- Jul 2011
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Amounts of attacks in Russia against persons of Caucasian or Asian appearance decreased sharply, according to human rights activists. According to their information, this is due to a change of views among the nationalist leadership: the far right no longer believe in the effectiveness of such a form of 'fighting for the rights of the titular nation', as beating and killing guest workers, and have decided the better way would be to fight against the government and for political power.
This last summer was noted a sharp decrease in incidents, connected to racist and neo nazi violence, say experts from information-analytical center «Sova». 21 people suffered in that period, compared to 85 in the summer of 2010. In total, in 8 months of 2011 suffered 106 people (16 dead), while in 2009 taht many suffered in just the summer months, and in 2010 over the same period, 434 people suffered from racial hatred.
«We do not maintain a statistic by time of year, but it is true that there had been recently much less assaults and murders motivated by ethnic hatred», — said a Internal Affairs Ministry source.
«This decrease can be attributed to the fact that, neo nazis, both leaders and regular activists, are shifting their attention from street battles against ethnic enemies toward a war against the government for political power», — explains «Sova» expert Vera Alperovich. According to her, among neo nazis there is already being propagated the idea that there is no point in attacking migrants, «when the government is the enemy».
«The key idologues of street violence really have changed their position and say now, to their followers, to not touch street cleaners and construction workers, — comments the leader of the movement «Russians» Aleksandr Belov. — Second reason for the decrease in attacks — the highened control over far right youth groups from the authorities after the Manezh Square riots last December». About the nationalists' political ambitions, Belov agrees that «such thoughts are going about».
The rise in the far right political activity is linked by "Sova" to the upcoming Duma elections. Leaders of banned nationalist movements closely cooperate with the "systemic" parties represented there, according to "Sova".
For example, Liberal Democrat Party organised «round tables» in the Duma with participation of leaders of banned radical right movements such as already mentioned Aleksnadr Belov, as well as Dmitry Demushkin [Slavic Union] and Георгия Боровикова [National Patriotic Front]. However, it is not just LDPR that are accused of playing with nationalists, but also "Just Russia", "Right Way" and Valdimir Putin's "People's Front".
The events at Manezh Square in December of 2010 played their role also, says "Sova". Nationalists remembered the accidental success of this unplanned action, and have been trying to expand upon it and maintain the momentum they gained there.
Putin's coming return to the Presidency is also greeted with enthusiasm by many nationalists — they feel he is sympathetic to their causes, and remember that he first came to power with the backing of far right groups, says head of «Civic Solidarity» Svetlana Gannushkina.
Besides that, nationalist groups, according to human rights advocates, have recently been getting actively involved in legal defence of accused in racist crimes and support of imprisoned nationalists and neo nazis.
«Of course we are not going to try to storm the Kremlin, but it is a fact that we have grown up and matured in recent years, — tells us a leader of a far right football hooligan group. — Idiotically beating up non-Russians is no longer our main strategy, our work is to not allow their customs and culture to infiltrate our country, our government,a nd our daily life. And for this, a more sophisticated approach is needed».
For example, nationalists do not like that, in representative offices of North Caucasian Republics in Moscow work liasons to police and other law enforcement structures, continues the hooligan leader. «These people collect information about any arrests of Chechens, Ossetians, Ingush or Kabardians, and quickly go to the police station in question, to negotiate with them and help make the incident go away, — he says. — Russians do not have this, nobody is there to defend them».
«We are building connections in police, prosecutorial offices, Investigation committee, in the media, so taht we too get this sort of information, and then we pressure to sentence the Caucasians properly», — says the hooligan leader.
There are members of the "structures of force" [police, military, FSB, prosecutors] who share and support the far right ideology, unhappily admits human rights defender Alperovich: «Often, police officers and others in those forces too share xenophobic sentiments, and use their position and their powers to both aid the nationalist movements and also victimise the targeted ethnic or religious groups».
«Our views often do intersect with the nationalist positions, — admits a source in the FSB. — We also fight against Caucasian migration and infiltration, but at a higher level — our goal is to keep them out of governmental and law enforcement structures. Because where there are Caucasians, there are clanism, corruption and other phenomena that come with their particular ethnic mentality».
It is true, about police and other law enforcement agencies supporting the nazis. Back in 2002, there were the news that members of neo nazi skinhead gangs were receiving weapons and training on a OMON (Russian paramilitary police) base at Strogino, near Moscow
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And they are getting more and more popular support too. Their annual "Russian March" in Moscow alone attracted 2,000 people in 2007, 5,000 in 2008, 7,000 in 2009, 12,000 in 2010, and they expect as many as 20,000 this year
Ïî Ìîñêâå ïðîéäóòñÿ "Ðóññêèì ìàðøåì" - Íàöèîíàëèñòû ðàññ÷èòûâàþò ïðîâåñòè äâàäöàòèòûñÿ÷íóþ àêöèþ çà ìåñÿö äî âûáîðîâ
Mostly youth, as you can see. But that is the point. This is the future. This is who they have to bring to their side. They may not have much power today, but if they secure these generations, they will rule tommorrow...