to the prevention of aggressive Islamism."
"The entire fight against terrorism in the Northern Caucasus showed that. Terrorists, ideologists, and Islamist adepts find secure shelter in countries with so-called ancient democracies, even in cases when these democracies come under terrorist attacks," Kulikov said.
Kulikov said he is convinced that among the factors that influenced the spread of radical Islamism in Russia is "the overpopulation of many regions of Russia by migrants."
General Anatoly Kulikov was previously commander of the United Group of Troops in the Northern Caucasus and interior minister of Russia.
CoE secretary general urges Russia to protect gay rights to demonstrations, freedom of speech (updated)
Interfax, 22 May 2013
Moscow - The Russian authorities should ensure the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community's rights, such as the right of expression, including by means of demonstrations, which is among the principal provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said at a press conference at the Interfax main office on Wednesday.
Members of the LGBT community should have the same rights as other people in terms of holding demonstrations, expressing their views and so on, but the Council of Europe is not calling for granting the LGBT community some special rights, Jagland said.
The Council of Europe is also calling on the Russian State Duma to not pass legislation banning the propaganda of homosexuality among the underage.
Jagland said that his position on the issue is clear and that he had earlier forwarded a letter to the State Duma chairman, urging him not to pass the said legislation in the second reading.
It is important that any bill on this issue, as well as any other, not undermine the fundamental principle of freedom of speech, he said.
Russian police raid homes of leftist activists
The Moscow News/RIA Novosti, May 23, 2013
Police carried out searches on Thursday at the homes of two members of Russia's Left Front movement, which played a key role in last year's mass protests against the rule of President Vladimir Putin.
Police detained Vasily Kuzmin, head of the Moscow branch of Left Front, and raided the home of Denis Kuraishi, a former bodyguard for the movement's leader, Sergei Udaltsov, who has been under house arrest since February, rights groups said.
A lawyer for the RosUznik rights group said Kuzmin had been detained by officers and taken to the offices of the Investigation Committee for questioning.
A spokesperson for the rights organization For Human Rights said Kuraishi was not at home when the raid took place, but that social services had removed his two children without informing him where they were being taken.
Kuraishi was reported by Russia's online lenta.ru news portal as saying the raid was connected to the ongoing investigation into clashes between police and protesters on the eve of Putin's inauguration for a controversial third presidential term.
Over 650 people were detained at a May 6, 2012 rally on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square. Most were soon released, but a case soon followed into what investigators called mass riots. The riot allegations are hotly disputed by the opposition, which blames the police for provoking the clashes and claims the case is political.
Investigators on Wednesday concluded their probe into the cases of twelve people charged over the disturbances and court hearings are expected to begin in June.
Udaltsov and two other activists were accused last fall of conspiring with a Georgian politician to organize nationwide disturbances, including the Bolotnaya Square unrest, with the aim of toppling Putin. The charges were brought after a pro-Kremlin TV channel aired what it said was secretly recorded footage of the alleged plotters.
One of the men charged with the plot, Konstantin Lebedev, a former member of a pro-Kremlin youth group who went over to the opposition in 2004, pled guilty to the charges and was jailed for two and a half years last month.
Udaltsov and the other activist, Leonid Razvozzhayev - who has been in custody since October - deny the charges, which carry a maximum sentence of ten years behind bars. The Georgian politician allegedly featured in the footage, Givi Targamadze, denies ever meeting the activists. Georgia, which fought a brief war with Russia in 2008, has said it will not extradite him to Moscow.
FMS plans to limit inflow of migrants from CIS countries to Russia
ITAR-TASS, May 23, 2013
According to the Federal Migration Service's data, one of every five crimes in Moscow is committed by non-residents. It became known at the FMS board meeting on Wednesday that Russia intends to tighten up the immigration laws. A proposal was presented to oblige CIS citizens to receive an invitation to arrive in the Russian Federation. Experts believe it will not complicate life of illegal migrants.
According to FMS chief Konstantin Romodanovsky, guests from Tajikistan, Moldova and Uzbekistan are most often among those in reports about crimes committed by immigrants, the Moskovsky Komsomolets notes. The number of crimes committed by them in the capital has risen catastrophically -- by 42 percent. They committed about 2,400 crimes in three months last year and about 3,500 during the same period of this year. The number of serious crimes increased by 72 percent. They have begun to commit more crimes as members of organized groups -- 5.5 times more often.
