Internet platform for studying Xenophobia, Radicalism and Problems of Intercultural communication.

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings

Application of Legislation, Criminal Cases, Court Rulings Residence of the Constitutional Court of Russian Federation in St. Petersburg.

In 2015, 494 people were sentenced for hate crime of varying degrees. 352 people were given a non-custodial sentence (196 people were issued fines, 88 – to corrective and compulsory labour, 62 –suspended sentences, 2 – restriction of liberty, 4 were issued a warning), 142 people were given custodial sentences (15 people were arrested for several days; others were issued various prison sentences: up to a year - 5 people, 1 to 5 years - 62 people, 5 to 10 years - 42 people, 10 to 15 years – 3 people, 15 to 20 – 6 people, 20 to 25 – 2 people, life imprisonment – 3 people. 4 people were sent for compulsory psychological treatment).

Three cases were terminated - after the expiration of the statute of limitations, due to the lack of corpus delicti, due to active repentance. The bias towards non-custodial sentences is largely due to most xenophobic offenses being committed online, such as publishing of xenophobic articles and posts, where fines and compulsory labour prove an effective punishment.

To compare, in 2014, 509 people have been sentenced for crimes and offences related to xenophobia 370 people received non-custodial sentences (212 - fines, 100 - correctional and compulsory labour, 32 - probation, 22 were issued warnings and cautions and 4 were brought to disciplinary responsibility). 139 people received custodial sentences (11 people were sentenced to several days in jail, 4 people were sentenced to prison terms of up to one year, 43 people - for the period from 1 to 5 years, 54 - for a period of 5 to 10 years, 15 - for the period from 10 to 15 years, 4 - for the period from 15 to 20 years, 4 - for the period from 20 to 25 years, and 3 - sent on compulsory treatment). One person was released from responsibility due to statute of limitations; one person was acquitted; one trial was dismissed due to active repentance; and one case is unknown. On the other hand, sentences to compulsory labour for real assaults are surprising, to say the least.

In 2013, during the same period, 583 people were convicted for such crimes, and in 2012, 305. Some decrease in the number of convicts is largely a consequence of the absence of mass riots, which resulted in an increase in the number of punished in 2013.

A slightly different picture is given by the official statistics of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation, which gives information on registered crimes motivated by hatred. Thus, according to these data, 741 extremist crimes were committed in the first half of 2015 (557 in January-June 2014). Most of them (487) were instituted on art. 282 of the Criminal Code - the incitement of hatred or enmity. In the first half of 2014, these crimes were registered by 27.2% less (332 cases). Basically it's about crimes committed on the Internet.

Another 135 crimes were committed in the first 6 months of 2015, related to calls for extremist activity (during the same period of 2014 – 92 such cases were reported). Article 280 of the Criminal Code deals mainly with online crimes. As for offline - hate crimes, the increase was observed in murders - item “l” part 2 of Art. 105 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (6 in the first half of 2015 and 3 in the same period in 2014), and for battering - item “b” part 2 of Art. 116 of the Criminal Code (37 and 33 respectively) on the basis of hatred. Only one case increased the number of intentional infliction of serious harm to health - Part 2 of Art. 119 of the Criminal Code (3 and 2 attacks respectively).

In other cases the statistics fixed a significant drop in extremist crime. Thus, crimes committed under item "e" of Part 2 of Art. 112 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (Intentional infliction of moderate severity of harm to health) - 6 in January - June 2014 and no one in the first half of 2015. In 2 times decreased the number of crimes related to the threat of murder or infliction of grievous bodily harm (part 2, article 119 of the Criminal Code RF), in twice - hooliganism based on hate (paragraph "b" part 1, article 213 of the Criminal Code), etc.

In Russia, according to the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation, 1'329 crimes of an extremist nature were registered in 2015, which is 295 more than in 2014. The increase was mainly due to non-violent crimes - appeals, as well as the incitement of hatred and enmity. Basically, all these crimes were committed on the Internet. On the other hand, the number of registered violent crimes decreased from 134 to 115. Of these, 97 attacks were recorded.

In addition, according to the data of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation, in 2015 there was a significant reduction in violent crimes of an extremist nature - murders - by 33%, deliberate infliction of serious harm to health - by 60%, deliberate infliction of moderate harm to health - by 44%, intentional infliction of the lung harm to health - 43%.

