Russia: figures on racist violence still frightening
In January 2009 at least 39 people suffered racist and neo-Nazi attacks. 14 of them died. The statistics are lower than for January 2008 when at least 59 people fell victim, with 15 of them killed.
The main centres of violence remain Moscow region (10 killed, 15 injured) and Petersburg region (2 killed, 7 injured). Attacks were also recorded in Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Ryazan and Ulyanovsk.
The largest number of people killed were from Central Asian republics, however there were attacks on many different people (black, people from South-East Asia, from the Caucuses and others).
In January this year an attempt was made to blow up one of the Macdonalds restaurants in Moscow following which a group of suspects was detained. They are suspected of a series of no less than five explosions in Moscow and Moscow region.
In the same month at least three guilty verdicts were passed down on 7 people in cases involving racist violence: in St Petersburg sentence was passed over a series of explosions under charges of terrorism (Article 205 of the Criminal Code); in Khabarovsk – on a charge of racially-motivated murder; and in the Kaluga region – on a charge of hooliganism and beating motivated by nationalism (and with the motive of hatred taken into account).
For some reason the motive of hatred was not reflected in the sentence against a right-wing radical who planted a bomb cast by the premises of the local branch of the FSB and shooting through a rifle at a group of people from the Caucuses. The court found him guilty of a knowingly false report of a terrorist attack (Article 207) and unmotivated hooliganism (Article 213 § 1).
At least four sentences were passed for xenophobic propaganda (with five people convicted) in Moscow, Tomsk, Krasnodar krai and Tyumen region (oblast).
At the end of January 2009 a religious group of old believers (starovery-inglingi) was found to be extremist in Adyga – for the use of a swastika in their symbols. Before that analogous organizations had been banned in Omsk and Krasnodar krai, with the court ruling mentioning not only the swastika but also racist elements in the religious teachings as such.
Additions were made three times to the federal list of extremist literature, increasing from 301 to 314 items. Thus by 1 February 305 works were included in the list (9 of which figure in the list twice).
The Sova Centre www.sova-centre.ru