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Bulletin 7:19 (2013)

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    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 7, No. 19(207), 6 September 2013 Compilers: Fabian Burkhardt, Parikrama Gupta,
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2013
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      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 7, No. 19(207), 6 September 2013
      Compilers: Fabian Burkhardt, Parikrama Gupta, Vildane Oezkan & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 1 - 15 August 2013

      [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: 1 - 15 August 2013

      Nationalists Stage Anti-Migrant 'Russian Raids' in Petersburg

      The Moscow Times, Issue 5181, August 1, 2013


      RIA Novosti – Russian nationalists have jumped on the bandwagon of marketplace raids following a police clampdown in Moscow, taking to the streets in force and armed with baseball bats — to check the documents of fruit vendors, they say.

      The so-called "Russian raids" in St. Petersburg helped expose several dozen illegal fruit stands staffed by foreigners without work permits this week, raid co-organizer Nikolai Bondarik told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

      "There's nobody to do it but us," said Bondarik, a radical nationalist who sits on the Russian opposition's Coordination Council.

      Raiders comprise groups of 50 to 60 grassroots enthusiasts, both radical nationalists and civil society activists "tired of having [Tajikistan's capital] Dushanbe in our streets," Bondarik said.

      The raiders check the work permits of vendors and report them to the police if there are any problems with their paperwork, he said.

      City news website Fontanka.ru claimed the raiders smashed fruit stands using the baseball bats, and published a photograph showing fruit and vegetables spilled across the ground near a market stall, but Bondarik denied the allegations and said the bats were for self-defense.

      The St. Petersburg raids were prompted by last week's assault on a Moscow policeman, whose skull was smashed by a marketplace worker when he was trying to detain a sex offender.

      The incident triggered sweeping police raids in Moscow, where more than 1,000 people, most of them migrant workers from Russia's North Caucasus region or neighboring Central Asian countries, were detained at local marketplaces. The attacker was arrested and faces life in prison.

      No violence was reported during the "Russian raids," though police were looking into reports about raiders obstructing lawful street trading, a St. Petersburg police spokesman told RIA Novosti.

      He declined to comment on a report by Fontanka.ru that cited an unnamed city policeman as calling the raids "an interesting and so far effective measure."

      The fractured nationalist movement in Russia gained notoriety during the 2000s due to the actions of its radicals, mostly skinheads who formed migrant-killing gangs. Skinhead activity in Russia has decreased following a series of high-profile trials in recent years, and nationalists are increasingly switching from violent attacks on migrants to "raids" teetering on the brink of legality, anti-xenophobia watchdog Sova said in a report earlier this month.





      Most Russians Unhappy About Migrant Worker Influx – State Survey

      RIA Novosti, Aug. 1, 2013


      Most Russians have negative views regarding the influx of labor migrants, millions of whom come from former Soviet republics in Central Asia to seek a better living in Russia, according to the results of a state survey published Thursday.

      About two-thirds (65 percent) of respondents to the poll, conducted last month, said migrants increase crime rates, while 40 percent said migrants are not good for the economy.

      Only 16 percent of respondents said migration has a positive effect on the economy, and just 8 percent said migrants do not increase crime rates.

      The migrant-worker issue has become a focal point in the run-up to Moscow’s mayoral election, with candidates calling for tougher regulations regarding migrants, many of whom are allowed to enter Russia without a visa.

      This week, Moscow police detained more than a thousand people during a sweep “decriminalization” of marketplaces around the city, areas where many migrants work and/or buy food and other light consumer items.

      Of the 5 million migrant workers in Russia, 3 million are illegal, the Federal Migration Service said in March.

      According to last month’s survey, conducted by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), some 56 percent of Russians believe that migrants “create competition on the labor market and occupy jobs of local residents.”

      Nearly half of respondents (47 percent) said migrant labor compensates for workforce shortages in low-skilled and low-paid jobs. Forty-five percent voiced doubts that migrants make Russia more open to new ideas and cultures.

      Fifty-three percent don’t think that immigration is a solution to the country’s demographic problems, with that sentiment showing an increase from 46 percent in 2005.

      Some 58 percent said they support the idea of bringing in more Russian-speaking people from abroad and stricter limits on the inflow of “other nationalities.”

      Over the past seven years, Russians have become more negative toward migrant workers in a range of sectors: local government (from 71 in 2005 to 86 percent this year), law enforcement (68 to 84 percent), education (63 percent to 81), healthcare (61 percent to 76 percent), public catering (54 percent to 70 percent) and public transport (53 percent to 68 percent).

      The survey covered some 1,600 people in 130 places around the country. The statistical margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.





      Internet piracy law goes into effect

      The Moscow News, August 1, 2013


      RAPSI – A controversial anti-piracy law has gone into effect as of Thursday, despite protests from Internet companies.

      The law was passed by the State Duma on June 21 and approved by the Federation Council on June 26.

      It sets out the legal grounds for limiting access to websites that distribute movies and TV films in violation of copyright law. The law also stipulates penalties for violators (Internet and hosting providers).

      Music was not included in the final draft of the bill.

      The authors of the bill said their goal was not to fight those who download pirated films, but those who distribute this kind of content.

      Issues of injunction and punishment will be handled exclusively by the Moscow City Court, which will accept complaints round the clock, including online.

      The court will also set the length of the injunction period (up to 15 days) during which a plaintiff can file a lawsuit. In case of failure to do so, or if the lawsuit is rejected, the organization or individual whose legal interests have been harmed by the blocking of content will be able to claim damages.

      The regulating agency, Roskomnadzor, then has three days to determine the hosting provider of the website and to order it to delete the pirated content. If the owner of the resource openly refuses to do so or does nothing to fulfill the regulator's order for three days, the regulator will limit access to the website.

      Before filing a request for blocking access to such websites, the rights holders must provide evidence of their ownership of the content being distributed in violation of copyright.

      Russian Internet companies including Mail.ru Group, Yandex, Afisha-Rambler-SUP, Google Russia, and Ozon.ru have all criticized the anti-piracy law.

      On Thursday, the Russian Pirate Party plans to organize an online strike. Upward of 1600 sites will take part in it, chairman of the Pirate Party Pavel Rassudov told Digit.ru. The websites are going to switch their servers off or make a parked page which will provide users to the petition against the law, Rassudov said.





      Russian 'gay propaganda' ban will apply to Sochi Olympics guests and athletes (corrected)

      Interfax-Religion, August 2, 2013


      Several athletes have already announced their readiness to show up for the Opening Ceremony holding flags and symbols of the LGBT community
      Moscow, August 2, Interfax - Russia's new law banning gay propaganda must not be violated even during the Olympic Games on Sochi but representatives of the LGBT community should not be punished for their sexual orientation alone, Igor Ananskikh, deputy chairman of the State Duma's Physical Culture, Sport and Youth Policy Committee, told Interfax on Friday. 
      "The Olympic Games is a major international event. We need to be as polite and tolerant as possible," he said.
      "The law came into force and cannot be neutralized, however, individuals with unconventional sexual orientation can also be participants of the Olympiad. But under the law they will be unable to engage in propaganda, otherwise they will be punished in line with Russian legislation," he said.
      "Russia plans to host large international competitions in the future. The atmosphere at them must be as safe and polite as possible," Ananskikh said. 
      For his part, Nikolay Alexeyev, a leader of the Russian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, told Interfax that several athletes have already announced their readiness to show up for the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi holding flags and symbols of the LGBT community.
      Vitaly Milonov, the chairman of the St. Petersburg parliament's legislation committee and author of the city's 'gay propaganda' ban, said earlier he saw no reason not to apply this law to foreign competitors and spectators at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games on Sochi. 
      "I have not heard the Russian government's comments, but I know that it [the government] acts in accordance with Russian laws. And if this law was adopted by the Federal Assembly and was signed by the president, the government has not right to cancel it. It is simply not authorized to do so," Milonov told Interfax.
      "I think that every normal athlete and every fan comes to the Olympic Games to support his national team and see beautiful sport. They do not come there to violate laws of the host country," he said.





      Prosecutors demand removal of extremist billboard from church in Leningrad Region

      Interfax-Religion, August 2, 2013


      St. Petersburg, August 2, Interfax - A billboard containing an extremist statement has been removed from the building of a church in the Volkhovsky District of the Leningrad Region at prosecutors' request. 
      The billboard, which was placed on the arch gates of the territory of the public organization Parish of the Church of the Veil of Our Lady located in the village of Dudachkino, stated "Orthodox Faith or Death." 
      "On December 21, 2010, the statement, which was posted on the Internet, was found to be extremist and put on the federal list of extremist materials by the Moscow Cheryomushkinsky District Court," the report says.
      In this regard, the Volkhovsky city prosecutor filed a lawsuit seeking the removal of the billboard. The court granted the prosecutor's claim fully and ordered the senior priest of the church to remove the billboard. The court ruling was not fulfilled for several months (in February-July 2012), the press service reported.
      The prosecutors had to fulfill the court ruling forcibly. The billboard has now been removed.





      Gay couples have nothing to fear at Olympics – lawmaker

      Anna Arutunyan

      The Moscow News, August 2, 2013


      (This article contains information not suitable for readers younger than 18 years of age, according to Russian legislation.)

      A foreign gay couple visiting Russia for the 2014 Olympic Games will not get in trouble with the law for holding hands in public, a senior lawmaker has said in wake of heated debates about a Russian law banning so-called gay propaganda among minors.

      “There should not be any sanctions against athletes of a non-traditional sexual orientation,” Igor Ananskikh, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Physical Fitness, Sports, and Youth Affairs told The Moscow News on Friday.

      “The law is about propaganda. If they come out and are holding banners, then of course that’s propaganda. Holding handing is not propaganda.”

      Ananskikh said that someone who is gay has nothing to fear from the law if he doesn’t plan on holding rallies.

      His remarks came amid contradictory signals from Russia’s government on whether the law – which prohibits the propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors – would apply to the Olympics, which would see thousands of foreigners and tourists flock to Russia’s resort town of Sochi in February.

      The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin last month, sparked international calls among LGBT groups to boycott the Russian vodka and other products in retaliation for the law. A U.S. lawmaker, meanwhile, has condemned the rule as “hateful” and appealed to Russian authorities.

      “I am especially concerned with the provision of the law that allows for the possible detention of foreign citizens for up to 14 days before they would be expelled from the country,” RIA Novosti quoted U.S. Sen. Edward Markey as saying in a letter to Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak.

      Earlier, the International Olympic Committee said it "has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games."

      But Russia’s Sports Minister Vitaly Mutkov said on Thursday that the law against promoting homosexuality would be applied to everyone.

      "No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable," Mutko was quoted by R-Sport as saying.

      But the IOC countered that it was unmoved by Mutko’s remarks. According to R-Sport, the official who gave the IOC these assurances is believed to outrank Mutko.

      “For the time being, we rest with the assurances we have … that this law will not affect either athletes, officials or spectators,” spokesman Andrew Mitchell was quoted by R-Sport as saying.  in an emailed statement.

      Speaking to Russian media on Friday, Ananskikh explained that authorities were aiming for “tolerance. That is why it has been decided that this issue will not be raised during the Olympic Games.

      Asked to clarify, however, Ananskikh told The Moscow News that the law would apply to everybody, reiterating Mutko’s statement.





      On Aleksandr Dugin's father

      Anton Shekhovtsov’s Blog, 3 August 2013


      I remember that, in 2009, I was the first to challenge a wide-spread assumption, or actually a myth, that Russian fascist Aleksandr Dugin's father had something to do with the military intelligence. This myth was most likely propagated by Dugin himself, in order to romanticise his own biography.
      An hour of simple research, however, revealed that Dugin's father was a customs officer.
      I did not know that - after I had publicised my "discovery" on the web - Dugin published, in 2010, a biography on his own web-site saying that his father was indeed a customs officer.
      Russian and English Wikipedia pages on Dugin, however, still say that his father was a "colonel-general of the Soviet military intelligence". I tried to edit the Russian page and remove the reference to the military intelligence, but someone persistently rolled back my edits. I was only successfull in adding the information on the customs service to the "military intelligence" reference. So no, in Russian, it reads that Dugin's father was a "colonel-general of the Soviet Main Intelligence Directorate" and "worked in the Russian customs academy". Brilliant.





      Russia opens criminal case after US band desecrates flag

      The Moscow News, August 6, 2013


      RIA Novosti – Russia’s Interior Ministry said Monday that it had opened a criminal case regarding an American rock musician’s apparent desecration of a Russian flag at a recent concert in Ukraine.

      “After a check of actions … committed by a foreign musician at a rock concert in Odessa, Ukraine, a specialized investigative unit of Russia’s Interior Ministry in the Krasnodar Region launched a criminal case regarding the desecration of the national flag,” the ministry said in a statement.

      During a performance by the band, Bloodhound Gang, in the Ukrainian port of Odessa on July 31, bassist Jared Hasselhoff crammed a Russian flag down his pants and literally wiped his butt with it, a YouTube video shows. Russian authorities subsequently canceled the band’s scheduled appearance at the Kubana rock festival, near the southern Russian Black Sea resort of Anapa, and deported the band.

      Russia’s Criminal Code states that “foreign nationals … who commit a crime beyond the boundaries of the Russian Federation are subject to criminal liability in line with this code if their crime is aimed against the interests of the Russian Federation or a Russian national.”

      Desecration of the Russian flag is punishable by up to a year in prison, according to Article 329 of the Russian Criminal Code, in line with which the case was launched.

      US Ambassador Michael McFaul called the incident “disgusting” in a Twitter message but said the US Constitution’s First Amendment protects flag desecrators from punishment in the United States. Flag desecration is, however, illegal in many other countries.

      McFaul also condemned an act of violence against the band, apparently referring to a subsequent incident in Anapa Airport when band members were assaulted by local activists.

      The YouTube video of the apparent flag desecration was flooded with angry Russian-language comments. Journalists later quoted the band as saying that all items that the band throws into the crowd must first pass through the bassist’s pants.

      Ukraine’s Interior Ministry is also investigating Bloodhound Gang regarding a reported desecration of the Ukrainian flag at an earlier concert in Kiev.

      Russian prosecutors in the Krasnodar Region said they had begun an investigation into local music festivals, including Kubana, where Bloodhound Gang was scheduled to perform.

      Russian and Ukrainian lawmakers have also proposed permanently banning Bloodhound Gang members from entering their countries.





      Gay teen dies after being kidnapped, tortured in Russia

      By Joe Morgan

      Gay Star News, 06 August 2013


      A gay teen has reportedly died after being humiliated, tortured in Russia.  A gay teen who was kidnapped, humiliated and tortured in Russia has reportedly died.  The boy, who has not been named, was a victim of the infamous fascist leader Maxim Matsinkevich, known as ‘Cleaver’.  It is unknown whether he died from his injuries or committed suicide.  In a picture posted by Spectrum Human Rights Alliance, it shows the humiliated young teen in his underwear appearing to hold a sex toy as his captors grin for the camera.  He is also covered in paint, or possibly blood, as a baseball bat looms in the background.  According to SHRA, no arrests have been made and no charges were pressed.  As the victim has not been named, GSN is unable to verify these claims.  Last month, it was revealed Matsinkevich’s group was using the Russian version of Facebook, VK.com, to lure unsuspecting victims through personal ads.  Once a teen shows up for a ‘date’, captured victims are ‘bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video’.  The SHRA says: ‘Video recordings of bulling and torture are freely distributed on the internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends.  ‘Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest deeply traumatised.’  The group claims they are simply trying to identify and report pedophiles.  Many of these shocking videos are uploaded to YouTube in order to further humiliate their victims.  In one such video, a gay teen with disabilities is interrogated, choked, and beaten.  When contacted, VK.com shut down several of the groups and profiles but did not stop them from starting new ones the next day.  VK founder Pavel Durov, currently residing in the US, has not commented on the report.  The disturbing revelations come after President Vladimir Putin signed the ‘non-traditional relationships propaganda’ bill into law last month, effectively stopping any person from speaking out for gay rights in Russia.





      ‘Dissident’ Priest Stabbed to Death in Pskov

      By Ivan Nechepurenko

      Moscow Times, August 7, 2013


      One of Russia’s most revered priests, widely considered a “dissident priest” for his strong criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church, was stabbed to death on Monday night in the northwestern town of Pskov.

      Pavel Adelgeim, 75, was found dead by his wife late Monday, with the suspect still at the scene.

      Local investigators said in a statement Tuesday that they were still unable to question the suspect due to the severity of his self-inflicted wounds. They confirmed that Adelgeim died from being stabbed in the heart, which caused severe blood loss.

      The suspect, Sergei Pchelintsev, is believed to be mentally disturbed. When police arrived, he reportedly stabbed himself multiple times in the chest and elsewhere.

      Pchelintsev, 27, came from Moscow, where he was studying film at the Russian State University of Cinematography and working on a documentary about murderers.

      The two men apparently knew each other because of Pchelintsev’s mental condition, for which he had been seeking help from the priest. Adelgeim tried to persuade Pchelintsev to seek professional treatment after realizing the power of his words would be insufficient, however.

      Adelgeim was one of few dissident priests who spoke out against what he saw as the rigid hierarchy of the resurgent Orthodox Church in Russia. His criticism didn’t go unanswered, ­however, and he was demoted after leading a local parish in Pskov for many years.

      Speaking about the recent drive among members of the Russian government to become fervent Orthodox worshippers, Adelgeim said that they were “all just pagans,” referring to head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin using the same term.

      “They have nothing to do with Christianity. They can only hold a candle. A candlestick is just a candlestick. … They became so devout because they are all just one group of people, and the Russian Orthodox church has turned to the KGB’s ideology department,” he told Dozhd TV last  October.

      Adelgeim gained more national publicity after expressing support for Pussy Riot, whose members were charged with hooliganism after performing a “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral. Two of the band’s members were sent to jail for two years.

      “What these women did had a providential effect, as it unmasked the Orthodox Church’s unnatural bond with the Russian state,” he said in his blog in February.

      Adelgeim said he had to deal with many incidents at churches he served in, including the ones with dances involved and that it had never let to criminal investigations.

      All in all, Adelgeim said, the church changed very little since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      “There is a clear standoff between society and the Russian Orthodox Church, and it is the church that is responsible for it [...] Take the Pussy Riot girls. Instead of just talking to them and teaching them how to pray, they put them into prison,” he said.

      A spokesman for Patriarch Kirill, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church, said the patriarch was mourning the priest’s death and praying for his soul.





      Company of Heroes 2 sales frozen in Russia over non-patriotism

      David Burghardt

      The Moscow News, August 8, 2013


      Russia's 1C-SoftClub has suspended the sales of Company of Heroes 2 due to complaints the video game fails to support patriotism among young adults, Digit.ru reported on Tuesday.

      The company suspended sales in Russia and former Soviet republics on July 26 after a petition was placed on the internet.

      "We are presently analyzing the situation and have informed the creators and distributors of Company of Heroes 2," 1C-SoftClub said.

      According to the petition, the game uses Soviet soldiers who destroy everything in their path, including fellow soldiers and burn the houses of compatriots.

      Company of Heroes 2 is a real-time strategy (RTS) game created by Relic Entertainment and distributed by Sega.





      Poll: Half of Russians call for tougher migration laws

      ITAR-TASS, August 7, 2013


      MOSCOW, August 7 (Itar-Tass) - Poll returns from a survey among 1,600 Russians across 42 regions indicate that one in two respondents support the toughening of the country’s migration policies. Three-fourths of those interviewed by the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) consider the influx of migrants a negative trend.

      Over the past five years the number of opponents of migration flows has increased from 68% to 74%. A mere 14% of those polled believe that huge number of migrant workers is a positive trend in Russia.

      According to the pollster, 53% of Russians call for toughening the country’s migration laws. In 2005 their number reached only 40%. Another 10% of the respondents express an opinion that the inflow of migrants should be fully stopped. A mere 6% of those polled urge easier migration rules, while another 5% call for cancelling the migration laws. In 2005, their number totaled 14% and 8% respectively. One in five respondents says there is no need to amend the migration legislation.

      More than half of the respondents or 57% consider it necessary to tighten laws for migrants coming to Russia from CIS member-states, countries in the South and Southeast Asia. This opinion is mainly shared by Muscovites and St. Petersburg residents (71%) and residents of other Russian cities with a population of over 1 million (68%).





      Moscow Dismisses Western Criticism of Gay Propaganda Law

      JRL Russia List, August 8, 2013


      A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official on Wednesday deflected Western criticism of the so-called anti-gay law, saying the recently adopted legislation did not violate the rights of sexual minorities in the country but was aimed at protecting minors.  “As to the criticism of our law banning homosexual propaganda we have to reiterate that this criticism is absolutely invalid and groundless,” said the Foreign Ministry’s rights envoy, Konstantin Dolgov.  “It is an attempt to accuse us of violating international obligations that do not exist,” he said.  On the contrary, he said, Russia is party to a number of international conventions and agreements that prohibit discrimination on any grounds, including the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child.  “This convention aims in part to protect children from harmful information, and we believe that promotion of homosexuality could harm them,” Dolgov said.  “Therefore, we are fulfilling our obligations, but our critics attempt to accuse us of violating some obligations that don’t exist. It is a misleading substitution of notions,” the official said.  Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” toward minors in June.  While the law’s proponents argue that it is aimed at protecting children from harmful influences, critics have called the legislation homophobic and so vaguely defined that it would inevitably be used arbitrarily against homosexuals and stir hate crimes in the country.  The law has also sparked controversy ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and raised concerns that visiting gay athletes and spectators could face discrimination or even legal action.  Campaigners against the so-called anti-gay law have called for a boycott of the Games in the Black Sea resort town and handed over a 320,000-signature petition to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) urging it to condemn what they called “barbaric” legislation.  Dolgov on Wednesday denounced calls to boycott the Sochi Games as counterproductive and going against the principles of the Olympic movement, adopted by all countries. Furthermore, the Olympic charter prohibits athletes from making political gestures during the Winter and Summer Games.  Dolgov stressed that all athletes and guests of the Olympic games in Sochi would be treated “with maximum hospitality,” but Moscow was expecting them to respect the Russian legislation, including the law banning the promotion of homosexuality.  The latest polls from the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) show that 88 percent of Russians support the new law, while 54 percent believe that homosexuality should be altogether criminalized.





      Racism and Xenophobia in July 2013

      SOVA, August 8, 2013


      The following is our monthly review of incidences of xenophobia and radical nationalism, along with any government countermeasures, for June 2013. The review is based on material gathered by Sova Center in the course of our daily monitoring.

      Since the beginning of the year, eight people have been killed and 79 injured by racist violence in 23 regions of Russia. Two people received death threats.

      In July 2013 we registered no fewer than two acts of vandalism, in as many regions of the country, where there is reason to suspect xenophobia. Nizhny Novgorod’s St. Peter and Paul Cathedral and a Volgograd region Yazidi churchyard were targeted.

      As such, since the beginning of the year, we have recorded 30 acts of neo-Nazi or otherwise racist or xenophobic vandalism in 23 regions of the country.

      July saw several household conflicts that, due to the involvement of nationalists, took on an interethnic character. The main was the now-famous incident in Pugachev, in the Saratov region, but there was also a noteworthy gathering in Sredneuralsk in the Sverdlovsk region.

      Nationalists continued to conduct what can only be described as anti-migrant raids. This month there were reports that members of the Bright Rus and Shield of Moscow groups took part in an operation called “Zaslon-1” (Barrier-1). Far-right activists not only participated in the raids but also conducted searches and reviewed migrants’ documents.

      On July 27, St. Petersburg nationalists affiliated with the Slavic Force of Dmitri ‘Rabid’ Yevtushenko conducted raids on shops in the north of the city; Nikolai Bondarik of the Russian Party is also known to have participated, among about 30 other people. As a result fruit stands were wrecked at six points of sale, a fruit storehouse was evacuated and police arrested three migrants for insulting members of the raid group. In the area where the raid took place, a fruitmonger from the Caucasus was shot to death. Despite police and riot squads at the scene, no participants in the raid were arrested. Similar incidents followed in Moscow, where at the Matveyevskoe Market police broke the skull of a suspected rapist. The raids in Moscow were carried out under the guise of a bid to ‘decriminalize’ such markets.

      This month saw no fewer than two indictments against five individuals for racist violence where a court recognized a hate motive – in the Moscow and Sverdlovsk regions. As such, since the beginning of the year there have been at least 22 such convictions against 37 individuals in 18 regions of Russia.

      In terms of xenophobic propaganda, July 2013 saw 12 indictments in 11 regions of the country against 13 people. Since the beginning of the year there have been 62 such convictions against 63 people in 40 regions of Russia.

      The Federal List of Extremist Materials was updated five times in July, with the incorporation of entries 1921-1989. New items include videos and xenophobic comments posted to Russian social network VKontakte and to blogs; deleted articles about Pussy Riot; xenophobic pamphlets; articles from the websites of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) and RONS; homophobic and anti-Semitic books by Grigory Klimov; the books Strike of the Russian Gods and Racial Hygiene, which are now featured in the list four and three times, respectively; a new article by Boris Stomakhin; materials from Ufa Tatars; various Islamic materials; a book by Said Nursi; a Kavkaz Center mirror site, and Imam TV website.





