In 2008 in Russia struggle against extremist activity became rather popular. Representatives of both nongovernmental organizations and the state bodies speak about inadmissibility of discrimination and war with extremism. But there is one key and basic difference.
Human rights defenders declare about concrete facts of discrimination and prosecution motivated by hatred and enmity which the state categorically denies. The Russian authorities consider struggle against extremism as an effective way of pressure upon objectionable people and whole social groups including human rights defenders.
The Russian Criminal Code carries all crimes of an extremist character including excitation of enmity to the crimes against state security. Act of force motivated by hatred including national, political, ideological and religious is attributed to the crimes against public safety. For this reason the Russian law-enforcement system tries to protect public safety. While society remains unprotected.
Let's analyze these double standards of the sate on some investigations which are carried out in Russia by Inter-regional Human Rights Association "áGORA". Skater and rapper Stanislav Korepanov was killed in March, 2007 in Izhevsk (Republic Udmurtiya). Evidences of participation of the accused in the activity of youth groupings of extremist character were heard in the court and many witnesses declared that Korepanov was beaten by skin-heads and not by simple hooligans. Nevertheless in November, 2007 the Supreme Court of Udmurtiya recognized guilty accused in deliberate murder and not in murder motivated by hatred and enmity.
During the whole law suit officials of the republic not once declared that there were no skin-heads and neo-Nazis in Udmurtiya. And such position of authority is widely spread. In result it led to new victims - two weeks ago in Izhevsk neo-Nazis attacked with knifes three anti-fascists, one of them was stabbed 8 times.
When neo-Nazis attacked in July, 2007 peace camp of ecologists in Angarsk (Irkutsk area) and killed one of them and when at the end of September of the current year in the same Udmurtiya neo-Nazis stabbed anti-fascists, position of law enforcement bodies was one and the same - it's no more than hooliganism, there's no motive of hatred and enmity.
Meanwhile registering authorities of Russia in Tyumen area refused to register organization which planned to protect rights of sexual minority "Iridescent House" as protecting gays and lesbians structure of extremist orientation which "undermines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Russia". I quote official documents and not conjectures of officials. As a result the organization was not registered in 2007-2008 and made a claim to the European Court of Human Rights.
Office of Public Prosecutor in Marii El not the first year tries to recognize brochure "Onaen Ojla" of the priest of traditional Mari religion Vitaly Tanakov extremist. The court FOUR times examined applications of Office of Public Prosecutor for recognition of the brochure extremist, FOUR commission examinations were carried out on the book. At the end of August the court once again refused the public prosecutor of Ioshkar Ola in his claim. Nevertheless Tanakov himself was recognized by the court guilty of kindling of discord and he was sentenced to obligatory works. Vitaly Tanakov's complaint is also in the European Court.
In January of the current year in Kabardino-Balkaria Sanhedrin of Balkarian people was liquidated. Its activity was recognized extremist. And only due to the activity of lawyers of the Supreme Court of Russia the decision was cancelled as illegal and unreasonable.
In Transbaikalian territory in August, 2008 youth studio of guitar songs hardly stopped its existence for public actions in which officials saw attributes of extremism. The public prosecutor was trying to achieve liquidation of organization but they succeeded to defend it in court.
Also it is possible to recollect a suit of 23-year-old blogger Savva Terentyev from Syktyvkar who for several impartial phrases addressed to the Russian militiamen left in blog was sentenced in July to one year of imprisonment conditionally. Or the warning for attributes of extremist activity to the newspaper "Private Affair" in Perm territory for an article of human rights defender Igor Averkiev "Putin - Our Good Hitler".
It turns out that if a person was beaten by skin-heads, then if they would be brought to responsibility extremely for hooliganism. More than that in the Criminal Code of Russia in 2007 additional corpus delicti appeared - hooliganism motivated by political, ideological, racial, national or religious hatred or enmity or motivated by hatred or enmity to some social group - that contradicts both to common sense and the theory of right, and other regulations of the Criminal Code of Russia (murder as an act of hooligan promptings and murder motivated by hatred are divided) as hooligan and ideological motives are completely different things.
Henceforth every violent crime committed on motive of hatred in Russia is lawfully qualified as hooliganism. If the civil activist expresses opinion, objectionable to the Russian authorities, he has all chances to be convicted by court for extremism.
On September, 30 at parliamentary hearings in the State Duma the bill "About Modification of Some Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with Perfection of Activity on Counteraction to Extremism" offered by the State Office of Public Prosecutor of Russia was approved. Legal analytics of Association "AGORA" consider that the Russian parliament will approve the bill and in the near future it will come into force. Then there will be a series of indicative punishments over editors of Internets - resources. They will start, naturally, from radical sites and then known and independent news mass-media can get "under the trucker".
Closing of a site Ingushetia.Ru following extremist motive in summer of the current year was the first call. At the same time the State Office of Public Prosecutor, FSB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs continue to share control over antiextremist activity. There could be only one recommendation: to assert interests of citizens in court using legal ways of protection - in the first cases, proving motive of hatred and enmity in the second - showing arguments to deny absurd charges in extremism. It's still possible in Russia to build upon weak, in many respects subordinate to authority but still functioning judicial system.
Public speech at Meeting of OSCE on human measurement (Warsaw, October, 6, 2008).