UCSJ REPORT: HATE CRIMES IN THE UKRAINE
Link to Word Document Report: xenophobia_in_ukraine_2015_eng_ed Congress of National Communities of Ukraine
National Minority Rights Monitoring Group
Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
TWO YEARS OF WAR:
Xenophobia in Ukraine in 2015
Informational and Analytical Report Based on Monitoring Results
Report compiled by
The National Minority Rights Monitoring Group was created by the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine in April 2014.
The xenophobia monitoring held by the group is a direct continuation of work done under the aegis of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine since 2006. In 2006-2008, cooperation with a variety of Ukrainian and international organizations enabled a general system for monitoring ethnic, national and religious xenophobia in Ukraine to be put into place. The “Chronicle of Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia in Ukraine” monthly bulletin has been published since 2006; starting in 2014, it has been the work of the National Minority Rights Monitoring Group. In December 2015, we published our 100th issue.
Over the course of these years, our monitoring has gained a good deal of prestige in professional circles. Our materials on Ukraine are used, among others, by the US Department of State, the Anti-Defamation League, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance, the Stephen Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism and Racism of Tel-Aviv University.
It became necessary to institutionalize xenophobia monitoring as a separate activity area for the group of professional expert in the spring of 2014, when the ethno-political situation became severely worse due to the Russian invasion and the occupation first of Crimea, and then of parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Persecution of certain ethnic and religious groups on one hand and the shameless exploitation of the minority rights theme in the aggressor’s propaganda to legitimize the occupation on the other have made collecting and analyzing reliable reports on xenophobia manifestations even more important. Public interest towards this matter, both inside and outside Ukraine, required the provision of objective and current information.
As in previous years, in its report on the results of monitoring undertaken in 2015 the Group has decided to focus on hate crimes (attacks, arson attempts, and vandalism), which are the most dangerous manifestations of xenophobia. The report focuses on hate crimes aimed at private persons. Hate speech in the media and on the Internet is mostly beyond the scope of this report, largely due to an absence of resources that would allow for a systematic overview of the entirety of the media scene.. Due to the wide resonance and attention attracted by this topic, we have only included several particular incidents of anti-Semitic propaganda in our “Anti-Semitism” section. Moreover, even though we do not have the necessary resources to systematically monitor homophobia, we included this topic into the report due to its importance.
We thank our partner organizations and experts who made our monitoring possible. We would also like to list our most notable partner organizations in this field, particularly the Ukrainian office of the International Organization for Migration, the Ukrainian Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the “No Borders!” project of the Social Action Center, the network of non-governmental organizations “Diversity Initiative,” and the Crimean Field Mission for Human Rights.
It is impossible to list all of those who helped us by name, and in a number of cases (particularly for people currently in occupied territories) it would also be dangerous. The materials we present here have been painstakingly collected by dozens of people: participants of the network and electronic news bulletin “Diversity initiatives,” representatives of regional UNHCR partners, activists of anti-Fascists and human rights activist groups, journalists, representatives of ethnic and religious communities, organizations for the promotion of ethnic cultures, law enforcement bodies, government employees and staff members of a number of NGOs. Naturally, the responsibility for any and all mistakes and inaccuracies lies with us.
We would be grateful for any possible corrections, clarifications, and remarks on the report. Since we are continuing to monitor events, we are very interested in current information about manifestations of xenophobia in Ukraine. The head of the Group may be contacted at the following e-mail address: email@example.com. You can also write to the address above to continue to receive the most recent information about manifestations of xenophobia in Ukraine in the form of monthly bulletins and thematic reports, as well as, by request, to receive more detailed information about any past events.
The Group has an archive of monthly bulletins, yearly and thematic reports, as well as other materials, located at: http://www.eajc.org/page443. For most recent updates, you can follow the Group on our official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nmrmg.
- Hate-Motivated Violence
Statistics about victims of violence motivated by racial and ethnic hatred, 2006-2015
|January-June||6 people||45 people, of these 5 were killed
|59 people, of these 4 were killed
|29 people||2 people||28 people||12 people||9 people||17 people||9 people
|July-December||8 people, of these 2 were killed
|43 people, of these 1 was killed
|25 people||8 people||16 people, of these 1 was killed||26 people||7 people||17 people||7 people||11 people|
|TOTAL SUM||14 people, of these 2 were killed||88 people, of these 6 were killed||84 people, of these 4 were killed||37 people||18 people, of these 1 was killed|| 54 people
|19 people||26 people||24 people||19 people
18 people, of these 1 was killed
* The statistics for 2014-2015 does not include incidents taking place in Russian-occupied territories.
The National Minority Rights Monitoring Group only systematically monitor crime based on ethnic, racial and religious hatred. The cases described below involve violence motivated by ethnic and/or racial intolerance. Due to a number of difficulties, we cannot systematically monitor homophobic crime. We have described several cases that we have come across in a special section below. It should be noted that here our report is by no means comprehensive. Incidents of homophobic violence are thus not included into the final statistics on hate crime; data reported in tables only concerns xenophobic incidents motivated by ethnic and racial hatred. The monitoring does not describe attacks on anti-Fascists or other youth subcultures (inimical or perceived as such) by neo-Nazis or members of the youth Nazi-skinhead subcultures.
We only qualify an incident as hate-motivated if there is trustworthy information about one or more clear signs pointing to such a motive. The official legal evaluation of the crime by law enforcement bodies is not a criterion for us. We only report the legal evaluation to assess how adequately and professionally the law enforcement bodies treat such cases. However, in Ukraine xenophobic crime is almost never adequately evaluated by law enforcement bodies (that is, with the motive of hate actually being taken into account).
Of course, it is usually difficult to draw a clear-cut distinction and evaluate a crime decisively. We do not always have all of the necessary information at hand, and the information we have may be untrustworthy. There is always a measure of subjectivity in the evaluation.
We should also note that our criteria for inclusion are stricter than OSCE criteria..
The OSCE methodology dictates that a crime is classified as a hate crime even if the motive of hate had not been the only one, or if the crime had been committed for the sake of pure profit, but the victim had been selected specifically because they belong to a particular group. For example, the robbery of an international student near their dorms. The robbers might not be choosing the highly visible African or Asian students because they are racist, but rather due to a completely rational calculation that a foreigner who does not know the local language and customs well is unlikely to go to the police. Another well-known example is a common type of house robbery targeting the LGBT community. The perpetrator looks for a victim on specialized websites, and once he has been invited to a careless new acquaintance’s home, he robs the victim, often with use of violence.. Such crimes are not at their core motivated by homophobia, but by greed. The choice of victim is purely pragmatic—someone who had been robbed in such circumstances is unlikely to go to the police. The OSCE believes that these crimes are also hate crimes; we, however, do not agree. OSCE believes that hate motives can coexist in conjunction with other motives, and in principle we agree. For example, youth neo-Nazi gangs that attacked and killed Central Asians in the streets were not averse to looting their victims’ pockets for cell phones or small amounts of money. However, they did not kill just to steal cell phones. If they were looking for profit, they would not have been targeting street cleaners.
We believe that hate crimes are crimes in which hatred for a certain group is the main motivation. In these cases, unless we have additional evidence that suggests otherwise, the motive is profit. The victim is selected from a certain group, but not because the perpetrator is intolerant towards that group. It is a rational decision to select a vulnerable victim. For much the same reasons, robbers also target foreigners in general (and not just Asians and Africans), buyers of drugs, and those who go to prostitutes.
The OSCE also believes that any crime wherein the criminal insults the victim based on their real or false (that is, real only according to the criminal’s beliefs) identity as a member of a particular group is a hate-motivated crime. For example, on March 22, 2015, three unidentified persons severely beat the chief children’s neurosurgeon Aleksandr Dukhovsky, and the insults they shouted during the attack included “kike-face”. However, both the investigation and the victim believe the attack to have been motivated by the victim’s professional activities. We do not evaluate such crimes as hate crimes and have not included them in our statistic. The slang word for “homosexual” is one of the most common slurs in Slavic language, and its connection with sexuality and/or gender identity is by now quite remote. We do not think that any crime accompanied by the use of this slur is a homophobic crime.
- On the evening of February 1, a group of young men lured in a citizen of Jordan to 34 Prospekt Svobody (Kharkiv, near the Aleksandrovskaya metro station) under the pretense of meeting with a young woman. The meeting had been arranged in advance through the Internet. The young men beat and tortured the Jordanian, continuously insulting his national dignity. The torture concluded in murder.
The case has been taken to court for five of the participants, including the murderer. The evaluation of the crime included the “racial hatred” motive.
- On the evening of May 17, at about 10PM, a group of approximately 10 people attacked a man of Nigerian descent. The attack was accompanied by insults that targeted the victim’s race. The victim tried to break free and run, but the attackers were able to catch up to him several times. According to eyewitnesses, neither passersby nor nearby policemen intervened.
The victim was finally able to hide from his pursuers in an Arab cafe at the Bessarabskiy Market. The staff called an ambulance for the victim. The victim received multiple fractures of his fingers and shin, as well as bruises of the head.
He declined to inform the police..
The attackers seem to be soccer fans who were returning from a match in the Olimpic National Sports Complex.
- According to Otman Shadi, the director of the Al-Manar Islam Cultural Center in Kharkiv, two young men attacked a Syrian, an ethnic Kurd, approximately on June 8. The attack on Blyuher street (near the Studencheskaya metro station) took place late at night, and the victim received several knife wounds.
- On June 11, a group of unidentified youths, some of whom hid their faces with masks and balaclavas, attacked citizens near Oktar Yarosh street and on Klochkovskaya street. Many student dormitories, including those housing international students, are located in the vicinity of those streets.
There were approximately 30–40 attackers, and they divided themselves into two groups as they approached the dormitories. Some of them were armed with baseball bats and various bladed/pointed articles. Both citizens of Ukraine and international students were victims of the attacks. 9 of the victims had to receive medical help for cranial trauma and cut/stab wounds. Three were given first aid and then received ambulatory care, and six had to be hospitalized. Four of those who had to be hospitalized were citizens of Jordan. The condition of two of them was serious enough to require an operation. Two of the victims flew to Jordan for treatment on June 15.
The attackers also trashed cars, broke windows, and killed two dogs.
The police arrested 5 suspects on the night of June 11. The perpetrator’s actions were qualified according to Article 296, Part 4 (“hooliganism”), Article 15, Part 2 (“criminal attempt”), Article 115, Part 1 (“attempted murder”), and Article 187, Part 2 (“brigandism”) of the Ukrainian Criminal Code..
Chief of the Regional Police Central Office Anatoliy Dmitriyev said that the police will tighten security in areas of residence of international students and that police patrolling courses will be adjusted to reflect the situation.
It remains unknown whether the attacker were members of any organization and what their motives were. According to unofficial information provided by law enforcement bodies,ultras soccer fans were among the attackers. Some media outlets and discussions in online social networks have put forward assumptions that the incident was some kind of punitive action, a response by local youths to an unknown conflict with the international students;however, we were unable to confirm this version of events.
The victims and onlookers opinions on motivations of the attack are divided. Some believe the attackers did not care about the ethnicity and appearance of the victims,while others think that foreigners were specifically targeted for the attack, as the only locals that had been hurt were together with Asian and African students at the time. The sum of information about the victims allows us to state with certainty that most of the victims were foreigners.
Posts approving the actions of the attackers appeared on social networks and on certain radical right websites. The “VKontakte” social network’s community “Voice of the Nation/The Ultra-Right Activist” published a post titled “Patriots in Kharkiv attacked black-assed “students” with melee weapons.”. The authors of the post described several “deficiencies in the operation,” including: “1) Didn’t finish culling the occupants); 2) some f...kers brought cell phones and so wound up detained by morning.”
The official website of the “Stepan Bandera Tryzub” organization, which became the base for the Right Sector’s creation, also approved of the attackers. The article published in their defense began thus: “the hounds of the regime have arrested young people that put migrant students, who had brazenly terrorized locals, into their proper place.” The article uses extremely harsh expressions, such as “zaydy” (uninvited guests), “prybludy” (bastards), and so on.
The Kharkiv division of the Azov civilian corps batallion made a statement that “not a single one of our representatives or fighters had anything to do with these events at all, much less directly take part in them.” The statement also notes that Azov published it because “law enforcement officials have made unofficial conjectures during the investigation that representatives of the Azov civilian corps and fighters of the Azov batallion might have been involved.”.
On June 13, the Ukrainian Security Services Chairman Valentyn Nalyvaichenko stated that the Kharkiv bloodbath might have been organized by the Russian intelligence services. According to Nalyvaichenko, the “groups were local, but they were provoked and inspired by foreign intelligence services—Russian intelligence services.” He believes that the provocation was organized because “precisely before Russia Day someone wanted a horrifying picture for the use of Russia’s propaganda machine”.
On June 15, the foreign students of Kharkiv’s universities assembled at Constitution Square in Kharkiv for a rally. The students demanded that the perpetrators of the pogrom be punished accordingly.
On June 24, five of those detained in connection to the case were released after investigatory action was taken. None of them were served with notices of suspicion. The Kharkiv City Ministry of Interior Affairs Department said that several criminal cases were opened after the massive fight, including four for “attempted murder” as well as “brigandism” (one of the students had been robbed; the attackers took his cell phone and a piece of jewellery (chain)) and “hooliganism”.
On July 3, First Prosecutor Deputy of Kharkiv Oblast Artem Stepanov said that over 700 witnesses had been questioned in connection to the case. He also said that “we have an understanding of who might be part of this crime, and we are collecting evidence so that we are able say with certainty to whom we can give notice of suspicion.”.
On July 24, the head of the Main Division of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kharkiv Oblast Anatoliy Dmitriev told the journalist that the police have their first suspect in the July 11 Kharkiv pogrom case. He has been given notice of suspicion for a crime qualified under Article 296, Part 4 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“hooliganism”). The police denies the possibility that the crime had been motivated by inter-ethnic hatred, as “only four” of the victims were citizens of Jordan. The investigation believes that “it was just a regular brawl: Someone talked smack at a young couple, that went on for a while, then more guys came up, and these ones had knives, and then a fight ensued”.
On December 23, the PR Department of the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor’s office said that a nineteen-year-old student, who had been an active participant in the “so-called Jordan pogrom” of June 11 (as the Prosecutor’s office termed it in their statement), has been taken to criminal court. The acts of the suspect are qualified according to Article 294, Part 1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“ Organizing riots accompanied with violence against any person, riotous damage, arson, destruction of property, taking control of buildings or construction, forceful eviction of citizens, resistance to authorities with the use of weapons or any other things used as weapons, and also active participation in riots”).
According to the statement made by the PR Department, “the pre-trial investigation has determined that the ‘march against the Jordanites’ had been prepared in advance due to a conflict about a young woman”. “Young people in masks attacked students from Jordan near a cafe where the foreigners had taken to spending their free time, and then gave chase, destroying their cars in the process. Particularly, one of the suspects in the riots broke the window of a car belonging to a 28-year-old citizen of Jordan, who had been in the car at the time, and damaged the body of the car.” The damages from the suspect’s actions are estimated at 14,5 thousand hryvnia.
- On June 18, a Ukrainian citizen of Tajik heritage, who had recently graduated from school, had been attacked in Kharkiv. According to the victim, the attack happened at approximately 22:00, when he had been coming up to the Naukova metro station. About 10-15 people surrounded the victim in a narrow alley. According to the victim, his attackers looked like radical right activists, particularly due to them wearing their jeans with characteristically rolled up legs. One of the attackers said “we carve up non-Russians!” and they began beating him. The victim began to scream for help loudly, and the attackers ran off. As a final blow, one of the hooligans used pepper spray on the victim.
The victim had been given first aid at the local mosque. He decided not to file a statement with the police.
On July 8, it became known that police workers beat a student from Sudan in Chernivtsi.
Since we do not have adequate follow-up information on this report, we are not including it into our final statistic.
- On July 15, a group of young people attacked the congregation of the Islam Center in Dniepropetrovsk. Initially, two hooligans ran up to a Muslim and began beating him. When other members of the congregation came outside to see what the disturbance was, a group of 10-15 people had already been waiting for them.
Criminal proceedings were opened, and preliminary assessment qualified the case according to Article 296, Part 2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“hooliganism”). The victim received a concussion and soft-tissue bruises on his head..
- On July 26, in the Saltivka district of Kharkiv, two policemen approached two dark-skinned young men (who were from Ghana and Nigeria, as was later learned), who were sitting at a stop, and asked them for their documents. One of them showed his student card, to which one of the policemen said, “That’s not a document.” “How is it not a document?” the student replied in suprise. Instead of answering, the policeman began beating the young man, and he and his partner dragged the victim towards their car. The policemen used force, threatened, and insulted the student..
Passersby interfered, demanding that the police show their own documents. “Is this because I’m black? You’re racist!” said the student who had been attacked to the policeman.
A passerby caught the incident on camera and published the recording online. The video garnered significant resonance.. The Kharkiv police promised to report once the incident had been subjected to internal review..
On December 29 the PR Department of the Kharkiv Oblast Prosecutor’s Office reported that the case of the 31-year-old policeman and the 44-year-old patrol police inspector, who beat the student from Gana, had been taken to the Moscow District Court of Kharkiv.
The incident was qualified according to Article 365, Part 2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“Excess of authority or official powers”).
- On August 19, a fifteen-year-old dark-skinned youth, Uzu David, was attacked in the Kyiv metro. The attack took place at approximately 7:30 PM. According to the victim, a group of over 40 people entered the train carriage. The young people were acting out of line and violated public order. They accosted the dark-skinned youth with racist slurs and threats. When Uzu David left the train at the Poznyaky metro station, a group of approximately ten people surrounded him at the platform. They began shoving him and hitting him. The beating was stopped by other passengers, who interfered.
The policeman on duty of the Line Control Division of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (division responsible for security on railways and metro lines - transl.) was absent from his post. The victim filed a complain with the Darnitsya Regional Department of the Main Department of the MIA of Ukraine in the city of Kyiv..
Criminal proceedings were instigated according to Article 125, part 1 of the Ukrainia Criminal Code (“Intended minor bodily injury”)..
On September 24, it became known that the charges for the criminal proceedings instigated after the beating of a dark-skinned youth in the Kyiv metro have been amended from Article 125, Part 1 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“Intended minor bodily injury”) to Article 161, Part 2 (“Willful actions inciting national, racial or religious enmity and hatred, humiliation of national honor and dignity [...] accompanied with violence”)..
Former Right Sector political party candidate Oleg Kutserib, who had earlier publicly admitted that he had committed homophobic attacks, wrote to the victim’s mother on Facebook. She had posted the details of the incident, and Kutserib had commented to support racist violence towards the youth, using racist slurs as he did it. After the politician’s statements gained a wide resonance, the Right Sector made an official statement, in which they noted that “the person named Oleg Kutserib has no relation to our organization at the moment.” According to the statement of the Kyiv wing of the Right Sector, “he did indeed run for an MP position with us in the autumn; however, later he was banned from our organization due to his actions, which denigrated the party’s honor.”.
On August 21, Ombudsman of Ukraine Valeriya Lutkovska made an open request to the Prosecutor General and the Minister of Internal Affairs to take the investigation under their personal control and to take measures to ensure a full and objective investigation of the case and its circumstances connected to manifestations of racial intolerance, which are present in the perpetrators’ actions..
- On the night of August 24, a fight took place between two groups of young people in Kyiv, near Bessarabskaya Square. One of the sides of the conflict was made up of people of African descent. A video recording made by a representative of the patrol police shows one dark-skinned young man demonstrating his bloody hand and shouting “This is because I’m black, isn’t it?”.
According to official information provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the victim cut his hand when he fell on a broken glass bottle. The report notes that this version is confirmed by a surveillance camera installed in one of the nearby stores.
Participants of the incident, having been taken to the Shevchenkivsky district police department, refused to file writte statements and said that they have no claims against each other..
Since we do not have adquate follow-up information on this report, we are not including it into our final statistic.
- On September 15, the 28-year-old citizen of Israel Amir Ohana, who came to Uman (Cherkasy Region) for the annual Rosh Hashana pilgrimage, went missing in Uman..
The body of the man was found in a local lake three days later. As was later determined, he died of natural causes. The deceased had epilepsy. As best can be reconstructed, he had an attack on the shore and fell into the water.
We are not including this tragic incident in our statistic and are including it in the write-up only because an anti-Semitic crime had been suspected before the true cause of death was determined. Before the Israeli’s body had been found, a video recording had been published on the Internet, where people dressed in military clothes and with a Ukrainian flag mock and beat a man dressed as an Orthodox Jew. The thugs even imitated shooting their prisoner and threatened to blow him up with a grenade.. Even though the precise time and place of the video shoot remains undetermined, suspicions have been voiced in connection to the video’s publication that the young man might have become a hostage of nationalist anti-Semites.. As far as can be determined through circumstantial evidence, the video shoot was staged and has nothing to do with the Uman tragedy.
- On October 20, during a match in Kyiv between the Dynamo (Kyiv) and Chelsea teams of the UEFA Champions League, fans of the Kyiv club severely beat four black spectators, as well as several people who tried to protect the victims. The incident happened at the 19th sector of the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex. It has been supposed that the attackers might be connected to the fan-group “Rodichi” (“Kindred”).. Moreover, at least one more black spectator was hurt due to a concerted assault at sector 23 of the stadium. According to eyewitnesses of the beatings, which have been recorded on video by the “2 + 2” channel, the attacks were accompanied by shouts of “White power!”, which is certainly an indicator of a hate motive in the attackers’ actions..
According to an official statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs made on October 23, the Pechersk District Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in Kyiv, criminal proceedings have been instigated to investigate the crime. The incident was qualified according to Article 296, Part 2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“hooliganism”).
The incident garnered a wide resonance both in Ukraine and abroad. Particularly, an upsurge of indignation was caused by an inappropriate statement made by Vladimir Spilnichenko, the Director of the Olimpiyskiy National Sport Complex. When talking to a “2 + 2” journalist, Spilnichenko said that it might be a good idea to create a separate sector for dark-skinned spectators. Later, the stadium’s PR department said that the statement had been taken out of context and, in fact, that the director of the sports complex had in fact spoken against creating separate sectors for different categories of spectators..
Many of the commentators, particularly Dynamo Vice President Alexei Semenenko, have supposed that the incident had been a “provocation,” an “act planned in advance” by somebody who is “interested in making the social situation of every Ukrainian citizen worse.” We do not believe that this version has much merit..
On November 6, the Vice President of the Football Federation of Ukraine Igor Kochetov said that “the group of people, seven people in all, has been identified, there are photographs, and criminal proceedings have been opened”.
On November 22, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko commented on the incident during a meeting with the players of the Ukrainian national football team. Poroshenko said that “there are ample grounds to say that the tracks from the latest provocations at the Dynamo-Chelsey match lead to Russia. Their goal was to create a situation wherein Ukraine could be accused of racism”.
Meanwhile, community activists have held an informal investigation, whose results were published on November 24 at the bukvy.com website. The most active attackers were identified through photos and video recordings of the incident. They turned out to be national-radicals who are well-known among football fans, participants of radical right football fan groups, who have in recent years been connected to the Azov civilian corps and personally with MP Andriy Biletsky.
As became known on November 25, the UEFA decided to fine “Dynamo” over the October 20 racist incident for 100 thousand euros. Moreover, the team has been ordered to play the next two UEFA home matches behind closed doors, with a third suspended for a probationary period of three years.
On December 17, the Main Department of National Police in Kyiv has stated that they have ascertained the identity of one of the attackers. He has been given notice of suspicion for committing a crime qualified according to Article 296, Part 2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“hooliganism”). The Main Police Department has announced that the case will be taken to court “very soon.” According to the police, other participants in the incident have not been identified yet. Materials referring to the unidentified perpetrators have been moved to separate criminal proceedings.
- A citizen of Guinea had been attacked on November 9 in Lviv. The attack took place late at night, at about 1AM, and happened on Chornovola street. The victim was attacked by a group of four or more people. The attackers shouted racist insults as they beat him.
The victim sustained a broken jaw, and his ear had been damaged by a sharp object. He had been hospitalized and later had an operation.
- On the night of November 20, a man of Somali heritage had been the victim of a hate-motivated attack while he was on his way from Kyiv to Bila Tserkva. Five young men started insulting and provoking the Somali in the train he had been taking to his destination, calling him “black.” One of them shoved the Somali, he shoved the offender back, and a fight began, which was stopped by other passengers.
At approximately 9 PM, when the Somali stepped outside the train at Bilaya Tserkva, five unidentified persons followed him. He attempted to run away, but they caught up with him and attacked from behind. The attackers severely beat the victim using their hands and legs. Passersby found the unconscious victim and called an ambulance. He had been hospitalized on the night of November 20, and left the hospital five days later due to bad conditions within the hospital.
- On the night of December 22, W., a member of the religious Jewish community (private information is concealed for security reasons), went shopping in one of the towns in the Zakarpattia Oblast, where a group of people accosted him, calling him “kike face.” When he left the shop, he was beaten.
The victim filed a statement with the police. Criminal proceedings were opened, with the crime being preliminarily qualified as “intended minor bodily injury.”.
- Chronicle of Hate-Motivated Vandalism
Statistics of ethnic and religious hate-motivated vandalism in Ukraine: 2006-2015
|17 (5)||17 (2)
|July-December||12||13||11||15||12||16 (1)||25 (6)|
|TOTAL SUM||23||19||24||23||20||33 (6)||42 (8)|
* The statistic for 2014-2015 includes incidents taking place in Russian-occupied territories. The number of incidents recorded in Crimea is given in parentheses.
- On the night of January 12, unknown vandals drew swastikas on the memorial stones near the “Menorah” memorial in the National Historical and Cultural Preserve “Babiy Yar” in Kyiv.
- On the night of January 14, three people threw six bottles of incendiary mixture inside the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchy built in honor of the Joy of All Who Sorrow icon, which is located on the premises of the Babiy Yar Preserve.
- В ночь на 27 января в Kyiv неизвестный поджог наружную стену здания храма Святомученика Трифона УПЦ МП.
- On the morning of January 30, unknown vandals drew swastikas in grey paint on the memorial stones near the Babiy Yar “Menorah” memorial in Kyiv.
- On February 14, an act of anti-Semitic vandalism was found to have taken place at a historic Jewish cemetery near former artillery depots in Kremenchug (Poltavskaya Oblast). The criminals desecrated an ohel—an open-air structure on the graes of Sarah and Chaya, daughters of the Hasid tsaddik Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Unknown vandals set fire to the inside of the tomb, and wrote neo-Nazi graffiti on its exterior. The graffiti included swastikas, a Celtic cross, and the neo-Nazi subculture code 14/88 (14 stands for “14 words,” a slogan of the skinhead neo-Nazis, 88 stands for “Heil Hitler”, using the number of the letter “h” in the Latin alphabet). Judging by the FCKK letters written on four sides of the Celtic Cross, it is likely that the act of vandalism was committed by football fans (the letters likely mean “Football club “Kremen’,” Kremenchug).
The “Ohalei Tsaddikim” organization had only finished restoring the walls of the ohel and other renovations a month ago. The cemetery also holds the graves of the sons-in-law and students of Rabbi Nachman. Pilgrims all over the world come to visit the graves.
This is the third act of vandalism aimed at the graves of Rabbi Nachman’s daughters and the Breslov tsaddikim. The tomb had been desecrated in July 2014 and i April 2013, but the vandals had not drawn any neo-Nazi symbols in those two cases.
- On the morning of March 11, unknown perpetrators threw a commercially-made flare, which exploded and damaged the roof of a shoarma kiosk at the Vydubichi metro station in Kyiv.. No one had been hurt. The police have not put forward the assumption that this might be a hate crime.
Due to a lack of information, we are not able to confidently say whether this is a hate crime. We have thus not included this incident in our final statistics.
- On the night of March 22, unknown vandals desecrated a memorial to Holocaust victims on the Kherson highway.
A swastika and the letters NSNK were drawn on the memorial in black spray paint. The first two letters are obviously an abbreviation of “National Socialism,” while the third and fourth can possible mean Nikolayev [Russian version of the Ukrainian city Mykolaiv -transl.], but the letters are unclear and other readings are possible..
The memorial had been erected by the Jewish community in December 2011, and in June 2013 it had been transferred into the city’s communal ownership. The memorial had already been vandalized multiple times before.
- On the night of April 3, a Jehova’s Witnesses place of worship in Novye Sanzhary (Poltavaskaya oblast) suffered an act of vandalism.
- On April 22, an arson attempt was made on the church in honor of the Mother of God, Joy of All Sorrows icon located in Babiy Yar in Kyiv.
- On April 26, unknown vandals desecrated the memorial to victims of Fascism near Tolbukhina square in Odesa, where occupants burned approximately 25 thousand people alive in the buildings of former artillery depots. Most of the victims were Jews from Odesa and Bessarabia, but some were also Soviet navy sailors who were prisoners of war.
Unknown vandals inscribed the memorial with swastikas, a Celtic cross, “NSWP” and “Death to Kikes!”
The locals found Nazi inscriptions and a swastika on the memorial. After the locals went to the police, community service providers erased the inscriptions.
- On May 12 it became known that the memorial to Holocaust victims in Novomoskovsk (Dnipropetrivskaya Oblast) had been vandalized yet again. Unknown vandals wrote “PEACE WORK MAY” on the memorial and drew red stars on the edges. This is at least the fourth act of vandalism aimed at the memorial, which was erected three years ago.
- Late night on May 28, an explosion happened at the Roshen factory outlet located in the Obolon district of Kyiv, on 14 Tymoshenko street.
According to the MIA Kyiv Public Relations Department, the explosion created a 60-centimeter diameter hole in the wall. Some damage was done to shelves and goods stored inside.
Experts believe that the explosive device was placed between the store’s external wall and the air conditioner, which was located outside.
The police instigated criminal proceedings, and the crime had been preliminarily qualified according to Article 296, Part 4 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“hooliganism”).
On the following day, the radical right group “Kiev Division” published a video,in which an unknown man with a baseball bat, using a Ukrainian flag as a backdrop, stands with his back to the camera and states that the explosives were set by the “fighters” of this organization. Poroshenko, the owner of Roshen Incorporated, was called a “Judaic dictator” in the man’s statement.
The man in the recording stated literally the following (peculiarities of speech have been preserved as closely as possible): “Today, on 29.05, the fighters of our NS/WP Kiev Division group have set a shell-less explosive device at a Roshen store belonging to the Judaic dictator Poroshenko. Ever since he came to power, all of Ukraine’s industry has been going downhill. The population is dying out, and Poroshenko’s business has grown by 18 times. We call for all radical right activists to enact massive strikes on the business of this legitimately-elected occupant, who is destroying our country. We avait new explosions, our comrades-in-arms.”
The speech comes across as rather strange. The man is speaking in Russian, with no noticeable Ukrainian accent. It can be inferred that he is either reproducing a text poorly learned by heart or is reading the statement inattentively off a printed page (the man is standing with his back to the camera, so it is impossible to know for certain whether he is reading or not). The man is notably using particular formal turns of phrase (“shell-less explosive device” might as well have come from a police protocol, and actual “radical right activists” rarely call themselves by that particular moniker) and some of his phrases are ill-coordinated (“since he has come to power at Ukraine”; “s momenta prykhoda k vlasti Ukrainoy”). It would seem that the text is accusing Poroshenko of being elected illegitimately, but the “il” is lost in the actual recording. It is hard to explain the “legitimately elected occupant” turn of phrase otherwise, as well as the accusation of being a dictator that is aimed at Poroshenko standing right next to the statement that he had been “legitimately elected.” It is also notable that the explosion took place at approximately 11PM on May 28. Naturally, the media only published information about the incident on the next day, but it is strange that a representative of the group taking responsibility for the act would have confused the dates.
In the name of the group, NS stands for “national-socialism,” and WP, “white power,” for holding up the racist principle of “white supremacy.” The web page of the KIEV DIVIϟION (the participants of the group use the “ϟ”, the “sig” rune of the Armanen Futhark, instead of the latin “s,” for the group’s title) starts with the infamous “14 words” racist slogan. The statement that this group is taking responsibility for the explosion at the Roshen stor is accompanied by music by the “White Terror” band, the lyrics of which include “we shan’t give up a centimeter of our country to cattle.” The webpage of the group publishes Nazi and Neo-Nazi posters and propaganda materials (particularly glorifying the Russian racist killer Dmitry Borovikov), and reports of joint operations together with such radical right groups as “Nazhdak” (“Emery cloth”) and “Modniy prigovor” (“Fashion sentence”). The last group is a “copypaste” of a Russian neo-Nazi movement created by Maksim Martsinkevich, better known as Tesak. “Kiev Division” and these groups attacked slot parlors and kiosks that sell smoking blends (“spices”).
Earlier, Roshen shops had been attacked by activists of “Revanche,” another radical right group..
- On the night of June 15, unknown perpetrators desecrated a memorial to Holocaust victims in Nikopol (Ukraine, Dnipropetrovskaya Oblast).
A Nazi swastika had been drawn in red over a white Star of David. According to the website of the Dnipropetrovsk Jewish community, this was reported by the Executive Director of the Nicopol Jewish Community Alexander Taratuta.
The law enforcement authorities have been notified about the incident, and a statement has been filed with the police.
- In early July, a group of Jewish tourists reported that the “Menorah” memorial to Holocaust victims, standing at Babiy Yar (Kyiv), had been vandalized yet again. Swastika graffiti had been drawn on the memorial.
- In the night of June 28, unknown vandals attempted to set fire to an ambulance belonging to the Jewish paramedical and rescue organization Hatzalah Ukraine..
It is unclear whether the incident was motivated by anti-Semitic hatred, and our investigation is currently ongoing.
- On the night of June 29, unknown persons vandalized a Jehova’s Witnesses place of worship in Kohovka (Kherson oblast).
- On July 1, unknown persons vandalized a Jehova’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Borozna (Chernigov oblast).
- In early July, it became known that the “Menorah” memorial to Holocaust victims, standing at Babiy Yar (Kyiv), has been vandalized yet again. According to the statement of the Jewih Forum of Ukraine, the “Menorah” memorial and a memorial to Ukrainian nationalists who had also been killed at the mass shooting site were drenched in a liquid of unknown origin..
- On July 15, an unknown vandal wrote insults and slurs in pain on the front of the Jehova’s Witnesses Knigdom Hall in the Zabolotiv town of Svyatin region (Ivano-Frankivsk oblast)..
- On August 3, it became known that an act of vandalism took place at a Jewish cemetery in Uzhgorod (Zakarpattia region), located on Kotlyarevskogo street in the Shahta microdistrict. The police were able to establish that unknown vandals damaged 19 tombstones in the period from July 28 and August 1.
Proceedings were instigated according to Article 297 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“Violation of graves, any other burial place, or a corpse”)..
- On August 12, at approximately 6:30 PM, an unknown man attempted to set fire to wooden bulding materials (several cubic meters of timber beams and planks), which were stacked near residential buildings belonging to the Romani community of Uzhgorod’s Shahta microdistrict, located near school #14. According to the locals, the unidentified man first threatened the Roma and then used a plastic bottle full of incendiary mixture to set fire to the wooden planks. Then he got into his car and drove away. The residents of the houses immediately called both the firefighters and the police. Judging by the photos, the building materials suffered severe fire damage, but the fire did not spread to the houses. The police recorded the crime..
- On the morning of August 27, the Melitopol District Council (Zaporizhia region) session began with a notification by Deputy Chairman Alexander Basha that unknown vandals desecrated a Holocaust memorial located on the exist of Konstantinovka village.
The anti-Semites places car tires in different parts of the memorial and set fire to them, apparently with the help of a plastic bottle of incendiary mixture..
- On Saturday, September 5, a group of provocateurs in Uman attempted to dismantle the tent camping area erected to help prepare for the traditional Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) Hasidic mass pilgrimage to the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov.
A group of approximately 30 people began to take apart the fence around the camp, using the passiveness of the police to their advantage. Surveillance cameras and power lines were also damaged in the attack. The group was led by Vladimir Goncharuk, Sergei Alekseenko, and Oleg Voloshin. Anti-Semitic statements and threats were heard from the group as the act took place.
Thanks to the timely intervention of the Ambassador of Israel to Ukraine and high-ranking officials from the Ukrainian Ministry of the Interior, the situation was brought under control and further incidents did not take place. The Rosh Hashana pilgrimage, which in 2015 took place on September 13-14, passed without incident.
- On September 6, yet another act of vandalism was discovered against the “Menorah” memorial in the “Babiy Yar” State Historical and Cultural Preserve. The “Menorah” commemorates Jews killed during the Holocaust. Unknown vandals drew a swastika on a stone at the foot of the memorial.
- On September 13, the night before the Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) celebration, the “Menorah” memorial in Babiy Yar was desecrated yet again. The act of vandalism took place between two and three A.M., and the perpetrators remain unknown. The vandals piled tires on and around the memorial, doused them in an incendiary mixture and set them aflame. The fire was noticed and put out by the caretaker of a nearby church belonging to the Ukrainian Orthodox Patriarchy.
Notably, a similar desecration (utilizing car tires and incendiary mixture to set fire to a Holocaust memorial) took place three weeks earlier in Melitopol (see bulletin for August for details).
On October 5, criminal proceedings were opened by the Shevchenko District Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kyiv after a fact check had been completed on the arson attempt. The crime was qualified according to Article 296, Part 1 (“hooliganism”) of the Ukrainian Criminal Code..
The sheer scale of vandalism in Babiy Yar, which is an extremely important site and a government-protected cultural preserve, and the obvious absence of adequate action by the government has garnered a wide resonance and drew the ire of Jewish organizations both within and outside of Ukraine.
Various Jewish groups and international organizations adopted statements and calls for the Ukrainian government to punish the vandals and protect the memorial and cultural preserve.
- On the night of September 18, unknown vandals set fire to the ohel (a structure built over the grave of a righteous person, used for prayer) of a tsaddik at the Memorial Jewish Cemetery in Kolomyia (Ivano-Frankivsk Region). The fire was noticed and put out by a police patrol that had been passing by.
A night earlier, criminals cut down and stole the wrought iron gate from the cemetery’s fence.
The police instigated criminal proceedings according to Article 194 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“willful destruction or endamagement of property”). The local Jewish community promised a reward of 10 thousand hrivnyas to anyone who could help find the criminals that desecrated the holy site.
The National Minority Rights Monitoring Group has been able to investigate the background of this incident, which has greatly cleared up the matter.
The 1,4 ha plot of land on which the Memorial Jewish Cemetery is located is part of a town park. The cemetery itself has stood practically demolished since Soviet times. Over twenty years ago, the town council decided that this plot of land is a “memorial cemetery territory” (according to town council decision #86, “On providing local enterprises and organizations with plots of land”). The Kolomyia Orthodox Jewish community was given permission to develop a project to improve the memorial cemetery’s territory.
It took a long time to find funds for the restoration project, but finally the community was able to collect enough donations from private sources in different countries, prepare the project, and start the work. According to the project, the cemetery will be well-lit, the asphalt pathways will be replaced with stone-block paving, and the territory will house many trees. “Walls of memory” will stand alongside the pathways, containing preserved fragments of matzevahs - tombstones. Approximately 1300 matzevahs in varying conditions were found across the city. In the Soviet Union they were used for paving streets and courtyards.
Before starting repairs, the community notified the city council that it is planning to close off access to the cemetery. The community planned to open the territory to the public in two years, once the renovation would have been finished. However, the town council insists that the community did not get the renovation project approved and had no right to close off the park.
On Thursday, September 17, the community closed off passage through the cemetery, notifying the locals with the following signs: “Passage to cemetery closed from 17.09.2015 to 01.10.2017 for renovations and to ensure the safety of visitors.” Many of the city’s residents were indignant. The park is more than just a customary place for rest and relaxation - for those who live on Leontovich street it is also the shortest way home. As far as the monitoring team was able to establish, the community made no attempts to reach out to the locals beforehand. Community hearings, formally mandatory in such cases, were not held either.
Some were puzzled: “That place has not been in use as a cemetery for a hundred years now! The park has nothing to remind that it had once been a burial ground, why did they bring tombstones from all over the city into it?” Still others called for action: “As far as I understand, they cut off their “Holy land” so that no Ukrainian could set foot on it. How about we cut off holy Ukrainian land so that no kike could set foot on it!” .
In this context, the logic of the unknown vandals, who first used an angle grinder and an autogenous welder to remove the wrought iron gates, which lead into the park from the side of the lake, and then set fire to the ohel the next night, becomes clear.
And the restoration of the pavilion cost 50 thousand hrivnyas..
The community decided not to block off the park during the renovation project.
- On September 29 it became known that the memorial to the street cleaner Rom in Uzhgorod had been vandalized.. Unknown hooligans first bent, then broke off the handle of the broom the sculpture had been holding, and also poured paint over the memorial.
The memorial had been erected on September 3 near a district where many Romani live. Some of the Romani community have also had mixed reactions to the memorial since the moment it had been opened. The activists sharply protested against the very idea of forcefully associating the Romani with the low-status and menial labor of the street cleaner.
- On the evening of October 4, unknown vandals desecrated a memorial plaque in Lutsk, commemorating the uprising of Jews in the ghetto in 1942. The anti-Semites poured blue paint over the plaque and wrote “die kikes” on it.
By the next morning, the writing had already been painted over.
The memorial plaque had been installed on the walls of the teachers college (formerly the Gliklikh Jewish gymnasium), where the Jews of the ghetto began their rebellion, in December 2012 at the initiative of the Volyn Progressive Judaism religious community. The community did not file a statement with the police.
- On the night of November 3, unknown vandals set fire to the ohel (a structure built over the grave of a righteous person, used for prayer) at the Memorial Jewish Cemetery in Kolomyia (Ivano-Frankivsk region) for the second time in two months. The ohel stands at the grave of the tsaddik Gillel Boruch Liechtenstein, who had been Kolomiya’s head rabbi in the XIX century, 
The fire began at approximately 3AM. A bottle with incendiary mixture was apparently used by the arsonists. Fire damage to the pavilion has been severe.
This and previous acts of vandalism were accompanied by anti-Semitic graffiti both on the walls of the ohel itself and on other nearby Jewish objects.
- In early November, memorials to victims of Nazism in Poltava had been vandalized with anti-Semitic slogans.
One of the vandalized memorials was the “Grieving Mother,” located in Pushkarevsky Park. During the occupation, approximately 15 thousand Jews and thousands of other civilians, resistance members, and Soviet prisoners of war were shot in that park. The memorial was erected in 1967. The vandal smeared the face of the memorial with blue paint and drew a caricature gallows pole with a little man signed “Waltzman,” which is the apellative by which anti-Semites who oppose President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko call the Ukrainian Head of State.
The memorial had been attacked by anti-Semites multiple times before. Previous acts of vandalism have taken place in 2001, 2010, 2013, and finally in January 2014.
Moreover, a separate “Jewish” memorial to Holocaust victims was also vandalized in a similar manner (using blue and yellow paint with the same drawing and signature).
The graffiti had been painted over by workers of the Jewish Chesed Charity Foundation. As far as we know, no statement with the police was filed.
Similar and identical graffiti had been found in the city center, obviously drawn by the same hand. Besides identical drawings, “Death to Kikes!” is also written in several place.
- On November 27, December 8 and 9 unknown vandals desecrated the Jehova’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall in Krolevets city of Glukhiv region (Sumy oblast)..
- On December 26, the Memorial Jewish Cemetery in Kolomiya had been vandalized.
A group of vandals (three younger men under the leadership of an older one) used a crow bar to break approximately 40 tombstones. The tombstones had been collected at the Memorial Cemetery earlier. They were taken from different locations within the city, as they had been used to pave courtyards during the Soviet Union, and had been partially put together into Walls of Memory by the time of the vandals’ actions. Some of the gravestones were approximately 200 years old.
- XENOPHOBIA AND NATIONAL MINORITY RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN THE RUSSIAN-ANNEXED AUTONOMOUS REPUBLIC OF CRIMEA
The situation with human rights in the occupied peninsula remains catastrophic. Moreover, the situation in 2015 continues to worsen in comparison with the first year after the beginning of Russian aggression.
The main problem in the ethnopolitical situation is the status of the Crimean Tatars. They are being discriminated against by the occupational government. The main efforts of the occupants over the course of the last year were aimed at oppressing the independent national Crimean Tatar movement.
The Crimean Tatar national leader, Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemilev gave a thorough general account of the situation: “Over the course of the occupation, approximately 200 demeaning searches were conducted in the houses, schools, and mosques. Over two dozen people have been kidnapped and murdered. The property of hundreds of Muslim businesspeople has been taken away and ransacked, tens of thousands of Muslims have been forced to leave their homeland because of the banditism of the occupants and out of a fear for the lives of their children. Hundreds of people have been forced to go humiliating interrogations, have been given unfounded fines, some have been forcefully deported merely for openly speaking their minds about this occupation, which has been condemned by almost the entire world. There have been cases of cruel, inhumane torture of Muslims to force them to rat out their compatriots and fellow citizens.”.
- In early May, a memorial to Azerbaijani soldiers who had participated in the liberation of Sevastopol from the Fascists had been vandalized.
- On May 23, vandals destroyed a memorial to the deported Crimean Tatars that stood near the foot of Eklizi Burun. After breaking off the tamga, the national symbol of the Crimean Tatars, the vandals threw the memorial piece off a cliff.
The Memorial to the Deported had been erected in 2014, before the anniversary of the Deportation of the Crimean Tatar People, by a public interest group using their own money.
- On the night of July 24, a Crimean Tatar grave marker, erected two months ago at the Schebetovka village of the Feodosia Region of the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, had been destroyed.
The stone was erected on May 18 to commemorate the life of a 17th century saint who had lived in that village and was famous for healing children. The place had been a site of pilgrimage. People had turned to the police after discovering the act of vandalism, but the police refused to opem criminal proceedings, citing the fact that the memorial had not been on the balance sheet of Schebetovka village.
The police proposed that the memorial could have just fallen by itself due to strong winds. According to data we have, the region had not had any recent strong winds at the time..
- On October 21, unknown vandals in Koreiz poured yellow paint over a memorial plaque to the victims of the 1944 deportation.
- According to a report by the Spiritual Direction of the Muslims of Crimea (SDMC), unknown vandals broke into a mosque at the Zhigulina Roscha microdistrict near Simferopol on November 5 and trashed the premises. According to the SDMC PR Department, the door had apparently been opened by a crowbar. There were no valuables in the mosque, and nothing was taken save the alarm battery.
- On the night of November 13, unknown vandals broke two windows in the mosque of the Zavet-Leninskiy village of the Dzhankoy region. This was reported by the Chairman of the Dzhankoy Regional Mejlis Rustem Ennanov. According to Ennanov, the damage was first found by locals, who called the police on the next day, November 14.
- On December 10, it became known that the word “jackals” had been painted in large red letters on a sign showing the way to a memorial honoring Turkish soldiers who died in the Crimean war.. The sign is near the road to Sevastopol that goes through Mount Sapun.
As far as can be inferred, this was a way the vandals tried to show solidarity for the anti-Turkish campaign which the Russian media began as a response to the Turkish military bringing down a Russian military plane, which had been bombing Syria near the Syria-Turkey border on November 24, 2015, and which had violated Turkish airspace.
- On December 24, unknown vandals in Kirovskoye town used black and red paint to draw graffiti on the walls and roll-up doors of shops belonging to Crimean Tatrs. According to our information, three of the ten shops situated on that street belong to Crimean Tatars, and it was these shops which had been vandalized.
The vandals wrote in English: “God hates you,” “Leave, you bastards,” “I hate you,” and “You are born and die in lies”.
Disappearances of Crimean Tatars
On July 19, the 28-year-old Bitla Umerov left the village of Skvortsovo (Simferopol region) to go shopping in the administrative center of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Simferopol itself, and did not return.
According to the Committee on Protection of the Rights of the Crimean Tatar People, 21 people have disappeared without trace since the occupation began..
On August 21, two Crimean Tatars (Memet Selimov, born in 1986, and Osman Imbragimov, born in 1988) disappeared near the city of Simferopol. On August 27, their dead bodies with multiple knife wounds were found hear Bogdanovka village. According to unofficial information, the identity of the main suspect has already been established. The investigation believes that the homicides were not commited due to any specific motive but rather were a consequence of joint consumption of alcohol with the victims..
On August 27, the disappearance of another Crimean Tatar, the 45-year-old Mukhtar Arisanov, who lived in the Fontana district of Simferopol, became publicly known..
On December 15, two Crimean Tatars, Ruslan Ganiyev and his friend Arlen Terekhov, disappeared in Kerch. Both were practicing Muslims. Geniyev left for his mother’s village near Kerch in the morning, but never made it. Terekhov had not been seen by anyone from the evening of the previous day.
According to the Coordinator of the Crimean Contact Group for Human Rights, Abdureshit Jepparov, the officials in charge of the investigation spoke to Terekhov’s relatives and said that the young men decided to go to the Near East. However, Geniyev’s passport was left at his house. Human rights activists and relatives believe that they might have been kidnapped.
Criminal and administrative persecution of activists of the independent Crimean Tatar national movement: detentions, searches, arrests and trials……..24
On January 19, Mejlis member, lawyer Emine Avamileva had been detained for several hours with no explanation when she entered the Crimea.
On January 23, Russian occupants who proclaimed themselves to be border guards, detained three coordinators of the Committee for the Defense of Crimean Tatar Rights when they were trying to cross the administrative border between the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the Kherson Region (Ukraine). The coordinators were Sinaver Kadyrov, Eskender Bariyev, and Abmedzhit Suleimanov. The latter two are also members of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. All of them showed their Ukrainian passports with Crimean residential registration.
On January 23, the Federal Security Bureau of Russia arrested three Muslims near Sevastopol: Ruslan Zeitullayev, Rustem Vaitov, and Nuri Primov. The trial, which took place that same day, decreed to keep the arrestees in confinement. They are being accused according to Article 205, P. 1 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Contributing to terrorist activity”). The houses of the arrestees were searched and religious literature was confiscated.
As far as can be inferred, the grounds for arrest was the participation of the arrestees in Hizb ut-Tahrir, which is an Islamist organization that is banned in Russia but which had acted legally in Ukraine earlier. The relatives of the arrestees and their lawyer, however, deny that any evidence fo rthe arrestees taking part in a terrorist or otherwise illegal organization had been presented at the court session held to determine restrictions..
Experts of the leading Russian SOVA Center for Information and Analysis believe that accusing members of Hizb ut-Tahrir of propagating terrorism merely because of their actions as members of a political party (holding meetings, reading literature, and so on) and persecuting them as terrorists .
On January 26, members of the occupational law enforcement bodies held a search on the premises of the Crimean Tatar ATR TV channel.. According to ATR Director General on Information Policy, the goal of the search was to “confiscate any and all information about February 26 [2014 - V. L.], when a several-thousand-strong rally, many of whom were Crimean Tatars, was held near the Crimean Parliament” .
On January 29, staff of the of the occupational Main Investigations Directorate of the Republic of Crimea Investigation Committee detained Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Akhtem Chiygoz. He was being accused according to Article 212, Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code (“organization of mass riots”) due to the events of February 26, 2014,
To recap, mass rallies in support and against Ukraine’s territorial involability took place on February 26, 2014. Pro-Ukrainian activists, first and foremost those on the side of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, stopped pro-Russian activists, mostly belonging to the “Russian Unity” party, from taking over the Crimean Parliament building. Localized brawls happened several times during the mass protests.
After the annexation of Crimea, the Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case for mass rioting and used the investigation as a pretense to begin persecuting the leaders and activists of the Crimean Tatar movement.
According to official representative of the Investigation Committee Vladimir Markin, the suspect had “provided an example with his own illegal behavior and induced the crowd to similar actions, which led to mass rioting accompanied by violence towards members of the ‘Russian Unity’ movement and the Crimean self-defense forces, as well as damage and destruction of property”.
On February 4, Aslan Chebiyev (b. 1957), who lives in Zavetnoye vilage of the Sovetsky district of Crimea, was arrested. He is being accused of participating in a rally in support of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which took place on February 26, 2014.. Chebiyev was released after questioning.
On February 7, another participant of the rally, Eskander Kantemirov, was detained. His house was also searched. On February 9, the court ordered Kantemirov’s arrest. He is being accused of “participating in mass riots” (Article 212, Part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation). The arrestee is being accused of having caused bodily harm to unidentified citizens during the February 26 rally..
On February 12, the Basmanny court of Moscow examined the claim of the Ukrainian MP and Crimean Tatar national leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, who had demanded the repeal of a spring 2014 decision to forbid him entrance to the Russian Federation and the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, which Russia believes to be part of its own territories. The court decided to leave the ban in place and refused to settle Mustafa Dhezmilev’s grievances with the actions of the Federal Migration Service.
FMS representatives stated that Dzhemilev’s travel ban had been put in place “to aid national defense capability and security, as well as for the purposes of upholding public peace.” At the same time, the representatives said that they had not initiated the travel ban. “We have no knowledge of the initiator’s person,” the FMS representatives said in their statement.
On February 16, the Sevastopol City Court upheld the decision made by the court of original jurisdiction about the arrest of Ruslan Zeitullayev, a resident of Orlinoye, who is suspected of participating in Hizb ut-Tahrir activity.
Ruslan Zeitullayev and two other Muslims were arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service at the end of January 2015. Criminal proceedings were opened against them according to Article 205.5 of the Russian Criminal Code (organizing activities for a terrorist organization and participation in such)..
On February 18, another Crimean Tatar activist, Eskender Emirvaliyev, was detained in connection with the so-called “case of February 26”.
On March 3, Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Crimean Tatar Rights, member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Eskender Bariyev reported that members of the Committee had been put under pressure. According to Bariyev, occupational law enforcement bodies took Mustafa Maushev and Kurtseit Abdullayev in for questioning; on March 3, Gulnara Seitumerova, Reshat Artmambetov, and Kamil Kadyrov had also been called in for questioning..
On February 11, another Crimean Tatar activist, Talyat Yunusov, was detained in connection with the so-called “case of February 26.” The court decreed to keep him in confinement until the trial.
On March 20, the Major Crimes Department of the Main Investigations Directorate of the Russian Federation Investigation Committee (Republic of Crimea Department) called in for questioning Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, former head of the Bakhchysarai Region State Administration Ilmi Umerov.
On March 23, Ilmi Umerov was brought in for questioning by investigators interested in how the rally of February 26, 2014, had been organized, and the activities of Akhtem Chiygoz, who is being accused by the occupants of organizing a pro-Ukrainian unity rally on February 26, 2014.
On March 27, the home of First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Dzhelyal, located in Pervomaysk village of the Simferopol district, had been searched. Nariman Dzhelyay himself had been questioned about the “case of February 26”.
On March 31, a search took place in the home of Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Ilmi Umerov in Bakhchysarai.. Umerov had also been questioned on the “case of February 26” before the search.
Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov reported on his Facebook page that he had been summoned for questioning on April 1 to the Investigative Committee of Crimea about the so-called “case of February 26”.
On April 2, the occupational law enforcement forces held searches in the Zhuravky village of Kirovsky district. According to local activist Zair Smedlyayev, they had been searching cars with openly displayed Crimean Tatar symbols, checking whether firearms were stored in accordance with legal storage requirements, and searching hourses.
On April 2, Ferat Saitullayev was arrested in Sevastopol. He is being suspected of participating in Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization that is banned in Russia. Criminal proceedings were opened according to Article 205.5, Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code (“creation of a terrorist organization”) Three other suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir members were arrested earlier, in January.
On April 3, occupational enforcers also held searches in Lenino and Schelkino villages. The searches took place at the mosque and, thanks to the reports of the so-called “self-defense forces” in the houses of pro-Ukrainian Crimean Tatars..
On April 6, the pre-trial restrictions for Eskander Kantemirov, arrested on February 7 as part of the investigation for the “February 26 case,” were changed. He was released on bail before the trial.
On April 11, the house of former ATR cameraman Amet Umerov had been searched by staff of the Center for Countering Extremism. The operative investigation measures were deemed to be a necessity on the basis of a number of statements criticizing actions undertaken by the Russian government in Crimea, which Umerov made on a social network. Workers of the “E” Center studied the files on the computer and checked the records on his camera equipment.
On April 17, the pre-trial restrictions for Eskender Emirvaliyev, who was detained in connection with the so-called “case of February 26” on February 18, were changed.. He was released on bail before the trial.
On April 17, another Crimean Tatar activist, Ali Asanov, was detained in connection with the so-called “case of February 26” On the next day, April 18, a session of the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol to determine pre-trial restrictions took place. The court decided that Asanov would be confined in a detention facility prior to the trial.
Asanov is being accused of participating in mass riots.
On April 20, ATR camera man Eskender Nebiyev had been arrested as part of the investigation for the so-called “case of February 26.” Eskender is being accused of participating in mass riots, particularly the rally of February 26, 2014.
On April 22, it became known that an administrative offense record was filed against the news agency “Crimean news” (QHA).
Workers of the occupational Center for the Counteraction of Extremism in the Crimea decided that the violation was “spreading information on extremist groups banned in the Russian Federation.” .
According to SOVA center, the information about extremist groups banned in the Russian Federation was being spread by the agency not only before the Russian court made the appropriate decisions, but before Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation, and thus cannot in any way fall under Russian jurisdiction.
On April 24, the First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Nariman Dzhelyal, had been arrested at a Mejlis meeting. This was reported by Zair Smedlyayev, head of the Kurultai Central Election Committee, on Facebook. According to Smedlyayev, Dzhelyal had been taken to the Investigation Committee. Nariman Dzhelyay had already been questioned in March. His house had also been searched at the time. Smedylayev reported that the search and questioning had been connected to the “case of February 26.”.
On May 6, Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz, held at the Simferopol detainment center, was moved to punitive confinement. This was reported by First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Dzhelyal on his Facebook page. Dzhelyal cited the wife of the arrestee, Elmira Ablyalimova.. According to his lawyer, Chiygoz went on a hunger-strike. The penitentiary staff said that Chiygoz had been transferred to punitive confinement for violating the security regulations.
On May 7, the wife of Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz planned to meet her husband; however, she was denied her conjugal visit. The detention facility staff said that Chiygoz had been placed in punitive confinement and so a meeting was impossible..
Chiygoz’s lawyer filed a statement to see the document on the basis of which Chiygoz had been transferred into punitive confinement.
On May 8 it became known that the arrestee had been moved to a regular cell and stopped the hunger strike.
Later the court extended the detention term, having denied the lawyers’ request of changing the restriction measures to recognizance not to leave town or to a personal surety being responsible for Chiygoz.
Akhtem Chiygoz was arrested on January 29. He was accused of organizing and participating in mass riots as part of the so-called “case of February 26.”
On May 7 at 8:00 AM, Mustafa Degermendzhi (b. 1989) was arrested in the Grushevka village (near Sudak). The arrest was undertaken by a group of 6-8 fully equipped people armed with machine guns. According to his parents, the group rode up to them when they were going to work, hit Mustafa, handcuffed him and forced him to get into their car..
According to Eskender Bariyev, Head of the Committee for the Protection of Crimean Tatar Rights, the parents of the arrestee were told that this was part of the “case of Feburary 26.”
On May 11, the popular Crimean Tatar cafe “Musafir” (Bakhchysarai city) closed down. This was reported on the cafe’s Facebook page.
According to the owners of the cafe, “the Prosecutor’s Office and the courts of ‘New Crimea’ decided that our cafe’s work had been illegal“.
On May 16, activist Veldar Shukurdzhiyev had been questioned at the Center for Countering Extremism in Simferopol. According to Shukurdzhiyev, he had been questioned about the “Tatar side” of the organizers of the rally near the Crimean Parliament of February 26, 2014, and about fans of the “Tavria” football club.
On May 29, the Investigation Department of the Russian Federal Security Bureau (Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol Division) opened a criminal case against Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis.
Natalia Poklonskaya, who calls herself the Prosecutor General of Crimea, noted that the case is being opened according to article 280.1 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Public appeals for the performance of actions intended to violate Russian Federation territorial integrity”).
According to Poklonskaya, Refat Chubarov will be on Russia’s wanted list once the investigation is underway.
On May 30, a hearing was hed on the claim made by Counsellor to the Mejlis Chairman Ismet Yuksel, who had attempted to protest an earlier decision by the Russian Federation Security Bureau to forbid him from entering Russian Federation territory.
The claimant and his representatives were given no information on the reasons for such a decision, as the case had been classified at the request of the Russian Federal Security Bureau. When the so-called “secret part of the case” was read aloud, Yuksel’s lawyer was removed from the court room by a representative of the Russian Federal Security Bureau..
On June 10, the Krasnodar Krai court sentenced Khaiser Dzhemilev, son of the Crimean Tatar national leader, Ukrainian MP Mustafa Dzhemilev, to 5 years of prison term, having found him guilty of stealing firearms and reckless homicide. The charge of voluntary homicide, which the Prosecutor’s office had insisted on, had been removed by a jury on June 2..
The defense appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, insisting that the sentence needs to be lifted unconditionally and the criminal case needs to be closed.
In May 2013, Khaiser Dzhemilev shot a rifle which he stole from his father out of a window and killed his 44-year-old acquaintance, Fevzi Edemov. By the time the Russian occupation began, the case had already been taken to court. The final court authority that had been examining the case had been the Court of Appeal in Kyiv, which had judged the homicide to have been committed out of negligence, and which had sentenced the defendant durante absentia to three years and eight months of prison. As one of the basic principles of law is that no one must be judged twice for the same crime, Ukraine demanded that Russia extradite Khaiser Dzhemilev.. A Russian trial of a Ukrainian citizen who had committed a crime in Ukrainian territory and who had already been sentenced according to Ukrainian laws in a Ukrainian court is a clear violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. On July 10, 2014, the European Court for Human Rights laid Russia under an obligation to free Dzhemilev Jr.
However, after the Crimean occupation took place, the Russian government returned the case to the Investigation Committee of the Republic of Crimea, and charged Khaiser Dzhemilev according to three articles of the Russian Criminal code, including “planned murder.” Russia ignored both Ukraine’s calls to extradite Khaiser Dzhemilev and the ECHR decision. In September 2014, Khaiser Dzhemilev had been sent by prisoner transport to Krasnodar Krai, where the trial began in April 2015..
Many observers and human rights activists have expressed the notion that the blatantly extralegal behavior of Russia towards Mustafa Dzhemilev’s son is an attempt to influence the leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement. The family lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, called Khaiser Dzhemilev a hostage, who is being used “to put pressure on his father, Mustafa Dzhemilev, as the Russian investigation qualified his crime as a more severe one after Mustafa Dzhemilev had a conversation with Vladmir Putin”.
According to the Crimean Field Mission, on June 4 the 36-year-old Riza Izetov had been arrested by unknown armed persons wearing masks at the Stroganovka village of Simferopol Region. When asked who and by what right is holding the arrest, the unknown persons cited a court decision; however, they presented no documents to neither family nor friends. Izetov was taken to the Kyiv District Office of Internal Affairs (Simferopol city), where Izetov’s lawyer also was, to draw up a protocol, after which Izetov was released..
On June 18, Lilya Budjura, an ATR journalist, announced on Facebook that cameraman Eskender Nabiyev, who had earlier been arrested as part of the “case of 26 February” investigations, was finally released with Emirali Ablayev, the Mufti of Crimea, acting as surety..
Eskander Nebiyev was detained on April 20. The court originally decreed to hold him in pre-trial confinement.
On June 25, the Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Ilmi Umerov announced that the occupational government gave him “yet another warning of the inadmissibility of organizing unsanctioned events for ‘flag day’”.
On June 26, the court fined Yunus Nemetullayev, the Imam of Dolinka village (Krasnoperekopsk region) for participating in a rally commemorating the 71st anniversary of the Crimean Tatar deportation. This was reported by Head of the Central Election Committeee of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People Zair Smedlyayev.
On June 27, the Krasnoperekopsk regional court fined Saniye Ametova, Head of the Regional Mejlis, 10 thousand roubles for organizing a rally to commemorate the Crimean Tatar deportation on May 18..
On July 2, a 37-year-old citizen of Ukraine, Yuri Ilchenko, who did not switch over to Russian citizenship, was arrested by the occupational law enforcement bodies in Sevastopol. He is accused of publishing a video in social networks, where he reads self-written poetry, in which he sharply condemns the Russian occupation (“the enemy makes Muscovites [“moskal,” derogatory term for Russian common in the Ukrainian discourse -transl.] from Ukrainian children here” and so on)..
Even though there is no precise data, it is likely that criminal proceedings were opened according to Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Incitement of Hatred or Enmity”).
On July 17, the Bakhchysarai District Court sentenced the imam of the Turgenevka village mosque Mustafa Yagyayev to two years’ conditional imprisonment for inciting inter-ethnic hatred (Article 282, Part 2 of the Russian Criminal Code). Moreover, he has been banned from “any activity connected with communicating and disseminating any kind of information”.
The basis for the sentence was the imam’s critical attitude towards the Russian annexation of the peninsula. According to the investigation, the imam spoke to his three female co-workers (he is a mechanic at the Zheleznodorozhnoye village) on June 2014. In the conversation, he disagreed with their opinion on the Crimea being joined to Russia and stated that the Crimea will be returned to Ukraine, and then war will ensue. Yagyayev allegedly said that the Russians will be butchered and bemoaned the loss of life among his Muslim brothers in advance. The convicted man himself ardently denies having ever said that.
According to experts of the Russian SOVA center, “even if we assume that he really did make statements that could have been interpreted as threats (and this is something that we are doubtful of), they were not public. [...] Thus, his actions cannot be qualified according to Article 282 of the Criminal Code, which only applies to public statements.”.
On July 28, some notable activists of the Crimean Tatar movement were served summonses for questioning on the so-called “case of February 26.” The activists included Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People Zair Smedlyayev, First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Jelyal, and Mejlis Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov.
Umerov’s summons was scheduled for July 29, while Jelyal and Smedlyayev have been called to come in on August 1. The activists themselves believe that the summonses may be connected with the World Congress of Crimean Tatars, to be held at these same dates in Akara. They were not able to participate in the Congress due to being called in for questioning.
On July 28, the Kyiv District Court of the city of Simferopol extended the arrest of Akhtem Chigoyz, accused of organizing and participating in mass riots on February 26, 2014, to November 19. 
On August 1, on the first working day of the II World Congress of Crimean Tatars, which began in Istanbul, several notable representatives of the Crimean Tatars were summoned for questioning in Simferopol. These representatives included Chairman of the Central Election Commission of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People Zair Smedlyayev, First Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Jelyal, and Mejlis member Lemmar Yunusov.. The day before, Mejlis Deputy Chairman Ilmi Umerov was also called in for questioning to the Investigation Committee. On that same day, Mejlis member Enver Kurtiev was called in for questioning to the Russian Federation Investigation Committee in the Republic of Crimea by the means of a phone call, as he had already been on his way to the Congress..
The activists of the Crimean Tatar movement believe that these timely summons were driven by the desire of the occupational government to prevent them from participating in the World Congress.
According to Ilmi Umerov, who recorded a video address to the Congress participants, the occupants “are trying to open new criminal cases.”.
On that same day, Mejlis Chairman Refat Chubarov stated at the World Congress of Crimean Tatars that the Crimean Tatars are forced to “live through a new version of genocide,” which is being executed by “that talented heir to the Soviet Union, Putin’s Russia.”.
On the next day, August 2, the Congress called the global community to acknowledge that Russia’s actions aimed at destroying the Crimean Tatars, which have taken place from 1783 to the present time, constitute a genocide..
On August 3, coordinator of the Crimean Field Mission Olga Skrypnyk and analyst Vissarion Assev gave a press-conference dedicated to presenting the mission’s latest report, containing a multitude of facts about illegal detention, arrests, and torture of Crimean Tatars.
According to the human rights activists, “restriction of Crimean Tatar rights and pressure from law enforcement is becoming systematic. Activists, who have forsaken hope for any kind of justice, are being kidnapped, and videos from surveillance cameras disappear without a trace.”.
On August 14, Russian Security Service staff came to the mosque in Vasilyevka village (Yalta) to install security cameras “to counteract terrorism.”.
On August 15, the Kyiv District Court of the city of Simferopol extended the provisional detention of Ali Aslanov, one of the people involved in the so-called “case of November 26.” On August 24, the Supreme Court of Crimea dismissed the complaint filed against this decision.
According to Aslanov’s relatives, he is being pressured to testify against Akhtem Chiygoz, who is being accused by the occupants of organizing mass riots on February 26, 2014.
On October 6, the Kyiv District Court of the city of Simferopol has sentenced (in absentia) Refat Chubarov, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, to being detained for “public calls to plan, organise, prepare and perform the acts aimed at violation of the integrity of the Russian Federation” (Article 280.1, Part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation; “Public Appeals for the Performance of Extremist Activity”). The basis for the decision was a request made to the Investigation Department of the Federal Security Service Directorate (UFSB) for Crimea and Sevatopol.
Earlier, on June 4, 2014, Refat Chubarov had been banned from entry to the Russian Federation.
On October 9, the Central District Court of Simferopol changed the pre-trial restrictions for Eskander Nebiyev, former cameraman for the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR, to detention. Nebiyev had already been under arrest earlier. The arrestee was suspected of participating in mass riots (Article 212, Part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) during the events of February 26, 2014, which took place under the Parliament of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea..
On October 11, Natalia Poklonskaya, who calls herself “prosecutor of Crimea,” issued a statement that Eskender Nebiyev has made a plea bargain based on working with the prosecutor’s office, has admitted his guilt, and is helping the investigation. According to the verdict, Nebiyev has pleaded guilty to “acting in compliance with the orders of Akhtem Chiygoz, who organized the unsanctioned rally, has committed a socially grievous crime.” The socially grievous crime consisted of landing several blows on an unidentified person.
On October 12, the Simferopol Central District Court conducted a hearing for the case under simplified proceedings and sentenced Eskender Nebiyev to 2 years and 6 months probation..
It is likely that the plea bargain involved the defendant’s release from doing actual time in prison in exchange for evidence agains Deputy Chairman of the Meijlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz, who is being accused of organizing riots. In essence, now the accusations against Chiygoz, who is currently undergoing investigation in a detention facility, have already been confirmed by this decision. However, Nebiyev’s lawyer has stated that his defendant has given no evidence against Chiygoz. According to the lawyer, Nebiyev merely confimed that he saw the Deputy Mejlis Chairman during the rally, but also stated that he had received no orders from Chiygoz and was not witness to Chiygoz giving any orders at all..
It must be added here that the father of the accused, Bekir Nebiyev, had been accused by occupational law enforcement bodies of committing double homicide on September 26. The mutilated body of Bekir Nebiyev himself had been found in a tract of forest land near the Simferopol microdistrict “Fontany” on October 10. The investigators of the crime believe that Nebiyev Sr. committed suicide.
Early on October 21, members of the occupational police force and the so-called “Crimean self-defense forces” searched the house of Mustafayev Rustem, who lives in the Kalinovka village of the Lenin region of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The search party did not present any documents to the owner of the house. According to the writ that Mustafayev had been given to read, the search was being held at the request of neighbors, despite all of the neighbors being either relatives or friends of his..
On October 23, the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation requested the Russian Prosecutor General Yuriy Chaika to conduct an extremism check against the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People..
On October 26, the court finished its examination of Ali Asanov’s appeal, who is a suspect in the so-called “case of February 26,” and who had been placed into pre-trial detention until November 19 by the decision of the Simferopol city Kyiv District Court. The court declined the defender’s argument that the decision for pre-trial detention was made in violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure of the Russian Federation and refused to change the pre-trial restrictions to house arrest or being released under his own recognizance.
Ali Asanov has been under arrest since April 17..
On the morning of November 2, searches began in the houses of former workers of the Crimean Tatar ATR channel Lilya Budjurova and Elzara Islyamova (who are now Deputy Director General and Director General of QaraDeniz Production), as well as in the home belonging to the parents of Lenur Islyamov, the owner of ATR, and his house in Moscow. and at a number of commercial enterprises that he owns.
Lenur Islyamov is one of the initiators and organizators of the civil campaign to block goods from entering the occupied peninsula. As far as can be inferred, this campaign is the reason for the puppet regime in Crimea to pursue him. It also became known on that same day that criminal proceedings have been opened against Lenur Islyamov according to Article 280.1, p.2 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Public Calls for the Violation of the Territorial Integrity of the Russian Federation”). Natalia Poklonskaya, who calls herself the Prosecutor General of Crimea, wrote on Facebook on that same day: “Legal action will follow against all of those who organized the so-called ‘blockade’ of Crimea, who acted against the rights and freedoms of our citizens, against the interests of our state and the republic of Crimea, who violated our current laws. Lenur Islyamov is not an exception! They will all be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!”
The Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs has opened two criminal proceedings about the violation of citizen’s rights in Crimea, particularly concerning the searches in the homes of Lenur Islyamov and former ATR workers, as well as concerning obstruction of law-abiding activity of NGOs that speak against the occupation of Crimea. According to the ministry, data about these criminal cases has been filed in special databases.
On November 10, a court hearing took place to extend pre-trial restrictions for Ferit Seifullayev, Rustem Vaitov, Nuri Primov and Ruslan Zaitullayev. The court decided to extend their detention for two months, until January 22, 2016. They had been arrested in Sevastopol in January and are being accused of terrorism. As far as can be incurred, the accusation is based on their participation in the Hizb ut-Tahrir movement, which is banned in Russia.
According to Nuriman Memedinov’s Facebook post, activists who had come to the trial to support the detained were given summonses for questioning to the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB). Everyone who had entered and exited the court building had been filmed.
On November 16, the former editor of the Crimean Tatar ATR channel, currently Deputy Director General of OOO [LLC -transl.] “Karadeniz Production” Lilya Budzhurova filed a legal complaint against Russian security service employees who searched her hom on November 2.
According to Budzhurova, the reason for her taking legal action was that they did not allow her lawyer to be present during the search. Budzhurova believes that this is a violation of her constitutional right to a lawyer. According to the Crimean journalist, FSB staff deny that any violations had taken place The first hearing took place on November 16, in the Kyiv Distric Court of Simferopol.
On November 17, the term of arrest for Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz had been extended to January 29, 2016. The decision was made by the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol. The judge, Victor Mozhelyansky, agreed with the prosecution and granted its request to extend the term of arrest. He also ignored the arguments of the defense, which noted that Chiygoz has three dependents (a child born in 2002 and elderly parents) and that he had no intend to run from the investigation.
Akhtem Chiygoz was arrested on January 29, 2015 in an ongoing criminal investigation about the organization of mass riots near the Parliament of Crimea, which took place on February 26, 2014. Since then, the term of his arrest has been extended several times.
