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

    Water Scarcity Could Push Conflict, Migration by 2050

    Warning comes in a new report from the World Bank titled "High and Dry: Climate Change, Water and the Economy"

    What Your First Name Says About Who You Support for President

    Bobby, Betty and Curtis tend to support Donald Trump while people named Juan, Liz or Mohammad are more likely to lean toward Hillary Clinton

    South Pole Diary: In Round-the-clock Darkness, Radiant Moon Shines Like the Sun

    You hear more and see more when the moon first comes out; it’s your senses in overdrive, tuning into a new world.

    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.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora