Nazi terrorism. This is exactly how we should call the problem facing our society today, a problem no less acute than the fundamentalist terrorist underground in the North Caucasus. For many people, ultra-rightist terrorism is a relatively unfamiliar, new and to a great extent incomprehensible phenomenon. That is why bureaucrats, politicians, the media, the siloviki, and the expert community in the majority of instances prefer to ignore the real problem, presenting it instead as a series of isolated, unrelated excesses.
Telling in this respect is the bombing of the Nevsky Express train late last year. The Nazi group Combat 18 Nevograd first claimed responsibility for this terrorist act, followed a few days later by Dokku Umarov’s guerrillas. The media immediately began discussing the likelihood of neo-Nazi involvement. Many journalists, members of the security services, “experts,” and politicians demonstrated their total lack of command of the situation. A stereotype still exists in our society: contemporary Nazis are embittered teenagers in heavy boots who gather in mobs to beat up people who they think look the “wrong way.” Of course they can kill someone in a pack, but terrorism is a serious matter. Following the politicians on the right end of the spectrum, many are inclined to go even further: «Those guys are not Nazis at all, they’re nationalists. Sure, they sometimes do stupid things, but in their hearts they’re patriots. You shouldn’t defame them». As it turns out, such notions, very much in the spirit of the 90s, are still extant amongst the populace. For the majority of average citizens, Nazis in Russia are a bit of disgraceful exotica.
For those who monitor the situation attentively, however, it is obvious that over the past few years the neo-Nazis have made the qualitative shift from street violence to the tactics of terrorist groups supported by a well-developed infrastructure of extreme rightists. It suffices to analyze ultra-rightist Internet resources and the statistics of nearly daily crimes to understand the scale and nature of the problem.
One of the most notorious events of 2009 was the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasia Baburova. Two neo-Nazis have been charged with these crimes, and investigators had every reason to do this. Not everyone who was party to this crime has been apprehended, however, and the Tikhonov-Khasis gang is not the only one of its kind. On June 28, 2009, antifascist Ilya Dzhaparidze, who had promoted anti-racism among football supporters, was murdered near the entrance to his own building. On November 16, 2009, Ivan Khutorskoi, a leader and founder of the street-level antifascist movement in Moscow, was shot and killed in the entryway of his own home. This was the second attempt to murder Ivan there; the first such attack took place in 2005. On the morning of October 10, 2008, antifascist Fyodor Filatov, a friend of Ivan Khutorskoi, was killed as he left his home.
When we talk about attempts on the lives of antifascists, we should remember a series of attempted bombings. On December 22, 2006, a homemade bomb went off in the entryway of a residential building in the southwestern Moscow suburb of Lyublino; several police officers who were attempting to defuse the bomb were seriously injured. The device was attached to a radiator near the door of an antifascist’s apartment, and a swastika had been drawn on the wall near the bomb. On October 13, 2007, three neo-Nazis attempted to set off an explosive device containing the equivalent of 200 grams of TNT and packed with bolts and bits of glass at the Roks Club in Petersburg, where an antifascist concert headlined by a Swedish band was taking place. No one was injured thanks to the swift actions of security guards.
Another widespread misconception is the notion that the only people who are in danger are those in the so-called risk groups: people of non-Slavic appearance, active antifascists or members of subcultures. This is not the case. In recent years, “random” people have more and more often been the victims of Nazi terrorism.
