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Cablegate: Nationalist Group Marches Peacefully, But

VZCZCXRO0954
RR RUEHLN RUEHPOD RUEHSK RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHMO #3688/01 3541422
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191422Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1264
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 MOSCOW 003688

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PINR PREL RS SOCI
SUBJECT: NATIONALIST GROUP MARCHES PEACEFULLY, BUT
EXTREMISM ON RISE IN RUSSIA

REF: MOSCOW 3254

1. (SBU) Summary. On December 12, Constitution Day, the
Movement Against Illegal Immigration (DPNI) and the Slavic
Union held the second "Russian March" in as many months. The
peaceful and authorized gathering, attended by approximately
300 supporters under the banner "Support Your Constitution,"
took place under suspicious circumstances after the death of
one DPNI leader and two separate attacks on two others during
the previous week. Several demonstrators waved white,
yellow, and black tricolor flags and gave Nazi salutes, but
none dared shout nationalist slogans considering the
overwhelming special police (OMON) presence, a proximate
cause for arrest at the last "Russian March" on November 4.
The rally fell against the backdrop of an increasing number
of hate crimes and judicial procedures against skinhead
groups, and government calls for increased surveillance and
tolerance. End Summary.

DPNI Leaders Killed, Wounded
----------------------------

2. (SBU) On December 12, The Movement Against Illegal
Immigration (DPNI) and the Slavic Union held an authorized
rally of the "Russian March," the nationalist group
co-organized by the two groups in Moscow in June 2008, in
central Moscow less than a week after DPNI leadership
suffered suspicious casualties. On December 7, DPNI Deputy
Director and Security Service Director Ivan Lebedev died in a
car accident in Moscow's suburbs, just one night after a
vicious attack against DPNI leader Aleksandr Belov.
Lebedev's car collided with a cargo van early in the morning
of the 7th, killing him and leaving two other DPNI members in
the car wounded. Unknown assailants attacked and beat DPNI
leader Aleksandr Belov with metal sticks on December 6 in
Lyuberts, a Moscow suburb, hospitalizing him with a
concussion and several head and face wounds. Belov did not
file a lawsuit, perhaps because he already faced two lawsuits
for inciting hatred, but promised 10,000 USD to anyone
identifying the perpetrators of the attack or its sponsors.
Later the same day, an unknown attacker threw a cherry bomb
at Belov's brother and DPNI-Moscow Coordinator, Vladimir
Basmanov, as he sat in a Moscow internet cafe. Basmanov was
not wounded.

3. (SBU) The events prompted rumors that DPNI leader
Aleksandr Belov would cancel the planned December 12 march
and encourage friends to attend Lebedev's funeral, scheduled
for the same time. Allied nationalist party Slavic Union's
leader Dmitry Demushkin announced on December 9 that
activists would march peacefully to the Griboyedov Monument
along Clean Ponds (Chisty Prudy) Boulevard, and that they
expected no interference from city authorities or the special
police (OMON). Demushkin called attention to the slogans
activists would use, including "Observe Your Constitution,"
"Owners of Russia - Citizens, Not Bureaucrats," and "We
Demand Freedom of Speech!" and reassured police detachments
and city authorities that the rally would be peaceful. On
December 12, demonstrators waved white, yellow, and black
tricolor flags and carried a banner reading "Observe Your
Constitution," appealing to viewers to allow freedom of
speech on Constitution Day.

Rumor Mill: Uncertain Who Attacked Belov
----------------------------------------

4. (SBU) The "Russian March" Organizational Committee
responded to the "unprecedented pressure" by posting the
message "It does not scare us!" on the DPNI website.
However, Basmanov admitted that if the events were a
coincidence, it was "a very scary coincidence" and seemed to
be either "mysticism, or very thoroughly planned." Demushkin
speculated that Belov's attackers owed allegiance to the
"Antifa" (Anti-fascists organization), or to someone that
works under "Antifa," and expected a similar attack directed
against him in the near future. SOVA Center Deputy Director
Galina Kozhevnikova believed that the attacks against Belov
must have an underlying political cause, but could be
connected to Belov's shady business ties. Kozhevnikova also
commented on Russian March internal battles, noting that some
nationalists are fighting to "clean the ranks." In fact, one
faction of the DPNI voted to remove Belov as its leader in a
summer party congress, yet the majority still supported his
leadership.

Regional Support for DPNI
-------------------------

5. (SBU) On December 6, the Nizhy Novgorod regional branch
of the DPNI held a picket against ethnic crime, and decried
Russian government plans to increase the quota for foreign

MOSCOW 00003688 002 OF 003


laborers to four million people. Demonstrators carried signs
reading "Not Legalization, But Deportation!" as well as
"Gastarbeiter -- the Scourge of Russia" and "We are defending
our Women and Children." According to the DPNI, the recent
rape of a 12-year old Russian girl by attackers from the
"Caucasus," and the passive approach by oblast law
enforcement agencies to track down those responsible, served
as an impetus for the demonstration. The crime drew
parallels to the October rape and murder of 15-year old
Muscovite Anna Beshnova by an Uzbek migrant, considered by
some experts to be the spark to increased ethnic violence in
the city.

Russia Forecast? Skinheads To Kill More Minorities
--------------------------------------------- -----

6. (SBU) Several acts of extremism over the past month
suggested that the wave of violence may continue to worsen.
Moscow Police Chief Vladimir Pronin promised to increase
patrols in the wake of attacks against ethnic minorities over
the past month, including the gruesome murder and beheading
of a Tajik migrant worker. Other possible cases included the
Moscow murders of an 18-year old Kazakh student, a Tajik
warehouse laborer, an Azerbaijani national, and a Ukrainian
man over a two-day period. Several experts have attributed
violence to aggression against labor migrants. Head of the
Committee for Inter-regional Relations and National Policy in
the Moscow City Government Mikhail Solomentsev told Moscow
Center TV on December 15 that Moscow did not need migrant
workers at all, and approved of the federal government's
decision to halve quotas for migrant workers. Interior
Minister of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic Major General Yuriy
Tomchak complained on December 12 about the increase of
extremism, xenophobia, and nationalism in Russia, and
promised that local authorities would revise methods for
combating the problem. According to Tomchak, religious sects
and informal youth organizations with radical views have been
causing social disturbances, and unified extremist groups are
pushing criminals out of the business sector. He also
attributed part of the problem to the rise in radical Islam.

7. (SBU) Two high-profile court proceedings against skinhead
bands in Russia moved forward in December. On December 15,
the Moscow City Court sentenced Artur Reno and Pavel
Skachevskiy, organizers of a Moscow skinhead group, to ten
years in prison each for 20 murders and 12 attempted murders
between August 2006 and October 2007 of citizens of
Tajikistan, China, Azerbaijan, and Russia. The jury regarded
all members, other than Reno and Skachevskiy, as deserving
leniency, sentencing seven members to terms ranging from 6 to
20 years, and fully acquitting two members. The prosecutors
attributed the skinhead group's motivation to "influence by
the ideas of pre-eminence of ethnic Russians and the
inferiority of non-Slavs" and decried the absence of life
sentences. On December 10, St. Petersburg authorities
completed the investigation into the Borovikov-Voyevodin
gang, accused of killing a Nigerian and North Korean in 2003,
the ethnic hatred expert Nikolai Girenko in 2004, and a
Senegalese man in 2006. The indictment against the 13
defendants, known for propogating neo-Nazi ideology, has been
forwarded to court. In a reference to the court case, Putin
addressed the seriousness of extremism on December 4, saying
that "Russia will remain a great nation if all its people,
including even small ethnic groups, feel at home."

Ethnic Violence Moves Into Schools
----------------------------------

8. (SBU) Moscow's law enforcement agencies have grown more
concerned about the rise in interethnic conflicts in higher
education institutes in November and December. The murder of
18-year old North Ossetian Oleg Chertikrev at Moscow
Pedagogical State University prompted intense scrutiny of an
already recognized problem. Police have documented several
attacks between Georgians and Dagestanis, Azerbaijanis and
Armenians, Vietnamese and Chinese, and other ethnicities.
The Moscow Investigations Directorate of the Russian
Prosecutor General's Office also launched a probe to
determine the online publisher of an extremist book called
the "Manual on Street Terror," suspected of encouraging
ethnic attacks among different youth groups. Police in
Moscow detained more than 500 youth suspected of extremism in
2008, and the number of criminal cases opened under Article
280 (public calls for extremism) and Article 282 (inciting of
hate or strife) doubled from 2007 to 60, according to Pronin.
Moscow Mayor Yuriy Luzhkov urged police and public
organizations on December 17 to work together to "neutralize
any extremist rallies" in the coming year.

Comment
-------

MOSCOW 00003688 003.2 OF 003

9. (U) Inherent racism in Russia continues to manifest
itself in unsavory ways, and increased police patrols and
government admonishment promise to only slow the problem.
Government suspicion of civil society development programs
and law enforcement sympathy with nationalist activities
bodes poorly for positive results in the near future. As
police crack down on obvious, organized targets like the
DPNI, nationalist groups will move further underground and
may unite with more extremist elements, making arrests and
public confrontation of the problem more difficult.
BEYRLE

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