5

Russia’s hate crime epidemic

White supremacist skinheads training for trouble in Russia


 

Russia’s hate crime epidemic

With their tousled hair, button-down shirts and V-neck sweaters, the young men sentenced this week in Moscow for 20 murders and 12 attempted murders don’t look like traditional skinheads. But the group of seven, who received between six and 20 years each, apparently targeted non-Slavic migrants in the 2006 and 2007 attacks, confronting Central Asians, Caucasians—as one correspondent put it, “people who did not look white”—in streets and pedestrian tunnels, often videotaping and posting the events online.

Though the brutality of the hate crimes perpetrated by this gang is remarkable, their existence is anything but. In Russia, xenophobic violence is becoming increasingly commonplace, and ultra-nationalist organizations are often to blame. According to the Moscow Bureau of Human Rights, between January and October 2008 there were 113 racist murders nationwide, up from 74 for all of 2007. Just last week, the severed head of a Tajik worker was found in a dumpster outside a council building in western Moscow. A group calling itself the Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists took responsibility for the crime in an email, reportedly billing it as “a warning to officials that the same will happen to them if they do not stop the flow of immigration.”

Part of the problem, say human rights groups, is the hesitancy of authorities to classify offences as hate crimes, and of judges to issue significant sentences. And in the face of the economic downturn, some experts predict the situation could get even worse. Recessions have a tendency to increase ethnic tensions, but in Russia, “the institutions that would restrain racist violence are much weaker than they are here,” says University of Toronto professor Matthew Light. “It’s a kind of multiplier effect.”


 

Russia’s hate crime epidemic

  1. “is the hesitancy of authorities to classify offences as hate crimes”

    I wish we didn’t have hate crimes here in Canada. Murder is murder and you should be going to jail for life regardless of the colour of person murdered. Why someone commits a crime should not be a factor in their sentencing, it is divisive.

    I can’t remember what the group’s name was but I recall reading article a couple of years ago that said Putin was funding these type of ultra-nationalistic groups.

  2. Why someone commits a crime should not be a factor in their sentencing, it is divisive.

    Well, we certainly don’t want divisive things coming up in court.

  3. They need to die all of them, kill them all skinheads, bomb them all.

  4. these are not skinheads, they are a gross deviation.

  5. I am not surprised that Russian officials “do not have the guts” to classify these murders as hate crimes. Too much corruption :(

Sign in to comment.