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Bulletin 2:37 (2008)

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  • andreumland
    THE RUSSIAN NATIONALISM BULLETIN A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs Vol. 2, No. 37(42), 31 December 2008 Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland I
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2009
      A Biweekly Newsletter of Current Affairs
      Vol. 2, No. 37(42), 31 December 2008
      Compilers: Scott Littlefield & Andreas Umland

      I NEWS: 15 - 31 December 2008

      APPENDIX: Debate on current Ukrainian antisemitism

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      I NEWS: 15 - 31 December 2008

      Latest poll shows growing disaffection among Russians
      BBC Monitoring / Ekho Moskvy, December 15, 2008

      (Presenter) The level of disaffection with the authorities in view of
      the crisis has reached 39 per cent on average, while in some
      industrial regions it stands at 54 per cent. There is disaffection in
      all sections of society, expert Lyudmila Presnyakova of the Public
      Opinion Foundation (FOM) has told us.
      (Presnyakova, voice recording) Some 42 per cent of Russians regard
      the present state of affairs in the economy as a crisis, and the same
      proportion say that those around them expect the situation to get
      worse soon. Some 26 per cent of those questioned have said that the
      situation in their region has got worse, 29 per cent have noticed that
      construction work has been stopped, and 39 per cent have noticed that
      people around them are disaffected with the regional authorities.
      The study has shown that the intensity of experience of the crisis
      differs greatly among regions and among social groups.
      The situation is perceived with a greater degree of alarm by those
      who have a university degree, those in work, and those whom we
      describe as social innovators, i.e. the people who have mastered the
      present-day social, technological and financial practices better than
      A calmer reaction of the situation and more optimistic assessments
      are characteristic of those Russians who are better-off, and also,
      strangely, of pensioners and students.
      Some 29 per cent of working Russians fear lay-offs, with blue- and
      white-collar workers showing the greatest degree of anxiety. Another
      27 per cent fear that, should they be laid off, they will be unable to
      find a new job soon.
      (Presenter) In terms of levels of disaffection, researchers have
      divided regions into calm, medium and anxious ones. The most anxious
      are Tatarstan, Yaroslavl Region, Kursk Region and Omsk Region. Moscow
      and St Petersburg are also anxious. Calm reigns in Kamchatka, Mordovia
      and the Jewish Autonomous Region.
      FOM carried out its research at the end of November in 63 regions
      where more than 90 per cent of (Russia's) population is concentrated.
      It questioned 34,000 people.

      Communist leader says Russia may see social unrest like Greece
      Interfax, December 15, 2008

      Moscow, 15 December: Chairman of the central committee of the
      Communist Party of the Russian Federation (CPRF) believes that
      protests similar to those that took place in Greece are possible in
      "Is it possible in Russia? Yes it is. There is a great deal of
      accumulated social disaffection," Zyuganov told a news conference at
      the Interfax central office on Monday (15 December).
      He expressed the view that the main reasons for the protests in
      Greece were social, and wondered why Russian television focused on
      anarchists when covering the events there. "It is a very superficial,
      totally wrong approach," Zyuganov said.
      The Communist leader listed several reasons which, he believes, might
      cause disaffection among the people of Russia. In particular, he
      believes that a mass dismissal of officers from the army is wrong.
      Furthermore, Zyuganov fears the consequences of the coming cold
      winter; he gave the example of Yakutia, where temperatures have
      dropped below (minus) 50. Among other possible reasons, the CPRF
      leader listed the low level of various welfare benefits and the fact
      that Russian peasants could not sell their produce.
      He also drew attention to the upcoming rise in communal services
      charges. "From 1 January, communal payments rise by 25 per cent, and
      that in the country where 55 million people live on R5,000-8,000 (a
      month; 180-290 dollars at the current rate of exchange) on average. In
      (President Dmitriy Medvedev's shoes, I would have said that we cannot
      raise (the charges). By doing this, they are creating a completely
      explosive, unmanageable situation. Not a single reasonably well
      thought-out and competent decision!" Zyuganov said.
      (Russian state news agency RIA Novosti, in Russian, 1029 gmt 15 Dec
      08, quoted deputy chairman of the CPRF central committee Vladimir
      Kashin as saying that the party believes that natural resources should
      be nationalized and state control over such sectors as the railways,
      agriculture and power engineering should be introduced to avert
      further economic troubles.)

      Most Russians trust national TV, wary of foreign media - poll
      ITAR-TASS, December 16, 2008

      Moscow, 16 December: Of all the mass media, Russians trust national
      television the most, according to the results of an opinion poll
      conducted by the All-Russian Public Opinion Study Centre (VTsIOM).
      Forty-four per cent of those polled tend to trust it, while 26 per
      cent generally trust it.
      Regional and local television stations are in second place (63 per
      cent) in the trust ratings. The national and regional press each have
      the trust of 50 per cent of Russians. Forty-four per cent of those
      polled trust national radio and 38 per cent regional and local radio
      The Internet has the trust of 23 per cent of Russians, primarily
      people in Moscow and St Petersburg (43 per cent). A little over half
      of those polled (51 per cent) do not use the Internet. Of those who do
      not have access to the Internet, the majority (64 per cent) live in
      rural areas.
      Russians have the least trust in the foreign media (14 per cent). The
      majority of them (56 per cent) do not use foreign media. (Passage
      omitted: Russians trust news they receive directly from the mass media
      more than what they hear from friends and relatives)
      VTsIOM conducted the poll on 22 and 23 November. A total of 1,600
      people were polled in 140 populated localities in 42 regions,
      territories and republics of Russia. The statistical margin of error
      does not exceed 3.4 per cent.

      Moscow Police Crack Down on Political Opposition Rally, Let
      Neo-Fascists March
      FSU Monitor, December 16, 2008

      Moscow police detained up to 100 members of the non-violent political
      opposition "Other Russia" movement in Moscow, according to a December
      14, 2008 report by the "New York Times." The group, led by former
      chess champion Gary Kasparov, had been granted permission to march in
      an isolated part of the city and incurred the wrath of the police when
      they tried to march in the downtown area during celebrations of
      Constitution Day. In a mark of some progress, there were no reports of
      mass police violence against the marchers, unlike on previous
      occasions in Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod.
      At the same time, Moscow city officials gave permission to the
      neo-Nazi Slavic Union (abbreviated "SS" in Russian) and the far-right
      Movement Against Illegal Migration (a group implicated in the
      Kondopoga race riot) to march in the center of town, despite Russian
      laws against extremism and public incitement of ethnic hatred.
      According to a December 12, 2008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center, up to 400 people participated in that
      rally, some of them extending their arms in fascist salutes. Others
      screamed far-right slogans such as "Glory to Russia!" and "Russians
      forward!" Police checked the documents of a few of


      Russian Experts Say Sentencing Of Skinhead Murderers Too Lenient
      RFE/RL, December 16, 2008

      Russian experts say the jail sentences given to a skinhead group
      convicted of committing at least 20 murders were too light.
      A Moscow city court found a group of skinheads guilty of 20 murders
      and 12 attempted murders. All of the group's victims were people from
      Central Asia and the Caucasus.
      Two 17-year-old leaders of the group each received 10-year terms in
      jail, while others received shorter sentences.
      Extremism expert Galina Kozhevnikova, the deputy director of the Sova
      Analytical Center, told RFE/RL's Russian Service that the verdicts are
      inadequate and that the murderers will be able to gain release from
      jail in several years and will be met by ultranationalists as "white
      Viktoria Burkovskaya, an independent Moscow-based expert on
      extremism, also called the sentences too mild, but added that Russian
      laws in general do not allow judges to give a more severe punishment
      to individuals younger than 18, regardless of what crimes they commit.