The court also extended the term of arrest for two more persons of interest for the “February 26 case,” Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhi, for three more months (until February 19, 2016). The court’s reasoning for the decision was that the accused “may abscond during the investigation and put pressure on the witnesses”.
On November 25, occupational law enforcement staff visited the home of the parents of Mejlis member Eskander Bariyev. His sisters were called in for questioning by the FSB.
On November 25, the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol granted the investigator’s request to impose a time limit on the familiarization of the defendant in the “case of February 26,” Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz and his lawyers with the materials of the case. They were given until December 4 to do so. Notably, the case materials comprise 24 volumes and 47 gigabytes of video recordings. According to the defense, one gigabyte is about four hours of viewing time.
On November 30, FSB workers conducted a search in the home of the Chairman of the Kirov Regional Mejlis Ekrem Abdulvatov. According to them, the search was connected to open criminal proceedings concerning the explosion at the electricity transmission tower that had been powering the peninsula. Nothing was confiscated as a result of the two-hour search.
A search was also conducted at the home of Acting Chairman of the Sovietsky Regional Mejlis Rustem Mennanov.
On November 30, the Supreme Court of Crimea dismissed the defense’s appeal to change pre-trial restrictions for three persons of interest in the “case of February 26”: Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz and activists Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhi. The court left in force the decision made by the court of original jurisdiction, passed on November 17.
According to the investigation, Akhtem Chiygoz organized and Ali Asanov and Mustafa Degermendzhi participated in mass riots that took place on February 26, 2014, near the Crimean Parliament. The riots grew out of the rally of supporters of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, which numbered in the thousands, and their opponents from the “Russian Unity” party, led by the current head of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov..
On December 2, the Crimean Tatar human rights activist from Yalta, Emir-Usein Kuku had been called in for questioning to the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee in the Republic of Crimea in connection to opening a case on inciting hatred on an ethnic basis (Article 282 of the Criminal Code). According to Kuku, the case had been opened on the basis of FSB materials and involves at least 42 of his posts on Facebook. In April, FSB staff had already been interrogating the activists and conducted searches in his home based on his posts on the “Odnoklassniki” social network.
On December 7, one of the accused in the “May 3 case,” Edem Osmayev, was sentenced to one year of probation. The prosecution, meanwhile, demanded two years in prison..
On December 10, another suspect in the “May 3 case,” the 53-year-old Tair Smedlyayev, was sentenced to two years of probation.
Both of the accused were found guilty according to Article 318, P. 1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Use of Violence Against a Representative of the Power”). The defense insisted that the “injured party” in the confrontation were not representatives of the authorities. They were former members of the Ukrainian special police department “Berkut,” and even though they were in-uniform, at that time they were not employed by law enforcement in any country. “Berkut” had been disbanded in February 2014, and the former Ukrainian policemen had only been hired by Russians at the end of May.
To recap the incident in question: on May 3, 2014, many activists of the Independent Crimean Tatar Movement went to the administrative border between the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to greet their national leader, Mustafa Dzhemilev, who was forbidden entry to the peninsula by the occupational government. The meeting turned into a protest rally, during which, according to the occupants, the activists disturbed public order and violently broke through the police line. Three activists had already been sentenced for the “May 3” case, and approximately 100 people were fined sums from 10 to 40 thousand roubles.
On December 9, yet another search took place at the home of Elzara Islyamova, the Director General of the QaraDeniz production studio, former Director General of the Crimean Tatar ATR channel.
According to lawyer Dzhemil Temishev, the search in Islyamova’s home was part of the criminal investigation against Lenur Islyamov, ATR owner and one of those who organized the civil campaign to block off Crimea..
On December 10, a search was also held at the house of QaraDeniz production studio editor Roman Spiridonov, as well as at the home of his parents. The searches seem to have been part of the same case.
On December 16, the 24-year-old Invir Krosh, a Crimean Tatar who had been lured into the local police department under false pretenses, had Federal Security Service representatives attempt to force him into cooperation. The occupants threatened Krosh’s children with bodily harm and death. They also tortured him by electric shock..
On December 22, a search had been held in the house of the parents of Father Sergiy, a Ukrainian priest of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Kyiv Patriarchy), who himself currently resides in mainland Ukraine. Four notebooks with private notes had been confiscated in the search, which was sanctioned by Natalia Poklonskaya, who calls herself “Prosecutor General of Crimea.” Criminal proceedings have been opened against the priest for “participating in an extremist organization.” As far as it is known, the priest was a former member of the People’s Movement of Ukraine, which had not been classified as an extremist organization in the Russian Federation.
On December 23, the next day after the search, the mother of the suspect was taken for questioning as a witness to the Zheleznodorozhnoye police department. Her fingerprints had also been taken.
On December 24, the Supreme Court of Crimea dismissed the appeal made by the defense of Akhtem Chiygoz, who was accused in the “case of February 24” for organizing mass riots, of extending the term of familiarization with the investigation’s materials.
Earlier, the Kyiv District court (Simferopol city) restricted the term of familiarization with materials of the case to ten days. Notably, the case materials comprise 24 volumes and 47 gigabytes of video recordings. According to the defense, one gigabyte is about four hours of viewing time. The accused only had time to familiarize himself with 10 volumes over the time given by the court of original jurisdiction.
On December 28, the first actual court hearing on the “case of February 26” took place in the at the Supreme Court of Crimea. Suspects included Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Akhtem Chiygoz, who had been accused of organizing riots by the occupants, as well as activists Mustafa Degermendzhi, Ali Asanov, Arsen Yunusov, Eskender Emirvaliyev and Eskander Kantemirov.
During the hearing, Chiygoz’s attorney, Aleksandr Lesovoi, requested to stop criminal proceedings as the events happened in Ukraine and thus cannot be investigated by Russian law enforcement bodies, but the judges dismissed the motion. The court also dismissed the appeal made by the defense of Degermedzhi and Asanov about changing the pre-trial restraints from detention to house arrest or a written pledge not to leave town.
The court sustained the motion to allow public defenders to work on the case (in Russian law, public defenders are additional participants who participate in the legal process on par with the defendant’s attorney; if the court allows, a close relative may fill the function instead of a legally-trained professional. -transl.). For Chiygoz, the public defender will be his wife, Elmira Ablyalimova. For Mustafa Degermendzhi and Eskender Emirvaliyev, the defenders will be their mothers..
On that same day, December 28, judgement was passed in the Central District Court of Simferopol on one more suspect in the “case of February 26,” Talyat Yunusov. The defendant was found guilty of participation in mass riots and was sentenced to 3,5 years of probation.
To recap: the after te occupation, the puppet regime opened criminal proceedings according to Article 212 (“Mass Riots Accompanied by Violence”) of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The pretext for the case were the confrontations on February 26, 2014. Only Crimean Tatars were accused in these criminal proceedings. Akhtem Chiygoz is being accused according to Article 212, Part 1 (“Organization of Mass Riots”), and all the other defendants are being accused according to Part 2 of the same article.
According to the so-called “Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Crimea” it was “found that [...] the unlawful actions of the organizator and participants of the mass riots led to the deathsof two people, and to 79 people sustaining various injuries”.
Earlier, on October 12, the Central District Court of Simferopol already passed a sentence on another of the suspects in the February 26 case, Eskender Nebiyev. See the October issue of our bulletin for details.
It can be assumed that the sentences already passed on the “case of February 26” are necessary so that the “guilt” of the “riot” “organizator” Akhtem Chiygoz, whose case is only now just being opened, would have been long “proved” by prior sentences.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published an official comment “in connection to the beginning of the so-called ‘trial’ of the participants of the peaceful rally in Simferopol that took place on February 26, 2014, and that is now being conducted by the Russian occupational government.” The statement reads: “the lynching of those who protected their homeland from the Russian aggressor by the occupational government [...] is a cynical challenge of international law issued to the global community.” “The policy of persecution of Crimean Tatars enacted by the Russian occupational government, cases of violence and cruel treatment, facts of forced deportation, restriction of the right to freedom of religion, destruction of community organizations and the persecution of media outlets and journalists have turned Crimea into an island of fear and suffering for its indigenous people.” The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demanded that the Russian side “stop persecuting Crimean Tatars in the temporarily occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and immediately free illegally detained suspects of the February 26 case”.
On December 28, approximately twenty-five participants of illegal paramilitary groups (so-called “Crimean Cossacks”) led by “ataman” [chieftain -transl.] Yakovlev and his deputy, Rokhman, raided Crimean Tatar homest in the Dolinka village of the Krasnoperekopsk region in the Crimea. According to the Chairman of the Krasnoperekopsk Regional Mejlis Sanya Ametova, the Cossacks’ raid took place because some of the local villages, included Dolinka, had bus stops with Ukrainian government symbols and the crosswalks were painted blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine.
According to the Dolinka imam Yunus Nemetullayev, the people who came under fire were mostly those who had been seen at the solemn commemoration of the 71st anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars, which took place on May 18 at the Voinka village, near a memorial plaque for the deported. The cossacks and the police took photographs of all participants to confirm their identity later. “They were all registered at the local police office. The raid was focusing on the activists. They did not visit anyone who had not participated,” the imam said.
Discrimination, license withdrawal for organizations, bans on holding public events
On March 20, the Crimean Tatar ATR channel received an official letter from the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor). The letter is an official notification that the TV channel’s request to be registered as a media outlet according to Russian law had been dismissed without prejudice.
On April 1, the Crimean Tatar TV channel ATR was closed. They had not been able to register as a media outlet according to Russian law in the time frame allotted to them for this purpose (end of March). The TV company had sent in the necessary documents to Roskomnadzor several times, but they had been rejected for various reasons.
Other media from the ATR Media Holding underwent a similar fate, particularly the children’s Crimean Tatar TV channel “Lale” and the FM radio stations “Meidan” and “Leader,” which were forced to stop both analogue and satellite broadcasting. The website “15 minutes” and the QHA news website were also unable to register.
A group of seven students wanted to film a video in support of the Crimean Tatar ATR channel, but they were detained by the police on the street. They were tried on the same day, at the Kyiv District Court of Simferopol, where they were accused of “holding an unsanctioned rally.” Their lawyer, Jemil Tamishev, requested that the court session be moved so that he would have time to study the case material, but had been denied his request by the court.
Before March 31, there had been a number of Crimean Tatar media active in the peninsula, including the “Yañı dünya,” “Qırım,” “Voice of Crimea,” and “Avdet” newspapers, the “Armanchik,” “Kasevet,” and “Yıldız” journals; independent news agencies such as “Crimean News QHA” and the online portal “15 minutes.org,” the ATR and Lale TV channels, and radio Meidan. According to the Committee for the Protection of Independent Crimean Tatar Media, only one media outlet was able to register before April 1—the “Voice of Crimea. New” newspaper.
The puppet Crimean regime announced that they would be helping to create a new Crimean Tatar TV channel on the next day, April 2. It seems reasonable to suppose that it will be loyal to the occupational government.
On April 6, the Council of Teachers organization was denied a renewal of their registration. Earlier, the Council of Teachers held the lease contract to a building in Bakchisarai, which hosted the regional department of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People. The lease agreement was already annulled by the Commercial Court in September 2014, and the decision was upheld by the court of appellate jurisdiction. By March 31, the Mejlis removed all of its assets and vacated the premises..
On April 16, the pastor of the Protestant “New Life” church, Bishop Anatoliy Kalyuzhniy said that not one Protestant community in the Crimea had not been allowed to-register as a religious organization according to Russian law. Due to the loss of their legal status, they are no longer able to rent premises and continue their functions. Over 30% of the Protestant communities in the occupied peninsula do not own any premises and need to rent them.
Kalyuzhniy also reported that the security services [of Russia - transl.] are actively working on community leaders. There now exists a database of church leaders, whose contacts with believers in mainland Ukraine are monitored.
On May 16, the leader of the Crimean Tatar people Mustafa Dzhemilev made a public statement about the occupational Russian government forbidding Crimean Tatars to hold their own events to commemorate the anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars. In particular, Natalia Poklonskaya, who calls herself Prosecutor General of Crimea, issued a warning to Mejlis Chairman Nariman Dzhelyal that gatherings of people on May 18 are inadmissible..
On May 18, the 71st Memorial Day for Victims of the Deportation was officially commemorated in the Crimea. As last year (and as opposed to all previous years) there was no All-Crimean Mourning Rally. The authorities decided that the events would be held “in a new form.” Moreover, there had been fears of provocative actions being undertaken during public gatherings.
Against the backdrop of official commemorative events, dozens of people, including journalists, were being arrested throughout the day.
The most high profile incident took place in the afternoon in Simferopol. Participants of the motor rally dedicated to the Memorial Day for Victims of the Deportation planned to ride from Simferopol to Bakhchysarai with Crimean Tatar flags. Approximately 50 cars left the Ak-Mechet village, where many Crimean Tatars reside, for the drive to Bakhchysarai. However, they were blocked off by the Russian State Traffic Safety Inspectorate (STSI) right after the “Zapadnaya” bus station, near a fuel station.
A short while later, Vice Prime Minister of Crimea Ruslan Balbek and Head of the Crimean State Commission On Inter-Ethnic Relations and Affairs of Deported Citizens of the Republic Zaur Smirnov came to the fuel station personally. They began a conversation with participants of the rally, who expressed their indignation at the situation. All of the youths except those who were not yet of age were detained by occupational police forces.
All of the detained participants of the rally were released after questioning at the Zheleznodorozhny District Office of Internal Affairs of Simferopol, which included taking their fingerprints.
On June 1, unknown persons took down the national flag from the front of the former Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People building in Simferopol. The main entrance doors were open, and the flag that had earlier been located above the door was taken down and left near a pole opposite the entrance.
Crimean Tatar activists returned the flag to its former spot.
The building which used to host the Mejlis office, the “Crimea” Charity Foundation and the “Avdet” newspaper office has been sealed off since September 2014.
On the evening of June 17, the Crimean Tatar ATR channel returned to the air waves from Kyiv. The channel used to be located in Crimea, but it stopped transmission on April 1, as the occupational government refused to grant it a media license. On the next day, June 18, the Chairman of the Committee on Informational Policy of the occupational government of Crimea, Sergei Shuvaynikov, said that ATR journalists that will continue satellite broadcasting from Kyiv will be held liable for breaking Russian law should they do so while preparing their materials.
Shuvainikov added that he views the ATR’s move to Kyiv in a negative light, as he believes that Ukraine is currently “fighting an information war against Russian Crimea” .
On June 25, ATR journalist Lilya Budjura announced that ATR channel staff who were working in Crimea in accordance with the completely legal accreditation certificate given by Roskomnadzor to “Queenmedia” are being forbidden from filming in public offiices relevant to Crimean Tatar culture. According to her information, a variety of such public offices received a letter from the Ministry of Internal Policy and Information of the Crimean Republic, where it is recommended not to admit ATR, “15 minutes,” “Crimea. Realities” and QHA journalists onto the premises. .
On July 24, it became known that the pension of Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov had been reduced nine times. The basis for the decision was a medical examination that re-evaluated his disability status. Before the occupation, Ilmi Umerov had headed the Bakhchysarai District State Adminstration. He left the post last August, as he had refused to swear the oath required of all Russian civil servants.
According to Umerov’s opinion, the re-evaluation of his disability status and the corresponding reduction in pension might be connected to his political position. “I know with certainty that Russian Federal Security Bureau representatives showed up at [my] clinic and checked all of my records. They also had the doctors give explanatory reports on whether ‘Umerov was really sick and whether there really is a basis of giving him a pension,’” Umerov said.
Earlier, the politician’s daugher, Aishe, had been fired from the Bakhchysarai Historical and Cultural Preserve. She had been told “to her face” that “Umerov’s daugher won’t be working with us.” Umerov’s wife had owned an art salon, but her request to extend the rent of its premises had been denied. She had to close the business.
In the last decade of August, a case of open and obvious discrimination against Crimean Tatars garnered a wide resonance. The incident took place at a Simferopol barber shop located at 60 Kyivska street.
On August 18, the owner of the shop, Natalia Radostina, forbid two of her workers, young Crimean Tatar women, to speak the Crimean Tatar language at work. On the next day, August 19, the owner of the barber shop attempted to forbid the same to Crimean Tatar Rustem Seitov, also a worker. Moreover, she forbid him from performing the salah (namaz) ritual prayer at work. According to the barber, when he applied for the job six years ago, he had stated openly that he was a Muslim and needed to perform the salah ritual, which the administration had no problem with. Seitov said that previously the barbers had spoken both Russian and Crimean Tatar to their clients and among themselves, and before the Russian occupation this had caused no problems whatsoever..
The young man recorded his conversation with the owner on his phone.“So there are three of you here, and there will never be any more again,” Radostina said.
After the incident became public, the young man and two women, also Crimean Tatars, were no longer allowed to come to work. However, they were not formally fired and their documents were not returned.
Lydumila Lubina, the “ombudsman” appointed by the occupational government, said that it is necessary to review the situation in detail and find out whether the workers used the owner’s inability to understand their language to “insult her or call her names.”.
Rustem Seitov sees the incident as an open act of discrimination and intends to fight for his rights.
Notably, according to the “Constitution” of the so-called “Republic of Crimea,” the “state languages” in the occupied peninsula are currently Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar.
On September 25, it became known that representatives of commercial structures that received licenses to lease land in Zhigulina Roscha (Mirnoye village of the Simferopol district) near the Meganom shopping center on Simferopol’s Eupatoria highway began to demolish buildings erected by the Crimean Tatars on the “protest glade,” which has existed for over ten years now.
On November 14, occupational police workers attempted to ban the Chairman of the Central Election Committee of the Kurultai of the Crimean Tatar People Zair Smedlyayev from taking the Crimean Tatar flag to a stadium wheretwo Crimean Tatar teams were playing each other from the Ahmetham Sultan prize. The incident happened in Petrivka village of Krasnohvardiiske Region of Crimea. Smedlyayev insisted that the tamga is not a prohibited symbol and said that the police could officially fine him if he is in violation of a law. After that, the representatives of the occupational law enforcement withdrew their complaints.
On November 23, the puppet Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea issued a decree titled “On Reorganizing State Autonomous Institutes Under the Jurisdiction of the State Committee on Inter-Ethnic Relations and Deported Citizens of the Republic of Crimea,” which disbanded two Crimean Tatar media outlets: the newspaper “Yañı dünya” and the literary journal “Yıldız.”. Their legal successor would be the Ismail Gasprinsky Media Center.
On December 9, the Simferopol city administration rejected the request to hold a rally dedicated to International Human Rights Day on December 10. The request was filed on December 3, by Deputy Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Ilmi Umerov.
