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Bulletin 2:17 (2008)

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  • andreumland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 2, No. 17(22), 15 May 2008 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , May 17, 2008
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 2, No. 17(22), 15 May 2008
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 25 APRIL – 13 MAY 2008

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      I NEWS: 25 APRIL – 13 MAY 2008

      Court fines Samara publisher for stoking ethnic and religious hatred
      Interfax-Religion, April 25, 2008

      Court fines Samara publisher for stoking ethnic and religious hatred
      Samara, April 25, Interfax – A court in Samara has convicted the
      publisher of the Slavyansky Almanac "Khors" Sergey Salamatin, on
      charges of inciting ethnic and religious hatred.
      The magazine published negative and humiliating assessments of the
      Christian, Muslim and Judaism religions, their ideologies, doctrines,
      rituals, priests and other religious organizations, including the
      Russian Orthodox Church.
      Salamatin has been fined 30,000 rubles for distributing banned
      extremist literature, the Russian Prosecution Investigative
      Committee's Investigative Department for the Samara region told
      Interfax on Friday.
      Between August 2005 and January 21, 2007, Salamatin published and
      distributed a magazine called Slavyansky Almanac "Khors" containing
      extremist material. The publication contained anti-Semitic and
      anti-Tatar slogans.


      Neo-Nazis Stab, Beat Uzbeks in Vladivostok
      FSU Monitor, April 28, 2008

      Around 10 youths dressed in the typical uniforms of neo-Nazis beat and
      stabbed two citizens of Uzbekistan on a Vladivostok suburban commuter
      train, according to an April 25, 2008 report by the Rosbalt News
      Agency. The masked extremists boarded the train and attacked without
      warning, stabbing one of the victims five times and beating a
      passenger who tried to defend the Uzbeks. The attackers then fled the
      scene. Police are investigating the incident.


      Nizhny Tagil Court Sentences Two in Hate Crimes Case
      FSU Monitor, April 28, 2008

      A court in Nizhny Tagil, Russia (Sverdlovsk region) sentenced two
      young men to four months and six months in prison respectively after
      finding them guilty of actions aimed at the incitement of ethnic
      hatred, according to an April 28, 2008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. Sergey Suprikov and Leonid Diky were
      also fine 16,000 rubles for attacking a Kyrgyz man on June 12, 2007
      after overhearing him speak Kyrgyz with a friend and demanding that he
      speak Russian. The men spat in his face and then broke two bottles
      over his head. The victim managed to run away to safety and his
      attackers were detained by police.


      Americans get rid of `Russian public enemies'
      CNews, April 29, 2008

      The scandal over the `List of Russian Public Enemies' has caused the
      resource that posted the document to close down. The US hosting
      provider attributes its decision to the website founders, who have
      violated the privacy of personal data. However, the list was posted on
      another nationalist resource. Experts believe public fighting against
      such resources might produce only the opposite result.
      The website `V desyatku' (dimes to doughnuts) has been disabled for a
      scandal that broke over the `List of Russian Public Enemies' posted
      last week. The list contains last names, passport details, home
      addresses and telephones of several popular human right activists (in
      particular, members of the Bureau for Human Rights and Moscow-Helsinki
      Group), public figures, journalists, as well as several judges, who
      passed indictments on notorious proceedings regarding war crimes in
      Chechnya. Vladimir Lukin, the human rights commissioner in Russia,
      called on the authorities to deal with the given resource. After that
      the General Prosecutor's Office reported to start checking the
      information posted on the website.
      Now, when entering the website `V desyatku' an error message appears,
      while the domain status indicates it has been blocked. The resource
      founders have distributed a statement through nationalist internet
      forums that `a scandal organized by the European human right activists
      broke out in the internet and MM, which resulted in closing the
      website by the US hoster (the SiteGround Company provided with
      resource with hosting, - CNews' note). The Russian officials of
      numerous funds and nonprofit organizations, including those mentioned
      in the list, who have certain connections in the US Jewish ruling
      circles, managed to get in touch with the given hoster'.
      Experts believe a simpler way was used to disable the resource. `The
      Jewish are strange people. I know it by myself, - says a popular
      internet activist Roman Leibov. That is the normal reaction of any
      provider. Hosting does not cost much, so the income from one client is
      not high. As no one needs problems because of some people, so it is
      easier to close the resource than to find out, what the matter is'.
      Meanwhile, the `List of Russian Public Enemies' is still available in
      the internet. Now it has been posted on another nationalist resource
      `Severnoye Bratstvo' (Northern Brotherhood). The given resource domain
      has been registered for the Kath Global Media Company providing
      anonymous hosting and domain registration. Interestingly that the Kath
      Global terms of use contain the regulation saying resources rousing
      hatred can not be published. However, the resource is located on the
      website of another company Webvisions, which provides hosting in the
      South-Eastern Asia (the IP-address of the Northern Brotherhood leads
      to Singapore).
      Experts say the scandal over the given list publication is likely to
      produce negative than positive results. `One can combat extremist
      resources only through non-public methods, - says Anton Nosik, head of
      blog services at the Sup Company. Making such fighting public results
      in the number of the such resources advocates to go up, while the
      number of voluntary assistants to increase'.


      Fast Action by Authorities In Far-Northern Region May Have Prevented
      Anti-Migrant Riot
      FSU Monitor, April 29, 2008

      Russia's far-northern regions, many of which are the home bases of
      multi-billion dollar oil and gas companies, tend to be tightly
      controlled by the local authorities. The Nenets Autonomous Okrug is
      apparently no exception. An expert commission on questions of
      extremism in the region released a study last week on attempts last
      October by unnamed groups to stir up an anti-migrant riot, according
      to an April 25, 2008 report by the Rosbalt news agency. These groups
      may have been the same organizations involved in the infamous
      Kondopoga riots of 2006. The authorities acted quickly to shut down an
      anti-migrant march when it started getting out of hand, starting two
      criminal cases ("incitement of ethnic hatred" and "organization of
      mass disturbances") against some of the marchers, who gathered in the
      regional capital on October 6-7. One of the suspects remains behind
      bars awaiting trial. A local migration official was quoted in the
      article warning that uncontrolled migration to the region is creating
      ethnic tensions that could explode into violence.


