May 10, 2012- June 10, 2012 A Brief UCSJ Report on the Situation of Xenophobia, Racism and Intolerance in the Russian Federation

During the review period, nationalist forces continued to be an active part of the protest movement. They were present during the so-called “March of Millions” on May 6 on Bolotnaya  Square, at least 2 participants of the nationalist movement were arrested for alleged “mass riots”.  The SOVA center reports that among nationalist leaders present during the March were, Georgy Borovikov, Alexander Belov (Potkin), Konstantin Krylov, Vladimir Tor and Andrey Saveliev, who during the March led a column, with 100 participants who were all members of the Great Russia party. There were also a significant number of ultra-right participants not affiliated with any structures. Some of them took part in the actions that continued in the following days in the squares and boulevards of Moscow[1].

During the Occupy actions, nationalist leaders gave a few presentations, while rank-and-file activists were responsible for security, and later on – for kitchen duties and gathering finances. As nationalists gained a more visible and active role, other participants of the Occupy camps attempted to reproach the aggression towards others, mismanagement of the kitchen and of funds and to ban nationalist propaganda, yet to no avail – due to organized opposition from nationalists who in return have proposed to ban “propaganda of liberalism”.

At the same time, it is worthwhile to note, that the participation of nationalists was small, as most autonomous neo-Nazis have ignored the protests, despite the calls from Belov, Demushkin and Daniil Konstantinov, the leader of the League for Defense of Moscow to stop focusing on fighting and killing migrants and antifa and instead entering into the open political struggle.

Party and organization building continued on the far-right. The “Novaya Sila” (New Force) of Vladimir Solovey announced its plans for anti-migrant campaigns in Moscow and St.Petersburg, Krasnodar and Stavropol, against Caucasus and in Siberia and the Far East, against alleged “colonial” policies of the authorities[2]. There were also organized visibility actions in Yekaterinburg, Rostov-on-don and notably in Moscow on May 17th  with the “Let’s stop migration chaos!” including  participation of a well-known actor Anatoly Pashinin, who might well become the public face of the party.  On June 7th the party submitted documents for registration.

The “Russkie” (“the Russians”) movement has continued to develop with the participation of infamous Dmitry “Shultz” Bobrov,  the former leader of Shults-88 gang that was banned as extremist for a number of murders committed by its members. It was established that the expert opinions of anthropologist Nikolay Girenko against Shultz-88 were among reasons for his murder in 2004. Bobrov now heads National-socialist initiative, which has launched the creation of its Moscow branch.[3]

The movement “Soprotivlenie” (“Resistance”) of Roman Zencoz also continued developing, notably in Voronezh, where it has organized environmental and healthy lifestyle actions, including “Russian jogging” that has continued to gain popularity.

Apparently, the rapid growth of the movement “Pravye” (more than 108 000 members in the group page Vkontakte, Russian equivalent of Facebook[4]) can also be attributed to the success of “Russian jogging”. The group doesn’t have any prominent leaders or a clear program, but is already noticeable in Moscow and St.Petersburg and at the moment, is preparing a running march Moscow-Minsk-Kyiv. Potentially, it could be quite influential also by recruiting a significant number of young people through sporting events.

The “International association of white political prisoners and prisoners of war” was established to provide support for imprisoned neo-Nazis.[5] Among founders are known ultra-right activist sentenced for life for numerous violent crimes, led by Nikolay Korolev, one of those responsible for the explosion in the Cherkizovskye market on 2006, who has killed 14 and injured over 60 people. It was reported that the Association has become an official branch of the pan-European network of imprisoned neo-Nazis, launched by Anders Breivik nad Korolev was approved by Breivik himself as the head of the branch.[6]

The appointment of Dmitry Rogozin, one of the leaders of the Congress of Russian Communities, into the newly formed Cabinet, has led to increased leverage for the groups associated and allied with the Congress and to new attempts to establish cooperation with the authorities, notably through “Pravo-Konservativny allians” (“Right-Conservative alliance”).

In this connection, it is important to note that the etho-nationalistic approach has apparently prevailed in the official approach to internal policies in regards to various ethnic divisions. The “Council of intra-national relations” was created, to continue the main theses outlined in the controversial article by Putin “Russia: National (Ethnic) Question”.[7]

Initiatives to propose laws that would place bans on “propaganda of homosexuality” have continued. Such bills have already became laws in Ryazan, Arkhangelsk, St.Petersburg, Kostroma and are also on the table in Novosibirsk, Samara, Kirov, Kaliningrad, Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk, Moscow, as well as on the federal level. The laws are slowly being challenged in courts, yet the courts are likely to side with the legislators (which has already happened in Arkhangelsk). LGBT community has been uniting forces with the Human Rights movement to counteract the laws that clearly curb freedom of expression and lack legal certainty in their definition of “propaganda”. A number of joint initiatives have been discussed at the “Human rights without prejudice”[8] conference, where it was one of the main topics at a round-table, organized by LGBT, human rights, green and leftist groups in Moscow. The Russian LGBT Network, Moscow Helsinki group and international Youth Human Rights Movement have also initiated a joint appeal signed by a number of other organization to the EU-Russia summit pointing out to a number of threats to freedom of expression in Russia, particularly new legislation on assembly, in the case of Pussy-Riot punk band charged with “defaming religious feelings” and penalization of so-called “propaganda of homosexuality”.[9]

Among new development in the review period is a massive fight among Uzbek and Kyrgyz migrants in Moscow, with at least 2 people seriously injured, just before the anniversary of ethnic clashes in the South of Kyrgyzstan in 2010.[10] Although Ferghana.ru news agency reports that such fights are a frequent occasion, it is not often that they are reported by the mainstream media in Russia.[11]

The theme of “ethnic crime” received a new development with a fight on June 5th in Moscow among three football fans and three Chechen young men. Magomed Eldiev and Bekhan Rizvanov were charged with attempt to murder Alexey Usachev, who received multiple knife wounds.[12]  An attempt to detain alleged perpetrators in the Moscow student dormitory where they lived led to clashes among riot police and Chechen students, among which 18 were arrested. The president of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov has asked a number of bar attorneys to represent the students,[13] but at the same time has made a public statement that he is concerned with reports of crimes committed by Chechens due to “idle mode of life” and that if they cannot behave they should return to Chechnya.[14] The statement has played into the usual evaluations of such incidents as “interethnic” conflicts.


[9] See more at: http://goo.gl/cp66N

English version of the appeal is available at: http://yhrm.org/sites/default/files/eu-ru_appeal_foe_-_eng.doc

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