This became possible as a result of the toughening of the anti-extremist legislation of the Russian Federation in 2013, when it became possible to prosecute those who incited inter-group dissension on the Internet. However, in most cases, criminal cases on such articles ended in a conditional punishment, which de facto has a large educational and preventive character, since convicts, as a rule, no longer return to illegal activities.

In addition, the mass departure of activists of radical organizations from Russia affected the decrease in the number and severity of hate crimes. More than 4,000 people have gone to the war zone, where they are fighting on the side of Islamists in Syria and Iraq, a significant number of right-wing radicals went to fight in the southeast of Ukraine, where they are fighting on either side of opposing forces.

In 2014, the Federal List of Extremist Materials grew from by 368 entries to 2558 items. Among the new entries are skinhead and Islamist videos, poems of an anti-Semitic bard A. Kharchikov, neo-Nazi websites “Heroes of Freedom” and “Aryan Liberation Front”; an anti-Semitic children’s book by Ernest Khimer “Toadstool”, skinhead and Islamist videos, a song by RNE – Street Fight, various anti-Semitic materials, and website www.dpni.org; book by V. Istarkhov What is the Concept of “Dead Water”, Islamist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic videos (including a film Russia Stabbed in the Back 2), songs of a Chechen bard T. Mutsuraev, skinhead videos, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf; Islamophovic article from the Imperial Cossack Union website, skinhead and Islamist videos, articles by American racist D. Lane, a song by Corrosion of Metal, a book by Hans Gunther Selected Works on Raciology and Michael by Joseph Goebbels; brochures by Yu. Evola “Tradition and Race”, A. Rozenberg’s “Myth of the 20th century” and various nationalist, skinhead and Islamist videos and materials; nationalist songs by Kolovrat, Banda Moskvi, Kiborg and D.I.V, as well as an anti-Semitic book by G. Klimov called Red Kabbala and a video “How to distinguish a Jew from a Slav, Tikhomirov M.V. US AND THEM, and others.

In March, the Faizrakhmanist community was added to the Federal List of Extremist Organisations. The organisation was recognised as extremist in Kazan in 2013. On March 12, Roskomnadzor (Russian media watchdog – Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications) issued a warning to Lenta.ru for the interview with one of the Right Sector (Ukrainian Nationalist Movement) leaders Andrei Tarasenko published on the website. Federal watchdog noted that the article linked in the text and titled “Dmitro Yarosh: Sooner or later, we are destined to fight against the Moscow Empire” contains “statements directed at inciting interethnic hatred”.

On July 23, it was reported that 450 webpages were blocked by the Russian General Prosecution for extremist contents. Access to such websites is blocked after reports by citizens, organisations, authorities and based on the Monitoring of online space. Most extremist pages that have been blocked were hosted on VKontakte social network. These pages contained calls to mass riots and extremist actions. Prosecution receives up to 200 reports a day from citizens who complain about extremism online. Previously, head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Vladimir Kolokoltsev stated that over the same period more than 500 websites were blocked and more than 7 thousand of extremist materials were deleted. Administrative sanctions were applied to 386 people, criminal punishment – 186 people.

On September 21, 2015, the Military-Patriotic Club “White Cross” and the neo-Nazi movement “Misanthropic division” were added to the Federal List of Extremist Organizations.

In 2012, Russia established a Council under the President of the Russian Federation on Interethnic Relations, the main task of which is to review conceptual foundations, objectives and tasks of the state national policy. A Coordinating Council on Implementing National Policy was established in 2014 under the Ministry of Culture. Councils specialising on interethnic relations are present in most regions across Russia.

At the moment, similar bodies are being set up at regional and municipal levels (in Perm , Kasimov , Bokovsky District of Rostov Oblast , Chita , Krasnoufimsk , Venevsky District of Tula Region ). Regions are developing their own programmes against xenophobia and extremism (such programmes were launched in Irkutsk , Orel , Tula and Tyumen regions, as well as in Samara ).

As of June 18, 2014, 39 regional programmes received state funding totalling 367 million rubles. Furthermore, a number of Russian courts and prosecution bodies of first and second instances ruled in favour of the unlawfully persecuted Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Russian Protestants, Catholics, as well as LGBT activists and those unlawfully accused of extremism.

On January 31, 2014 Savelovsky District Court of Moscow declared Alexander Dvorkin’s statements on Russia-1 Channel as “untrue and defamatory”. The channel was ordered to publish a retraction and pay compensation to the Vaishnavas.

On March 4, 2014 two Jehovah’s Witnesses brochures were excluded from the Federal list of extremist materials.

On May 19, Federal Antimonopoly Service sanctioned a Ryazan firm which promoted discounts for Russians and Slavs.

On August 1, Ministry of Justice reported that another nationalists National Democratic Party has been denied registration

On January 12, police officers were able to curb the growing riot in Perm, however two Tajikistan natives received minor injuries. 134 persons were arrested, including 90 minors.

On September 18, Director of a municipal newspaper Irkutsk Yulia Burekhina was dismissed after the newspaper published a prejudiced anti-Ukrainian article On September 12, Prosecutor’s Office in Mordovia upheld the decision to ban hijabs in schools. In addition, students are prohibited to wear religious attributes, jeans, miniskirts and piercing

On January 21, 2014 Human Rights Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin addressed the governor of Murmansk Oblast Maria Kovtun protesting against the pressure on the Jehovah’s Witnesses. “I believe, that efforts to increase the number of followers of the religious organisation – Jehovah’s Witnesses – is legal and cannot be equated to such criminal activities as extremism. This approach can be perceived by religious citizens as an insult and disrespect to their religious feelings and beliefs"<- she said.

As a result, on January 30, heads of Murmansk municipal associations received a letter from Deputy Governor Veshkin, which retracted his last year’s instruction “On the Regional Office of Jehovah’s Witnesses”.

On Febraury 21, 2014 case against Elena Klimova – creator of “Deti-404” group – was closed in Nizhny Tagil. Children Rights Commissioner found no evidence of “propaganda of homosexuality” in the programme. Morokov praised the importance of programme supporting LGBT youth.

The number of hate crime cases in Russia has grown by 28% in 2015, most such cases, however, were related to hate speech on the Internet. Such offences are usually punished by non-custodial sentences, and repeat offences are unlikely. During the monitored period, 494 people have been sentenced for hate crime in Russia (509 in 2014), 352 of which were given non-custodial sentences. However, the general number of violent hate crime fell by 14% compared to the previous year (115 in 2015; 134 in 2014). This decrease is largely due to effective preventative policies carried out across the country.

In 2016, Russia actively implemented informational and educational practices aimed at harmonizing interethnic and interreligious relations.For example, in January, the head of the Russian Federal Agency for Nationalities Affairs, Igor Barinov, said that his department had developed a program for prompt response to ethnic conflicts, which would help to identify them at an early stage. It allows automatic monitoring of the media and the blogosphere

According to the head of the Agency, at the end of 2015 this program helped to localize several possible conflicts at the initial stage. By the end of October 2016, 82 regions of the Russian Federation were connected to the monitoring system. The Agency also started to develop methodological recommendations and model schemes for responding to interethnic and interfaith conflicts.

The same Federal Agency in October 2016 took the initiative and held the first All-Russian action "Big Ethnographic Dictation" at 800 venues across the country. Ninety thousand people took part in it. The action was carried out in accordance with the Strategy of the State National Policy of the Russian Federation until 2025 and was aimed at mass acquaintance of the inhabitants of the country with the customs of its peoples. This initiative, according to experts, is extremely important in terms of overcoming xenophobic prejudices and, as a consequence, preventing hate crimes, since the main reason for these phenomena is the lack of knowledge about their neighbors.

In 2016, multifunctional migration centers were established in Russia. They allowed to pass all stages of obtaining a patent for labor activity in one location. The situation was not affected even by the abolition in April 2016 of the Federal Migration Service and the transfer of its functions to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.

In 2016, more than 16.3 million foreign citizens were registered in the migration register. In this regard, the head of the department of regional security and anti-corruption of the Moscow mayor's office, Alexei Mayorov, said that due to the system, in two years the number of counterfeit medical documents or papers about alleged knowledge of the Russian language was reduced almost to zero.

The active work of law enforcement agencies in suppressing extremist crimes was registered in Russia in 2016, which led to a decrease in violent hate crimes (by 33%), while the number of registered non-violent crimes grew by 9%.

According to the Russian prosecutor's office, almost all of the potential offenders before they take up arms and commit violent crime, they trying to find accomplices in the Network and to spread the hate there. If law enforcement authorities manage to stop them at this stage, they, as a rule, refuses to commit violence.