      Far-Right March in Moscow Draws 1,000, Ends in Racist Violence
      FSU Monitor, April 29, 2008

      Around 1,000 marchers participated in a pro-Serbia march in Moscow on
      Russian Orthodox Easter Sunday, according to an April 29, 2008 report
      by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. Organized by the far-right
      Eurasian Youth Movement, the marchers held signs reading "Kill the
      Yankees and Those Who Love Yankees!", "Kosovo is Serbia!" and "Glory
      to the Empire--Russian, Stand Up!" as well as various slogans
      denigrating Ukraine. Far-right nationalists in Russia have extensive
      ties with Serbian politicians, including accused war criminals,
      stemming from historical links between the two countries.
      A few dark-skinned men who foolishly walked behind the demonstration
      were reportedly attacked by marchers. The march featured State Duma
      deputy Maxim Mishchenko (LDPR) and other Serbian and Russian
      politicians and activists. Police detained two organizers of the rally
      for allegedly presenting false information about the number of planned


      Nizhny Novgorod Police Launch Operation Against Extremist Youth Groups
      FSU Monitor, April 29, 2008

      Police detained two youths after they attacked an anti-fascist youth
      in Dzerzhinsk, Russia (Nizhny Novgorod region), according to an April
      29, 2008 report by the local news service Novoe Telegrafnoe agenstvo.
      The youths attacked after spotting anti-fascist tattoos on their
      victim. The prosecutor's office decided not to charge the suspects
      because they are under-aged. In the week around Hitler's birthday
      (April 20--traditionally a time of increased neo-Nazi violence in
      Russia) local police undertook a special operation aimed at cracking
      down on "informal youth groups"--a common euphemism for neo-Nazis.
      They held "preventative conversations" with members of these groups in
      order to "prevent acts aimed at inciting ethnic hatred." The April 18
      attack came to light as a result of these investigative efforts, which
      netted charges against 161 local youths, 40 of them members of
      "informal youths groups."


      Charges May Be Brought In 'Enemies Of Russia People List' Case
      Interfax, April 29, 2008

      MOSCOW. April 29 (Interfax) - Russian prosecutors intends to complete
      the investigation into the publication in the Internet of the
      so-called list of enemies of the Russian people before the end of this
      The list, which has recently been published on a radical nationalist
      website, includes Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseyeva,
      anti-extremist center Sova leader Alexander Verkhovsky, Holocaust
      Foundation chief Alla Gerber, and some other leading human rights
      activists. The website also contained the activists personal
      information, including their addresses, home phone numbers, and
      passport information.
      "The probe is nearing its end. I think it will be completed before
      the end of this week," Vyacheslav Sizov, the head of the Prosecutor
      General's department for supervision of the fulfillment of laws on
      federal security, ethnic relations, and extremism prevention.
      Sizov would not specify what the verdict of the Russian Prosecutor's
      office will be.
      "If we find evidence of a crime, the materials will be forwarded to
      the investigative bodies for a criminal case to be opened," said Sizov.
      Sizov would not comment on the reports stating that the website,
      which is run by radical nationalists and is registered abroad, has
      been blocked on orders from the law enforcement agencies.

      Stavropol Officials: "No Extremist Groups Here!"
      FSU Monitor, April 30, 2008

      Officials in Russia's Stavropol region reacted to claims that the
      murder of an Ingush student on April 20 (Hitler's
      birthday--traditionally a time of increased neo-Nazi violence in
      Russia) by denying that extremist groups exist in the region,
      according to an April 29, 2008 report in the local newspaper "Vecherny
      Stavropol." A government body that works on ethnic minority issues
      held a meeting last week to discuss security measures for the upcoming
      May holidays and the recent murder of an Ingush student, which has led
      to acrimony between law enforcement officials, who immediately issued
      a denial that ethnic hatred motivated the killing, and minority
      community leaders, many of whom think that the attack was a hate
      crime. Some of these leaders were invited to speak at the meeting.
      Dzhamalay Esambaev, head of a local Chechen-Ingush community group,
      and Vitaly Tatarenko, first deputy of the city administration in
      charge of security issues, expressed polar opposite views of the
      attack, with Mr. Tatarenko blaming unnamed forces wishing to
      destabilize the city. His view was echoed by the head of the local FSB.
      Pavel Kolsenikov, deputy chief of the department of ethno-national
      relations, issued a categorical denial that "organized gangs of
      so-called skinheads" exist in the city, and asserted that inter-ethnic
      tension in the region, which borders on Chechnya, is much lower than
      in Moscow and St. Petersburg. He was contradicted by a representative
      of the Azeri community, who stated that skinheads gather in the city's
      Mamayka district, an assertion that police denied.
      Finally, the head of a local Cossack organization proposed solving the
      problem of youth violence by granting greater police powers to Cossack
      paramilitary units. Not mentioned in the article is the fact that some
      Cossack organizations are explicitly racist and have been linked to
      anti-minority violence in the neighboring Krasnodar region.


      Russia Passes Years Of Godlessness, Religion Returns To Society -Alexy II
      Itar-Tass, April 30, 2008

      MOSCOW, April 30 (Itar-Tass) -- Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All
      Russia said Russia had passed the hard years of godlessness, and
      religion was returning to the life of society.
      "The world often refuses to accept man as he was created by God.
      Passions and moral ailments are a norm, and spirituality is shifted to
      the periphery of life. Russia has already passed the hard years of
      godlessness, and fundamental religious principles are turning to the
      life of society. Russia today can freely rely on its own spiritual
      tradition," the patriarch said at a Foreign Ministry reception marking
      Orthodox Easter on Wednesday.
      Russia is going through a period of spiritual revival when a large
      number of new churches are built and opened, and this process comes
      from the people who fill the churches during the Lent, attend
      religious services, receive the holy communion, confess, and prepare
      for Easter, the patriarch said earlier.
      "There has always been a tradition in Russia to show mercy and
      support one's next of kin. And now, too, many people have a hard life"
      and cannot always get necessary medical treatment, the patriarch said.
      "The reunification of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian
      Orthodox Church Outside Russia (ROCOR) was a remarkable event of last
      year," he said. "It's hard to believe that only recently we were not
      together. The election of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church
      Abroad will be held in May due to the death of Metropolitan Laurus."
      Alexy II praised the role of the late Metropolitan Laurus in the
      signing of the Act on Canonical Communication within the local Russian
      Orthodox Church.
      According to the patriarch, Metropolitan Laurus "consolidated the
      foreign laity by his devotional services" and "allowed them to rejoice
      over the reunification with the Church in the Homeland for which
      several generations of Russian emigres had suffered so much".
      "Political storms raging in the world often penetrate the church
      wall, provoking perplexities and divisions between brotherly churches
      and peoples," the patriarch said earlier.
      "But only together can we testify to contemporary humankind about
      intransient spiritual and moral Orthodox values," he added.
      He recalled that the Orthodox world included "fifteen brotherly local
      Orthodox churches that maintain relationships with each other and
      jointly make up One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Orthodox Church".
      "The Russian Orthodox Church has been conducting its own dialogue
      with religious communities and secular institutions in many countries
      for centuries. Many religious and public events are in store for the
      Russian Orthodox Church. An Assembly of Bishops will be held at the
      end of June. Representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside
      Russia will attend it for the first time. The Assembly will evaluate
      the performance of the church's activities over the past four years,"
      he said at the Foreign Ministry reception.
      "The 90th anniversary of the execution of the tsar's family will be
      marked this year. This date should become a reminder of the
      inadmissibility of violence during public reforms. Yekaterinburg will
      be centre of the events," Alexy Ii said.
      He thanked the Foreign Ministry for maintaining the good tradition of
      Easter receptions that bring together Russian and foreign diplomats.
      "We receive constructive support from the Russian Foreign Ministry in
      its care about the church community and peacekeeping missions. I hope
      our interaction will become an example for the development of such
      contacts," the patriarch said.