      Russian officials not meddling in church affairs – spokesman
      Interfax-Religion, December 16, 2008
      Moscow, December 16, Interfax - The official spokesman of the Russian
      Orthodox Church denied that any senior Russian government official is
      interfering in preparations for elections for the next head of the
      church, to replace Patriarch Alexy II, who died earlier this month.
      "Among high-level officials, practically everyone can clearly see the
      boundary that lies between secular authority and the Church. They are
      not trying to make forecasts of interfere in the choice the Church is
      going to make," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told the Finam FM radio.
      "High-level officials today respect the autonomy of the Church and
      its right to elect a worthy first hierarch," he said.
      "It's terrible when a hierarch tries to behave as a governor or a
      governor as a hierarch, or when a synod tries to behave as a
      government or a government as a synod," Fr. Vsevolod said.


      Holy Rus should become the national ideal of Russians, according to
      interim head of the Russian Church
      Interfax-Religion, December 16, 2008

      Zvenigorod, December 16, Interfax - Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk
      and Kaliningrad, interim head of the Russian Orthodox Church, appealed
      to believers to remember that the unity of modern Russia has been
      overseen and safeguarded by Russian saints.
      "Today, everybody is saying that modern Russia should be a great
      country. But this greatness must be attained through the Holy Spirit,
      rather than through the force of power and the force of arms,"
      Metropolitan Kirill said during the festive service in
      Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery in Zvenigorod, the Moscow region.
      According to Metropolitan Kirill, Russia (Rus) was named "Holy" not
      because it had put up so many churches (Western Europe had "by all
      means no fewer" churches). It was named "Holy Russia" because "Russian
      saints were the national leaders in Russia, it was them who formed
      popular consciousness and traditional values," Metropolitan Kirill added.
      "We have united many peoples and even members of other religions
      around us through this "poverty in spirit" [of the Russian saints -
      IF] and created a great country which ranges from the Baltic Sea to
      the Pacific Ocean," Metropolitan Kirill said.
      According to him, "everything will collapse, including the peoples
      around Russia" without the Orthodox faith.
      "Let us pray that Holy Rus which today lives in the people's hearts
      become our national ideal once again," Metropolitan Kirill said
      addressing the worshippers.


      Russian-Georgian attitudes unchanged despite conflict – survey
      RIA Novosti, December 17, 2008

      MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - An opinion poll has found that
      Russians and Georgians have not changed their attitudes to each other
      despite the August war, but that opinions on their respective leaders
      have worsened.
      A survey conducted in the two countries by the All-Russian Public
      Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) said 69% of Russians and 71% of
      Georgians do not hold worse views of each other after the conflict,
      which followed Georgia's August 8 attack on breakaway South Ossetia.
      However, 50% of Russian respondents and 64% of Georgians said their
      attitudes to each others' governments have deteriorated. A total of
      39% of Russians and 48% of Georgians said they hoped bilateral
      relations would improve.
      Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia following Moscow's
      recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia after the five-day war.
      The opinion poll found that Russians and Georgians disagree on how to
      improve relations.
      While Russians believe the best option for Georgia is to unite with
      Russia (42% of respondents) or remain independent but maintain
      neutrality in foreign policy (30%), most Georgians (52%) said they
      supported the country's efforts to join NATO.
      Only 11% of Georgians said they favored their country forming a close
      relationship with Russia.
      The poll was conducted in December in both Russia and Georgia, and
      involved 1,600 and 1,000 people, respectively.

      Russian treason bill could hit Kremlin critics
      AP, December 17, 2008

      MOSCOW (AP) — A new law drafted by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's
      Cabinet would allow authorities to label any government critic a
      traitor — a move that leading rights activists condemned Wednesday as
      a chilling reminder of the times under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
      The draft extends the definition of treason from breaching Russia's
      external security to damaging the nation's constitutional order,
      sovereignty or territorial integrity. That would essentially let
      authorities interpret any act against the interests of the state as
      treason — a crime prosecutable by up to 20 years in prison.
      Prominent rights activists said passage of the bill would catapult
      Russia's justice system back to the times of Stalin's purges.
      "It returns the Russian justice to the times of 1920-1950s," the
      activists said in a statement, urging lawmakers to oppose what they
      described as the "legislation in the spirit of Stalin and Hitler."
      The activists included the head of the Moscow Helsinki Group,
      Lyudmila Alexeyeva, and the head of Civic Assistance, Svetlana
      Despite the criticism, the draft is likely to receive a quick
      approval by parliament, which is dominated by Kremlin loyalists.
      The government systematically rolled back Russia's post-Soviet
      political freedoms during Putin's eight-year presidential tenure — and
      shows no signs of stopping.
      The current law defines state treason as actions harming external
      security by passing information to foreign parties.
      But Putin's proposed bill broadens the term "treason" to include
      inaction as well as action, includes a breach to internal security and
      adds international organizations to foreign ones as those forbidden to
      receive state secrets.
      Critics also warned the loose wording will give authorities ample
      leeway to prosecute those who cooperate with international rights groups.
      Some Russian commentators said the government wants the new law in
      place quickly to curb possible protests resulting from the global
      financial crisis.
      In a related move, the upper house of Russia's parliament passed a
      bill Wednesday that would end jury trials for those facing charges of
      terrorism and treason.
      The Kremlin-controlled Federation Council approved the bill 147-0
      with two abstentions. It must be signed by President Dmitry Medvedev
      to take effect.
      The bill strips defendants charged with some crimes — involvement in
      illegal armed units, violent seizures of power, armed rebellion and
      mass riots — of the right to jury trials. Instead they would face judges.
      The bill's authors say the change was necessary because they claim
      juries have acquitted many suspects despite strong incriminating
      evidence. Critics denounced the bill as another blow to democratic

      Nizhny Novgorod Police Detain Two Neo-Nazis for Stabbing US Citizen
      FSU Monitor, December 17, 2008

      Nizhny Novgorod Police Detain Two Neo-Nazis for Police in Nizhny
      Novgorod, Russia detained two suspected neo-Nazis in connection with
      an attack on an African-American youth, according to a December 16,
      2008 article on the web site of the national daily "Komsomolskaya
      Pravda." According to the article, Stanley Robinson, who studies
      Russian and takes boxing lessons at a Nizhny Novgorod high school, was
      returning home two weeks ago when two 17-year-old youths accosted him,
      trying to start a fight. When Mr. Robinson fought back, several other
      youths joined in on the attack, and one of them stabbed him. He was
      able to break free and get to a bus stop, where he yelled for help,
      scaring off his assailants. Police found the suspects after a girl who
      used to be a member of the same neo-Nazi gang as the alleged attackers
      heard them talking about it, and informed the police. The suspects
      face charges of aggravated assault; there is no mention in the article
      of any hate crimes or extremism charges being brought at this juncture.


