News / Europe

Russian Courts Crack Down on Nationalists

A demonstrator holds a portrait of slain reporter Anastasiya Baburova during a memorial rally in downtown Moscow, held in memory of rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Baburova, who were shot in broad daylight on a street near the Kremlin two years ago,
A demonstrator holds a portrait of slain reporter Anastasiya Baburova during a memorial rally in downtown Moscow, held in memory of rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov and Baburova, who were shot in broad daylight on a street near the Kremlin two years ago,
James Brooke

Russian courts are convicting violent nationalists and sentencing them to jail.  

A Moscow court gave the maximum sentence of life in prison to an ultranationalist convicted of murdering a journalist and human rights lawyer a few blocks from the Kremlin two years ago.

In addition to sentencing Nikita Tikhonov to life, the court also sentenced his girlfriend, Yevgenia Khasis, to 18 years in jail. Both were members of a far right group, Russky Obraz, or Russian Image.

Russian political columnist Konstantin Von Eggert said the tough sentences are part of a Kremlin effort to curb the ultranationalists.

"These people are really thugs. These people were really terrorists. That is really a minority that is ready to go as far as that. These people hate Putin. They hate Medvedev. They hate the liberals. They hate the communists," said Von Eggert.

In the last five years, officially registered hate murders have nearly quadrupled, hitting 548 killings in 2009. In December, a nationalist rally outside the Kremlin walls disintegrated into a melee, with police and attacks on migrant workers from the Russian Caucasus and Central Asia.

After the United States, Russia is the largest magnet country for migrant workers in the world.

After the nationalist riot, President Dmitry Medvedev warned that ultranationalism is a security threat to the state. He defended the multiethnic nature of the nation historically ruled from the Kremlin - first Russia’s Czarist Empire, then the Soviet Union.

Now a judicial crackdown has started against Russian nationalist extremists.

In St. Petersburg on Thursday, a court sentenced 10 members of an ultranationalist group to jail terms ranging from three to nine years for attacks on 12 people, largely ethnic minorities. In the attacks, two people were killed. Eight of the attacks were filmed and posted on the Internet.

Also on Thursday, a St. Petersburg detective forwarded to prosecutors a report on two nationalists accused of bombing more than 30 homes and workplaces of Caucasian and Central Asian workers.

In Moscow, Vladimir Markin of the Prosecutors Investigative office said that the investigation of the double murder is widening to look for other accomplices.

In this case, Stanislav Markelov, the human rights lawyer, had just come out of a press conference when he was shot on a sidewalk. Anastasia Baburova, the journalist, was killed trying to defend him.

Markelov worked closely with Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist, and with Natalya Estemirova, a human rights campaigner, both of whom were killed in separate attacks. The perpetrators of both killings have yet to be convicted. Baburova worked for Novaya Gazeta, an opposition newspaper that has had several reporters, including Politkovskaya, murdered.

Baburova's killer was ordered to pay her parents the equivalent of $75,000 in damages. Baburova's parents plan to set up a charitable fund to aid students who study at the journalism department of Moscow State University. Baburova was at the university when she was killed at the age 25.

But nationalism seems to growing in popularity in Russia.

During the trial, several jurors excused themselves, citing their political beliefs.

The vote for conviction was seven to six - one vote short of an acquittal.

In public opinion polls, about half of respondents agree with the nationalist slogan - "Russia for Russians."

After the nationalist riot outside the Kremlin last December, all callers to one state-run radio call-in show defended the nationalists.

In an ominous sign of the times, a Moscow newspaper reported recently a surge in sales of aluminum baseball bats. Four bats are now sold for every baseball in Moscow, a city not known for its love of the American game.

But baseball bats are the weapon of choice for skinhead [far right, ultranationalist] gangs.

You May Like

IS Militants Release 49 Turkish Hostages

Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reports that no ransom was paid and no conditions accepted for the hostages' release; few details of the release are known More

Photogallery IS Attacks Send Thousands of Syrian Kurds Fleeing to Turkey

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 300 Kurdish fighters crossed into Syria from Turkey to defend a Kurdish area from attack by the Islamic militants More

Video Sierra Leone's Ebola Lockdown Continues

Thousands of health workers are going door to door in the West African country of 6 million, informing people of how to avoid Ebola, handing out soap More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’i
X
Jeff Seldin
September 20, 2014 10:28 PM
Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Fears Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid