Only every fifth extremist crime recorded in Russia
The Investigative Committee under the Russian Federation Prosecutors Office [the Committee] has reported that in 2008 the number of extremist crimes has risen by 62.4$ as compared with last year. However experts point out that as well as brutal crimes, cases which have nothing to do with extremism are included in the Committees statistics, for example, the case of Sasha Terentyev. The latter was given a suspended sentence in spring of this year for making unflattering comments about the police on the Internet.
The newspaper Polit.ru reports that representative of the Committee Vladimir Markin stated that just from January to September 2008 380 crimes of an extremist nature were reported. Experts from the Sova Centre which keeps its own independent statistics also point to an increase this year in the number of racially motivated crimes, and say that the number of attacks was around five times the number reported.
According to the data available, over the last 11 months 81 people have died at the hands of extremists and approximately 320 others have suffered. In fact, however, a representative of the Sova Centre says that there were around 700 attacks. The Centres figures are so different from official statistics because they take into account cases which do not lead to a criminal investigation. Human rights defenders point out that the victims are more frightened of the police than of the Nazis or believe that it is a waste of time to turn to the law enforcement agencies.
Experts also expect that in a time of crisis the number of crimes of an extremist nature can only rise.