      Restoration Of Monument To Soviet Soldiers Completed In Berlin
      Itar-Tass, April 30, 2008

      BERLIN, April 30 (Itar-Tass) - The bronze figure of a Soviet
      soldier-liberator with a little German girl in his arms, rising in
      Tiergarten, a central district of Berlin, can now be seen afar even at
      night. The spectacular war memorial, standing near the former
      Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate, is now lighted up by a special
      illumination system. It was officially switched on here on Tuesday
      The system was installed during the reconstruction of the memorial
      complex, put up in honour of the Soviet soldiers that fell in the 1945
      battle for the liberation of Berlin. It illuminates also the
      memorial's park zone, spreading over an area of more than 60,000
      square metres. This increases the monumentality of the war memorial.
      Illuminated also are two T-34 tanks and two artillery guns, standing
      on both sides of the memorial, which is crowned by an 8-metre-high
      bronze figure of a Soviet soldier. The Soviet Army had used such tanks
      and guns during the Second World War. Legendary T-34 tanks were the
      first ones to break into the Hitlerite lair in the spring of 1945 and
      salvoes of the two guns were fired to mark the end of the sanguinary
      battle for Berlin.
      The memorial complex was reconstructed with the help of the Berlin
      Senate and the job was financed by the Russian "Complex- Oil" group of
      companies, which is doing business in Germany since 2006.
      The Tiergarten Memorial Complex, the first one to be built in Berlin
      in memory of the Soviet soldiers-liberators, is a symbol of the German
      Wehrmacht's surrender, an inalienable part of the history of the
      German capital, which had pledged to take care of all the Soviet
      military cemeteries, State Secretary of the Berlin Senate Hella
      Dunger-Loeper stated. The restoration jobs and the building of the
      illumination system pursued the purpose of immortalising Germany's
      liberation from National-Socialism and of commemorating those, who had
      sacrificed their lives to do it, she stressed.
      Russian Ambassador to Germany Vladimir Kotenev stated, in turn, that
      no revision of the results of the Second World War and no minimisation
      of the role of the USSR and its allies in the effort to defeat fascism
      was permissible. "The Russian and German peoples have traversed a long
      road after the end of the war - from hostility to growing trust and
      strategic partnership, which now unites Russia and Germany," the
      diplomat noted.
      "Mankind should always remember the feat accomplished by those
      heroes," thanks to which human values have triumphed all over the
      world, the "Complex-Oil" group owner Dmitry Parfyonov stressed. His
      grandfather had fought from the outbreak of the war up to the Berlin
      Flowers were laid at the foot of the monument. Veterans of World War
      II and of the Anti-fascist Resistance Movement, representatives of the
      Berlin Senate and of several public organisations, as well as the
      military attaches of Ukraine and of the Belarus Republic took part in
      the ceremony.

      The Neo-Nazi groups threaten State and Public Officials
      SOVA April 30, 2008

      In March 2008, radical right websites started to circulate a list of
      Chief Justices, including their home addresses and personal information.
      The list later expanded to include personal data on high-ranking
      procuracy officials, MIA (MVD) employees, as well as public figures
      and scientists who work on the problem of xenophobia in Russia. The
      list already includes about 50 names. A number of radical right
      websites posted the web-link to the list, accompanied by direct
      threats of violence and even murder.
      In the past years, the high-profile people who work to resist the
      rise of radical nationalism in Russia continued to experience threats
      of violence and physical reprisals. The well-known cases included the
      murder of an ethnologist Nikolai Girenko, the assaults on hate-crime
      experts in Saint Petersburg, the murder of a judge and a series of
      attempts on the lives of the court and procuracy employees in
      Dolgoprudny, Moscow Region. The ultra-right radicals are suspected of
      committing these crimes, and several radical organizations have
      claimed responsibility for the attacks.
      Many poorly hidden threats of violence against court officials and
      law enforcers were voiced at the Moscow radical rally on April 19, 2008.
      Since we believe that such threats pose real danger to the people
      included in this list, as well as their families, the SOVA Center
      requested the General Prosecutor's Office to conduct an investigation
      of the matter. The Prosecutor's Office accepted SOVA's application on
      April 21, 2008.
      On April 24, 2008, Tatyana Chernyshova, the interim head of the
      department of media relations of the General Prosecutor's Office,
      announced that an investigation had begun already. "The investigation
      is ongoing, as we received a similar appeal, based on the same list,
      via the internet reception room of the General Prosecutor's official
      web-site," explained Ms. Chernyshova.


      Moscow Police Chief Reports Fifty-Two Hate Crimes So Far This Year
      FSU Monitor, May 2, 2008

      Moscow's chief of police Vladimir Pronin, who has a consistent record
      of playing down neo-Nazi hate crimes in his city, reported that his
      police force has investigated 52 crimes "committed on the basis of
      ethnic hatred" so far this year, according to an April 25, 2008 report
      by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. General Pronin expressed
      his concern over the rise in the number of hate crimes, but at the
      same time assured the audience at a public meeting that, "Today I can
      state with full responsibility that we have blocked a wave of such
      crimes in the city, this process is halted and will not increase in
      the future". Strangely, out of these 52 crimes, Moscow prosecutors
      have only brought hate crimes charges in four of the cases.


      Gay Parade Banned in Moscow Again
      ITAR-TASS and FSU Monitor, May 2, 2008

      Moscow, 24 April: The Moscow city authorities will not allow sexual
      minorities to hold unauthorized actions in the capital, which are
      scheduled for 1 and 2 May, the press service of the city mayor and
      government has said.
      "Just like in the previous years, [the city authorities] will thwart
      attempts to hold such events in a decisive and uncompromising manner,
      because the absolute majority of [Russian] society does not accept gay
      people's lifestyle and their philosophy," the statement says.
      "The fact, that gay people have chosen the holiday of Peace and Labour
      to hold unauthorized actions, causes surprise and indignation. On the
      days when a lot of manifestations will be taking place in Moscow, gay
      people want to deliberately bring discord and get in the way of the
      historical holiday. They are trying to impose their customs and
      principles on society," the press service said, adding that "the
      interests of everyone should be taken into account, so that there is
      peace and order in Moscow. And if it is necessary to use authority to
      achieve this, it will be done, and any unauthorized events in the
      capital will be thwarted in future as well".
      UCSJ Note:A Moscow official added yet another justification to the
      city's ban--the fact that far-right groups had threatened to kill gays
      if they march. In other words, the same city government that routinely
      deals harshly and decisively with opposition protestors and gay rights
      activists is somehow helpless in the face of blatantly illegal threats
      and actions by extremist nationalists.


      Cherkizov Market Bombers Face Justice
      FSU Monitor, May 2, 2008

      A Moscow jury found four defendants guilty of setting a bomb in August
      2006 that killed 14 foreign market traders at the Cherkizov market,
      according to an April 30, 2008 report by the Interfax news agency. The
      defendants were found guilty of terrorism, 14 murders (four of them
      children) and the attempted murder of the 61 people who were injured
      in the blast. The jury added that they do not deserve a reduced
      sentence from the judge, who will announce their sentence on May 12.
      One of the defendants was also found guilty of participating in the
      murder of an Armenian student at the Pushkinskaya metro station. The
      Interfax report added that there are a total of eight defendants, who
      also face charges of "participation in a criminal group" and weapons
      charges, along with exploding eight bombs around the city, including
      an attack on a mosque, but it is not clear from the report if they
      were found guilty of these charges. No hate crimes charges were
      mentioned in the report, despite the clear intent on the part of the
      defendants to murder ethnic minorities.


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 18, May 2, 2008

      In St. Petersburg, a group of neo-Nazis murdered a Russian student and
      injured another in an attack on April 20, Hitler's birthday, according
      to an April 27 posting on the web site Coalition Against Hate. Denis
      Ezdautskis and two other university students were attacked in Park
      Pobedy by assailants "screaming something about Hitler" according to a
      surviving victim, Egor Makarov, who managed to escape. According to
      his testimony, one of the neo-Nazis stabbed Ezdautskis in the chest
      and others captured a friend, identified only by his first name,
      Seryoga, and "busted his head." Police detained seven suspects.


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 18, May 2, 2008

      A Moscow jury found four defendants guilty of setting a bomb in August
      2006 that killed 14 foreign market traders at the Cherkizov market,
      according to an April 30 report by Interfax. The defendants were found
      guilty of terrorism, 14 murders (four of them children), and the
      attempted murder of the 61 people who were injured in the blast. The
      jury added that the defendants do not deserve a reduced sentence from
      the judge who is scheduled to announce the sentence on May 12.
      One of the defendants was also found guilty of participating in the
      murder of an Armenian student at the Pushkinskaya metro station. The
      Interfax report added that the defendants, who total eight, also face
      charges of "participation in a criminal group" and weapons charges,
      along with exploding eight bombs around the city, including an attack
      on a mosque, but it is not clear from the report if they were found
      guilty of these charges. The report mentioned no hate crimes charges
      despite the clear intent on the part of the defendants to murder
      members of ethnic minorities.


      Annual Report Paints a Bleak Picture
      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 18, May 2, 2008

      In its annual report released today, the United States Commission on
      International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent and
      bipartisan federal agency, noted that in recent years some of the 56
      member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in
      Europe (OSCE) "have sought to curtail the organization's human rights
      activities." The report singled out Russia as having protested OSCE
      criticisms of countries of the former USSR while downplaying human
      rights problems in the West. Moreover, Russia has withheld approval
      for the OSCE budget, thus jeopardizing many of the OSCE's human rights
      activities. "These activities are particularly important at a time
      when the governments of Russia and many other countries of the former
      Soviet Union are demonstrating an increasing lack of commitment to
      their human rights obligations, including efforts to combat racism,
      xenophobia, and other forms of intolerance and discrimination," the
      report pointed out. "In October 2007, Russia, purportedly aiming to
      `improve' OSCE procedures, put forth several proposals that would have
      significantly increased government control over the civil society
      groups that could take part in OSCE meetings and activities, but the
      U.S. led a successful effort against this Russian proposal. The OSCE,
      citing an agreement made in Moscow in 1991, has reiterated that OSCE
      participating states have `categorically and irrevocably' declared
      that the `commitments undertaken in the field of the human dimension
      of the OSCE are matters of direct and legitimate concern to all
      participating states and do not belong exclusively to the internal
      affairs of the state concerned.'"
      report noted that the past few years have witnessed a rise in
      incidents of racist discrimination, xenophobia, and intolerance
      directed against members of religious and ethnic minorities in the
      OSCE region including Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan, as well as such
      democratic countries as France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The
      report stressed that extremist rhetoric that goes uncontested by
      political and societal leaders has led to intolerance of minorities.
      Antisemitic views and actions continue to be problems in many OSCE
      states and officials often fail to hold the perpetrators of
      antisemitic attacks to account. Anti-Zionism and vilification of
      Israel can also mask antisemitism. Many recent antisemitic incidents
      in Western Europe have been committed by marginalized young North
      African Muslim immigrants. In 2006, the most recent year for which
      statistics are available, monitoring organizations reported twice as
      many physical assaults on Jews in comparison with 2005, with the
      largest increases in the United Kingdom, Canada, and France, along
      with a disturbing number of antisemitic incidents in Norway, Belgium,
      Germany, and Ukraine.
      USCIRF identified skinhead gangs and neo-Nazi groups as sources of
      hate-filled rhetoric and violence in many OSCE countries, with
      migrants and various ethnic and religious minorities, including
      Muslims and Jews, as targets. "Vandalism against religious and other
      property is also on the rise," USCIRF reported. "Violent acts are
      often well documented, but they are rarely investigated and prosecuted
      as hate crimes. Instead, officials, prosecutors, and judges often
      trivialize such violence by treating it as `hooliganism,' particularly
      in Russia. When burnings, beatings, and other acts of violence target
      members of a particular group because of who they are and what they
      believe, such acts should be viewed not merely as police problems, but
      as human rights violations that require an unequivocal response."
      USCIRF has not recommended that Russia be named a "country of
      particular concern" because of "most severe violations of religious
      freedom," USCIRF "is concerned that the country's increasingly fragile
      human rights situation, which directly affects the status of religious
      freedom, warrants close scrutiny, not least because Russia is a model
      and bellwether for other countries in transition, especially from the
      former Soviet Union." In its role as an advisory agency, USCIRF
      recommended that the U.S. government urge the Russian government "to
      condemn specific acts of xenophobia, antisemitism, and intolerance, as
      well as incidents of hate crimes, and to make clear that such crimes
      are to be treated by officials as human rights abuses, not
      `hooliganism,' and that they will be fully and promptly investigated
      and prosecuted"; "take steps to discourage rhetoric that promotes
      xenophobia or intolerance, including religious intolerance," while
      promoting freedom of expression; provide training for law enforcement
      officers to address ethnic hatred and promote tolerance; establish a
      nationwide anti-discrimination body; implement the recommendations by
      Russia's Presidential Council on Human Rights, the official Russian
      Human Rights Ombudsman, and the Council of Europe's Commission against
      Racism and Intolerance "to address antisemitism and xenophobia and
      prevent and punish hate crimes, including full implementation by
      regional and local law enforcement personnel of criminal code
      provisions prohibiting incitement and violence motivated by ethnic or
      religious hatred, in accordance with standards established by the
      European Court of Human Rights."