      Reuters, December 18, 2008

      MOSCOW - A general in Russia's intelligence agency has dismissed as an
      "invention" Ukraine's call for recognition of a 1930s famine as
      genocide after Kyiv urged the Kremlin to join in commemorations for
      millions of dead.
      The row over the "Holodomor", or famine of 1932-33, in which
      historians believe 7.5 million died, is one of many pitting the
      Kremlin against Kyiv's pro-Western leaders swept to power by mass
      Orange Revolution rallies in 2004.
      Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stayed away from ceremonies to mark
      the 75th anniversary of the calamity last month and accused Ukrainian
      President Viktor Yushchenko of distorting history for political gain.
      The two ex-Soviet states are also at odds over payment for Russian gas
      supplies and Kyiv's drive to secure NATO membership.
      "The Holodomor is a Ukrainian invention," General Vasily Khristoforov,
      head of registration and archives department at the Federal Security
      Service (FSB), told the Interfax news agency. "Ukraine is trying to
      prove that the 1930s famine was an act of genocide the Stalinist
      leadership committed against Ukrainians.
      "Archive documents show undeniably that there was no deliberate
      genocide against the Ukrainian people. We have not found a single
      directive that would have even hinted about deliberate genocide
      against the Ukrainian people."
      Researchers, Khristoforov told the agency, had proven beyond all doubt
      that a famine in the late 1920s and 1930s did grip various southern
      Soviet regions.
      "Yes, it did, but not only in Ukraine," he said.
      Many of the darkest secrets from the Soviet era remain in the archives
      of the FSB, the main successor to the KGB intelligence service that
      played a central role in Moscow's efforts to enforce the communist system.
      About a dozen countries have recognized the Holodomor, one of three
      famines to hit Ukraine last century, as genocide.
      Addressing a gathering last month at the opening of a monument to the
      famine, Yushchenko denied any suggestion Russia was to blame for the
      famine. But he called on Moscow to denounce Stalinism and join in
      commemorations for the dead.
      Millions were left to starve in their homes throughout Ukraine as
      Soviet authorities trying to bring independent farmers to their knees
      imposed impossible harvest quotas and requisitioned grain and
      livestock. Soviet authorities denied for decades that the famine had
      even occurred.

      Interfax Ukraine, 18 December, 2008

      MOSCOW - The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) archives do not
      contain any documents that could suggest that Ukrainian people might
      have been subject to genocide during the famine in the southern part
      of the Soviet Union in the 1930s, Gen. Vasily Khristoforov, head of
      the FSB registration and archives department, said in an interview
      with Interfax on Thursday.
      "Researchers, and not only Russian ones, have proven incontrovertibly
      that famine did take place in the USSR in 1932-1933. Yes, it did, but
      not only in Ukraine. Archive documents show undeniably that there was
      no purposeful genocide against Ukrainian people. We have not found a
      single instruction that would have even hinted about purposeful
      genocide against Ukrainian people," Khristoforov said.
      A large amount of FSB archive documents related to this problem have
      been handed over to Russian and foreign researchers, Khristoforov
      said. All these documents have been published, he said.
      "The Holodomor [the definition given in Ukraine to the 1932-1933
      famine in the former USSR] is a Ukrainian invention. Ukraine is trying
      to prove that the 1930s famine was an act of genocide the Stalin
      leadership committed against Ukrainians," he said.
      Khristoforov argued that, while the situation in the Soviet
      agricultural sector in the late 1920s and early 1930s was difficult,
      people suffered not only in Ukraine but also in Kazakhstan, the Volga
      area, the Krasnodar territory, and the North Caucasus.
      "I am against attempts to gamble on the numbers of the victims.
      Ukraine has been inflating the number of these casualties from year to
      year. This is at least incorrect," Khristoforov said.

      Russian Orthodox Church Getting Ready For Election Of New Patriarch
      Itar-Tass, December 18, 2008

      MOSCOW, December 18 (Itar-Tass) - Dioceses of the Russian Orthodox
      Church are busy convening emergency conferences to elect delegates to
      the Local Council, the highest body of power in the Russian Church
      that is expected to convene in Moscow at the end of January for
      electing a new Patriarch of Moscow and all Russia.
      The Patriarch's See is vacant after the death of Patriarch Alexy II,
      who died December 5 at the age of 79.
      According to the Reverend Vsevolod Chaplin, a deputy chairman of
      Moscow Patriarchate's department for external relations, more than a
      hundred hierarchs of the Church - bishops, archbishops and
      metropolitans - have a real chance to be elected to the Patriarch's
      Office, as they meet the criteria the Charter of the Church envisions
      for this.
      "The Charter says a potential candidate must be a hierarch in the age
      group of 40 years old and older, have good recommendations from
      outside organizations that have relations of partnership with the
      Church, be a graduate of a higher school of theology, and have a
      record of experience in governing a diocese," the Rev Chaplin said.
      "We have more than a hundred hierarchs who meet these criteria, and
      one of them will be elected through the will of the Church and through
      the action of the Holy Spirit that reigns in the Church," he said.
      All in all, the Russian Orthodox Church reporting to Moscow
      Patriarchate has 203 hierarchs at the moment, including 149 hierarchs
      who stand at the head of dioceses.
      Under provisions of the Charter, the power to elect the Patriarch is
      vested in the Local Council. It will be held from January 27 through
      January 29 with the participation of all the hierarchs and delegates
      representing the secular clergy, monks and laymen from each diocese,
      parishes outside of Russia, the monasteries reporting directly to the
      Patriarch's Office, organizations controlled by the Holy Synod, and
      theological schools and academies - 700 people all in all.
      "A decision on the method of election will be taken at the Council of
      Bishop, due January 25 and January 26," the Rev Chaplin said. "It will
      also become clear then how the candidates for the Patriarch's Office
      will be nominated."
      He indicated that the likelihood of self-nominations is rather small
      but participants in both councils will have an opportunity to nominate
      candidates of their own.
      The Rev Chaplin declined to discuss any possible candidacies, saying
      such discussions would not be appropriate at a time when the memory of
      the late Patriarch Alexy II is still fresh.
      "It's not proper to discuss the candidacies and to try to imbue the
      Church with the spirit of secular election campaigns that is totally
      alien to it," he said.
      The Rev Chaplin condemned some of the media "that seek to speculate
      on rumors and gossips about the candidates for the Patriarch's See,
      doing it in the shameful manner of the gutter press and auguring who
      will be the next Patriarch in a provocative and divisive way."
      "As for the Church itself, it's essential today to resist the
      attempts to entice us with rumors and gossiping that circulate in
      certain quarters and to maintain good relations with each other at
      whatever price," he said.
      "And this is what' s happening in reality."
      "I can see very clearly that the people, including the ones whom the
      media mention as possible candidates try to maintain especial
      friendliness in relations with others, to avoid hurting one another
      and to refrain from pushing others towards divisive actions," the Rev
      Chaplin said.
      "In the current situation, an election of the Patriarch will not
      affect life in parishes in any way, although it will be difficult to
      suppress allergic reactions to some of the candidates," writes
      religion observer Lyumdila Sukhodolskaya.
      She recalls that Metropolitan Cyril and other officials of the
      Russian Orthodox Church have issued appeals to stay away from turning
      election of the next Patriarch into a semblance of a secular election
      race. But will it be possible to fully avoid an election-race
      agitation of some kind in our era of mass media and the Internet,
      given that the problem is important for far from the members of the
      Russian Orthodox Church only?
      "Virtually all the hopes and aspirations of the restive Russian
      Orthodoxy - and quite possibly not only the Russian one -- are pinned
      on the new Patriarch," Sukhodolskaya goes on saying. "Along with this,
      everyone understands that the Patriarch is much more a symbolic figure
      these days than a ruler with the reins of real power in his hands."
      "He governs the Church together with the Synod where his hands are
      tied, as he has the same vote as other members of this rather strange
      agency, which is not elected by anyone but reproduces itself," she writes.
      "The Patriarch has only one privilege - he chairs all the sessions of
      the Synod and in a situation where the votes split even, the decision
      that he voted for takes eventual prevalence."
      The opportunities of the hierarchy in the Russian Church are
      generally much narrower than the outsiders commonly tend to believe,
      Sukhodolskaya says. In reality, the whole scope of powers of the
      hierarchy is limited to the "appoint- dismiss-forbid" administrative
      function and to fiscal supervision over the "upholding of financial
      motivations" for ensuring this function.
      "That is why the life of ordinary parishes will continue going on and
      on in its measured pace," Sukhodolskaya said.
      It is quite easy to notice that the clerics and laymen hold in
      highest repute those of the hierarchs who do not "mar" themselves with
      an overly explicit expression of any ideologies, she writes.
      "The late Patriarch Alexy II was one of them - his main asset was the
      ability to refrain from any brusque moves and to always stay at an
      equal distance of estrangement from all the currents in the Church,
      rather than staying equally close to all of them," Sukhodolskaya

      New Patriarch of the Russian Church to become a "great commander" and
      help it to win the whole world
      Interfax-Religion, December 18, 2008

      Moscow, December 18, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church under a
      new Patriarch should become a real leader of the Orthodox world,
      Priest Daniel Sysoyev, head of the Moscow Church of Apostle Thomas on
      Kantemirovskaya, believes.
      "Extensive capabilities have been delivered for the world Orthodox
      mission under preceding Patriarch. And special credit for that is due
      to the current interim head. Hundreds of foreign parishes of the
      Moscow Patriarchy are a real ground for the proper advance of the
      Church," the Priest said to Interfax-Religion.
      According to Fr. Daniel, a new hierarch "should become a great
      commander of the militant Church; after all, our Church will gain its
      strength only when it becomes the guardian of the Orthodoxy all over
      the world."
      "It is not by chance that God made us the world's largest Church.
      This is a sign of global responsibility of the Russian Orthodox Church
      for the world sinking deep in sins," Fr. Daniel believes.
      He said that the Russian Orthodox Church should bring the true word
      about Christ to all peoples of the world," and adds that, "in light of
      the current political situation and with modern information
      technologies it is feasible to attain within the time of one hierarch."
      As far as the Church's internal life is concerned, Fr. Daniel said
      that a new patriarch would have to establish "a proper spiritual life
      in revived churches."
      "I have repeatedly mentioned staggering religious ignorance within the
      Russian Church," Fr. Daniel said.
      Moreover, the priest thinks, we need to acknowledge the fact that the
      Church is in desperate need of "a clear vertical spiritual power
      structure: the decisions of Patriarch and the Holy Synod should be
      fulfilled at the local level, and we need to establish an implemented
      controlling body that could monitor the actual situation in dioceses
      and parishes."
      Fr. Daniel appealed to the future participants of the Local Council
      calling them to elect Patriarch on the principle of "how well a
      candidate is able to meet" the above challenges, rather than on the
      assumption of "who we are united against".


      Putin, Solzhenitsin and Arshavin become Russia's People of the Year
      Pravda.ru, December 19, 2008

      Vladimir Putin, Andrei Arshavin and Alexander Solzhenitsin became the
      People of the Year for most Russians in 2008, whereas the financial
      crisis was the central event for the Russian population, a recent
      opinion poll conducted by the Public Opinion Research Fund said.
      About 40 percent of the polled named Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
      when answering the question "Whom of the Russian politicians and
      public figures would you name the Person of the Year 2008?", Interfax
      reports. All other politicians lag far behind Putin's name. The top
      five also included President Medvedev (12%), Patriarch Alexy II (4%),
      parliament leaders Vladimir Zhirinovsky (2%) and Gennady Zyuganov (2%).
      Late writer and Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsin was named
      the Person of the Year among science, culture and art figures. The
      famous writer received 4 percent of votes. Footballer Andrei Arshavin
      was named the Athlete of the Year with eight percent of votes.
      Many of the polled Russians (15%) said that the financial crisis
      became the most important event of the outgoing year 2008. The list
      continues with the election of the Russian president (8%), the
      election of the US president (7%), the war in South Ossetia (7%), the
      Beijing Olympics (6%) and the death of the Russian Patriarch Alexy II
      (5%). Every other respondent (49%) was undecided about the year's main
      Many newspapers and magazines sum up the results of the year 2008.
      Time magazine, for example, named Barack Obama its Person of the Year.
      Last year, the title was awarded to Vladimir Putin.
      Google made the chart of most popular searches in 2008. As it turns
      out, web surfers were most interested in the personas of Sarah Palin
      and John McCain.
      Science magazine published the top ten list of the most important
      scientific achievements in 2008. The reprogramming of adult human
      cells took the first place of the list scientists learned to turn
      them into stem cells that will make it possible to cure serious
      diseases in the future.

      Bigotry Monitor-UCSJ's weekly newsletter, Volume 8, Number 48,
      December 19, 2008

      Human rights activists in Russia are expressing concern over proposed
      amendments to the Criminal Code defining "espionage" and "state
      treason," Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on
      December 16. The amendments were proposed for discussion in the State
      Duma on December 12 but Duma deputies have refused to comment on the
      Moscow Helsinki Group chairwoman Lyudmila Alekseyeva told RFE/RL on
      December 15 that the amendments would create an all-encompassing
      definition that could put in jail as a traitor anyone who visits a
      foreign country or speaks to a foreigner. Moscow-based lawyer Yury
      Shmidt warned that the proposed amendments would lead to the abuse
      human rights and freedoms.