"We have created all the prerequisites for legal presence of people -- work permits, licenses. But if people remain in shadow and do not want to live under our rules, perhaps, there must be other approaches, but not amnesty. We close entry for offenders, and rather intensively," the Rossiiskaya Gazeta quotes Romodanovsky as saying. As speaker said at the FMS meeting on Wednesday, entry to Russia is closed for 53,000 migrants since the beginning of this year. A draft law is in the State Duma, calling to extend the period to ban entry for offenders -- five years for one offence and ten years for repeated violations.
Head of the "Migration and Law" information and legal centre Gavkhar Dzhurayev believes invitations will not help the authorities to solve the problem of illegals, but just increase the number of intermediaries who make money on migrants, the Kommersant notes. There are already corruption circles around them at present - -beginning from persons at railway stations who sell permits and ending with officials and leaders of diasporas who create shadow business on this. If invitations are introduces, all will invite, but for money -- from suddenly appearing relatives and to firms inviting to have a walk around Moscow, Dzhurayev said. Meanwhile, tightening of entry regulations for migrants may also serve for other purpose - the European Union has repeatedly demanded that Russia must close the borders with CIS countries before beginning talks about visa-free travel to Europe for Russian citizens.
Protestors against residence registration rules summoned for questioning
HRO.org, 24 May 2013
Five participants in a protest action on Red Square against the law on residence registration ('propiska') held on 18 March have been summoned to Moscow police department for questioning as witnesses. Summonses for 22 and 27 May were sent to Gennady Stroganov, Vladimir Michurin, Oleg Prudnikov, Aleksey Nikitin and Anastasia Zinovkina. According to Stroganov's Facebook page, police handed them the summonses in Special Detention Centre No. 1, where all five have been serving terms in prison for an anti-government protest held on Moscow's Tverskaya Street on 9 May entitled 'Death to the Kremlin Occupiers'. Detective Aleksander Zotov and Police Captain Sergey Gladkov had initially planned to speak to the activists without summonses. The arrested individuals were told that some human rights defenders wanted to have a word with each of them, but the ruse did not work, writes Stroganov. After this, Zotov and Gladkov appeared in chambers, having assured that they would enter the refusal to give testimony under Article 51 of the Constitution on every record. Yet still the activists refused to answer any questions without summonses, reveals Grani.ru. A few hours later, the police returned with the summonses, none of which specified the case number. Once Zotov had entered the number by hand, four of the activists agreed to accept the summonses, but Zinovkina refused to sign one, and the document was served on her in the presence of witnesses. Stroganov, Prudnikov and Nikitin, who had been summoned for questioning on 22 May, were freed the night before. The Main Internal Affairs Directorate agreed to postpone the questioning until 27 May, on account of the fact that the activists had not had the chance to make arrangements with their lawyers. The management of the special detention centre did not allow them to make a phone call. 13 participants of the 'Death to the Kremlin Invaders' protest action on Tverskaya Street were given terms ranging from 10 to 15 days for "disobeying orders by the police", whilst in the special detention centre activists held a collective hunger strike. The case regarding the protest action on Red Square was initiated on 20 March under Part 2, Article 213, of the Criminal Code ("hooliganism committed by a group of persons in a preliminary conspiracy or an organised group, connected with resistance to a representative of authority or to any other person who fulfills the duty of protecting the public order or who prevents violation of the public order"). The maximum punishment given under this part of the Article is seven years' imprisonment. The Office of the Public Prosecutor for the Central Administrative District of Moscow has authorised that criminal proceedings be commenced. "It has been established that on 18 March 2013 on Red Square a group of young people held an unauthorised picket, which involved the use of obscene language and placards bearing corresponding phrases. When the police attempted to stop this breach of the peace, picketers resisted law enforcement officers, using lit flares as weapons," said a statement by the press office. 14 members of the protest action against the Law on Registration were arrested on 18 March in Red Square in Moscow.
Russian Foreign Ministry says U.S. State Department's religious freedom report politicized
Interfax, May 24, 2013
Moscow - The 2012 international religious freedom report of the U.S. State Department has been done superficially and does not reflect the objective situation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"We are to conclude that the U.S. State Department has again presented a contorted and politicized picture of the situation in the religious freedom sphere in the recently released annual international religious freedom report for 2012, having substituted deep analysis of reasons for religious intolerance with superficial accusations against a number of countries, including Russia," Russian Foreign Ministry's special envoy on human rights, democracy and supremacy of law Konstantin Dolgov said in a comment posted on the ministry's website.
Dolgov said that the indisputable progress achieved in preserving and enhancing the inter-religious peace had been ignored in regard to Russia.
The situation in this sphere in the U.S. remained outside the criticism as usual, he said.
The comment said that according to the report of the Tel Aviv University and the European Jewish Congress on anti-Semitism in the world in 2012 and review of main tendencies, the U.S. is the second in the world on the number of anti-Semitism incidents, 99, recorded in countries with numerous Jewish citizens.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said that other Western countries, pretending to have full implementation of religious freedoms and having received high evaluations in the U.S. State Department's report, were no better.
U.S. non-governmental organizations are concerned with the conditions of U.S. Muslims, accounting for around 18% populations of the country. Special services and law enforcement authorities of the U.S. are consistently implementing the policy of total control over Muslim communities and certain preachers, up to legalizing out-of-court executions abroad using air drones.
"We suppose that regardless of announced goals, such biased opuses lead to aggravation of inter-religious problems. Not politicized leaflets, but inter-confessional dialog and respected attitude to traditional humanistic values common of all world religions are needed to solve them," the statement said.
About 45 detained during gay-homophobe punch-up in Moscow
Interfax, May 27, 2013
Moscow - Gay rights activists came to blows with homophobes in Moscow's so-called "Hyde Park" on Saturday, with about 15 people being detained by police, a spokesman for the city police authority said.
All the detainees were taken to police stations, the spokesman told Interfax.
"Hyde Park" is an area near Moscow's Gorky Park.
There were other arrests on Saturday during an abortive gay rights parade in the center of the Russian capital that had not been permitted by the city administration.
"About 30 followers and opponents of the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender [LGBT] movement have been detained in the city center for various violations of public order, including an attempt to hold an unsanctioned event," a spokesman for the city police authority told Interfax.
Russian Government Supports Tightening 'Anti-Extremism' Laws
Hro.org, 28 May 2013
A commission of the Russian government has supported a bill to increase punishments for crimes of 'extremism', the website of the Cabinet of Ministers states. It is not yet known when the bill will be sent to the State Duma for consideration. Nor is it known at present what changes are foreseen to the Criminal Code. The website of the cabinet of Ministers states that changes are proposed to the following articles of the Criminal Code: Article 280 ("Public calls to commit extremist activities"), Article 282 ("Incitement of enmity or hatred, or degrading human dignity"), Article 282.1 ("Organization of an extremist group") and Article 282.2 ("Organization of the activity of an extremist organization"). The bill has been developed by the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry's April report on its legislative drafting, the bill to increase the punishments for crimes of an "extremist" nature was finalized in March. The draft was sent to the government with a letter classified as "For official use only". Currently the minimum penalty for the most widely used "anti-extremism" article - Article 282 - is a fine of 100,000 roubles; and the maximum penalty is deprivation of freedom for a period of five years, Lenta.ru reports. The opposition has on several occasions demanded the removal of Article 282 from the Criminal Code. Opponents of the article argue that it is used to suppress civil society activists. Under this and other "anti-extremism" articles the supporters of the now-banned National Bolshevik Party of Eduard Limonov have been regularly convicted.
Russian government seeks stricter penalties for extremism
Moscow News, May 28, 2013
A Russian government commission has approved a draft law increasing criminal punishments for extremism-related crimes and wrongdoing by religious organizations, seeking stiffer penalties for an existing controversial extremism law.
"The government legislation commission has approved for consideration a draft law establishing a legal basis for neutralizing the destructive activities of religious organizations in Russia," the Cabinet said in an official statement posted on its site.
Larger fines and longer prison terms will be handed down for offences under several articles of the Criminal Code, including those relating to destructive activity by religious organizations, extremist activity, and inciting hate crimes as well as organizing an extremist group. Other offences facing tougher penalties include publicly calling for extremist activity, and promoting hate crimes, the cabinet said in a statement.
The draft law also proposes tougher punishments including community service for public calls for extremist activity, public or media-broadcast statements containing hatred, or causing damage to human dignity with sexual, racial, national, linguistic or religious characteristics.
The current maximum punishments listed in the Criminal Code for the offences mentioned range from up to three to up to 10 years in prison as well as fines of up to 300,000 ($9,500) and 500,000 rubles ($16,000), depending on the nature of the crime. The statement did not specify the new punishments proposed.
Previously introduced "anti-extremism legislation" in Russia has been criticized by human rights advocates, who claim it has often been used to clamp down on dissent rather than real threats to public order, and say the definition of extremist is subject to the interpretation of prosecutors and investigators.
Religious minority groups have also faced prosecution in Russia for activities considered "extremist," or for publishing "extremist publications."
In 2011, prosecutors in the city of Tomsk tried to impose a ban on the Russian translation of "Bhagavad Gita As It Is," written by the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, claiming that the scripture promoted extremism. A court later ruled against the prosecutor's case.
Residents and Migrants Clash Violently in Suburb
The St. Petersburg Times, Issue #1761, May 29, 2013
St. Petersburg investigators opened an investigation following a fight between migrant workers and local residents last Friday in the suburban village of Pargolovo.
The case will investigate the accusations surrounding reports of the violent assault, the website of the St. Petersburg Investigation Committee said.
The conflict began when three local men, under the influence of alcohol, attacked a citizen of Tajik descent. The victim ran to his dormitory to escape and the three attackers fled the scene.
Later that night the same three men returned, entering the victim's dormitory with two guns and physically assaulting the migrants living there. One victim was later hospitalized, the Investigation Committee stated.
After leaving the dormitory, the suspects went to a nearby soccer field and fired five times at a group of migrants returning from work to their dormitory.
One worker suffered minor injuries and was later hospitalized.
The three men are reported to be 32, 29 and 26 years old. Preliminary information claims the reason for the conflict stemmed from an earlier argument between the men and the migrant workers.
St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast police ordered an increase in police patrols in Pargolovo to prevent any further conflict, Interfax said.
This is not the first reported attack on migrant workers this month in St. Petersburg. On May 3, police detained a group of people suspected of attacking migrant workers from Uzbekistan after one of the victims was hospitalized with a head injury, Zaks.ru online portal said.
Police have also reported fights between the migrants themselves. In February, seven citizens of Uzbek descent fought in the city, the result of a dispute over a woman. Two participants in the fight were hospitalized with minor injuries, Baltinfo reported.
The number of migrant workers in Russia continues to grow every year, stoking resentment among a large part of Russia's native population. However, experts say Russia needs migrant workers to keep its economy developing since migrants often do the physically toughest, lowest paid work. Migrants often agree to work in uncomfortable conditions and, even though they are paid little for their work, it is enough to support their families back home where incomes are extremely low.
Searching for ways to make the life of migrant workers in Russia safer and more comfortable, Russian authorities, including in St. Petersburg, have organized Russian language courses for workers, who often speak little to no Russian and are unaware of their rights.
The number of foreign nationals coming to Russia continues to rise, the Russian Federal Migration Service deputy head Anatoly Kuznetsov said in March, adding that "compared with the same time last year, the number of migrants entering the country has grown 14 percent."
According to official FMS statistics, the number of migrant workers in Russia is close to five million people, including three million who are here illegally.
Meanwhile, experts say the real figures are much higher and may be closer to 10 million. According to the 2012 International Migration Outlook, issued last year by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Russia is home to the world's largest illegal migrant population, accounting for almost seven percent of the country's workforce, RIA Novosti reported.
Abductions continue in Chechnya
HRO.org, 29 May 2013
On 28 May a disturbing report reached Civic Assistance Committee from Chechnya. Early in the morning on 22 May 2013 in the village of Yandi in Achkhoi-Martan district, Grozny resident Beslan Baidulaev was reported missing. The day before, 21 May, Baidulaev had arrived at his family's country home in Yandi to do a number of tasks (including cutting hay, and so on). In the evening he had had supper until late at his cousin's home, and then left to sleep at his home. Early in the morning on 22 May, villagers saw a large number of law enforcement officers outside his house. Baidulaev did not return to Grozny on that day, nor has he done so since. On 23 May, Baidulaev's relatives were ordered to the Achkhoi-Martan district police station. There they were told that on 22 May officials tried to arrest Baidulaev, but he escaped. The police officers demanded that the relatives tell them Baidulaev's whereabouts, and threatened to burn down their house if they did not. On 25 May, Baidulaev's relatives were again called to the police station, where the officers repeated their demands and threats. Beslan Baidulaev's relatives told Civic Assistance Committee that in 2009 Baidulaev had been convicted on charges of aiding and abetting illegal armed groups. In 2010 after he had served his sentence, he returned to Grozny and began to live a peaceful life. He married and he and his wife had two children. Each week he reported to the local police officer. His relatives are certain that Baidulaev had not had any contacts with the underground, nor could he have run away as he was the only support of his elderly father, who is ill, and is fully committed to looking after him. Moreover, according to his relatives, Baidulaev's house in Yandi village is in an open location. Baidulaev had no weapons, and the neighbours heard no shots, and several dozen law enforcement officers had been present at his arrest. In such circumstances, it seems unlikely that Baidulaev would have run away. Baidulaev's relatives fear that he has been abducted, and may be subjected to torture to force him to give false testimony, or he is being illegally detained in an unknown location so that, when his beard has grown, he may be killed and it would be reported that the body was that of a member of an illegal armed group. Police are reporting that he escaped in order to stop relatives looking for him. Many similar instances indicate that the concerns of Beslan Baidulaev's relatives are not groundless, Civic Assistance Committee reports.
