Worrying increase in threats against SOVA Centre


The Director and Deputy Director of the renowned SOVA Centre, an NGO which researches extreme arching extreme nationalist movements, xenophobia and extremism, have both received threats. .

As reported here, in -February this year, just before the launch of a major report, SOVA’s Deputy Director, Galina Kozhevnikova, received a letter with explicit threats to life and security.

Until today, however, SOVA refrained from drawing public attention to the threats against its director, Alexander Verkhovsky. Early last year, his home address and other personal details were posted on a neo-Nazi website, as part of yet another list of the "enemies of the Russian people."  Since then, Verkhovsky has received numerous threats by phone and email. A group of neo-Nazi has also made several visits to the apartment building, where he lives, trying to lure him outside "for a conversation." The neo-Nazi made a video-recording of their first visit to Verkhovsky’s house in July 2008 and posted a short and very aggressive film on the Internet.

Since New Year the neo-Nazis have become particularly bold in their threats. They have already paid two visits to Verkhovsky, the second last Saturday, 21 February, and they managed to enter the building and get to the door of the apartment. The police are conducting an investigation but, given previous experience, it seems unlikely that the perpetrators will be found quickly..

On 2 March the SOVA Centre is launching a reference book on Russian nationalist organizations at the Independent Press-Centre in Moscow. This press-conference is likely to incite a new wave of threatening behaviour from the Neo-Nazis. In the past, SOVA followed a conscious policy of not publicizing threats against its staff. Now, however, the situation has clearly got out of hand and they hope that publicity will help protect the organization by making the law enforcement agencies prioritize the issue.

From SOVA-Centre information

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