On December 22, Ukrainian MP and Commissioner of the President on the Affairs of Crimean Tatars Mustafa Dzhemilev gave a detailed commentary to Svoboda Radio about the latest string of disappearances and talked about the situation in the peninsula in general. According to the MP, over 20 Crimean Tatars vanished without a trace since the beginning of the Russian occupation of Crimea. Moreover, Dzhemilev noted the case of Invir Krosh (see above for a full description), when “the person was tortured not to extract any kind of information, but to force him to become a ‘squealer,’ a ‘rat.’”
On December 24, the leader of the collaborant government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov, gave an interview to the Russian NTV channel, wherein he called the “persecution of Crimean Tatars” a “bold-faced lie.” According to Aksenov, this is all just “speculation by persons who have never been in Crimea”.
In turn, First Deputy of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Nariman Dzhelyal gave an interview to the “Crimea.Realities” where he said: “the statements of local government representatives about problems and Crimean Tatar oppression ‘not existing’ are an absolute lie.” “People continue to be kidnapped, legal prosecution continues, searches and interrogations continue. There are also hidden problems, such as discrimination on the job market or the firing of Crimean Tatars from government positions. And so on.”.
On December 26, it became known that the League of Crimean Tatar Women charity organization was evicted from the premises it had been renting from the Gasprinsky Republican Crimean Tatar Library..
The League of Crimean Tatar Women is headed by Safinar Dzhemileva, wife of Mustafa Dzhemilev, the Commissioner of the President of Ukraine on Crimean Tatar Affairs.
On December 28, it became known that the last remaining Ukrainian-speaking childrens’ theater studio Svitanok had been disbanded. The studio used to operate at the Simferopol Creativity Center for Children and Youth. According to our information, the studio was closed because of a St. Nicholas day theater production. Before the studio was disbanded, the leadership of the Creativity Center stated their displeasure at the Ukrainian scenes in plays having no Russian translation and the children acting in vyshivankas, traditional Ukrainian ethnic attire.
“Counteraction” of Anti-Semitism
On May 30, Natalia Poklonskaya, the self-proclaimed Prosecutor General of Crimea, protested against the closing of the Simferopol “Ner Tamid” synagogue case and sent it for additional investigation. The case gained a new suspect—a 20-year-old young man who had been arrested a month earlier.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office statement, the arrestee is also being suspected of an arson attempt on the “Chukurcha-Jami” mosque in June 2014 and of an attempted terrorist attack in August, when a bag with explosives was found near the Prosecutor’s Office building.
Moreover, according to the Prosecutor’s Office, the young man is a militant from the volunteer “Azov” Batallion and had already participated in the anti-terrorist operation in Donbass on the side of Ukraine. Apparently he joined the Ukrainian police after desecrating the synagogue, trying to burn down the mosque, and an attempted terrorist attack on the Crimean Prosecutor’s office (in August of 2014 at the earliest), then went to war, and by spring of 2015 returned to Crimea to await arrest.
The Azov Regiment’s PR Department immediately refuted Poklonskaya’s statement. “The information about an Azov member allegedly preparing a terrorist attack in Crimea, which has been temporarily occupied by Russian aggressors, is yet another provocation that has no basis in reality,” the Azov statement reads. The “Azov” PR department stressed that the regiment does not have any branches or groups in Crimea.
On September 25, Natalia Poklonskaya, who calls herself the Prosecutor General of the Crimea, announced that the young man who had been arrested after being accused of the desecration of the Simferopol synagogue, an arson attempt on a mosque, and a terroristic act near the prosecutor’s office, and who had been said to have been a fighter of the “Azov” batallion, had “admitted his guilt and gave away the names of others.” According to the occupants’ proxy, “they’re only brave when they have masks on and drink tea with mind-altering substances. When the tea’s gone, so is their bravery.” Poklonskaya stated that “the criminal proceedings have almost been completed, and the matter will be taken to court shortly.”.
As it is well-know what sort of investigation methods are applied to Ukrainian activists arrested in occupied Crimea, it can also be inferred that the investigation had “helped” the young man in his “confession” and accusation of others not just by limiting his access to “tea with mind-altering substances.” In similar cases, the most famous of which is the case of Oleg Sentsov and Aleksandr Kolchenko, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights on Ukraine, law enforcement staff have tortured the detained to make them plead guilty and accuse others. This did not stop the accused from being sentenced to prison time for a term of 10 to 20 years.
Unfortunately, as the young man is being accused of committing anti-Semitic and Islamophobic crimes in Crimea and of being an “Azov” member at the same time, we are expecting to see yet another mock political trial.
To recap, the Simferopol “Ner Tamid” synagogue was defaced on the night of February 27, 2014. An unknown vandal wrote “Death to Kikes” in black paint on the doors of the building. They also drew a swastika to the left of the doors and on the doors themselves, and a wolfsangel (a Runic symbol used in the Third Reich and currently widely spread among neo-Nazis) to the right of the doors. The plaques of the Progressive Judaic Religious Community and the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Crimea, hanging on both sides of the door, were crossed out.
The wolfsangel was inverted in comparison to the one usually used by Ukrainian nationalists (including those fighting in the Azov batallion), which interpret it as a monogram of the “I” and “N” letters, as a contraction of the “Ideya Natsii” (“Nation’s Idea”) slogan.
Notably, three days before that moment, on February 25, a radical right activist with a criminal past, Igor Moseychuk, spoke on behalf of the Right Sector at the 112 TV channel. In particular, Moseychuk stated that Ukrainian patriots are ready to come to Crimea to counteract separatist tendencies. His speech garnered a wide resonance in Crimea and was actively used by pro-Russian propaganda to make the residents of the peninsula fear Ukrainian “punisher Fascists.” Of course, nobody paid attention to the fact that the man speaking on behalf of the organization was a freshly-released convict that had never been part of the Right Sector. By that point, the Right Sector had been demonized by the media and had been seen by many in the Crimea as an extremist or even terrorist organization.
Moseychuk had also been wearing a shirt with a regular, non-mirrored wolfsangel. We tentatively put forward the theory that this speech was also the source of the neo-Nazi symbol. The desecration of the synagogue was also actively used for propaganda, to discredit Ukrainian nationalists (which was an umbrella term for all pro-Ukrainian independence, sovereignty, and territorial inviolability) and to create a Fascism scare for the residents of the peninsula.
Notably, the act of vandalism happened less than 24 hours after Simferopol was taken under control by the Russian military. As far as we are aware of, there are no indications of the presence of organized Ukrainian national-radical groups in the middle of the Crimean peninsula at that time.
The attempt was qualified as “hooliganism,” and the case was closed. However, it had been reopened at the insistence of Natalia Poklonskaya after a suspect was arrested in the spring of 2015.
Later, on early June 13, 2014, an unknown criminal threw three bottles of incendiary mixture at the Chukurcha-dzhami mosque in Simferopol’s Lugovoye microdistrict. The arson attempt was caught on camera.
Two plastic windows were damaged in the attempt; the building itself sustained no significant damage. A nearby fence had also been defaced with a swastika, the date “13.06.2014” and the “NS/WP” letters, signifying the ideology of the vandal (National Socialism, “white power”). It is assumed that the vandal and the arsonist are the same person.
On December 26, the Kerch City Court passed its sentence on Igor Dukhanin, a local resident, who had been putting up anti-Semitic flyers around the city in November 2014.
The occupational law enforcement qualified his actions according to Article 280, Part 1 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Public Appeals for the Performance of Extremist Activity”).
The accused was found guilty and sentenced to 2,5 years of probation and disqualified him from practicing certain professions, i.e. working in the media, teaching or organizing mass events for the entire 2,5-year-long term.
Immediately afterwards, the accused was granted amnesty in respect to the main penalty (2,5 years of probation), based on the Decree “On Granting Amnesty In Connection With the 70th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945.” Thus, only the prohibition on practicing certain professions remained in force.
- Xenophobia in occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Ukraine
On February 2, leaders of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR and LNR respectively), which have been occupied by Russians and collaborants, Aleksandr Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky held a joint press-conference in Donetsk.
At the end of his speech, leader of the puppet DNR regime Aleksand Zakharchenko called the Ukrainian leaders “sorry Jews”.
He also said that Poroshenko does not have the right to lead “Cossack” Ukraine on principle. “If your own common sense does not win, then the common sense of the Ukrainian people will, and it will force you do what is good for the Ukrainian people. I’d like to say... that I can’t remember a time in Ukrainian history when the Cossacks would have been ruled over the people who weren’t quite the... Who hadn’t ever run around with a sabre. I can’t remember Jews going...” The leader of Luhansk terrorists, Igor Plotnitsky (who is himself sometimes called a “kike” by the representatives of Russian neo-Cossack illegal militant groups in control of certain residential areas of the Luhansk Region) understood where his “colleague” was going and attempted to improve on that thought by saying jokingly: “Well, why not? They can take a look on what do you call it, YouTube, there’s even a song called ‘When the Jewish Cossacks Rose Up.’” Not wanting to reduce his point to a joke, the leader of the Donetsk terrorists parried: “Those are not Jewish Cossacks, not by a long shot, and the sorry representatives of a large and great people... certainly hadn’t ruled over Cossacks.”
Zakharchenko then ended his conversation with the press with the following powerful statement: “I believe that Taras Bulba and Taras Shevchenko will roll over in their graves many times after seeing such rulers in Ukraine,” thus demonstrating his incredible ignorance of literature (Taras Bulba is a historic novella by Nikolai Gogol - transl.).
Some Russian TV channels streamed the news conference live.
Notably, last year the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs called the acts of pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass region, which were supported by Russian special forces groups, “protests that are a reaction to the violence towards all those who do not agree with the anti-Semitic acts of the coalition reigning in Kyiv.”.
On April 9, a number of media reported that the Luhansk Jewish community “Beit Menachem” office, (located at 15-b, kv. Vatutina, Luhansk) had been seized together with all of its property at the personal order of “LNR Minister of Education” Lesya Lapteva. The operation had allegedly been conducted under the personal auspices of the “Minister.” Earlier, the building used to be a Jewish school of the I-III degree and a pre-school. Beit Menachem’s affairs are currently being conducted out of its main office in Israel. Some media also reported that community staff had been injured during the attack on the building, and that a member of its legal staff suffered a gunshot wound..
The National Minority Rights Monitoring Group checked this report and needs to state here that representatives of the Luhansk Jewish community who stayed in territories occupied by Russians and local collaborants deny that there had been an attempt to seize the building by force.
In her letter, I. Razinkova, Executive Director of the Luhansk Regional Jewish Religious Community, wrote the following: “The matter at hand is that the LNR leadership had raised the question of making the ‘Beit Menachem’ school into a cadet corps, and then into a center of out-of-school education. We used everything within our power to protect the school building. And we were given a message from Plotnitsky that the incident had been a misunderstanding and will not happen again.”.
On June 16, Igor Plotnitsky, the leader of the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” puppet regime, which had been created by Russian aggressors in the occupied district of Luhansk Region, made yet another anti-Semitic statement as part of a speech given in Russia.
The leader of Luhansk terrorists gave a lecture at the Kostroma State University named ater N. A. Nekrasov titled “Contemporary Ukraine as a New Type of Fascist State.” He began his speech with the following: “I’d like to ask the historians... Or maybe the philologists, I’m not sure whom I want to ask more. Why is it called the “euromaidan”? Where did the name come from? The territory? Or maybe the nation? Which is mostly heading what used to be our Ukraine? I don’t have anything... Waltzman, Groysman, and many others. I don’t have anything against the Jews as a nation, as the chosen people, we will talk about this separately if possible. But the point is that when we call what is happening the “euromaidan” [Plotnitsky is linking this to the Russian word for Jews, “evrei.” - transl.], we are saying that the people who suffered most under Nazism are now leading it...”.
At the end of August, the Ukrainian activist Stanislav Fedorchuk related a chilling tale on his Facebook page, according to which a young female Jewish volunteer had been a prisoner of the terrorists in Donetsk.
After the installation of the puppet “Donetsk People’s Republic” in Russian-occupied territories of the Donetsk Region, the young woman moved to Kyiv.
She returned to Donetsk to visit her mother. Early in the morning of June 17, terrorists calling themselves “the DNR Ministry of State Security” forced their way into the women’s home. According to the victim, two boxes of sniper bullets and a dynamite stick with a fuse were planted among her things, And the young woman was accused of being a sniper for the Right Sector.
From the very moment of her kidnapping, the DNR fighters used anti-Semitic slurs in their speech, as the young woman did not conceal the fact that she was a Jews. The terrorists who kidnapped her, the workers of the DNR Committee for State Security, and even the so-called “DNR Ombudsman,” whom the young woman’s mother appealed to, accused Jews of “inventing” Fascism, wished that all Jews would die, and so on.
The kidnapped volunteer was taken to an insulation material plant, which had been turned into a prison by the terrorists. For three weeks she had been given practically no water and food, and had been beaten. The young woman was forced to speak to the media and repent for her cooperation with the Right Sector and the Tornado battallion.
The young woman was imprisoned until July 22. After she gave a public talk to the press in which she said that she had become disillusioned with the Right Sector, she was released..
On July 18, Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the puppet “Donetsk People’s Republic” regime, which had been created by Russian aggressors in occupied territories of the Donetsk region, said during a press conference that he “gained a measure of respect” for the national-radical Right Sector movement. According to Zakharchenko, the reasons for liking the Ukrainian extremists were that “they attempted to remove Poroshenko” and that “they beat the gays in Kyiv”. “They’re just regular, normal guys like us,” said the DNR leader approvingly.
On October 9, the so-called “Luhansk People’s Republic” passed its Domestic Relations Law. This document outright bans marriage between citizens of one sex.
On October 8, it became known that the so-called “Ministry of State Security” of the pro-Russian puppet regime “Luhansk People’s Republic” closed the “Jesus is the Answer” religious organization. The Christian Evangelist church that had worked in occupied Sverdlovsk had been closed for “not being registered in the LNR” earlier.
The leader of the church, Taras Sen, is under “investigation” by the militants. They call him a “cultist” and accuse his church of being financed by believers from all over the world. The Protestant is also being accused of cooperating with the OSCE mission, as members of this organization asked the community leader how many people attend church gatherings, what is the mood of the city’s residents, and how many people actually supported the so-called “referendum” in 2014..
On November 24, the “official website of the Donetsk People’s Republic” published an interview with Sergei Kondrykynski, who calls himself “a deputy of the DNR People’s Council.” This representative of the DNR puppet regime, established by Russian aggressors in occupied regions of Donetsk, called for the residents “to tell the appropriate bodies if a cult starts acting in their town.” As far as can be inferred, “cult” refers to Protestant churches, which used to be plentiful in the Donetsk region, and which are being persecuted by DNR militants.
“First of all, we need to clearly understand that these organizations have clear goals, and the directions [they take] are far from nebulous. And we can easily see that is we follow different cult things that the people behind them come from the CIA,” the separatist said.
Photos of the Protestant “Renewal” church in the city Krasniy Luch, which was almost completely destroyed after a visit by representatives of the Russian paramilitary Cossack movement, were published earlier. In particular, the occupants burned copies of the New Testament in the courtyard.
- Anti-Semitism in Ukraine
According to data collected by the monitoring program, one case of presumably anti-Semitic violent crime was recorded in 2015.
Since the beginning of systematic monitoring, the number of recorded victims of violent anti-Semitic attacks is as follows:
8 victims in 2004, 13 in 2005, 8 in 2006, 8 in 2007, 5 in 2008, 1 in 2009, 1 in 2010, none in 2011, 4 in 2012 (three incidents), 4 in 2014, and 4 in 2014.
As can be seen, the number of violent anti-Semitic crimes peaked in 2005, and a notable decline has set in since 2007. In recent years, the number of such incidents remains at a stable low. Besides quantity, 2005-2007 was also the time when the most dangerous, life-threatening street attacks took place.
By vandalism we understand both physical damage, such as broken windows and arson attempts, to buildings that are part of the Jewish infrastructure (synagogues and community centers), to tombstones in Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust memorials, and anti-Semitic and/or neo-Nazi graffiti in similar objects, which are evidence of ideological motivation.
22 cases of anti-semitic vandalism were recorded in 2015. A detailed description of these incidents can be read above, in the chronicle of vandalism.
The number of recorded incidents of anti-Semitic vandalism since the beginning of the monitoring is as follows: 15 cases in 2004, 13 in 2005, 21 in 2006, 20 in 2007, 13 in 2008, 16 in 2010, 9 cases each in 2011, 2012, and 2013, and 23 cases in 2014.
Thus, in 2015 there has been a slight reduction in the number of acts of anti-Semitic vandalism in comparison to the previous year 2014.
Public manifestations of anti-Semitism
On March 15, a “narodnoye veche” (people’s assembly) took place in Rivne, which was organized by nationalist opponents of the local Oblast Council chairman Mikhail Kirillov. One of the speakers was Lyubov Ukrainchuk, who introduced herself as a representative of the Right Sector and stated that “the reason people don’t have a good life in Ukraine is because of Jews who took power.”.
The leader of the regional Right Sector division Roman Koval stated that the woman has nothing to do with their organization and condemned her anti-Semitic statements..
On July 3, Ukrainian national-radical group, including the Military and Political Movement “Right Sector” and a number of smaller groups, particularly C14, held a march in Kyiv in the memory of the Grand Prince of Kyiv Svyatoslav Igorevich (Sviatoslav I), timed to an invented anniversary date of his victory over the Khazar Khanate.
Even though direct anti-Semitic rhetoric was not employed at the event (as the “Khazarian” aspect faded into the background, making way for the main articulated demand of the event—revoking the Minsk Protocol), the context nonetheless evoked veiled anti-Semitic associations.
“What are we celebrating and what are we demanding?” the Right Sector asked of itself in the announcement at its official website. The immediately-given response is a rather curious train of thought. Upon having mentioned his “glorious forebears,” the anonymous author turns to the more pressing matter of “inner enemies.” “Today we can state with certainty that, despite the Maidan, Ukraine continues to suffer under the oppression of a new Khazaria--the criminal oligarchic system. This system keeps Ukraine practically without statehood, robs the population, and leads our country into the abyss of decay--and, what is more, in this time of military aggression, it helps Moscow establish control over Ukraine through its ‘peaceful plans.’ If it were not for the preservation of the oligarchic system, if it were not for the power of poroshenkos, turchinovs, yatsenyuks, groysmans [and others like them], we would have already freed the Donbass and have been in preparation to free the Crimea.”
It makes sense to suppose that in the context of the chosen date and symbolism of the protest march, the link between the “anti-Ukrainian government,” the “oligarchic system,” and the “new Khazaria” was also anti-Semitic to some degree for the organizators of the event themselves..
On July 22, a rally using anti-Semitic slogans took place in Lviv, before the building of the Regional State Administration.
The participants of the meeting held posters calling to “Say ‘No!’ to the Jewish government!” and informing everyone present that “The Jewish Brotherhood Sells Ukraine!”, complete with a deciphering of the “real” (naturally, Jewish) surnames of Ukrainian politicians, including Oleh Tyahnybok (alleged Frotman) and Alexander Turchinov (alleged Cohen).