      Chelyabinsk Police Officer Threats to Cut Throat of Muslim
      FSU Monitor, December 19, 2008

      A traffic police officer in Chelyabinsk, Russia threatened to cut the
      throat of a Muslim man he stopped for a traffic violation, according
      to a December 17, 2008 report by the Sova Information-Analytical
      Center. On November 29, according to local Muslim community activists,
      an officer stopped the car of Vadim Mingaleev, claiming that he was
      under the influence of drugs. When Mr. Mingaleev complained that the
      officer was forcing him to stand outside his car in the cold rather
      than letting him get into his car to warm up, the officer allegedly
      responded, "I would like to cut the throats of all of you Muslims!"
      Local Muslim community leaders prepared an official complaint to the
      prosecutor's office, which is investigating the incident.


      ITAR-TASS, Moscow, Russia, Friday, December 19, 2008

      UNITED NATIONS - Russia blocked Ukraine-initiated UN resolution
      claiming Holodomor in the Soviet Union in early 1930s was
      famine-genocide aimed against Ukrainians, rather than a common tragedy
      of many nations in the country.
      "We succeeded to bloc the inclusion of the item into the agenda of the
      current UN General Assembly," Russian Ambassador to the United Nations
      Vitaly Churkin said on Thursday, adding the United States and Great
      Britain backed the Ukrainian motion, which "ended in nothing."
      Churkin said Russian representatives were active in explaining the
      history of Holodomor to foreign partners. As a result, nine EU
      countries did not sign the Ukrainian declaration, although "EU members
      usually act in a consolidated manner", according to Churkin. "An
      overwhelming majority supported the Russian position," the ambassador
      He described the Ukrainian initiative to portray Holodomor as genocide
      against Ukrainians as "an attempt to sow mistrust and hostility
      between the Russians and Ukrainians. We have a common past and the
      famine in the `30s hit not only Ukraine. Therefore, we (Russia) do not
      plan to apologize and call it genocide," he said.


      RIA Novosti, December 19, 2008

      UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations General Assembly has refused for
      the second time this year to include discussions on Ukraine's
      1932-1933 famine, which Kiev wants recognized as an act of genocide,
      in the agenda of the current UN session.
      In late 2006 Ukraine's parliament recognized the Stalin-era famine
      known as Holodomor as an act of genocide by the Soviet authorities,
      but Russia has
      consistently rejected Ukraine's interpretation of events.
      Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said after the decision: "this
      campaign has ended, and ended with nothing." He said Russia had voted
      against Ukraine's attempts to introduce the issue to the agenda of the
      63rd UN General Assembly session, as it did at the session in July.
      After the refusal, Ukraine circulated a declaration among the UN
      members, which according to Churkin was signed by 32 out of 192 member
      Russia says the famine cannot be considered an act targeting
      Ukrainians, as millions of people from different ethnic groups lost
      their lives in various
      territories across the Soviet Union - in the North Caucasus, the Volga
      region, central Russia, Kazakhstan, west Siberia, and the south Urals.
      "The Ukrainian government has declared this to be an act of genocide
      against the Ukrainian people, and is politicizing this issue. We take
      this as an attempt to bring distrust and hostility into our relations,
      and to spark a dispute between the peoples of Ukraine and Russia," the
      Russian diplomat said.
      Historians' estimates as to the number of victims in Ukraine during
      the famine, caused by forced collectivization, vary greatly, ranging
      from 2 million to 14 million.
      Speaking at a ceremony to unveil a memorial in a village in western
      Ukraine, one of the areas hardest hit by the famine, President Viktor
      Yushchenko said
      last month that "Ukraine does not blame any nation or state for the
      great famine," but that the "totalitarian Communist regime" was


      Sverdlovsk Court Sentences Neo-Nazi for Hate Crime Murder
      FSU Monitor, December 22, 2008

      The Sverdlovsk regional court sentenced a neo-Nazi to nine years in
      prison after finding him guilty of murder motivated by ethnic hatred,
      according to a December 19, 2008 report by the web site Newsru.com.
      Vladimir Makarov, age 17, reportedly stabbed to death a native of
      Uzbekistan who worked in Yekaterinburg, Russia as a cab driver on
      November 8, 2007. Three other youths who assaulted the cab driver, but
      reportedly did not stab him, face assault charges, but for some reason
      not hate crimes charges, despite the fact that they allegedly screamed
      racist slogans during the attack. Their trial is pending.


      Duma Speaker Wants Ban on Foreign Adoptions
      FSU Monitor, December 22, 2008

      A court case in Virginia that ended in a not guilty verdict for a man
      accused of killing his adopted Russian child prompted the speaker of
      the Russian parliament to call for restrictions on adoptions by
      foreigners, according to a December 18, 2008 report by UCSJ's Moscow
      bureau. Boris Gryzlov commented on the acquittal of the Virginia man,
      who left his adopted child in a car on a hot day, by employing
      pseudo-scientific, almost racist language. "Russian children shoud
      stay in Russia, this topic should worry us," the speaker said. "Why do
      foreigners adopt them? Because they genetically are heathier, more
      clever etc. than in the other countries."
      Russia has a major problem with abandoned children, many of whom live
      in appalling conditions of neglect.


      Stalin voted third-best Russian
      BBC News, December 22, 2008

      Former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin was beaten by medieval prince
      Alexander Nevsky in a poll held by a TV station to find the greatest
      Stalin came third, despite being responsible for the deaths of
      millions of Soviets in labour camps and purges.
      Alexander Nevsky fought off European invaders in the 13th century to
      preserve a united Russia.
      In second place was reformist Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin, who was
      assassinated in 1911.
      More than 50 million people voted by phone, the internet or via text
      messages in the poll held by Rossiya, one of Russia's biggest
      television stations.
      The voting took place over six months as 500 original candidates were
      whittled down to a final 12.
      Rehabilitation campaign
      Stalin - an ethnic Georgian - was riding high for many months and was
      in the number one slot at one point until the show's producer appealed
      to viewers to vote for someone else, says the BBC's Richard Galpin in
      Stalin sent millions of people to their deaths in the work camps of
      the Gulag. Millions more perished in political purges or during the
      forced collectivisation of farms during his rule from the 1920s to his
      death in 1953.
      Many in Russia do still revere Stalin for his role during World War II
      when the Soviet Union defeated the forces of Nazi Germany.
      But now there is a much broader campaign to rehabilitate Stalin and it
      seems to be coming from the highest levels of government, says our
      "We now have to think very seriously, why the nation chooses to put
      [Joseph] Stalin in third place," said actor and film director Nikita
      Mikhalkov, one of the contest's judges, after the results were released.
      Nevsky fought off Swedish and Germanic invasions to preserve medieval
      Russia. He also pursued a conciliatory policy with the powerful Mongol
      rulers to protect Russia's eastern flank.
      He was canonised as a saint by the Russian Orthodox Church in the 16th
      Stolypin is remembered for his attempts to modernise agriculture and
      stifle leftist revolutionaries as prime minister under Tsar Nicholas II.