      Over 70% Russians Approve Of Renewed Military Parades On Red Square
      Itar-Tass, May 4, 2008

      MOSCOW, May 4 (Itar-Tass) - More than 70% Russians hail the resumption
      of military parades on Moscow's Red Square including demonstration of
      heavy defense technologies like tanks, infantry combat vehicles,
      armored personnel carriers, and others, as follows from the results of
      an opinion poll taken by the Moscow-based public opinion research
      center VCIOM.
      May 9, the first such parade will be held on Red Square after an
      interval of 17 years. The Russian Armed Forces will display more than
      200 units of defense technologies - the tanks T-90, the infantry
      combat vehicles BMP-3, the armored personnel carriers BTR-80,
      self-propelled artillery mounts, the Smerch /Tornado/ salvo systems,
      the air defense combat vehicles Buk, and the Topol mobile land-based
      missile systems.
      As shown by the poll, about 75% male respondents and about 65% female
      respondents voiced support for the idea of resuming the Soviet-era
      tradition of military parades compounded with the displays of landmark
      weapons that the Russian Armed Forces have on their tables of equipment.
      Among them, 23% respondents said this will help demonstrate Russia's
      military power. Another 15% said it will make the parade more
      spectacular and 10% indicated it will serve as a tribute to the
      soldiers who fell during World War II, to war veterans and to people
      of senior generations at large.
      A total of 16% of those polled called the displays of heavy defense
      technologies "a fairly good tradition worth reviving."
      Other arguments the pollsters heard suggested that "it is interesting
      to look at new weaponry systems", that "their public display will
      invoke people's interest in history and foster the feeling of pride
      for this country," and that "this will raise the prestige of our Armed
      Only 10% respondents voiced objections to resumption of the
      Soviet-era tradition, and 3% among them said they object to it vehemently.
      Respondents in this group said, among other things, the public shows
      of weaponry systems require sizable financial spending and it would be
      much more reasonable to spend that money for something more useful, or
      that there is no reason to show the country's military might and new
      Others said large-scale military parades might inflict harm on nearby
      buildings and architectural monuments, road pavements, and Red
      Square's cobblestones on Red Square.
      Interestingly enough, only a tiny group of respondents said the
      military parades with displays of heavy technologies are definitely an
      asset of the past.
      On the face of it, one-fifth of those polled /20%/ were undecided on
      the issue or had no clear answer.
      VCIOM took the poll March 29 and March 30 among 1,600 people living
      in 153 population centers located in 46 regions of Russia. The
      statistical error does not exceed 3.4%.

      Show of military force in Red Sq. parade not saber-rattling – Putin
      RIA Novosti, May 5, 2008

      MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on
      Monday that an upcoming display of the country's military hardware in
      a Victory Day parade in Red Square on May 9 does not mean Moscow is
      threatening anyone.
      "For the first time in many years, military hardware will be involved
      in the parade. This is not saber-rattling. We threaten no one and do
      not intend to do so," Putin said at his last meeting with Cabinet and
      Kremlin administration members.
      "It is a simple display of our growing defense capability," he added.
      Moscow's Red Square hosted on Monday the final rehearsal for the
      Victory Day parade, which will feature for the first time in almost
      two decades a formidable display of Russia's military might.
      Victory Day marks the final surrender by Nazi Germany to the U.S.S.R.
      in WWII, often referred to as the Great Patriotic War in Russia and
      other states in the former Soviet Union.
      After a 17-year break, outgoing President Vladimir Putin gave the go
      ahead for the resumption of flyovers by strategic bombers and displays
      of sophisticated military hardware during this year's Victory Day parade.
      President Putin's second term has seen a rise in tensions with the
      West, as a resurgent Russia, awash with oil dollars, looks to
      reestablish itself as a global power.
      By the time Victory Day comes around, however, Russia will have a new
      president, with Dmitry Medvedev due to be inaugurated on May 7. Putin
      is set to take up the post of premier, as well as head of the ruling
      United Russia party, and analysts are at a loss as to predict exactly
      how this 'power-sharing' will play out.
      During the rehearsal for the parade, a crowd of spectators cheered
      the appearance of formidable T-90 main battle tanks, Smerch
      multiple-launch rocket systems, S-300 air defense systems, Iskander-M
      tactical missile systems and Topol-M ballistic missile systems.
      Several Tu-160 Blackjack and Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers, a Tu-22M
      Backfire long-range bomber and Russia's aerobatic teams, Strizhi and
      Russkiye Vityazi flew over Red Square at an altitude of about 1,000 feet.
      The first Victory Parade was held on Red Square on June 24, 1945 on
      the order of the then-Supreme Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Stalin.

      RFE/RL Newsline, May 5, 2008 Volume 12 Number 84

      The government is planning a major parade of military equipment to be
      held in Red Square on May 9, when Russia celebrates the victory over
      Germany in World War II, RIA Novosti and other Russian media reported
      on May 5. The parade will come two days after the inauguration of
      Dmitry Medvedev as president and, according to expectations, one day
      after the confirmation of Vladimir Putin as prime minister. According
      to the news agency, the parade will include 171 pieces of military
      equipment, including T-90 tanks, armored personnel carriers,
      self-propelled artillery, and antimissile defense systems. For the
      first time, Topol mobile strategic nuclear-capable missiles will also
      be on display, as will some 30 aircraft. The event marks the first
      time military equipment has participated in a Red Square parade since
      November 7, 1990, newsru.com reported. According to an opinion poll by
      the All-Russia Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), 70
      percent of Russians approve of the renewal of the military parades.
      Twenty-three percent said the parades are needed "to demonstrate the
      military might of the army and Russia as whole." Just 10 percent said
      the parades are a good way of "paying homage to those who died or
      served during the war." "When the parades were cancelled, there were
      different public moods," analyst Aleksei Makarkin told gazeta.ru,
      "more pacifist and the army was thought of as something expensive that
      was taking money from peaceful sectors. Now there is a different
      approach and moods have changed. Russians believe Russia should become
      a center of influence in the world and, to do that, a strong army is
      needed. The parades are seen as the restoration of a tradition from
      the days when the country was a second global superpower." RC


      RFE/RL Newsline, May 5, 2008 Volume 12 Number 84

      President Putin has appropriated 10 million rubles (around $425,000)
      for the carrying out of "repair and conservation work" on the Sergiev
      Town Church in Jerusalem, with the funding to be allocated in the
      second quarter of this year, "Kommersant" reported on May 5. "This
      means that the process of negotiation over the transfer to the Russian
      Federation of historically Russian property in the Holy Land lost in
      the 1960s has reached a final phase," the newspaper wrote. According
      to "Kommersant," Putin may visit the Holy Land in June-July to sign a
      final agreement with Israel on transferring the church to Russia. The
      Sergiev Town Church is a two-story, 19th-century building in the
      center of Jerusalem whose construction was funded by Grand Duke Sergei
      Aleksandrovich Romanov, the founder of the Imperial Orthodox
      Palestinian Society. The premises were taken over by Israeli
      authorities after Israel and the Soviet Union broke off relations in
      1967. According to "Kommersant," the Russian government decided to
      reclaim the property in 1996, but it was only in April 2005 that
      Putin, during a visit to Israel, managed to convince then-Israeli
      Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to start the process of transferring the
      church back to Russian possession. JB