Pussy Riot's Alyokhina moved to prison hospital over hunger strike
The Moscow News/RIA Novosti, May 29, 2013
Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina was transfered to a medical unit in her prison colony after a week of hunger striking, a representative of the federal penitentiary authority in the Perm Territory told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.
He refused to comment on Alyokhina's health, citing patient confidentiality.
Attorney Irina Khrunova told RIA Novosti that regional human rights activists planned a visit on Wednesday to assess conditions in the prison colony in the Urals town of Berezniki.
In February 2012, five young women wearing brightly colored balaclavas staged a "punk-style" prayer in the Christ the Savior Cathedral in Moscow. An edited video of their performance was posted on the Internet and caused a public outcry.
In August 2012, the Khamovnichesky District Court in Moscow sentenced Alyokhina and two other Pussy Riot members - Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Yekaterina Samutsevich - to two years in a prison settlement for hooliganism.
In October 2012, the Moscow City Court changed Samutsevich's verdict to a suspended sentence and released her immediately based on her new attorneys' argument that she was seized by security guards prior to reaching the altar.
Alyokhina's and Tolokonnikova's sentences were upheld.
In April 2013, the Zubova Polyana District Court in Mordovia rejected Tolokonnikova's request for parole.
Alyokhina began her hunger strike after being barred from attending a parole hearing. Her request for parole was rejected by the Berezniki court on May 23.
Spartak fined for fans' monkey chants
The Moscow News, May 29, 2013
Spartak Moscow have been fined 500,000 rubles ($15,900) by the Russian FA for racist chanting by their fans, while the victim of the abuse received a two-game ban for swearing at the supporters.
The sanctions relate to Spartak's 2-0 win over Alania Vladikavkaz on Sunday, in which Alania's Ivorian defender Dacosta Goore was sent off after six minutes for an obscene gesture at Spartak fans who racially abused him.
"For insults by the spectactors, imitation of the habits of a primate, toward the Alania FC player Dacosta for the reason of racial characteristics and the color of his skin, [Spartak are fined] 500,000 rubles," Russian FA disciplinary commission chairman Artur Grigoryants said.
Goore has been banned for two top-flight games for the gesture, a sanction he is unlikely to serve since Alania have been relegated, and also fined 50,000 rubles ($1,590), the FA said in a website statement.
As well as the fine for the racist abuse, Spartak has been fined 200,000 rubles for firework-throwing by their fans and another 100,000 rubles for abuse of Alania coach Valery Gazzaev.
Sunday was the last day of the Russian Premier League season. Spartak secured fourth place and a spot in the Europa League, while Alania finished 16th and last.
State Duma to discuss measures to prevent adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples
Interfax, May 29, 2013
Moscow - An expanded meeting of the Russian State Duma's committees on family, women's and children's affairs and on international affairs will be held on June 3 and deputies will discuss legislative measures to prevent adoption of Russian orphans and children without parental custody by same-sex couples.
"It is planned to consider during the meeting issues of implementing existing international agreements on adoption as well as prospects of concluding other similar agreements between Russia and other countries," the press office of the committee on family, women's and children's affairs told Interfax.
The adoption cooperation agreement concluded between Russia and France will be discussed separately amid the passing of the law on same-sex marriages in France allowing same-sex couples to adopt children. As of now, this agreement was ratified by Russia alone until July 28, 2012.
"A French delegation is planned to participate in the meeting. It refers to non-governmental organizations' representatives, who participated in manifestations in France against passing this law allowing same-sex marriages in the country," the press office said.