      Russian human rights council to review Jewish teacher’s graft sentence

      JTA, August 8, 2013


      (JTA) — The Kremlin’s human rights council is reviewing a prison sentence meted out to Ilya Farber, a Jewish schoolteacher convicted of corruption.

      The regional court of Ostashkov, north of Moscow, sentenced Farber last week to seven years in jail after convicting him of receiving $13,000 in bribes from a construction company. The company was seeking permission to renovate a culture club in a village where Farber settled in 2010 and began teaching art to children.

      Many in Russia believe Farber did not receive a fair trial, partly because of his Jewish origins, according to Matvey Chlenov, the deputy executive director of the Russian Jewish Congress. Several people have testified that they heard the prosecutor in Farber’s first trial telling the jury: “Is it possible for a person with the last name Farber to help a village for free?” – a statement interpreted as referring to the fact that Farber is Jewish.

      The Russian Jewish Congress has collected $30,000 in donations to help support Farber’s three young sons as he prepares to appeal the sentence, Chlenov said.

      Alexander Brod, head of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, told the news site Utro.ru that he initiated a review of the case because he found the sentence to be “too harsh.”

      Farber was arrested in 2011 and convicted. But a higher court scrapped the first conviction because of irregularities, including the judge’s instruction to the jury to “not to pay attention to the words of the defendant.” The conviction last week came in a retrial.

      Farber was convicted of taking two bribes of $9,100 and $4,000 from the construction company Gosstroi-1 in exchange for permission to renovate a village club. Prosecutors said he signed off on the completed renovations when in fact none had been made.

      Farber was a director at the club.

      Chlenov said, “It is obvious Farber acted naively and some locals set him up and dropped their corruption on him.”





      Obama Defends Gay Rights, Has 'No Patience' For Russia On Discrimination


      The Huffington Post, 08/06/2013


      BURBANK, Calif. -- President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he has "no patience" for countries, like Russia, that intimidate and harm individuals based on their sexual orientation.

      Obama criticized a new Russian law cracking down on gay rights activism during an interview with NBC's "The Tonight Show.", saying he has "no patience for countries that try to treat gays and lesbians and transgendered persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them."

      Russia has said it will enforce the law when it hosts the 2014 Winter Olympics. Asked whether the law would impact the games, Obama said he believes Putin and Russia have "a big stake in making sure the Olympics work."

      "I think they understand that for most of the countries that participate in the Olympics, we wouldn't tolerate gays and lesbians being treated differently," he said.

      Obama continued, "One of the things I think is very important for me to speak out on is making sure that people are treated fairly and justly because that's what we stand for, and I believe that that's a precept that's not unique to America. That's just something that should apply everywhere."

      Obama also said he was "disappointed" that Russia granted temporary asylum to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, defying Obama administration demands that the former government contractor be sent back to the U.S. to face espionage charges.

      In his first comments about Snowden since Russia's decision last week, Obama said the move reflected the "underlying challenges" he faces in dealing with Moscow.

      "There have been times where they slip back into Cold War thinking and a Cold War mentality," Obama said.

      Snowden, an ex-NSA systems analyst, is accused of leaking details about highly-secretive government surveillance programs. He spent several weeks in the transit zone of a Moscow airport before being granted asylum for a year.

      Russia's decision has pushed the White House to reconsider Obama's plans to travel to Russia in September. He said he would attend an international summit in St. Petersburg, saying it was important for the U.S. to be represented at talks among global economic powers. But he did not say whether he planned to attend separate meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

      The White House has said it was evaluating the "utility" of the Putin meetings.

      In a wide-ranging interview, to be broadcast Tuesday, Obama also lauded two of his former political rivals: former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.

      Once bitter adversaries, Obama and McCain have deepened their ties in recent months. The Republican senator helped usher a White House-backed overhaul of U.S. immigration law through the Senate and most recently negotiated a plan to clear the way for votes on several stalled Obama nominees.

      The president said that while he and McCain still have significant policy differences, the Republican senator is "a person of integrity." But Obama said jokingly that it's probably not good for McCain if the Democratic president compliments him on television.

      Obama also discussed his recent lunch with Clinton, his rival in the 2008 Democratic primaries. Clinton, who left the State Department earlier this year, had a post-administration "glow," Obama said.