      Report by Canadian Official and Human Rights Defender Deemed Extremist
      SOVA Center, December 24, 2008

      On August 26, 2008, the Pervomaiskii District Court, in Krasnodar,
      declared materials related to the Chinese spiritual discipline Falun
      Gong to be `extremist.'
      News about this ruling emerged through the posting of an updated
      federal list of extremist materials.
      The following materials were declared extremist:
      * The book "Zhuan Falun" by Li Hongzhi, published by `Cameron'
      Publishing House, Moscow, 2006, and printed at "Tipografiya Nauka"
      with a quantity of 5000 copies.
      * The brochure "Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of
      Falun Gong Practitioners in China" by David Matas and David Kilgour,
      Saint Petersburg, 2007; printed at Tipograficheskii Complex "Deviz"
      with a quantity of 5000 copies.
      * Informational pamphlet "Falun Dafa in the World" "Human Rights Torch
      * Informational pamphlet "Human Rights Torch Relay"
      The first book is a treatise on the spiritual practice behind Falun
      Gong. Without reading the book in its entirety or seeing the decision
      of the judge, we cannot evaluate the legality of the ruling as
      extremist. However, the remaining materials on the list force us to
      doubt the overall legality of this ruling.
      One of the authors of the report, David Kilgour, is a former Royal
      Prosecutor, former Member of Parliament, and former Canadian Secretary
      of State for the Asia-Pacific Region. The report and the human rights
      torch were dedicated to the problems of persecution and physical
      repression of followers of Falun Gong in China.
      Neither informational pamphlet about human rights, not the report by
      the Canadian human rights defenders, in our view, shows any signs of


      Incendiary bottle thrown to the church in North Moscow
      Interfax-Religion, December 25, 2008

      Moscow, December 23, Interfax – Unidentified delinquents threw an
      incendiary bottle to the wall of wooden St. Nicholas church at
      Solomennay Storozhka in Moscow not far from the Timiryazevskaya metro
      "Incendiary mixture was spread over the basement and on asphalt
      paving, but it didn't reach the wooden structure. If the wood had
      combusted, we would have faced other consequences," the church cleric
      Deacon Alexey Sorokin has told Interfax-Religion on Tuesday.
      According to the Deacon, it happened on December 13 between 11 and 12
      p.m. Residents walking in the park and a church guard saw a man
      running away from the church who had thrown the incendiary bottle.
      "We were very concerned about it. The rector came to the church at
      once. It's God's mercy that fire didn't outbreak," Fr. Alexey stressed.
      The guard and accidental passers-by extinguished commencing fire and
      called the police. Police officers worked at the site, initiated a
      criminal case and started investigation.


      Almost Two-thirds Of Russians Say Communist Symbols Should Be Preserved
      Itar-Tass, December 27, 2008

      MOSCOW, December 27 (Itar-Tass) -- Almost two-thirds of Russians
      believe that communists symbols in the names of streets and squares,
      the hammer and the sickle, monuments, etc., should be preserved as
      One in five Russians (20 percent) polled by the All-Russia Public
      Opinion Centre (VTsIOM) says that communist symbols are relics of the
      past and need to be disposed of. Only 5 percent of respondents believe
      that they should be restored. Ten percent were undecided.
      Fifty-nine percent of those polled want the streets and squares named
      after communist leaders or activists to retain their names as part of
      history. One in four respondents (25 percent) insists that they should
      regain their original names. Four percent believe that the streets and
      squares that have regained their original names should be given
      communist names again. Twelve percent were undecided.
      More than half of respondents - 60 percent - think that the monuments
      to communists leaders and activists should not be demolished, 12
      percent suggest relocating these monuments, 8 percent say such
      monuments have to be pulled down, and 8 percent insist that the
      demolished monuments should be restored,. The rest were undecided.
      The nationwide poll was conducted by VTsIOM on November 8-9. It
      involved 1,600 people in 140 towns and settlements in 42 regions. The
      margin of error did not exceed 3.4 percent.

      Russia's "kindred" ties with Georgia cannot be destroyed - first
      deputy minister
      Interfax, December 29, 2008

      Moscow, 29 December: Russia intends to work actively with Georgia
      despite its political differences with Tbilisi and Georgia's
      withdrawal from the CIS, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey
      Denisov has said.
      "In any case, we will not lose touch, and we will work together,"
      Denisov said today at a press conference in the Interfax central office.
      "Nothing will ever be able to destroy the extremely close, I would
      say kindred relations between Russia and Georgia, whatever political
      twists there may be," he added.
      Denisov recalled that Georgia had announced its decision to leave the
      CIS in August, and that the decision would enter force on 18 August 2009.
      "It will not have a big effect on the functioning of the CIS
      mechanism itself," Denisov said, noting that in recent years,
      Georgia's participation in the work of the CIS had been only perfunctory.
      "One way or the other, the CIS will move forward," he said.
      Denisov explained that Georgia had announced its willingness to abide
      by the agreements within the CIS framework which served its interests.
      "From our side, this is being met most positively," he added.

      Russian ministry defends right to have 'specific interests' in
      post-Soviet space
      Interfax, December 29, 2008

      Moscow, 29 December: Russia has the right to specific interests in the
      post-Soviet space, but they do not clash with the interests of other
      states, Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Denisov has said.
      "There is a certain suspicion that maybe Russia thinks the
      independent states on its perimeter are not actually independent. But
      it is probably too late to lecture us - we understand this perfectly
      well ourselves," Denisov said today at a press conference in the
      central office of Interfax.
      "We may have entirely specific, entirely obvious interests on the
      territory of those (post-Soviet - IF) states. These interests do not
      clash either with the interests of the states in question, or with the
      interests of any third countries," Denisov stressed
      This is how Denisov responded to a request to comment on a statement
      made by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said Russia had no
      right to special interests in the post-Soviet space, and ought to
      remember that it is surrounded by independent states.
      "If we lived together for many years (the generation which lived in
      the Soviet Union is still alive), then we can probably claim some kind
      of special characteristics in our relations with our neighbours, while
      fully and absolutely unconditionally respecting their independence and
      sovereignty," Denisov said.
      "As our negotiator at talks with China said long ago, 'don't look for
      pips in an egg' (probably means making a fuss over nothing). So, that
      is exactly what I would advise some of our partners: don't go looking
      for pips in eggs, and oppose things which are already obvious," he added.