      State To Continue Developing Special Relations With Church – President
      Itar-Tass, May 7, 2008

      MOSCOW, May 7 (Itar-Tass) - President Dmitry Medvedev said special
      relations with the Russian Orthodox Church would preserve and develop.
      After the prayer service at the Kremlin's Annunciation Cathedral in
      honour of the inauguration of Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday, Patriarch
      Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia stressed: "The Church is ready for
      further cooperation with the state because we have only one homeland,
      one history and one future."
      Medvedev assured the patriarch that special trusty relationship with
      the Russian Orthodox Church "will preserve and develop for the sake of
      Alexy II noted that Medvedev had become president "on the light
      moment of Easter". The patriarch congratulated him on taking office.
      "At the previous elections the Russian people gave you trust to be
      head of the great power. This is not an easy burden. This is a great
      responsibility for the present and the future of the state in
      difficult times of social and economic reforms," Alexy II said.
      He said, "Power is not words and honour. This is, primarily, big
      responsibility and everyday service for the country and the people
      that needs strength, wisdom and tenacity."
      The patriarch said on his previous post Medvedev "is an example of
      professional and sincere service to Russia without any fear of set
      tasks". Alexy II riveted special attention to Medvedev's attitude
      towards spirituality and moral of the country, his solicitous attitude
      towards the country's historical and cultural heritage. "The people's
      well-being mostly depends on its spirituality and moral," the
      patriarch said.
      Alexy II said he is hopeful that Medvedev would continue the policy
      begun by second President Vladimir Putin. "I hope that in the coming
      years you'll be able to do much for the development of the society,"
      he said.
      The patriarch said he is convinced that the president's priority "is
      to take care of people". At the same time, he said the president had
      to strengthen Russia's international prestige. Alexy II wished
      Medvedev "warm-heartedness, wisdom and patience". The patriarch also
      wished Medvedev's wife Svetlana "to support his husband to allow him
      to find warmth and support at home". The patriarch presented the
      Medvedevs the sanctified icon of Vladimir Mother of God - the
      patroness of Russia.
      Patriarch Alexy II ministered a prayer service at the Kremlin's
      Annunciation Cathedral.
      Just after the inauguration Dmitry Medvedev and his wife Svetlana
      came to the Annunciation Cathedral. He was greeted by Alexy II who
      said: "It became a good tradition to invoke God's blessing" just after
      the inauguration. Alexy II and the Medvedevs entered the cathedral
      following Easter anthems.
      During the service, Alexy asked God to bless Dmitry Medvedev for
      service to Motherland and the people of our land. The patriarch asked
      God for giving the new Russian president "strength and wisdom, peace
      and well-being, as well as to defend the country from enemies".
      "Let us pray for our country, the army and our people," Alexy II said
      by asking God for blessing the new president for "good management of
      our country". The patriarch asked God "to make him wise and teach him,
      give him reason and wisdom and quiet and peaceful life to all of us".
      The patriarch attended the inauguration at the Kremlin's St. Andrew
      Hall jointly with the heads of other confessions.
      This was the third service. The previous two ones were conducted
      during the inauguration of Vladimir Putin. The patriarch congratulated
      first Russian president Boris Yeltsin on behalf of all confessions
      during the inauguration.
      Father Vladimir Vigilyansky, spokesman for the Moscow Patriarchate,
      told Itar-Tass, "The Annunciation Cathedral was a church where Russian
      princes and tsars observed services. The main essence of these
      services is to ask the Holy Spirit for good deeds."
      Father Vladimir explained: "Even if the president was not an Orthodox
      believer this service will be ministered." "But in this case the newly
      elected president is an Orthodox believer and he'll pray jointly with
      the patriarch," he added.
      The inaugurations of Vladimir Putin took place on Days of Easter
      Season - 40 days after Easter. The May 7, 2000 inauguration was held
      on the first Sunday after Easter and the 2004 inauguration took place
      on Friday of the fourth Easter week. The May 7, 2008 inauguration is
      the 10th day after Easter.
      Medvedev thanked the patriarch for warm words. He said, "The history
      of our country in the 20th century was dramatic - the history of
      people's death and the destruction of hopes." "At the end of the 20th
      century Russia embarked to a new path. In the last eight years the
      state could concentrate their forces and began developing under the
      auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church and all sturdy forces," the
      new president said.
      In his view, "now it is necessary to do everything possible to
      continue the positive tendencies."

      Uzbek couple murdered in Moscow
      RIA Novosti, May 7, 2008

      MOSCOW, May 7 (RIA Novosti) - An Uzbek couple were beaten and stabbed
      to death in northeast Moscow early on Wednesday, a police source said.
      Shortly after midnight, a group of three young people described as
      skinheads set upon the man and the woman, both in their forties. The
      couple were employed as street cleaners.
      Police have said the murder was either a racial attack or a
      particularly violent robbery.
      Routine attacks by skinheads and far-right groups on foreigners and
      people with 'non-Slavic' features have been reported across Russia in
      recent years. Some of the worst cities for racist attacks are Moscow,
      St. Petersburg, and the central Russian city of Voronezh.
      2008 has seen another rise in the number of attacks on people of
      Central Asian origin in Russia. In February, the Kyrgyz embassy in
      Moscow sent an official note of protest to Russia's Foreign Ministry,
      Interior Ministry and the Prosecutor General's Office protesting at
      the murders of at least four Kyrgyz nationals in Russia since the
      start of the year.


      Attack on Gay Rights Protest in St. Petersburg
      FSU Monitor, May 7, 2008

      Two members of an unsanctioned gay rights protest action were attacked
      in St. Petersburg, according to a May 3, 2008 report by the Rosbalt
      news agency. The attack took place after the rally when four unknown
      people came up from behind their victims and struck them on the heads
      with blunt objects. The victims reported the attack to police and then
      sought medical treatment. Larger gay rights rallies have been brutally
      suppressed in recent years by police and far-right nationalists in Moscow.


