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



In 2014, there were 26 attacks that can be classified as hate crime, resulting in 56 victims. Most cases were related to the armed conflict that erupted in 2014 (48 dead and 70 injured), which is why this year Odessa and Donbass regions had the most casualties this year. Among others, 17 victims were African; 5 were Jewish; 2 were LGBT and 1 was Iraqi.

The largest hate crime recorded during the monitored period was the mass murder in Odessa’s House of Trade Unions on May 2nd. On this day, extremist supporters of the current Kiev government, including members of the Right Sector and Kharkiv football fans, organised a procession “For Ukrainian Unity” and clashed with the supporters of federalisation. Activists on both sides were armed with weapons and firearms.

After clashes on the city streets, Maidan supporters destroyed the camp of federalisation supporters and started throwing stones and Molotov Cocktails at the House of Trade Unions, where their rivals took shelter. Right Sector activists set fire to the building and prevented federalisation supporters from leaving the burning building, shooting windows and fire escapes, killing those who jumped from windows and tried to flee. According to witness reports, attackers shot, beaten and strangled their victims. As a result, 48 people were killed, majority of whom were burned in the House of Trade Unions.

On March 8, after an antifascist rally in Kharkiv, a minibus drove to the group of protesters heading home on the Pravda Avenue. Around 10 young men exited the vehicle and opened fire on the rally participants. They then went on to beat the participants with batons and baseball bats. The vehicle that transported St Gerorge ribbons and flags was also badly damaged. Five people were taken to hospital.

On March 9, a 40 year old woman was assaulted for wearing a St George ribbon and giving directions in Russian language.

On March 31, it was reported that a Poltava resident was brutally beaten after he displayed a Russian flag in his coffee shop, during the broadcast of sports games.

On March 18, deputies from “Svoboda” attacked and assaulted the head of the First national TV channel, forcing him to quit his job. Svoboda activists Igor Miroshnichenko also insulted him, calling him a “moskalyuka” (derogatory term for Russians). This was confirmed by acting president of the First national TV channel Aleksandr Panteleymonov on air of Gromdsky TV. On April 27, an attack was made on the large-scale procession for united Ukraine, held by the fans of Dnepr FC and Metallist FC. The following clash resulted in several injuries. Media reported that the attackers wore St George ribbons. March participants were displaying the symbols of Ukraine.

On May 16, far right youth activists attacked the leader of Communist Party of Ukraine and Presidential candidate Petr Simonenko, damaging his car. On May 20, a kidnapping was attempted against a Borotba association activist Denis Levin.

On May 24, a pacifist artist Alexandr Kaminsky, who was calling for a peace rally near Verkhovna Rada, was attacked.

On May 26, Maidan Self-Defence poured iodine on the former head of Kiev city administration Alexandr Popov.

On September 23, cultural scientist Vasily Cherepanin was brutally beaten near his work in Kiev.

On November 7, the anniversary of the October Revolution of 1917, communist parties in Kharkiv, Mariupol and Melitopol have been attacked by right-wing radicals .

In Kharkiv, activists of the Right Sector, Svoboda party and other extreme right organisations surrounded the solemn procession and started hurling stones and firecrackers at the communists. Luckily, nobody was injured. In Mariupol, communists were attacked by people holding Ukrainian national flags, the fight was averted by the police.

On July 30, a car marked with “Dnieper” arrived at the residence of St. Alexandr-Nevsky Temple parishioner Igor Sergienko in Krasnoarmeyskoe (Donetsk). A number of armed men exited the vehicle and began insulting the priest, asking how much money he sends to Moscow and accused him of helping criminals. These men searched his home and demanded he leaves Ukraine and transferred all property documents for the temple to them.

A similar situation on the same day occurred with Archpriest Eugene Podgorny in Amvrosievsky District. His vehicle was searched at a control point, and the priest himself was insulted and accused of financing Donetsk People’s Republic. He was assaulted and forced to remove his cross. In early August, locals of Bovsuny village were outraged by a sermon of a priest Vladimir, who called for peace at the funeral of a local who was killed in eastern Ukraine. Villagers accused the priest of separatism.

On August 15, nationalists disrupted a service conducted by Vladimir Navozenko in Chervonaya Motovilovka village (Kiev region). Several dozen people arrived in the building with Ukrainian flags and Svoboda party symbols. They threatened the priest with violence and accused him of pro-Russian position and “support of terrorists”. Nationalists gave him a week to leave the parish.

Donbass separatists have also exhibited xenophobia. On July 4, 2014, supporters of Donbass People’s Republic kidnapped a Greek Catholic Priest Tikhon Kulbaka, secretary of interfaith Council of Churches and Religious Organisations in Donetsk. His car was painted with swastikas and a note “Death to Bandera”. On July 14, he was released.

On February 10, an African national was beaten in Odessa. On March 16, two African nationals were beaten in Lutsk. On July 5, a group of teenagers attacked four dark-skinned passengers in Kiev’s subway.