      But he sidestepped questions about whether she was measuring the curtains in the White House for a possible 2016 presidential bid.

      "Keep in mind," Obama said, "she's been there before."





      Turnout for Eid ul-Fitr prayer near Moscow's central mosque was one-third less than in 2012

      Interfax-Religion, August 9, 2013


      Moscow - Policemen checked the passports of around 1,400 people in Moscow during Thursday's celebrations of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting, city deputy police chief Vyacheslav Kozlov said.
      "Approximately 1,400 people were checked yesterday. Most of them were let go. This work was conducted mainly in the metro," he said at a press conference on Friday.
      No specially planned operations were carried out during the Eid al-Fitr festivities, he said.
      "It was just routine work. It was not conducted near mosques. The main task facing the police was to maintain public order," Kozlov said.
      Some 80,000 Muslims gathered outside Moscow's central mosque for the Eid al-Fitr prayer on August 8, as compared with last year's turnout of 120,000.





      No discrimination of gays will occur at Sochi Olympics - Russian Interior Ministry

      Interfax-Religion, August 12, 2013


      Moscow, August 12, Interfax - The Russian Interior Ministry said that it would see that children were protected from harmful information during the Olympics in Sochi, however, it would not take any discriminative actions against gay Olympic athletes.
      "The law mentioned above has come into effect and operates in Russia," the Russian Interior Ministry press office told Interfax on Monday.
      "Due to this, employees of the Russian Interior Ministry will act in the framework of the Russian law in general and the law protecting children from harmful information in particular during the Olympics as well as during any other time," the press office said.
      This law applies to individuals "whose goal is to provoke underage persons to get involved in non-traditional sexual relations," the Interior Ministry said.
      "Law enforcement authorities will take measures against individuals performing such actions in accordance with the Russian law," the ministry said.
      "Law enforcement authorities can not have any questions of people of non-traditional sexual orientation not committing such actions, not holding any provocations and peacefully participating with everyone in the Olympic events," the press office said.
      "Thus, fears of rights violations of representatives of non-traditional sexual orientation, preventing them from participating in the Olympics and sexually-based discrimination of Olympic athletes and guests are absolutely groundless and farfetched," the press office said.
      "We consider those assumptions solely as an attempt to undermine trust in the upcoming Olympics in Sochi," the ministry said.
      The Interior Ministry said it would spare no effort to ensure that all Olympic athletes and guests without exception were guaranteed their rights, security and comfort.





      A Buryat’s Cri de Coeur about Those Who Want a Russia Only for the Russians

      By Paul Goble

      Window on Eurasia, 13 August 2013


      Staunton, August 13 – In a two minute 38 second video clip, Aleksandra Garmadzhapova, a journalist who works for Moscow’s “Novaya gazeta” issues an impassioned plea clearly direct from her heart about the “absurdity” of Russian attitudes toward and persecution of citizens of the Russian Federation who are members of other ethnic groups.

      Her words capture both the ways in which attacks on non-Russians are disturbing the members of these national communities and how such attacks are likely to produce exactly the opposite result that their ethnic Russian authors intend.  As such, they deserve to be marked and remembered (rosbalt.ru/video/2013/08/10/1162891.html).

      Garmadzhapova, an ethnic Buryat, a Buddhist nation in the Trans-Baikal region of the Russian Federation, says that “racism in Russia is taking on absurd forms. All those involved in the persecution of migrants after the conflict in [Moscow’s] Matveyev market, were citizens of Russia,” both those attacking and those being attacked.

      “And the very idea that the [ethnic] Russian nation should have priority over others which is supported by those participating in sociological polls creates perplexity. I, as a Buryat woman,” she says, “can then say -- let us all go to our own national apartments and destroy the empire.”

      “Is that what you want?”





      Nick Symmonds Dedicates Silver Medal Win In Russia To Gays

      By James Nichols

      The Huffington Post   08/14/2013


      After winning a silver medal at the World Track & Field Championships in Moscow on Aug. 13, American middle distance runner Nick Symmonds openly dedicated the victory to his gay and lesbian friends in his home country.

      The act reportedly makes Symmonds the first athlete to critique and oppose Russia's anti-gay legislation while in Russia.

      The laws have led to extreme violence against LGBT individuals, both at the hands of law enforcement and self-proclaimed vigilantes.

      "As much as I can speak out about it, I believe that

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