      Russian Deacon Calls For Proselytizing Jews
      FSU Monitor, May 7, 2008

      A leading Russian Orthodox scholar has called for a more fervent
      effort to convert Russian-speaking Jews in Israel.
      Deacon Andrei Kuraev, a professor at the Moscow Spiritual Academy,
      said the Orthodox Christian Church based in Moscow should begin to
      proselytize actively among Israel's 3 million Russian-speaking Jews.
      "We have a unique opportunity here for the growth of Orthodoxy in
      general because hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews have moved to
      the area," Kuraev told the Interfax news service.
      In his comments, Kuraev said that the middle-class intelligentsia that
      makes up a large part of Russian immigrants to Israel "shows a huge
      interest in Christianity." He doubted that the local Greek Orthodox
      leaders had the resources or knowledge to reach Russian-speaking Jews.
      The Russian Orthodox Church, the dominant religious force in Russia,
      in recent years consolidated with the Russian Orthodox Church abroad
      to create a global unified church.
      "This is a unique missionary opportunity," Kuraev said. "Through Jews
      who were raised on European and Russian classics, we could carry the
      light of the Gospel to all Israel."
      Source: JTA
      UCSJ note: Kuraev has a history of antisemitic rhetoric and is an
      influential figure within the Russian Orthodox Church.


      Petersburg Police Detain Ten Suspects in Murder Investigation,
      Confiscate Extremist Material
      FSU Monitor, May 8, 2008

      Police in St. Petersburg have detained ten suspects in the murder of a
      student and attacks on three other people, according to a May 5, 2008
      report by the Sova Information-Analytical Center. The detainees, who
      range in age from eighth graders to young adults, reportedly had
      extremist literature and videos in their possession. The suspects are
      facing hooliganism and murder charges, not hate crime charges. Three
      remain in custody, the rest were released after signing pledges not to
      leave the city.


      Possible Neo-Nazi Murder in Moscow
      FSU Monitor, May 8, 2008

      Three young men with "short hair cuts" stabbed an Uzbek couple to
      death in Moscow, according to a May 7, 2008 report by the news web
      site Gazeta.ru. The murders took place on May 6 on Konstantinov
      Street. The attackers struck, then fled to a nearby metro station.
      Police are investigating the killings as ordinary murders rather than
      hate crimes.


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 19, May 9, 2008

      There were at least 24 racist and neo-Nazi assaults in the month of
      April in Russia, leaving six people dead and 38 injured, Sova
      Information-Analytical Center reported. The numbers do not include the
      victims of the April 5 mass scuffle in the Tver Region because Sova is
      unsure of the nationalist motivation of the participants. In addition
      to Moscow, the neo-Nazi attacks took place in Vladivostok, Kazan,
      Nizhny Novgorod, St. Petersburg, Penza, Ryazan, and Stavropol.
      Sova called attention to a new development that began in March:
      Far-right web sites circulate a list of chief justices, including
      their home addresses and personal information. The list has expanded
      to include personal data on high-ranking procuracy officials, Ministry
      of Interior employees, as well as public figures and professionals
      engaged in countering xenophobia. A number of far-right web sites post
      the web-link to the list, accompanied by direct threats of violence
      and even murder.


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 19, May 9, 2008

      On May 7, a district court in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar
      sentenced to twenty months in jail a girl, 16, who beat a female
      Kenyan college student on the street on December 25, 2007, Public
      Prosecutor Nikita Blokhin told Itar-Tass. The court found the
      defendant guilty of battery motivated by race hatred and deliberate
      infliction of bodily damage driven by ethnic intolerance. She also
      repeatedly stabbed an Armenian man who tried to intervene. She
      accompanied her actions with shouts that humiliated the racial and
      ethnic dignity of her victims.


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 19, May 9, 2008

      The Amur Region division of the Investigative Committee with the
      Prosecutor's Office has submitted to the Blagoveshchensk city court a
      material case charging a student with inciting ethnic hatred and
      humiliating human dignity, Interfax reported on May 5. Interfax was
      told that the investigation had been prompted by a complaint from a
      Blagoveshchensk resident that "Dumat Po-Russky" (Thinking Russian)
      newspaper publishes extremist statements. "Investigators discovered
      that the publication had not been registered," a spokesman for the
      investigative committee said. "A local college student and head of the
      Amur chapter of the Russian Club printed it at home on his computer
      and at his own expense. The newspaper was distributed free in crowded
      places. Three issues with a combined circulation of at least 900
      copies were published in October-December 2007. A study of the texts
      proved that several articles did contain information aimed at inciting
      ethnic hatred. The defendant may be sentenced up to two years in jail."


      Bigotry Monitor, Volume 8, Number 19, May 9, 2008

      Ignoring the repression and uncertainty in Moscow, tens of thousands
      of Jews who fled Soviet oppression are returning to Russia, Reuters
      reported in a lengthy feature article on May 5. According to the
      article titled "Despite Antisemitism, Russia Lures Back Jews," the
      reason for the mass return to Russia is the chance "to make the most
      of an economic boom, even though a new strain of antisemitism is
      emerging in their old homeland. …Those returning now from Israel, the
      United States, and Europe hope to use their new skills and old
      knowledge to do business."
      "Now there are services here, like in New York and Paris, but the
      lifestyle is more interesting than in either of them--it's easy to
      understand why thousands are coming back," Yevgeny Satanovsky,
      president of the Russian Jewish Congress, was quoted as saying. Hard
      statistics on Jews returning to Russia do not exist, said Satanovsky,
      but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. (According to the Israeli
      embassy in Moscow, around 90,000 of its citizens live in Russia.) He
      estimates that 80,000-120,000 Russian Jews have returned to Russia,
      plus many more who originated in other Soviet republics. "If you look
      at industry or banking you'll find thousands of families who have come
      back," he said. "New Russian corporations are now hunting for managers
      from all over the world who have western experience and a Russian
      background. These emigrants know the language, the lifestyle, so it's
      very easy for them to integrate."
      However, Reuters pointed out, the disintegration of the Soviet Union
      also gave rise to a new phenomenon threatening Jews: skinheads and
      far-right groups who daub swastikas on walls and throw petrol bombs
      through synagogue windows. In the 17 years since Soviet rule
      collapsed, attacks on Russia's Jewish population of about one million
      and their property have been increasing in both number and severity;
      say community leaders and human rights organizations.
      "In Russia there exists 'bytovoi' antisemitism, literally meaning
      everyday or household, which is grassroots antisemitism, which is the
      main problem," Pinchas Goldschmidt, Moscow's chief rabbi and chairman
      of the European Conference of Rabbis, told Reuters. "This is attacks
      on synagogues, spontaneous attacks on cemeteries, etc ... In Russia we
      fear the skinheads and neo-Nazis."
      Reuters noted that antisemitism reared its head during presidential
      election campaigns earlier this year, with dozens of web sites and
      forums identifying Jewish candidates. "The most severe attacks were
      directed at president-elect Dmitry Medvedev, who was cast as having
      Jewish roots and therefore unfit to run the country," Reuters
      reported. "Sites used pejorative words to describe him, asked surfers
      to compare his face to well-known Jewish billionaires and said
      Medvedev would favor Israeli foreign policy in Russia's dealings with
      Iran and other Muslim states."
      According to Reuters, antisemitism is only one strand in the rise of
      xenophobia, as most attacks target dark-skinned immigrants, many of
      them Muslims, from ex-Soviet republics in the Caucasus and Central
      Asia. Sova Information-Analytical Center's director, Alexander
      Verkhovsky, was quoted as saying: "Race-hate violence is increasing in
      Russia. We have noticed that 50% of people in Russia have xenophobic
      tendencies, and if someone is a nationalist, he will naturally be an
      antisemite." While there is a law against inciting racism, it is
      rarely applied, say anti-racism groups, and most hate crimes are
      classified only as "hooliganism" by the authorities, say human rights
      campaigners. "What the community would like to see is the full
      implementation and willingness of state authorities to go after these
      [skinhead] elements which are a danger," Rabbi Goldschmidt was quoted
      as saying.