In March 2016 the administration of the Tula region in Russia had to resolve the issue of illegal Roma constructions in the village of Kosaya Gora. By the decision of the regional court, all illegal structures were to be demolished. Regional administration decided to provide the Roma families whose houses are to be demolished, new plots of land 10 km from Tula in the village Sudakovo, where the local authorities resolved the issue of providing gas and water. Gypsy families were provided with transport services to new places.

In the village of Plekhanovo, Tula region, the largest gypsy settlement in central Russia is located. The authorities had to conduct a whole police operation to eliminate illegal connections to life support systems. At the same time, policemen had to protect repair workers, who became targets of attacks by local residents. Also in the village more than 100 illegal Roma residential buildings were demolished. Their dismantling was carried out by court decision in several stages. At the same time, new land plots were transferred to Roma families and the issue of connecting to communications was resolved.

At the present moment, the authorities of Tula have adopted a comprehensive program for the development of Plekhanovo in the next two years. Priority issues for the improvement of the territory are water disposal and water supply, lighting, repair of roads and sidewalks, construction, and improvement of social facilities and public places.

In 2017 a number of decisions and initiatives aimed at simplifying the procedure for naturalization of citizens of the former Soviet Union, primarily Ukrainian citizens, and the legalization of migrant workers, the development of state ethnic policy, an attempt to launch an all-Russian system for monitoring interethnic conflicts, amnesty for leaders of national movements (in Crimea deputies of the banned in Russia Majlis of the Crimean Tatar people Ilmi Umerov and Akhtem-Chiygoz were pardoned) should be noted.

According to the Judicial Department under the Supreme Court in 2018 there was a tendency to increase the number of convictions under the "anti-extremist" articles of the Criminal Code (Articles 282, 280, 280.1, 205.2, 354.1, Parts 1 and 2 148, 282.1, 282.2, 205.4, 205.5), continuing the policy of previous years (for example, in 2016 662 people were convicted, in 2017 - 786 ). A total of 731 people were convicted in 2018; in the second half of the year, the rate of convictions slowed somewhat due to the beginning of discussions about the decriminalization of Article 282 of the Criminal Code ("incitement to hatred"), under which people were mostly convicted - in 2018, 518 people were convicted under it .

The decriminalization of Article 282 of the Criminal Code at the end of 2018 led to a sharp decrease in the number of convictions in 2019 - 432 people were convicted. At the same time, Article 280 of the Criminal Code (Public calls for extremist activities) (145 people were convicted under it) and Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code (Public calls for terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism) (126 people were convicted under it) acted as "substitutes" for Article 282 (only 36 people were convicted of it in 2019). The Prosecutor General's Office also confirmed the decrease in the number of convictions. According to its data, the decriminalization of Art. 282 led to the fact that the number of people prosecuted for extremist crimes in 2019 halved - from 1265 to 585. On the other hand, 383 people were convicted in 2019 under Article 20.3.1 of the Administrative Code of the Russian Federation ("inciting hatred or enmity, as well as disparagement of human dignity"), which replaced Article 282 of the Criminal Code.

According to data from the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, in the first six months of 2020 220 people were convicted under "anti-extremist" articles. At the same time, the largest number of convictions was under Article 280 and 205.2 of the Criminal Code - 80 and 73, respectively. In addition, in the first half of 2020 347 people were convicted under Article 20.3.1 of the CAO - almost as many as in the whole of 2019. If this rate continues, the number of convictions will rise again to 2017-2018 levels. In addition, there are also large-scale convictions under the anti-extremist articles of the CAO, where the number of convictions exceeds the number of those under the articles of the Criminal Code by several times. Under Article 20.3 of the CAO "Demonstration of Nazi symbols and symbols of prohibited organizations") for 2018 1,652 people or legal entities were convicted, for 2019 - 2,388, and in the first six months of 2020 - 1,052. Under Article 20.29 of the CAO "Dissemination of extremist materials" in 2018, 1964 people were convicted in 2019 - 1591, and in the first six months of 2020 - 856 .