On July 6, 2014, members of the Azov battalion came to the Freedom Square to “look for black people” and clashed with the Maidan Self-Defence. Starting from early July, supporters of Lugansk People’s Republic started arresting dark-skinned students – mostly from Nigeria – suspecting all of them of drug trafficking. According to various sources, more than 30 students have been arrested. Around a dozen of African students were used by separatists for forced labour – fortifying regional administration buildings.

On January 11 and 17, two attacks on Jews have been made in Kiev, near Rozenber synagogue. An Israeli national, Gilel Verthaimer, 26, and Dov-Ber-Glikman, 33, sustained moderate wounds.

On March 13, rabbi Gilel Koen was attacked in Kiev.

On the night of July 4, three masked men threw empty bottles at a synagogue in Podol, and attacked two Jewish men on the next street, severely beating one of them. The second began calling for help and criminals fled.

On October 28, shots were fired at an apartment owned by a Jewish family in Kiev. One person was injured.

On June 8, Babylon gay night club was attacked by Donetsk activists, who shouted that such establishments should not exist in Donetsk. On May 25, Orthodox activists tried to attack a gay parade in Kiev, but were supressed by police . On August 4, Iraqi student was attacked in Kiev.

On September 30, MP Nestor Shufrich was attacked near Odessa state administration. Shufrich is known for holding antifascist views.

Due to the fact that the police are extremely reluctant to start a case on hate crimes, preferring to qualify them for other articles, or not to start at all, official statistics and data collected by NGOs in the course of 2015 are significantly different.Thus, according to the statistical report of Form No. 1-RD “Report on Criminal Offenses Committed on the Basis of Racial, National or Religious Intolerance, Pre-trial Investigation into Which Was Executed by ATS Investigators”, there were a total of five (5) criminal offenses recorded for 12 months of 2015, committed on the basis of racial, national or religious intolerance, among which: wilful killing (or attempt) -1; torture - 1; violation of the equality of citizens, depending on their race, nationality or religious beliefs - 2; desecration over a grave, other burial site or over a body of the deceased - 1.

At the same time, the Department of Methodological, Organizational and Analytical Work of the Main Investigation Department of the National Police of Ukraine provides information on 79 reports of violation of Art. 161 “Violation of the equality of citizens, depending on their race, nationality, religious beliefs, disability and other grounds.” Of these, criminal cases were instituted in 49 incidents (33 in 2014).

Consequently, there have been 54 recorded hate crimes in 2015. Given that Ukrainian law enforcement practice does not take into account non-violent hate crimes, and from Art. 161 of the Criminal Code, the part dealing with criminal responsibility for discrimination has been practically removed, it can be assumed that the state system only considers crimes of a violent nature. Meanwhile, according to non-governmental organizations, 343 hate crimes were committed in Ukraine in 2014.

The Monitoring Group for the Rights of National Minorities of the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine in the Information and Analytical Report on Monitoring Results “TWO YEARS OF WAR: Xenophobia in Ukraine in 2015” reports 19 victims who suffered as a result of violence motivated by racial and ethnic hatred in 2015, of which 1 was killed. In 2014, this group informed about 24 such victims. The data in Donetsk and Lugansk regions was not taken into account. The Monitoring Group also reports its statistics on acts of vandalism motivated by national and religious hatred for 2014 and 2015. Thus, in 2015 the organization noted 34 cases of vandalism (23 of them were anti-Semitic), and in 2014 - 27 cases.

According to the information available to the authors of the report, among all hate crimes in 2015, 1 attack of anti-Islamic nature can be identified (in 2014 - 6); 26 crimes of anti-Semitic orientation - of them 3 attacks and, as already indicated, 10 crimes against Christians, 3 attacks against LGBT people (in 2014 - 132) and 7 attacks motivated by racism (in 2014-34).

Based on the above, the exact figure of violent and non-violent crimes of an extremist nature in Ukraine cannot be estimated with any degree of precision. The lack of official statistics on non-violent crimes, as well as the controversial information of NGOs, does not allow us to assess the real situation in this country. Moreover, there are serious grounds for believing that the Ukrainian authorities refuse to register such crimes and initiate criminal cases.

Here are some of the most odious cases of 2015:

On January 1, LifeNews correspondent was attacked by members of pro-Bandera demonstration.

On May 17, a Nigerian national was attacked in Kiev.

On May 19, resident of Vilikodolinskoye village, Odessa region, was attacked by her neighbours for speaking Ukrainian.

On June 6, extreme right activists attacked members of the pro-LGBT Equality March in Kiev. At least 10 members of the march were injured. 3 police officers, who protected the march, were injured as well.

On June 8, 16 year old Syrian national was attacked in Kharkiv. On June 18, ethnic Tajiki man was attacked in Kharkiv. On June 11, in Kharkov a group of about 30-40 young people, some of whom hid their faces behind masks and balaclava, attacked citizens of Ukraine and foreign students in the area of student hostels on the street. Oktar Yarosh and further along Klochkovskaya street. Some attackers were armed with bits and piercing-cutting objects. As a result of the beatings, 9 victims with traumatic brain injuries and stab wounds were taken to the hospital, 4 of them - foreign students, citizens of Jordan. In addition, the attackers were smashed by cars, glass was struck, two dogs were killed.

