Sova Centre publishes two new reports

posted 3 Apr 2017, 10:21 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 3 Apr 2017, 10:33 ]
22 March 2017


By Vera Vasilieva [extract]

On 21 March 2017, the Sova Centre for Information and Analysis presented two reports at the International Memorial Society: “Old problems and new unions. Combating xenophobia and radical nationalism in Russia in 2016” and “Unlawful implementation of anti-extremist law.”

The director of the Sova Centre, Aleksandr Verkhovsky, and Centre staff Vera Alperovich, Nataliya Yudina and Mariya Kravchenko, participated in the presentations.

“The context in which the nationalists had to act, was set as early as 2014, when the events in Ukraine that everyone knows about unfolded. At that time, there were two important factors. The first was that the ultra-right field splintered into two parts, one part supporting the ideas of the “Russian Spring” or the so-called “New Russia”, while the other did not share their enthusiasm, and a conflict arose between them.

The second important factor was the sharply increased pressure on the ultra-right environment by law enforcement agencies, which led to the prohibition of many nationalist organisations or the loss of their leaders through prosecution,” noted Vera Alperovich, who prepared the first report with Nataliya Yudina.

According to the expert, the street actions of “Russian Spring” supporters failed to attract even the small number of like-minded people who came to them in 2015. For this reason, there was a trend towards non-political forms of activity – all kinds of combat training and gathering, discussion clubs and lectures, etc.

As for the opponents of “Novorossiya”, they “were forced to cooperate with the liberal-democratic movement.” However, as Vera Alperovich noted, “this tactic was not successful, because among the liberals, the nationalists have a rather bad reputation.”

In 2016 the quantity of racist and neo-Nazi motivated attacks slightly decreased compared to the previous year, according to the Sova Centre.

“But in reality, the scope of violence is unknown. It is difficult to gather information from open sources because the mass media very rarely write about it now, or from closed sources, because the victims very rarely talk about what has happened to them, they rarely go to human rights organisations for assistance, and even more rarely to the police. As a result, the data we provide is just a drop in the ocean,” clarified Nataliya Yudina.

[...] For more information, including the texts of the reports, please visit the website of the Sova Centre.

Translated by Kate Goodby