Over 100 people, including minors, participated in the meeting. After the end of the event, the organizators paid the participants for their work (50 hrivnyas, or a little over 2 dollars)..
Officially, the request to hold the rally was made by the “Active Element” NGO, originating in Slavsk city of the Lviv region. According to unofficial information, one of the organizators is part of the entourage of Opposition Bloc MP Igor Shurma..
On the next day, July 23, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Lviv region began an investigation in response to an attempt to incite national hatred (Article 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code, Part 1) (10).. At the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ukrainian Security Services began a check of the “Active Element” organization..
The police also initiated an enquiry into the holding of an anti-Semitic event..
On August 9, Victor Baloga, a politician from the Zakarpattia region, responded to accusations of his party (Ediniy Centr, “United Center”) spreading separatist materials on Facebook. In his response to his opponent, member of the clergy Igor Kovalchuk, the politician permitted himself to use anti-Semitic statements. “[I want you to] get this straight, I’m a Ukrainian and I want one thing only: that the kikes (zhydy) understand that every Ukrainian will be treated appropriately by the state, no matter in which region.”.
It is somewhat difficult to discern from the text of the response which “kikes” need to understand something, but it can be supposed that Victor Baloga means the leaders of Ukraine in general or even President Petro Poroshenko personally.
On August 22, former Ukrainian MP and functionary of the All-Ukrainian “Svoboda” Union political party Yuri Sirotyuk permitted himself anti-Semitic and xenophobic statements when speaking from the stage of the All-Ukrainian Charity Festival in honor of Taras Shevchenko (She.Fest), which took place in the poet’s home village Morintsy (Cherkasy region).
The politician said, “Let these kikes go back to their state of Israel, get elected there, and stop interfering with Ukrainians in our own country.” Judging by the context of the speech, the politician meant particularly President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. Moreover, according to the Svoboda functionary, “Georgians who are invited to rule over us denigrate our dignity”. This saying was obviously aimed at former Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, who was appointed Governor of the Odessa Regional State Administration..
Yuri Sirotyuk first gained notoriety while he was still an MP through his criticism of Gaitana, who represented Ukraine at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012. According to Sirotyuk, “she does not represent our culture.” The parliamentary deputy said: “the millions of people who will be watching the show will see that Ukraine is represented, so to speak, a person that does not belong to our race. It will be widely thought that Ukraine lies somewhere in faraway Africa... Ukraine will be associated with another continent, that is, Africa.”.
The All-Ukrainian “Svoboda” Union was one of the sponsors of the festival.
It later became known that the Assembly of Nationalities of Ukraine filed a complaint to the Ukrainian Security Services, in which they argued that Sirotyuk’s statements fall under Article 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“Willful actions inciting national, racial or religious enmity and hatred”)..
On September 5, Yuri Kot, former front man for the Kyiv Anti-Maidan stage and currently the spokesperson of the so-called “Committee for the Rescue of Ukraine” (a group of politicians from the Yanukovich regime, headed by former Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who fled the country after the revolution), spoke at the “Novostnoy Front” website, which provides propaganda support from the so-called “separatists” with a “prediction” of “Jewish pogroms” in Ukraine. This is a danger because, Kot says, “today, the Jews persecute the Russian people.” According to Kot, 300 out of 450 Ukrainian MPs are Jewish. He alo insisted on calling Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko “Waltzman.” .
On October 14, a representative of the All-Ukrainian “Svoboda” Union political party, Mikhail Geraschenko, made a number of anti-Semitic statements in his speech at a rally in Zaporizhia dedicated to Defender’s Day in Ukraine. Gerashenko said: “Today we are all in this situation that the kike brass has taken over 80% of the government, supposedly ruling the Ukrainian nation... Imagine the Jewish people electing an Arab to be President of Israel--that’s impossible! But our nation is being pursued precisely by the Jews!”.
After these statements, Gerashenko’s speech was interrupted, and one of the participants of the rally, a man dressed in military uniform with insignia of one of the volunteer area defense batallions, even tried to attack the speaker.
On October 19, a rally was held to support the activists of the national-radical party All-Ukrainian “Svoboda” Union who are suspected of being involved in the August 31 riots. One of the speakers, the mother of a suspect, used anti-Semitic rhetoric in her speech. According to her, “kikes” seized the power in Kyiv, and “kikes are sitting in Bankovaya street” [the location of the Ukrainian Presidential administration - ed.].
On October 25, elections to local councils were held all over Ukraine, as well as elections of heads of city and village state administrations.
Instances of anti-Semitic materials aimed at discrediting certain candidates were recorded in several regions. It must be noted that these were isolated incidents, and no organized systematic campaign took place; the scope of the incidents was also quite limited. It is also notable that candidates who are widely known to be ethnic Jews have successfully competed in the elections, and in several cases made it to the second round or won, including in large cities, particularly Kyiv and Kharkiv. On the other hand, radical ultra-right candidates also had some local success. For example, a Svoboda member, notorious for driving a car with a 14/88 sticker, was elected to the post of mayor at the city of Konotop..
Bright orange flyers were disseminated in Drogobych (Lviv Region) with the following text: “Kondratyuk! A kike from Berdychiv! And he wants to be mayor?”. Similar flyers, but stating that the would-be mayor was a separatist, were also disseminated.
Yuri Kondratyuk is a little-known self-nominated candidate, who received practically no voter support in the elections.
In the city of Cherkasy, promotional posters (so-called “cubes”) of candidate Alexander Radutsky were debased with anti-Semitic slogans. For example, the slogan “Live for Cherkasy” (“Zhyty Cherkasamy”) was supplemented by the following: “Kikes in Cherkasy - kolyyvschina soon to come!” (“Zhydy v Cherkassah - kolyyvschina skoro!”). The kolyyvschina was an uprising by the haidamaks, pro-Ukrainian paramilitary groups in the 18th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, which involved severe Jewish pogroms. “Ukrainians! Do not vote for foreigners! Support Ukrainians!” calls a different sign on another “cube.” A third cube had a quote mistakenly attributed to Taras Shevchenko “Vile kikes rule over us, and we are even worse thank kikes, for we have sold the glory of our grandfathers and the kikes have us harnessed.”
The candidate himself believes that the discreditation campaign was initiated by the well-known local politician Sergey Odarych, who won the elections. We believe this to be implausible, however. Odarych had been the front-runner of these elections, he is a well-known politician with a good reputation. Radutsky received fourth place in the elections and had not been any real competition to the winner.
Judging by certain elements of the graffiti, it can be supposed that it had been made by perfectly genuine anti-Semites, supporters of a marginal national-radical youth group “Right movement 10/44,” which has recently appeared in certain Central and Eastern Ukrainian cities. .
According to an unconfirmed report, on October 29, a drunken hooligan walked into a Jewish community center museum in Odesa and started insulting the visitors, calling them “kikes.” Someone called the patrol police, and upon arrival they had to use force to arrest the troublemaker..
On November 22, a rally took place in the middle of Kyiv, at Independence Square. The organizators of the rally called it a “narodnoye veche,” i.e. a people’s legislative assembly. The main topic of the speeches given from the stage was a lack of trust towards the acting government. Some of the speakers made anti-Semitic statements.
For example, a certain Tarasenko said: “enough tolerating this government headed by President Weissman, speaker Groysman and other kike trash,” and lamented that “we Ukrainians [...] keep being lead on like a flock of sheep.” Another speaker said, “I don’t need this, pardon [the language], kike-ish president.”
Another speaker, Alexander Borozenets, who introduced himself as a member of “Rukh” and the “Officer’s Union of Ukraine,” warned the gathering of a serious threat. “There is a war going on right now. A terrible war. The global Zionist movement wants to move all of Israel over to Ukraine, all of it! Everything is being prepared for that moment. This whole war is only to move all the Jews [literally - all of Israel. -transl] here. You must understand that! This is their goal. And the blood of our sons means nothing to them!”.
As far as it is known, the event was organized by the Coalition of Participants of the Orange Revolution, a group that has been known for prior participation in commerical spin events. Approximately 500 people participated in the rally, most of whom were middle age and older. There were no important political figures or activists either among the organizators or the speakers. Judging by the content of the speeches, the speakers empathized with the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Revolutionary Right-Wing Powers movement, which had been established a day earlier.
On the next day, November 23, the Officers’ Union of Ukraine published a statement in which they distanced themselves from the man calling himself “Major Aleksandr Borozinets, representative of the Officers’ Union of Ukraine,” who made anti-Semitic statements. The Officers’ Union of Ukraine did not participate in the rally and did not vest Mr. Borozinets with the power to represent it. According to the statement, the Officers’ Union of Ukraine officially distances itself from any and all speeches and addresses with similar content. In its everyday activity, it acts within the boundaries of current legislation, implements inter-ethnic concord and peace in everyday life, and condemns xenophobic and anti-Semitic manifestations in the Ukrainian state.
- Homophobia in Ukraine, 2015
This section of the report only includes incidents which happened in territories controlled by the Ukrainian government. Incidents in occupied territories can be found in the respective sections above.
- In early 2015,   several members of the LGBT community were murdered in Kharkiv and Kyiv. This refers to robberies committed by casual acquaintances who had been invited to visit the homes of the victims. The robberies were violent, and in some cases, the owners of the houses were murdered as well. It would not be too far-fetched to suppose that many similar incidents that did not end in murder were not made public because the victims avoided going to the police in fear of a negative reaction from the police workers themselves. They also sought to keep their sexual orientation private. According to one expert from the LGBTI community, “a robber or hooligan can assume that if his victim is a homosexual, they will not resist or will not turn to the police afterwards out of fear of disclosing their sexual orientation”.
The LGBTI community was specifically targeted for these crimes. However, as far as can be determined, the perpetrators’ motivation for these crimes was profit, not hatred towards homosexuals. The choice of victim is in these cases a rational estimate, and an estimate which paid off. Homosexuals who look for one night stands are merely convenient victims for criminals. Even though the media sometimes interpret these as homophobic crimes, we believe that it would be incorrect to qualify similar incidents as hate crimes.
- On May 12, the LGBT portal Gay Alliance Ukraine reported that a volunteer of the local LGBT center QueerHome had been murdered in his own home. The murder is currently being investigated. “Gay Alliance Ukraine” has stated its intent to send a request to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to “adequately investigate a possible homophobic motive for the murder and either confirm or disprove the possibility.”.
- A March of Equality (sometimes mistakenly referred to as a “gay pride parade”) had been anounced for June 6, as part of the International Festival and Forum “KyivPride - 2015.” The aim of the march had been to draw attention to human rights issues concerning the LGBTI community.
As in previous years, the preparation for the march had been accompanied by intense homophobic propaganda by national-radical groups and political powers. This year, the Right Sector took upon itself the mantle of the main public organizer of resistance to the march.
A week before the event, the Banderivets website (the official homepage of the Stepan Bandera Tryzub organization, which became the base for the Right Sector movement) published a statement that the organization will do everything within its power to put a stop to the march of “perverts.”. The leader of the Right Sector, MP Dmytro Yarosh, also made a homophobic statement, wherein he harshly condemned the activities of Ukraine’s LGBTI community..
Before the March, a number of politicians and public officials spoke out with their evaluations of the event, which were quite diverse. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitaliy Klitschko, asked the organizers to refrain from holding the March, because “this is not a good time—not right now, with war in the east of Ukraine.” One of the slogans of the event became a response to that kind of argument: “Human rights are always important.” The mayor of Kyiv generally spoke in somewhat hazy terms. In particular, he called for one group (which can be inferred to be the organizers) “not to play into the enemy’s hands, not to incite hatred, and to refrain from creating yet another standoff in the center of the capital,” and addressed other political powers (who can be inferred to be opponents of the March) with a request “not to pull dubious publicity stunts and speculate on minority rights.”.
On the other hand, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, supported the constitutional rights of the organizers at a pres conference. In response to a question asked about the March, he replied: “I see this both as a Christian and as the President of a European country. To me, both of these notions are absolutely united [in their stand on the matter at hand -transl.]. I will not be participating, if that’s your question, but I see no reason for anyone to obstruct the event, as it [the right to gather freely] is the constitutional right of citizens. [...] I do not share the indignation of the political groups who want to make it into their own publicity campaign. It is not a topic for publicity campaigns. I am certain that if the march does take place, the law enforcement bodies will be able to ensure its safety.”.
To ensure the safety of the participants, the place of the march had not been made public until the last possible moment. However, due to a technical problem which held up the beginning of the event, many radical right activists, who had been mobilized in advance, had time to enact provocations. The police, who were protecting the event, did not allow the national-extremists to come close, but the radicals threw weak makeshift bombs at the column, filled with small projectiles. One of the police workers had been severely injured as the subprojectiles hit him in the neck.
After the March was over, radical right activists attacked participants who had been home, particularly near the Obolon metro station. The police and the national-radicals clashed constantly, and the most active extremists were arrested. According to unofficial information of the organizators, seven of the arrested national-radicals were charged with hooliganism. Approximately 20 participants of the March were hurt, as were several random passersby.
The organizators and activists received multiple threats even after the event had passed.
- On July 13, former Right Sector MP candidate Oleg Kutserib posted on Facebook that he and his son armed themselves with baseball bats and attacked two men near the entrance to his own house, having decided that they are “faggots.” Two “sympathizers” were also harmed. According to Kutserib, his victims will “spend no less than two weeks at the hospital.”.
- On July 20, at approximately 4 AM, a grenade was set off near the Odesa “Libertine” club, which has a reputation for being gay-friendly. A security guard was wounded; he was hospitalized with a shrapnel wound on his hip..
- On July 22, the “Bird in Flight” journal published a video recording of a social experiment, during which two young men took a stroll through Kyiv holding hands. On Khreschatik Street [the main street of Kyiv. -transl.], one of the young men sat down on a bench, and the other sat on his knees. Approximately 6-7 young men approached them and, after a short but heated argument, began beating the participants of the experiment.
- The queer culture festival “Odessa Pride-2015” took place from August 14 to August 16. The organizators originally planned a public March of Equality as part of the festival, to have been held on August 15..
However, on August 12, the Executive Committee of the Odesa City Council filed a claim with the Odesa Regional Administrative Court against the chairman of the “Odessa Pride-2015” organizational committee. The city council was also backed up by the Odesa City Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in the Odesa region. The claimant requested that the court restrict the right to peaceful gatherings of the “Odessa Pride-2015” Organizational Committee in the person of its Chairman by forbidding any sorts of mass public events from August 13 to August 16, including gatherings, rallies, pickets, marches, demonstrations, and any other kind of peaceful gathering on Odesa’s streets. The city council’s arguments included an adversarial attitude among the residents of the city towards the upcoming event as well as the high risk of violence towards participants of the march and the possible disturbance of public order during the event..
On the next day, August 13, the court prohibited holding the March of Equality in Odesa.
On August 15, the premises of the Queer Home Odessa community center, where the “Odessa Pride-2015” festival was being held, were attacked. A group of youths, likely members of the radical right, gathered near the building. According to the festival’s spokesperson Kirill Bodelan, a group of young people in masks and camouflage forced its way onto the premises. Two of them threw firecrackers near the entrance to the premises, and one made his way inside and threw a detonating cartridge into the hall. The attackers were able to get away. The other young people continued to stay near the entrance to the building until they were led away by the police. According to Bodelan, none of the participants of the festival were harmed.
The Organizational Committee of the festival, “the attack on the LGBT community center was made by a marginal, extremist group”; however, they also stated that they are not viewing this as “an act of aggression from right-wing national groups, or any other patriotic and religious groups.”.
On August 16, the All-Ukrainian “Svoboda” Union political party took responsibility for attempting to obstruct the opening of the “Odessa Pride-2015” festival. According to the PR department of the Odessa regional branch of “Svoboda,” 13 party activists and members of its youth organization were arrested for, we quote, “being present near the LGBT festival.”.
- On August 29, a group of young people with Neo-Pagan and radical right symbols, including symbols of the Azov Regiment, attempted to obstruct an Animal Rights March in Kharkiv, near the Nauchnaya metro station. One of them ripped an “I am lesbian” badge off one of the animal rights movement’s members. Witnesses state that the police made a number of errors in procedure while recording the offense..
- On the night of August 29, the Cleopatra cafe in Kryvyi Rih (Dniepropetrovsk Region), where a closed LGBT party was being held, was attacked by unidentified persons. At around 2:00 AM, approximately 20 people wearing masks forced their way into the cafe and beat the guests of the party. Some were wearing T-shirts with Right Sector symbols. According to the Gay Alliance of Ukraine, the police, after having been called to the scene of the incident, let the attackers go without even attempting to identify them, with the notable exception of one of the leaders of the Kryvyi Rih “Automaidan” (group that originally used its heightened mobility, due to being car owners, to patrol cities for protection from the titushki thugs during the Maidan. -transl), who motivated the actions of the attackers by the idea that “the participants of this party are corrupting minors.”.
On the evening of August 30, at approximately 8:30 PM, a group of unidentified people in masks attacked the Queer Home Krivbas community center. They threw smoke grenades into the building and ransacked it. One of the guests was seriously beaten and had to be hospitalized.. It later became known that the police opened criminal proceedings, qualifying the incident as “intended minor bodily injury”.
- On September 2-6, several human rights protection events took place under the umbrella title “Days of Equality and Pride” in Mykolayiv. The events were organized by the LGBT Association LIGA. The activists planned a laying of flowers at the local memorial to the heroes of the “Heavenly Hundred.”.
On September 1, it became known that the local division of the Right Sector strongly protested against “manipulating the names of the Heroes of the Heavenly Hundred.” The leader of the Mykolayiv Right Sector, Mikhail Borsuk, appealed to the Chairman of the Mykolayiv Regional State Administration Vadim Merikov and published a statement in various social media, where he threatened to “give a sharp rebuke to these provocations..
In turn, on September 2, the LGBT Association LIGA addressed the governor of the region with a request to “explain to the leaders of the Right Sector that all actions aimed at interfering with respecting the memory of those who died in the Revolution of Dignity are acts of discrimination, as they crudely violate Ukrainian law and assault human dignity.”.
In the end, representatives of the LGBT community decided to cancel the organized laying of flowers out of concern for safety of the event.
- On September 13, the website of the Trizub movement named after Stepan Bandera (the organization which later became the basis for the Right Sector) published an indignant outburst about Elton John’s speech at the YES forum (Yalta European Strategy Annual Meeting), where the famous musician spoke out in favor of protecting human rights regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.. The anonymous article on the website called Elton John’s speech “propaganda of degeneracy.”.
- On the evening of September 14, four unknown attackers beat Nick Carter and an anonymous friend of his. Nick Carter had often publicly defended the rights of the LGBT community. The attack happened near the address: 10 Obolonsky prospekt. According to the victim, four persons attacked them at approximately 10 PM when they were returning home from the local store. The attackers were shouting homophobic slurs. N. Carter took severe damage to the face, and his companion got a concussion.