      December 2008. Preliminary Annual Result
      SOVA Center, December 29, 2008

      In December 2008, in Russia, not less than 8 people (including 2
      fatalities) became victims of racist and xenophobic violence. As
      before, we believe this considerable decrease of the number of victims
      to be due to underreporting (in the same period of time, in 2007, 11
      people were murdered and 39 were injured). In December, attacks were
      reported in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Volgograd and Belgorod.
      According to preliminary data which is sure to grow in time, in all,
      in 2008, not less than 87 people were murdered and 378 were injured as
      a result of hate motivated violence. In 2007, there were 86 murdered
      and 599 injured people registered. Beside Moscow (51 murdered and 175
      injured people) and St. Petersburg (15 murdered and 37 injured
      people), the cases were registered in 39 more Russian regions. As
      usual, the Northern Caucasus regions are excluded from the statistics.
      Beside the two capital cities, the following towns are centers of
      racist violence: Yekaterinburg (4 murdered and 15 injured people),
      Voronezh (2 murdered and 17 injured people), Nizhny Novgorod (2
      murdered and 13 injured people), and formerly calm Penza (14 injured
      In December, not less than 5 guilty verdicts against 15 people were
      issued for violent hate crimes in Russia (2 in Moscow and one in each
      of the other 3 cities: St. Petersburg, Yekaterunburg and Lipetsk).
      In all, in 2008, there were not less than 30 guilty verdicts for
      violent hate crimes. 105 people were convicted (including 29 who got
      suspended sentences).
      In December, there were 3 verdicts against 5 people for hate
      propaganda (in Moscow, Penza and Petrozavodsk).
      In all, in 2008, not less than 41 verdicts were issued for hate
      propaganda. 55 people were sentenced, including 20 of them who got
      suspended sentences or were released from penalty for various reasons.
      In December, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was enlarged two
      times. By the end of 2008, there are 301 entries in it (de facto, 292


      Rejection of Christianity will lead the West to "war of all against
      all" - Moscow Patriarchate
      Interfax-Religion, December 29, 2008

      Moscow, December 29, Interfax – The Russian Orthodox Church predicts,
      in case the West finally refuses its Christian heritage, it will face
      "war of all against all."
      "When the West tries to expel, to erase every reminder of Christ from
      public space, it's pathology of fighting against their own conscience,
      their own tradition. It won't surprise me, if the West loses itself
      entirely in this fight," Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate
      Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin
      said on Saturday in the Orthodox Encyclopedia TV program on TV Center.
      According to the priest, the West "still lives on the reserve of
      moral durability created in the Middle Ages. Take this reserve away
      and the West will again start the war against all, not in form of wars
      between Belgium and France, Germany and England, but rather between
      economic and political subjects, who have probably led us to economic
      The Church official noted that oppression of Christians is a very
      serious problem, while no one even mentioned it five years ago.
      "There always have been people who hate the Church," the priest
      believes. "Reasons can be different, but the most important is that a
      person living in sin is afraid that the Church may awaken his conscience."
      According to Fr. Vsevolod, Christians should struggle against it not
      by force, but by common prayer and civil action based on this prayer
      that is "stronger than everything."
      "We shouldn't try to wipe out our persecutors by response oppressions
      – we should try to change these people. Two-thousand-year experience
      of the Church proves it is possible to change even most terrific
      persecutor of the Church, if we show him that hating the Church, he is
      not happy, not free, and not cool in his sin – he is subjected to evil
      forces who twist his life as they wish," the priest said.


      December 2008. Preliminary Annual Result
      SOVA Center, December 29, 2008

      In December 2008, in Russia, not less than 8 people (including 2
      fatalities) became victims of racist and xenophobic violence. As
      before, we believe this considerable decrease of the number of victims
      to be due to underreporting (in the same period of time, in 2007, 11
      people were murdered and 39 were injured). In December, attacks were
      reported in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Volgograd and Belgorod.
      According to preliminary data which is sure to grow in time, in all,
      in 2008, not less than 87 people were murdered and 378 were injured as
      a result of hate motivated violence. In 2007, there were 86 murdered
      and 599 injured people registered. Beside Moscow (51 murdered and 175
      injured people) and St. Petersburg (15 murdered and 37 injured
      people), the cases were registered in 39 more Russian regions. As
      usual, the Northern Caucasus regions are excluded from the statistics.
      Beside the two capital cities, the following towns are centers of
      racist violence: Yekaterinburg (4 murdered and 15 injured people),
      Voronezh (2 murdered and 17 injured people), Nizhny Novgorod (2
      murdered and 13 injured people), and formerly calm Penza (14 injured
      In December, not less than 5 guilty verdicts against 15 people were
      issued for violent hate crimes in Russia (2 in Moscow and one in each
      of the other 3 cities: St. Petersburg, Yekaterunburg and Lipetsk).
      In all, in 2008, there were not less than 30 guilty verdicts for
      violent hate crimes. 105 people were convicted (including 29 who got
      suspended sentences).
      In December, there were 3 verdicts against 5 people for hate
      propaganda (in Moscow, Penza and Petrozavodsk).
      In all, in 2008, not less than 41 verdicts were issued for hate
      propaganda. 55 people were sentenced, including 20 of them who got
      suspended sentences or were released from penalty for various reasons.
      In December, the Federal List of Extremist Materials was enlarged two
      times. By the end of 2008, there are 301 entries in it (de facto, 292


      Chronicle of Guilty Verdicts for Hate Motivated Violence. 2008
      SOVA Center, December 29, 2008

      We publish the list of the guilty verdicts for violence issued in
      Russia in 2008 in which the hate motive was officially recognized. The
      list was made on the basis of the SOVA Center daily monitoring. In
      all, in 2008, we registered 31 guilty verdicts in 18 regions of
      Russia. Each entry is linked to Russian language SOVA reports.
      February 27, 2008, Barnaul. A verdict issued by a jury against 3
      persons for murders of Armenia and Azerbaijan citizens. A lucrative
      motive was recognized by the jury, however, it did not prevent the
      court to recognize the crime as a racially motivated one. One of the
      convicts was acquitted of having the hate motive.
      February 2008, Novosibirsk. A verdict inured, which was issued in
      2007 against 1 person for a racist attack resulting in death of the
      victim. Recognition of a lucrative motive did not prevent the crime to
      be proved as racist.
      March 3, 2008, Ivanovo. A verdict for an attack on local religious
      Jews in June 2007. One person was convicted, the charges against the
      other one were dropped because of conciliation of the parties.
      March 17, 2008, Yaroslavl. A verdict for an attack on an Armenian
      girl. It is known, that the charges contained the hate motive. One
      person was convicted.
      March 20, 2008, Moscow. A verdict for an attack on Turkey citizens in
      March 2007. Recognition of a lucrative motive did not prevent the
      crime to be proved as racist. One person was convicted.
      March 21, 2008, Kaluga Region. A verdict against 5 people for an
      attack on a Tadjik man in August 2005.
      March 24, 2008, Omsk. A verdict issued by a jury against 4 people for
      a murder of an Ukraine citizen in 2007 who was taken for a person from
      the Caucasus.
      April 28, 2008, Nizhny Tagil.(Sverdlovsk region) A verdict inured,
      which was issued against 2 people for an attack on a Kyrgyz man in
      June 2007.
      May 7, 2008, Krasnodar. A verdict for a double attack on a Kenian
      student and an Armenian young man in December 2007. One person was
      May 8, 2008, St. Petersburg. A verdict against one person for an
      attack on two Azerbaijan citizens in 2003.
      May 15, 2008, Moscow. A verdict inured, whaich was issued against 6
      people for a series of attacks in 2006 as a result of which one person
      May 15, 2008, Moscow. A verdict issued by a jury against 8 people for
      an explosion at Cherkizovo market in August 2006.
      May 15, 2008, Penza region. A verdict for a xenophobic attack on an
      Armenian man in 2007.
      May 23, 2008, Moscow region. A verdict against 8 people for an attack
      on a Kyrgyzstan citizen in November 2006.
      June 10, 2008, Borovichi (Novgorod region). A verdict against 2
      people for an attack on a man who was taken for a person from Caucasus.
      June 30, 2008, Yekaterinburg. A verdict against 7 people for a murder
      of a man in 2007.
      September 2, 2008, Moscow. A verdict against 13 people ("the group of
      Kalinichenko") for a series of racist attacks in 2008.
      September 25, 2008, Tambov. A verdict against 3 people for 2 racist
      attacks in February 2008.
      Beginning of October, 2008, Samara region A verdict against one
      person for hate motivated death threats in July 2008.
      October, 2008, St. Petersburg. A verdict against one person for a
      series ofattacks on foreign citizens in November 2007.
      October 3, 2008, Moscow. A verdict against 3 people for nationalistic
      attacks in December 2007.
      October 8, 2008, Arkhangelsk region. A verdict against one person for
      death threats to a man from Dagestan.
      October 16, 2008, Moscow region. A verdict against 3 people for a
      nationalistic murder. The details of the crime are not known.
      Recognition of a lucrative motive did not prevent the crime to be
      proved as racist.
      October 31, 2008, Novosibirsk. A verdict against 8 people for a
      series of attacks in 2002 ("the group of Rodoshkevich").
      October 31, 2008, Alexandrov (Vladimir region). A verdict against 2
      people for an attack on workers from Ukraine in June 2008. Recognition
      of a lucrative motive did not prevent the crime to be proved as racist.
      November, 2008, Kaluga region. A verdict against 8 people for a
      series of racist attacks and a murder in August, 2007, and January,
      2008. Recognition of a lucrative motive did not prevent the crime to
      be proved as racist.
      December, 2008, Moscow. A verdict against 2 people for an attack on
      people from Uzbekistan in February, 2008.
      December 8, 2008, St. Petersburg. A jury issued a verdict against 4
      people for a murder of a citizen of Uzbekistan in November 2007.
      December 11, 2008, Lipetsk A verdict against one person for an attack
      and racist insults against people from Africa. Recognition of a
      lucrative motive did not prevent the crime to be proved as racist.
      December 15, 2008, Moscow. A jury issued a verdict against 7 people
      for a series of neo-Nazi attacks in 2006-2007 ("the Ryno gang").
      Recognition of a lucrative motive did not prevent the crime to be
      proved as racist.
      December 19, 2008, Yekaterinburg. A jury issued a verdict against one
      person for a murder of a citizen of Uzbekistan in November 2007.