State Duma deputies, education and science ministry and Supreme Court's officials and children's rights commissioner have been invited to the meeting as well.
Migrant workers unwelcome in Moscow - Mayor
The Moscow News/RIA Novosti, May 30, 2013
Migrant workers from Central Asia should not be encouraged to remain in Russia, Moscow City Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said in an interview with Moskovskiye Novosty newspaper on Thursday.
"People who speak Russian badly and who have a different culture are better off living in their own country. Therefore, we do not welcome their adaptation in Moscow," he said in an interview during which he also expressed hostility towards the idea of ethnic ghettos. "Moscow is a Russian city and it should remain that way. It's not Chinese, not Tajik and not Uzbek."
The Russian capital, like the country as a whole, depends heavily on migrant labor, but there is widespread opposition in many areas of society to higher levels of immigration.
Sobyanin also said he was against the formation of ethnic ghettoes in Moscow, and that people of different races should be encouraged to live side by side.
"To mark them [ethnic groups] out as separate, to set off different cultures against each other, is very dangerous and simply explosive, especially for our city," he said.
There are around 5 million migrant workers in Russia of which about 3 million are illegal, the Federal Migration Service said in March. Russia has the world's largest number of illegal migrants, accounting for almost seven percent of the country's working population, according to a 2012 report by the OECD.
Russia passed a law in December 2012 requiring a mandatory minimum level of ability in the Russian language for migrant workers in certain professions including retail and public services.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said Russia needed to look again at its migration legislation. "We need to turn migration into a manageable process," he said.
The inflow of migrant workers is a trend that is "neither positive nor negative; it's just life," he added.
Government advisors protest Russian 'Foreign Agent' law
The Moscow News/ RIA Novosti, May 30, 2013
A group of leading Russian economists has called on the government to reconsider a controversial new law that obliges some NGOs to register as "foreign agents," saying it threatens to destroy the cooperation between independent experts and the authorities.
The letter written by the economists, many of whom were involved in devising a strategy for Russia's economic development through 2020 and act as expert advisors to the government, was published in Vedomosti newspaper on Thursday. Russia passed a new law in November obliging all NGOs involved in political activities and receiving any funding from abroad to register as "foreign agents."
"The wave of inspections [of NGOs] by prosecutors checking their adherence to the foreign agents law included many analysis centers and the Association of Independent Centers of Economic Analysis. It showed that any NGO receiving funding from abroad and involved in anything remotely connected to politics is at risk," the economists wrote, referring to checks carried out at hundreds of NGOs earlier this year.
The letter's authors echoed earlier complaints by NGOs over the term "foreign agent," protesting the use of the term "agent" in connection with research and study organizations, and arguing that following the prosecutors' logic, nearly every expert analysis organization is comprised of foreign agents.
"We have always acted in the interests of our country (and are certainly not spies), and therefore registering as foreign agents would be [an act of] self-denunciation that we cannot commit," the analysts wrote.
They also warned that further pressure from law enforcement bodies would lead to the closure of research centers and a decline in the quality of economic analysis, and could have serious consequences for Russia's economy.
"There has already been a period in the history of our country when economics and economic analysis was fully controlled by the state," they wrote. "The consequence of this control and ideological blinkers was incompetent decisions in economic policy. How it all ended for Soviet economics is well known."
The economists' appeal to the government came the same day that a respected Russian independent pollster, Levada Center, said it would stop working on research projects commissioned by foreign organizations because of the new law.
"We are not ceasing to accept foreign funding, but we are stopping work on projects commissioned by foreign organizations until the issue of whether publishing sociological research can be classified as political activity is resolved," said Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy director of the Levada Center, which was told to register as a foreign agent by prosecutors earlier this month following an inspection.
He added that the center was not launching new projects or taking new orders for research from the organizations the Prosecutor's Office had warned them against working with, such as the Soros Foundation, the New York-based Ford Foundation and other Western institutions.
Last week, the Levada Center said in a statement on its website that prosecutors had suggested that publication of its surveys "influences public opinion and therefore does not constitute research but political activity," meaning it is required to register as a "foreign agent."
Lev Gudkov, director of the Levada Center, said the organization's research projects, whether commissioned or undertaken at its own behest, have nothing to do with "political activity."
In late April, election monitoring NGO Golos was fined 300,000 rubles (around $10,000) by a Moscow court for failing to register as a "foreign agent," in the first case of an NGO facing administrative penalties following the introduction of the law.