The victims were given medical aid, and they filed a statement for the police about the incident.
- On December 13-16, during the Festival of Equality in Kyiv, whose program included LGBT themes, unknown vandals wrote insulting graffiti on the fences and walkways near one of the buildings hosting the events. The territory belonged to the “Isolation” Platform for Cultural Initiatives, which moved to Kyiv from Donetsk after the beginning of Russian occupation. The graffiti included signs like: “Go here for perverts” and “Homosexuality is unnatural.”
- On the morning of December 18 unknown vandals painted a homophobic graffiti in red paint over the mural “Testing makes you stronger,” located on the outer wall of a building housing the office of the LGBT organization “Tochka Opory” (“Fulcrum”). The homophobes painted a Celtic cross and wrote “death to perverts.”.
- Actions taken by the government and law enforcement bodies.
On January 14, the Prosecutor’s Office of Nikolayev Region opened criminal proceedings according to Article 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code ( Violation of citizens' equality based on their race, nationality or religious preferences”) due to the administration and staff of the Nikolayev bar “Sotka” discriminating against visitors who were in their opinion neither Russian nor Ukrainian and refusing them service. Several cases were recorded in late 2014 and early 2015 when bar staff refused to provide service to an ethnic Armenian, an ethnic Azerbaijani, and ethnic representatives of other groups, citing an order given by higher-ups.
Cases of discrimination by race continued even after criminal proceedings were opened, and the owner of the bar, former MP Victor Gorbachev, said that the investigator allegedly told him immediately that his actions do not constitute components of a crime under Article 161 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code..
On January 15, a rally was held in the town of Izmail (Odessa Region) near the city Directorate of Internal Affairs. The participants of the rally accused members of the Romani community of drug dealing and the law enforcement officers of inaction. Gennadiy Druzenko, Special Representative on Ethnic Policy, came from Kyiv specifically to deal with this event. He went to the protesters and assured them that the problem is “not ethnic, but criminal in nature” and that “crime has no ethnicity.”.
On January 20, the Board Chairman of the NGO “Exodus” (“Ishod”) Oleg Novikov was detained due to suspicions of being complicit in separatist activity. Anti-Ukrainian literature and symbols of the so-called “Novorossiya” and the “Kharkov People’s Republic” were found and confiscated by the investigation during the search. It later became known that Oleg Novikov is being accused according to Article 110, Part 2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“Trespass against territorial integrity and inviolability of Ukraine”).
As the leader of “Exodus,” Novikov also gained his notoriety through his anti-Semitic statements.
On January 22, the PR Department of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that a post for a Special Representative for Preventing and Counteracting Xenophobia and Anti-Semitism will be created at the MFA.
On February 4, adopted a resolution to hold parliamentary hearings titled “Role, importance and influence of civil society for the formation of an ethno-national policy of unity in Ukraine.”.
On March 11, the aforementioned parliamentary hearings were held with no change to their title..
The parliament heard a number of speakers, including Cabinet of Ministers Representative for Ethno-National Policy Gennadiy Druzenko, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Culture of Ukraine Vyacheslav Kyrylenko, Chairperson of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, Ethnic Minorities and Inter-Ethnic Relations Hryhorii Nemyrya, Executive Vice President of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine (CNCU), Co-President of the Association of Jewish Communities and Organizations of Ukraine (VAAD Ukraine), Euro-Asian Jewish Congress General Council Chairman Josef Zissels, CNCU Executive Director Anna Lenchovskaya and others.
On March 14, the Goloseevo District Court of Kyiv opened criminal proceedings according to Article 296, Part 2 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code (“hooliganism”) against a group of young people who had bullied people whom they considered to be homosexuals. The investigation materials note that the group acted under the name “Modniy Prigovor” (“Fashion Verdict”). “Fashion Verdict” is a “brand name” for the followers of famous Russian neo-Nazi Maksim Martzinkevich, who specializes in aggressive acts against LGBT people and some other groups, including businesspeople. In particular, in September 2013, a group of “Fashion Verdict” followers attacked a makeshift hostel for internally displaced persons from the Donetsk territories occupied by Russia, which had been organized by left-wing activists in an abandoned house. Moreover, “Fashion Verdict” representatives attack places selling smoke mixes (so-called “spices”) and illegal slot machine halls.
On March 24, the Kyiv District Court of Odesa had sentenced the 19-year-old coordinator of the local “Fashion Verdict” group to seven years of jail.
According to the case materials, on October 22, 2012, participants of the group arranged a meeting near the “411 Battery” memorial with a man through the Internet under false pretenses (introducing themselves as an underage young woman). Approximately 10 hooligans surrounded the man and, threatening him with violence, made him admit that he is a “pedophile” and made him commit various humiliating acts. The coordinator of the group, who had later been convicted, pushed the bullying, and it turned into a beating. The victim was hospitalized to the Odesa City Clinical Hospital #1, where he died of his injuries four days later..
On June 4, Ukrainian Ombudsman representative on human rights Aksana Filipishina stated that the Russian law enforcement bodies are not undertaking proper investigation of crimes committed in the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea. In particular, the murder of the 16-year-old Mark Ivanenko, who died as a result of a severe beating in April 2014, is still not being investigated. According to Filipishina, “Ivannko was killed only for refusing to respond to the demand of law enforcement officers to speak Russian. Eyewitnesses say he spoke Ukrainian”.
According to a report of the press service of Ukrainian Ombudsman Valeriya Lutkovska, published on July 1, after the Ombudsman appealed to the Head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Department in the Mykolaiv Region, criminal proceedings were opened on the basis of the anti-Semitic vandalism against a Holocaust memorial in Mykolaiv, which took place in the night of March 21. The law enforcement authorities had initially refused to open criminal proceedings. .
On July 26, a 23-year-old woman from Sierra Leone with an eight-month-old baby was forbidden from boarding a mini-bus. Moreover, the passengers called the police, who, according to the woman, kept her in handcuffs for approximately half an hour. The incident involved racist statements from the passengers.. The police later stated that they did not emply handcuffs, while the media cited eyewitness accounts that the handcuffs were only fastened on one wrist. Moreover, journalists cited witness accounts, according to which the woman was requested to leave not for any racist reasons, but because she did not pay the passenger fare..
According to the Ombudsman’s Office of the Ukrainian Parliament, after an interjection of the regional coordinator for the Ombudsman’s office, the Uzhgorod police began an official investigation into an incident that has possible roots in racial discrimination. The investigation began on August 3..
On September 29, after the official ceremony of laying of wreaths in the Babiy Yar, commemorating the 74th anniversary of the beginning of the Babiy Yar shootings, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk held a meeting with representatives of various Ukrainian government bodies, MPs that are part of the Ukraine-Israel Interparliamentary Commission, and leaders of Ukrainian Jewish organizations. Yatsenyuk reacted to the increasingly more common desecrations of the Holocaust memorial in Babiy Yar, which garnered a wide resonance both in Ukraine itself and beyond its borders, by giving a number of orders to representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The head of state announced that security measures will be improved, video surveillance systems installed, and additional patrols will be working on the scene. “This holy place is protected and will continue to be protected by the government. And anyone attempting vandalize its memory will be punished,” Yatsenyuk stressed ..
Earlier, the Ukrainian Prime Minister assured World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer of the seriousness of the Ukrainian government’s intent to fight manifestations of anti-Semitism in a letter.
On October 5, the Goloseevo District Court of Kyiv found two students, Roman Portyanko and Oleg Rybalchenko, guilty of arson and gave them to 3 and 2 years of suspended sentence respectively. The students had set fire to the Zhovten cinema in Kyiv.
Prejudicial inquiry has confirmed that the aforementioned persons attempted to sabotage a film showing by throwing smoke grenades inside the movie theater. The smoke grenades, however, caused a fire. The investigation believes that the crime’s motive had been hooliganism and that the students had not intended to set fire to the building. During the hearings, the defendants stated that they wanted to take action “against the propaganda of non-traditional [sexual] orientation,” i.e. their motive was hatred for LGBT people. The youths were found guilty according to Article 296, Part 2 (“hooliganism”) and Article 263, Part 1 (“Carrying, storing, purchasing, producing, repairing, transferring or selling firearms (other than smoothbore hunting guns), ammunition, explosive substances or explosive devices without a permit required by law”).
On October 29, incidents of police misconduct towards the Romani residents of Zolotonosha city (Cherkasy region) came to light. According to community representatives, police officers entered the homes of Romani families, arrested them and took them to the local police department.
The Director of the Romani organization “Chirikli” Zola Kondur addressed Mikhail Chaplyga, who is the local representative of the Ukrainian Parliament Ombudsman. After the Ombudsman’s office interfered, the arrests stopped..
On November 2, the leader of the National Minority Rights Monitoring Group Vyacheslav Likhachev participated in a meeting with representatives of the Ukrainian Security Services and the Ministry of Internal Affairs as part of the NCSEJ (National Coalition Supporting Eurasian Jewry) delegation. The meeting was dedicated to counteracting hate crime. Representatives of government bodies showed a high level of understanding of the importance of the problem at hand; however, they also displayed unwillingness to change the current practices of counteraction, which are ineffective.
Measures to counteract xenophobia were also discussed at the NCSEJ meetings with Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Parliament Speaker Vladimir Groysman, Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko, Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavel Klimkin and Head of the Presidential Administration Boris Lozhkin.
On December 14, a highly-charged quarrel happened between Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov and Odessa Regional State Administration Chairman Mikhail Saakashvili. The latter accused Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and the Minister of Internal Affairs of being corrupt. During the shouting match, Arsen Avakov shouted at the former Georgian President: “Get out of my country!” Arseniy Yatsenyuk also called for Saakashvili to “get out of Ukraine” and called him an “actor on tour” [implying that Saakashvili’s tenure is a mere publicity stunt -transl.]..
On the next day, December 15, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko officially commented on the incident, in which he stressed that “abusive language and insults are inadmissible in the National Council of all places. Particularly those with a xenophobic subtext, which insult a person’s national dignity, question their Ukrainian patriotism, and tell someone to “get out of Ukraine.” .
Conclusion: most important results and tendencies
In 2015, as in the previous year, the definitive problem influencing not only xenophobia, but general human rights violations in Ukraine, is Russian military aggression. Nonetheless, there are certain changes in the dynamics of the situation.
- In general, the xenophobia situation in Ukraine has slightly improved. The monitoring recorded fewer violent incidents motivated by hatred. However, the level of xenophobic vandalism, and anti-Semitic vandalism in particular, remains relatively high.
- In comparison to 2014, the situation has become slightly less strenuous even in the puppet regimes created by the Russian aggressors in occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The reasons for this are twofold: first of all, the fighting has decreased in intensity and, second, groups that were disloyal or potentially disloyal to the occupants have been either destroyed or forced to leave the occupied territories. Neo-Protestant charismatic churches (which used to be plentiful), foreign students, Roma, Mekshetian Turks, and a large part of the Jewish community have all largely vacated the territories. Leaders of the puppet regimes of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics regularly make anti-Semitic statements, but we have not recorded any anti-Semitic crime in LNR and DNR.
- In the occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea, on the contrary, the situation continues to grow worse. As in the first year of the occupation, the Crimean Tatars continue to be systematically discriminated against by the occupational government. Persecution of the independent Crimean Tatar movement has grown stronger, organizations and media outlets are being dissolved. Xenophobic violence has become more frequent.
 In December 2015, our colleagues from the “No Borders!” project of the Social Action Center have published their “Report on Monitoring Hate Speech in Ukrainian Media in 2014.” This is the first attempt in Ukraine to monitor hate speech in national printed and electronic media. Even though the report is based on monitoring hate speech in 2014, it is an important resource about the current situation in the Ukrainian media sphere. The text of the report can be found at the “No Borders!” website: http://noborders.org.ua/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/hatespeech_report_NoBorders_2015.pdf
 See: “Understanding “Hate Crime”: Handbook for Ukraine – OCSE ODIHR”. Warsaw, 2015. (http://www.osce.org/uk/odihr/208186?download=true). P. 7–11. See: “Hate Crime Laws: A Practical Guide - OSCE”) – Warsaw, 2009. P. 59–61; Ponomaryov S. Прогалини у сферi запобiгання, документування, розслiдування та притягненння до вiдповiдальностi осiб, винних у вчиненнi злочинiв на грунтi нетерпимостi. Аналитична записка. (“Gaps in preventing, documenting, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes. Analytical report.”) Кyiv, 2015. P .3–5.
 Some of these incidents are described below, in the “Homophobia” section.
 Unofficial information of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
 Information provided by the Diversity Initiative Network
 Currently, the community has been banned for calls to violence.
 http://khar.gp.gov.ua/ua/news.html?_m=publications&_c=view&_t=rec&id=167175. See also: http://khpg.org.ua/index.php?id=1451002950
 Information provided by Alexandra Sverdlova (“No Borders!” project of the Social Action Center).
 See: http://ru-an.info/Photo/QNews/n20347/3.jpg
 The incidents were recorded by the “Football against racism in Europe” (Fare) network as part of its system of monitoring discrimination at international soccer competitions. For details of their monitoring system, see: http://www.farenet.org/get-involved/report-discrimination/observer-scheme-faq/ . The video recording of the incident was first published by the Guardian website. See: http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/oct/21/uefa-investigate-attack-black-fans-dynamo-kyiv-chelsea
 Information provided by the Diversity Initiative Network
 Information provided by the Diversity Initiative Network
 The information was provided by the victim. We also have information that the victim had been hurt during a conflict between two groups of young people, but we have no reason to mistrust the victim’s statement that the conflict began with anti-Semitic slurs. See: http://www.mukachevo.net/ua/News/view/136327
 The information was provided by Boris Glazunov, the Babiy Yar Preserve director.
 https://www.facebook.com/notes/882205828490454/; http://podrobnosti.ua/1013714-v-babem-jaru-vandaly-narisovali-na-pamjatnom-kamne-svastiku.html
 Unofficial information of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
 Unofficial information of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
 Unofficial information of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
 https://www.facebook.com/tzviarieli/posts/10206254643258285; http://tsn.ua/ukrayina/v-umani-natovp-molodikiv-zi-stolyarnimi-instrumentami-roztroschiv-tabir-hasidiv-489526.html; see also: http://www.unn.com.ua/uk/news/1498086-zhiteli-umani-demontuvali-ogorozhu-nametovogo-mistechka-dlya-khasidiv;
 Information provided by the “No Borders!” project of the Social Action Center.
 http://www.eajc.org/page16/news52732.html; see also: http://visty.in.ua/news/kolomyia/news_9177/
 See, for example: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kolomyia.ua/permalink/438043116381468/?__mref=message
 The eajc.org website has previously investigated the situation of the Kolomiya Jewish cemetery, which may partially explain the anti-Semitic incidents. See: http://eajc.org/data//file/Monitoring_Eng/monitoring_eng_0915.pdf
 See, for example: https://youtu.be/ggH0YpzNuvo
 As reported by Chairman of the Volyn Progressive Judaism religious community Sergey Shvardovsky.
 Unofficial information of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs.
 http://censor.net.ua/news/321335/vydvorenie_iz_kryma_sinavera_kadyrova_akt_presledovaniya_aktivistov_krymskotatarskogo_naroda_medjlis; http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/news/2015/01/23/7056117/. See full text of the court’s decision here: https://www.facebook.com/sbsuleimanov/posts/1031693236857374
 http://ru.krymr.com/media/video/26916273.html; https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1595891657322368&id=100007046477228
 http://gordonua.com/news/crimea/Medzhlis-Zamglavy-Medzhlisa-CHiygoza-ostavyat-pod-arestom-79993.html; http://gordonua.com/news/crimea/Arest-zamglavy-Medzhlisa-krymskotatarskogo-naroda-CHiygoza-prodlili-do-29-iyulya-80994.html
 http://www.sova-center.ru/misuse/news/persecution/2015/12/d33355/; http://hromadskeradio.org/2015/12/02/fsb-pytaetsya-prishit-krymskomu-tatarinu-ekstremizm-za-posty-v-facebook
 See: http://www.eajc.org/page16/news51889.html
 Certain circumstances of the case gave cause for doubt to independent observers. See, for example: http://vyacheslav-likhachev.blogspot.co.il/2015/09/blog-post_30.html
 http://ua.krymr.com/content/news/27449810.html; http://kerch.fm/2015/12/25/za-listovki-s-izobrazheniem-perevernutogo-evreya-osudili-kerchanina.html
 Personal correspondence with S. Fedorchuk
 Rivne Vechirne (Evening Rivne), # 20, March 17, 2015 (http://presspoint.ua/read/32439?)
 See.: http://blogs.korrespondent.net/blog/politics/3602268/; http://www.pravda.com.ua/rus/articles/2015/10/29/7086821/
 The National Minority Rights Monitoring Group has photos of the flyers.
 http://www.eajc.org/page16/news52880.html. “10/44” is a fairly uncommon (and mostly circulating in youth subcultures) code for radical Ukrainian nationalism. The code was created to be similar with better-known racist and neo-Nazi codes, such as “14/88.” The first number means “10 commandments” - an allusion to the “Decalogue of the Ukrainian Nationalist,” a brief foundational text for the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), compiled between 1929-1936 after much internal discussion. These texts together with the “The 12 Character Traits of the Ukrainian Nationalist” make up the “Catechesis of the Ukrainian Nationalist” as approved by the OUN Grand Assembly.
 Our information.
 The statement had been posted at the following URL: https://www.facebook.com/kucerub/posts/900466533366347 . However, later it had been either deleted or closed off to the general public. The editors of the bulletin have a screenshot of the post at their disposal.
 The man who came up to the participants of the festival to “warn” (i.e. threaten) them showed them symbols of the Right Sector.
 See text of speech: http://yes-ukraine.org/ua/news/tekst-promovi-sera-eltona-dzhona-na-12-iy-shchorichniy-zustrichi-yaltinskoyi-yevropeyskoyi-strategiyi
 Our information.
 https://news.pn/ru/incidents/123213; https://news.pn/ru/public/123070
 This was first publically reported by Ukrainian Minister of the Interior Arsen Avakov on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/arsen.avakov.1/posts/771181596305282. See also: http://vetonet.ru/clubs/85_novosti-iz-harkova-zaderzhany-lidery-prorossiiskoi-organizacii-ishod.html
 See text of Josef Zissels’ speech:http://www.eajc.org/page279/news50536.html
 See text of Anna Lenchovskaya’s speech: http://kngu.org/content/vistup-vikonavchoyi-direktorki-kngu-anni-lenchovskoi-na-parlamentskih-sluhannyah-z
 See, for example: http://lb.ua/news/2015/12/14/323496_avakov_razrugalsya_saakashvili.html