      Racists Post Another Murder Video
      FSU Monitor, December 31, 2008

      Someone posted an Internet video of two or three assailants killing a
      Chinese man, according to a December 24, 2008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. The murder, which police initially
      insisted was not motivated by racism, took place in a wooded area in
      the Chelyabinsk region on September 29, 2008. Whoever posted the video
      added photos of another attack on two men of Asian appearance in
      another wooded area, along with the claim that it took place on the
      same day as the murder. It is not clear what measures, if any, local
      police are taking in response to the murder video, an increasingly
      popular form of propaganda used by Russian neo-Nazi groups on Youtube
      and other websites.


      Moscow Building Manager Allegedly Promises "No Peace" for Jewish Family
      FSU Monitor, December 31, 2008

      A building manager in Moscow allegedly used antisemitic abuse against
      a Jewish family that lives in her building, according to a December
      29, 2008 report by the Jewish.ru web site. On December 25, the head of
      the Jewish household asked Irina Ustinova to fix deteriorating
      electrical wiring on his floor. In response, she allegedly burst into
      his apartment and told him to, "go to Israel" and: "You live in
      Russia, not Israel... you will crawl on the floor before me on your
      knees if you want me to do something for you." Ms. Ustinova allegedly
      brushed off her tenant's threat to call the police, claiming that,
      "the police totally share my views on Jews and migrants and I will
      never let you live here in peace." Two days later, the Jewish family
      filed a complaint against Ms. Ustinova at the local police station; it
      is unclear what response, if any, that complaint has generated.


      Government Minister Says Youth Gang Members in Russia Number Over 200,000
      FSU Monitor, December 31, 2008

      Rashid Nurgaliev, head of the MVD and as such Russia's top police
      official, revealed that over 200,000 young people have been revealed
      by police investigations to be members of "extremist and criminal"
      gangs since 2005, according to a December 24, 2008 report by the Sova
      Information-Analytical Center. This year alone, police counted 53,900
      youths involved in "groups of a criminal, anti-social, extremist, or
      other character."
      Per the usual practice of Russian law enforcement officials, there
      appears to be no disaggregation of these numbers. Instead, it's
      anyone's guess how many "extremists" there are within the statistics
      compared to "criminal and anti-social" youths, or even what an
      "extremist" is--a neo-Nazi, an Islamic radical, a Chechen insurgent,
      or a member of a non-violent political opposition group? The category
      of "other" makes these numbers even less useful. Nevertheless, it is
      clear that youth crime, including youth hate crimes, are becoming so
      common that they have attracted the attention of top Russian
      officials. Whether or not they will continue to obfuscate the true
      scale of the problem through such seemingly deliberate sloppiness with
      the numbers will be a telling sign of how serious the Kremlin really
      is in combating increasingly violent hate groups.



      UKRAINE, A POST-GENOCIDAL SOCIETY: Ukraine's famine survivors still
      bear the emotional scars.
      By Iryna Shtogrin
      Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, December 08, 2008

      Distrust of government and future uncertainty are just two of the most
      conspicuous features of the post-genocidal syndrome that psychologists
      have identified in modern Ukrainians some 75 years after the famine of
      On a more intimate level, famine survivors still value every
      breadcrumb, and their descendants greet guests with tables overloaded
      with a variety of dishes. In one form or another, Ukrainians will
      universally impress on each other the importance of "having something
      to eat."
      Doctors describe a number of symptoms of post-genocidal syndrome that
      are unconnected to the trauma directly, but which can still seriously
      undermine the sufferer's health. Victims feel pain in places that are
      not supposed to hurt and experience nightmares and hidden anxieties
      that steal their ability to laugh and enjoy life.
      Taras Vozniak, the editor of "Ji" magazine, has described the
      experience as "such a trauma that for people who survived it is very
      difficult to remember what happened." He compares it to the effects of
      rape: "[Victims] don't want to testify, or to remember. They want to
      erase the tragedy from their memory."
      Having survived a famine that was brought about by the policies of the
      Soviet government, Ukrainians now question the very notion of
      government. They have -- if not fear -- then a feeling of permanent
      uncertainty about the future. Under each shift in political direction
      or change of political leaders, Ukrainians rush to buy the necessary
      essentials. Just in case.
      The memory of their ancestors -- who were robbed of food by their own
      people on orders from the Kremlin -- forces many Ukrainians always to
      keep something for a "black day" and never truly reveal themselves
      fully, even to close acquaintances.
      That same instinct compels Ukrainians to stockpile food, and to invite
      anyone who stops by their home to sit down for a meal. Ukrainians tend
      to rely on themselves, living by their wits and soothing themselves
      with the eternal saying, "<br/><br/>(Message over 64 KB, truncated)
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