The new law has also subsequently been applied to NGOs involved in apparently non-political activity such as wildlife conservation and public health issues.
The Russian government insists the controversial law was necessary to prevent foreign meddling in the political system.
Russian Church criticizes EU for forcing anti-Christian norms on Europe
Interfax, 31 May, 2013
Moscow - The Moscow Patriarchate is concerned that the administration of the European Union has taken an ultra-liberal stance on moral issues.
"Unfortunately, the administration of the European Union has recently taken anti-church and anti-Christian positions on some issues," Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, head of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations, told a briefing in Moscow on Friday.
As an example, Metropolitan Hilarion mentioned the processes taking place in the UK and France, "where laws making same-sex unions equal to traditional marriage are being passed despite mass protests."
"These processes alarm us very much. The EU administration is forcing anti-Christian norms on all EU countries. Some countries manage to repel these attacks, and some can't," he said.
Metropolitan Hilarion believes the conflict of ideologies "which is now present in the EU countries and which was caused by artificial forcing of some anti-Christian norms on the entire population of the EU will resonate in different countries in various forms."
Bodies of More Than 200 Stalinist Purge Victims Discovered
The Moscow Tımes, Issue 5138, May 31, 2013
The remains of 208 people believed to have been victims of the Stalinist purges have been discovered by a search team near Voronezh, Interfax reported Friday.
Members of the Don Search Team, who were responsible for uncovering the bodies, said that the executions were almost certainly carried out during the most grievous months of the Great Terror, between January and February, 1938.
An anthropological investigation will now be carried out on the remains in a bid to compare any biological data with archival records.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a number of research groups have sought to find and honor the victims of political repression, as well as conducting proper burials for unknown fallen soldiers.
II SURVEYS, ANALYSES, COMMENTS
Russia Threatened by Hidden Disintegration in North Caucasus and Middle Volga, Remizov Says
By Paul Goble
Window on Eurasia, May 15 2013
Because of the disintegration of the USSR and the two post-Soviet Chechen wars, Russians are especially sensitive to anything resembling separatism, but they have paid less aattention to "another dimension of the collapse of statehood" - the loss of the basic prerogatives of state power over portions of the country, according to a new study. But the loss of these prerogatives, including "the supremacy of its jurisdiction everywhere in the country, support for basic standards in the shere of law and security a certain level of loyalty and solidarity, [and] a monopoly on legitimate force," exist in Russia today, are "no less dangerous than territorial" challenges and can "in the final analysis grow into [them]." That is the conclusion of a 54-page report on "The Map of Ethno-Religioius Threats: The North Caucasus and the Volga Region" prepared by the Moscow Institute for National Strategy (apn.ru/userdata/files/ethno/Ethnodoc-new-full-sm.pdf), and discussed by the institute's leader, Mikhail Remizov, in "Nezavisimaya gazeta" (ng.ru/ideas/2013-05-14/5_ethnoreligion.html). Among the most important indications of this hidden disintegration are "the de facto falling out of the legal space of Russia of a number of regions," such as Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Daghestan and especially "the de facto formation of systems of organized force not under the control of the Federal Center." A second is the rise of ethnocracies "in practically all and even the most well-off republics of the Russian Federation and a tendency toward legal particularism" in places like Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Sakha and Tuva. Because in most cases, "behind the national question stands the property question," that trend is especially serious. A third indication is the rapid spread of radical political Islamism, which now offers an alternative arrangement to society territorially, ethnically and socially and which has penetrated not only organized criminal groups but even parts of the state administration. A major contributing factor to this development is massive immigration from Central Asia. And a fourth is the rise of ethnic stereotypes on both sides which promote the further radicalization of the population, especially among the young. Unfortunately, Remizov says, "the authorities continue to struggle with the symptoms of this tension and not with its systemic causes." A major reason for this is that "the arsenal of the federal authorities to counter such threats is extremely limited." For example, they have bet on "traditional Islam," something that has proved a weak reed in and of itself and a strategy that its opponents view as a sign of weakness and yet another chance for them to spread their influence. But even more important in this regard is the failure of Russians to recognize that Russia faces a threat from pan-Islamism because of "a crisis of the Russian state itself." If the state were fulfilling its functions, the threat from political Islamism would be significantly less than it now is. But instead of addressing those shortcomings, Remizov says, the government is making the situation worse by its clumsy efforts to combat extremism by force al<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)