      RFE/RL Newsline, May 9, 2008 Volume 12 Number 87

      Half a dozen armed masked men burst into a mosque in Pliyevo,
      northeast of Nazran, during afternoon prayers on May 5 and detained
      three worshippers on the pretext that their parked cars were
      obstructing traffic, kavkaz-uzel.ru reported on May 6. The three car
      owners were questioned for several hours and then released. The mosque
      was closed in 2003 on the pretext that worshippers were proselytizing
      "wahhabism," but reopened for worship in 2005. LF


      Sakharov Director Faces Religious Hatred Charges
      The Moscow Times "Issue 3899," 12 May 2008

      Prosecutors said they would charge the director of the Sakharov Museum
      with inciting religious hatred for running a 2007 art exhibit that
      contained paintings portraying Jesus Christ as Mickey Mouse.
      The director, Yury Samodurov, is to be charged Tuesday, according to
      a copy of the notification he received from prosecutors last week. He
      faces up to five years in prison if convicted. The exact nature of the
      charges remains unclear.
      "You must come … to be charged and questioned with regard to the
      criminal case surrounding the conducting of the 'Forbidden Art'
      exhibit," the letter said. Its signatory, investigator Yevgeny
      Korobkov, confirmed its authenticity when reached by telephone
      Thursday but refused to discuss the matter further, saying he was not
      authorized to do so.
      Samodurov, who has been convicted of similar charges before, said
      authorities are "bent on imprisoning me."
      "I am absolutely sure that is their aim," he said. "The principle of
      the exhibit was the new freedom of expression we thought we had."
      The "Forbidden Art" exhibit - a collection of paintings and other
      visual works that had been banned at various exhibits across Russia
      that year - angered Russian Orthodox leaders.
      The works, which were hidden behind a black wall pierced with
      peepholes, included paintings of Jesus Christ with the head of Mickey
      Mouse, fornicating soldiers and Lenin's image on a crucifix.
      Samodurov said authorities had failed in an attempt to close the
      Moscow museum when he was convicted and fined for a 2003 exhibit
      titled "Caution: Religion!" He said he feared that this time they
      would succeed.


      Neo-Nazis Attack Gay Rights Protestors in Novokuznetsk
      FSU Monitor, May 12, 2008

      Gay rights activists were attacked in Novokuznetsk, Russia (Kemerovo
      region), according to a May 12, 2008 report by the Sova Information
      Analytical Center. No serious injuries or arrests were reported. The
      protesters were participating in a nationwide protest action at the
      beginning of May that also provoked a neo-Nazi attack in St. Petersburg.


      Krasnodar Court Gives Racist Light Sentence for Stabbing, Assault
      FSU Monitor, May 12, 2008

      A young woman in Krasnodar, Russia was sentenced to a year and eight
      months after being found guilty of a hate crimes stabbing that sent a
      man to the hospital for weeks, and another assault motivated by ethnic
      hatred, according to a May 8, 2008 article in the national daily
      "Kommersant." Regina Khlebnikova, age 16, was traveling on a bus with
      a friend last December 25 when she noticed a female African student
      supposedly laughing at her. Being in an inebriated state, she exited
      the bus along with the Kenyan foreign student Vaneka Vambuya, yanked
      her down to the ground by the hair, and started to kick her while
      screaming the neo-Nazi slogan "Russia for Russians!" before running
      off. Half an hour later, she spotted an ethnic Armenian, Suren
      Abzumanyan, walking with a Russian woman. Screaming "Die Khachik!" (a
      racist pejorative), she stabbed him repeatedly in the chest, back, and
      head. Charged with multiple hate crimes, the defendant tried to argue
      that she had been motivated by "hooliganism" rather than ethnic
      hatred, even though she was found to be in possession of hate
      literature. Facing potential prison time of up to ten years, she
      pleaded with that court that her father is disabled. The prosecutor
      then asked for a reduced sentence, and the judge scaled back her
      prison time even more, stating that the criminal code prohibits the
      court from going further and giving her a suspended sentence because
      the crime involved violence.


      Antisemitic Violence in Tula
      FSU Monitor, May 12, 2008

      Three neo-Nazis attacked two Jews in Tula, according to a May 12, 2008
      report by the web site Jewish.ru. The attack took place Sunday evening
      near the Jewish community center, which just days before had been
      vandalized by unknown suspects, who painted "Glory to Hitler," "Kikes
      to the oven", and "Russia for Russians" along with swastikas on the
      center's walls. The three attackers, one of whom was armed with a
      shovel, were detained by police summoned by the center's security guard.


      Two Charged With Hate Crime in Borovichi, Russia
      FSU Monitor, May 13, 2008

      Two residents of Borovichi, Russia (Novgorod region) face hooliganism,
      aggravated assault and hate crimes charges after attacking a man with
      knives and hammers, according to a May 7, 2008 report by the Rosbalt
      news service. The men face up to ten years in prison if convicted.
      According to the indictment, on January 22, 2008 the men attacked an
      ethnic Russian whom they thought was an ethnic minority from the
      Caucasus. He was seriously injured as a result.



      Nashi: Is It Really The End?
      By: Sean Guillory
      the eXile, April 22, 2008

      This year, there has been much speculation in the Russian print media
      about the demise of the Kremlin youth organization "Nashi," which has
      been as much a darling of the Russian state as it has been the bane of
      the Russian opposition and the Western media.
      But the situation is not so simple as merely shutting down Nashi. As
      a new president comes to power in Russia, some are speculating that
      Nashi's task is done and they're no longer needed. This is perhaps
      wishful thinking for a host of reasons. In order to understand where
      Nashi is going in the post-Putin era, it is necessary to understand
      where they came from, and what role they have played.
      "Do you want to realize your plan? Do you want to change the world
      around you? Do you want to influence your country's future? Do you
      want the world to remember you? Are you searching for your place in
      life? If you answered `yes' to any of these questions, don't despair,
      there is an answer."
      In America, a pitch like that would signal a "Tony Robbins" alert,
      but in Russia, a far more sinister organization offers the answers to
      your prayers: the Antifascist Democratic Youth Movement "Nashi,"
      waiting for you w<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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