On August 30, cafe “Cleopatra” in Krivoy Rog (Dnipropetrovsk region), hosting a closed LGBT event, was attacked by unknown persons. At about two o'clock in the morning, 20 people in masks broke into the door of the cafe and beat the visitors. Some had T-shirts with the “Right Sector” symbols. Arriving at the scene of the incident, the police released the attackers without even trying to establish their identity.

In the evening of August 30, a group of masked persons attacked the Queer Home Krivbas LGBT Center. They pelted the room with smoke bombs and smashed it. One of the visitors was seriously beaten and hospitalized.

On October 21, 2015, during a football match in Kiev between the teams of Dynamo (Kiev) and Chelsea UEFA Champions League, fans of the Kiev club (according to the assumptions pertaining to the fan group “Rodici”) cruelly beat four black spectators of the match, as well as several people who tried to stand up for the injured. According to eyewitnesses of the beatings, the attacks were accompanied by cries of “White power!”

On the night of December 22, 2015, in one of the cities of the Transcarpathian region a young man (personal information is not disclosed in the interests of the victim) went to the store where a group of people followed him, calling him “a Yiddish muzzle.” The group then attacked him as he left the store.

In general, the level of hate crimes remained quite high in Ukraine in 2018-21, which is explained by the archaicization of social processes, the ongoing long-term conflict in the southeast of the country and the socio-economic crisis, as well as the hatred cultivated by far-right organizations against various kinds of minorities. At the same time, despite some improvement in the work of law enforcement, a significant number of hate crimes are still recorded in statistics as common domestic crimes, which makes it difficult to understand the real extent of the crimes committed.

When looking at hate crimes in Ukraine during this period, the main source of information is statistics from the General Prosecutor's Office, particularly under Article 161 of the Criminal Code "Violation of equality of citizens on the basis of their race, nationality or attitude to religion". The law defines this crime as intentional acts aimed at inciting national, racial or religious enmity and hatred, humiliating national honor and dignity or insulting the feelings of citizens in connection with their religious beliefs.

Over the past three years official statistics have recorded a doubling in the number of hate crimes (the data will be given below). The increase in the total number of hate crimes appears to be due not so much to an increase in the number of crimes committed, but rather to better documentation of violations of citizens' rights by law enforcement agencies.

If we talk about specific figures, in 2018 the General Prosecutor's Office registered 82 crimes under Article 161 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine "Violation of equality of citizens on the basis of their race, nationality or attitude to religion". In 6 cases out of 82 suspects were served with a suspicion of a crime, 4 of them received a conviction (in two cases the offenses were committed by a group of persons). Convictions for seven persons came into force (including in cases initiated in previous years). At the end of the period, no decisions had been made in 78 cases.

In 2019, there were already 182 such offenses on record. Of these, 98 criminal offenses remained on the books, and 84 were closed. In 9 of the 98 criminal offenses, proceedings were sent to court against 10 suspects. Of these, 3 proceedings were heard in court, and 4 persons were convicted. At the end of the reporting period, six proceedings were pending in court. A verdict entered into force in respect of four persons (including in cases initiated in previous years). No decisions were made on 89 criminal offenses. Between September and October 2020, 156 offenses were reported, 56 were closed, and 101 offenses remained on the books. In only six cases were criminal proceedings sent to court.

Thus, according to official statistics, only a few percent of hate crimes are prosecuted. We can assume that this is due to the deliberate delay of law enforcement agencies and courts in considering such cases and covering the perpetrators of such offenses, who are mainly members of right-wing radical organizations. During the period 2018-2020, we were not able to establish a single court verdict with a real term of imprisonment. All of the decisions found in the Court Registry provided for either "reconciliation of the parties" or fines and other non-custodial penalties. Moreover, all of the verdicts we found during that time were related to discrimination against citizens on the basis of religion. In particular, we found sentences against members of Jehovah's Witnesses (their legal department seems to work well). Not a single conviction was found for discrimination on ethnic, linguistic or other grounds.

If we consider the statistics of crimes against specific social groups, then we can single out the following groups, which suffered the most at the hands of radicals. These are parishioners of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, Jews, and members of the LGBT community. We should separately mention cases of vandalism at cemeteries and burial sites of victims of the Nazis and World War II heroes.

According to the data of the LGBT Human Rights Center between January and August 2020 there were 106 cases of discrimination and offences against LGBT people. The largest number of cases (67) involved insults, threats and humiliation, 45 cases of various kinds of physical violence, 10 cases of homophobia in the family, 9 cases of illegal collection of confidential information, 7 cases of blackmail, damage to property and homophobic appeals. There was also one case of murder and torture each. The crimes were most often committed in Kyiv, Odesa, Zhytomyr, and Kharkiv.

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