Saturday, December 07, 2019

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Article Index

Russia

The law prohibits discrimination based on nationality. However, government officials at times subjected minorities to discrimination. There was a steady rise in societal violence and discrimination against minorities, particularly Roma, persons from the Caucasus and Central Asia, dark-skinned persons, and foreigners. The number of reported hate crimes increased during the year, and skinhead groups and other extreme nationalist organizations fomented

racially motivated violence. Racist propaganda remained a problem, although courts continued to convict individuals of using propaganda to incite ethnic hatred.

According to the SOVA Center, during the year racist violence resulted in the death of at least 20 persons, while 103 others were injured and six received death threats. Incidents were reported in 34 regions. Violence was concentrated in the major cities: seven were killed and 28 injured in Moscow city, four were killed and 19 injured in the greater Moscow Oblast, and three were killed and 16 injured in St Petersburg. The main targets of attack continued to be Central Asians (10 killed and 24 injured); leftist and youth activists (14 injured); and natives of the Caucasus region (six killed and four injured). There were 45 acts of neo-Nazi vandalism recorded in 20 regions during the year.

Violence against African minorities continued. On May 1, Interfax reported that two men in a bar yelling nationalist slogans beat an African doctoral student. The victim was taken to a hospital with multiple injuries and traumatic brain injury. According to the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy's Task Force on Racial Violence and Harassment, police in Moscow consistently failed to record the abuse of African minorities, charge alleged attackers with any crime, or issue copies of police reports to victims.

On September 8, the Tverskoy District Court in Moscow started hearings against five men who were charged with inciting mass disorder, hooliganism, and using violence against law enforcement officers in connection with the Manezhnaya Square riots between ethnic Russians and people from the North Caucasus in December 2010. The men continued to be held in pretrial detention.

Skinhead violence continued to be a serious problem. Skinheads primarily targeted foreigners, particularly Asians and individuals from the North Caucasus, although they also expressed anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic sentiments. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, neofascist movements had

approximately 15,000 to 20,000 members, more than 5,000 of whom were estimated to live in Moscow. However, the ministry stated that if the category includes "extremist youth groups" in general, the number would be closer to 200,000 countrywide. In 2009 MBHR estimated there were as many as 70,000 skinhead and radical nationalist organizations, compared with a few thousand in the early 1990s. Skinhead groups were most numerous in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhniy Novgorod, Yaroslavl, and Voronezh. The three most prominent ultranationalist group--the Great Russia Party, the Slavic Union Movement, and the Movement against Illegal Immigration--claimed 80,000, 10,000, and 20,000 members, respectively. Membership claims by these underground organizations were difficult to verify.

The deputy head of the FMS International and Public Relations Directorate, Konstantin Poltoranin, made the following statement to the BBC in April: "What is now at stake is the survival of the white race. We feel this in Russia. We want to make sure the mixing of blood happens in the right way here, and not the way it has happened in Western Europe where the results have not been good." Poltoranin was fired after the comments were made public.

Human rights organizations expressed concern that Romani children in schools experienced discrimination. According to Memorial a number of schools refused to register Romani students on the grounds that they lacked documents, while others segregated Romani students or placed them in classes designed for children with learning disabilities because of their ethnicity.

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