According to data collected through open-source monitoring, 579 people were convicted in 2018, 194 in 2019, and 132 in the first 11 months of 2020. A significant portion of those convicted received non-custodial sentences - conditional imprisonment, fines, restriction of freedom, correctional labor - 416 people in 2018, 94 in 2019, and 75 in 2020. Custodial sentences were imposed on 161 people in 2018, 98 in 2019, and 57 in 2020. Meanwhile, 77 people in 2018, 51 people in 2019, and 24 people in 2020 were sentenced to relatively short prison terms (up to 5 years), 30, 11, and 8 people were sentenced to prison terms of 5 to 10 years, 5, 30, and 14 people were sentenced to prison terms of 10 to 15 years, 35 people in 2018 and 10 people in 2020 were sentenced to prison terms of 15 to 20 years, and 1, 4, and 1 people were sentenced to prison terms of over 20 years respectively. Five people in 2018 and 2 people in 2019 were sentenced to involuntary treatment. The sentences for eight people in 2018 and two people in 2019 are unknown.

Also, according to the Prosecutor General's Office, more than 81,000 Internet resources with information containing terrorist and extremist threats, including calls for mass unrest and violence, were blocked in 2019. Illegal information was removed from 45,000 sites . According to Roskomnadzor, more than 17,000 materials with ISIS propaganda were blocked in 2018, more than 20700 in 2019, Hizb ut-Tahrir materials were blocked in 2018, more than 14700 in 2019; In 2018 almost 5,000 materials of Right Sector, UNA-UNSO, UPA, Stepan Bandera Trident, Brotherhood, Azov battalion were blocked, in 2019 - already more than 12100 .

There is a Federal List of Extremist Materials to combat extremist literature and Internet materials. In 2018 it increased by 365 items, in 2019 - by 194 items, in 10 months of 2020 - by 115 items, reaching 5119 items . Extremist organizations are included in the Federal List of Extremist Organizations. Currently there are 79 organizations on it (in 2018 there were 7, in 2019- 4, in 2020 - 5).

According to data from the Judicial Department of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, 250 individuals - 172 individuals and 78 legal entities - were punished under Article 5.26 of the Administrative Code (violation of legislation on freedom of conscience, freedom of religious beliefs and religious associations) in 2018, while 223 individuals - 131 individuals, 82 legal entities and 10 officials - were punished in 2019. The total amount of fines under the effective decrees in this area was 3'736'500 rubles in 2018 and 3'337'100 rubles in 2019. In the first half of 2020, 132 persons were punished under Article 5.26 of the CAO RF, including 90 individuals, 39 legal entities and three officials. The total amount of fines under effective decrees for the first half of 2020 amounted to 1,581,000 rubles. In this case we are talking about a violation of the Law on missionary work (more precisely, Federal Law №374 from 06.07.2016 "On amendments to the Federal Law "On countering terrorism" and some legislative acts of the Russian Federation in terms of establishing additional counter-terrorism measures and ensuring public safety" introduced by Article 5.26 of the CAO) imposes several restrictions on activities of religious organizations: a closed list of places where missionary activities are allowed is established, also a ban on missionary activities is introduced It also introduces restrictions on the participation of foreigners, who have entered Russia at the invitation of a religious organization, in missionary activities on behalf of other religious organizations. While the law does not have a clear concept of "missionary activity," even believers who tell their neighbors about their religion can theoretically be held accountable under it.

The Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court issued a number of rulings clarifying unclear areas in the "anti-missionary" law. On March 13, 2018, the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation ruled that the sign of missionary activity of a religious association is "distribution by citizens, their associations of information about a particular religious doctrine to persons who, not being its followers, are involved in their number," and that missionary activity itself "is performed by a special circle of persons (the religious association, its members, other citizens and legal entities in the established order)". Thus, the fact of missionary activity can be considered proven only if the activities of the religious association have all of these attributes.

According to the "Forum 18" service. During 2019 and the first half of 2020, 17 religious organizations and 125 believers were prosecuted under parts 4 and 5 of Article 5.26 of the Administrative Code (some on multiple counts). At the same time, in 2020 the number of Muslims exceeded the number of Protestants, who used to be the main victims of persecution under this article. In 2019, 100 people were convicted - 42 Muslims, 17 Baptists,16 Evangelical Christians, 8 Krishnaites, three Methodists, two Mormons and Seventh-day Adventists each, one Buddhist and one Catholic. Religious affiliation of another 8 people is unknown. In January-June 2020 there were 20 Muslims, 12 Baptists, 6 Evangelical Christians and 1 Catholic. Religious affiliation of 3 more people is unknown. According to the media and Forum 18 service, one of the most frequent reasons for convictions under this article is the failure to mention the full official legal name of the organization on signs and websites of religious organizations.

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