On January 16, 2009, an attempt was made to blow up the McDonald’s on Zelenodolskaya Street, near the Kuzminki metro station. Black smoke began to issue from a bag left behind by one of the customers, and then a loud bang was heard. FSB bomb technicians who arrived on the scene discovered that the bag contained an explosive device that for reasons unknown did not go off. Members of the neo-Nazi group NS/WP turned out to have organized the unsuccessful blast. This same gang was responsible for blowing up spur tracks near the Tsaritsyno station on October 5, 2008, and the main tracks of the Paveletskaya line near the Bulatnikovo station on November 4, 2008, as well as the explosion at the Nicholas the Wonderworker of Myra Church in the Biryulevo-Zapadnoe district on November 30, 2008. The members of this gang who were arrested had committed almost two dozen attacks on passersby, people they regarded as non-Russians. All these crimes took place between November 2008 and January 2009. For example, on January 1, 2009, the gang murdered an Uzbek and a Dagestani on Biryulevskaya Street. On December 6, 2008, these same criminals attacked an ethnic Russian whom they mistook for a priest because of his thick beard. One of the leaders of the gang was 17-year-old Muscovite Yevgenia Zhikhareva, a student at the Water Transport Academy who personally participated in the murders. The terrorists were aided by 29-year-old Pyotr Bashelutskov, who worked in Moscow as a departmental head in the Russian Federation Ministry of Tourism, Sports, and Youth Policy. Investigators suspect that this government official provided the fugitives with money and fake passports.
The ideology of the NS/WP is expressed in texts on their own website:
It is time to change our psychology, to throw out all the shit of small-minded nationalism. Our cause is not nationalism, much less patriotism. Russia for Russians, yeah? But the Russians are a nation of enslaved people, degenerate Slavs. Russians are merely a nation, moreover a nation of unter-Slavs. This has to be understood. Russia was first a country of Russian Christians (which is a verdict in and of itself), and then the state of the Yids. Russia must be destroyed!
Another telling example of the psychology of the ultra-rightists is the text “Cultivate Your Inner Executioner!”:
If you see a white traitor or a white whore walking with their colored lovers, imagine how the white race is degenerated by mixing with inferior beings. Imagine the suffering of Russian children who grow up in poverty because the authorities give the best piece of the pie to non-Russians. If you see a pregnant colored or white whore, imagine yourself cutting the future Untermensch from her belly and train yourself to see this as an act of courage.
If your relatives condemn your views, imagine how you will execute them with your own hands once we come to power. Remember that they might become accomplices of forces inimical to the Russian people if you don’t stop them. Get used to the thought that the deaths of your antifascist relatives will be your noble sacrifice to God and Nation. A genuine National Socialist is someone who, even when forced to choose between his nation and his mother, will chose his nation.
When you see or read that some “distinguished cultural, scientific or artistic figure” condemns nationalism, racism and national socialism, remember that thanks to such “authoritative” figures, who brainwash the Russian people, our nation is still enslaved by non-Russians. Get used to the thought that we will have force them to serve the cause of national socialism or destroy them.
We should mention several other characteristic instances of ultra-rightist terrorism in 2009. Major terrorist strikes were planned for Moscow and Izhevsk on the eve of Victory Day, May 9. In Lyublino, a teenager who held ultra-rightist views was arrested for plotting to detonate in a crowded place an eight-kilo explosive that he had fashioned himself — according to the security services, his target was the chapel on Poklonnaya Gora. A 20-year-old neo-Nazi from Izhevsk planned to blow up himself and those around him with a one-kilo explosive device packed with shrapnel. In preparation for this act, he conducted a test explosion on May 2 in a forested area. The terrorist planned to blow himself up on Victory Day right in the middle of a column of marchers.
If we speak of the motives of these lowlifes, then an incident that occurred on May 9, 2009, in Tambov speaks for itself. There a young neo-Nazi was arrested after he attempted to tear war medals from the jackets of veterans.
One example of the well-developed terrorist networks that formed in 2007–2009 is the NSO (the National-Socialist Society). Thus, the video that they posted on the Web on August 12, 2007, which showed the beheading of two migrants against the background of a swastika-emblazoned flag, turned out be real, although many journalists and “experts” had been quick to pronounce it a montage.
The identities of the murdered men were established, and later suspects were arrested. The murderers were members of the NSO Obninsk cell. No less resonant was the posting of another video on the «Komsomolskaya Pravda» website on May 5, 2009. In this video, neo-Nazis from the NSO-North cell are shown beheading one of their accomplices, whom they suspected of treason. These neo-Nazis committed more than two dozen murders and a series of robberies, and they had planned to blow up a hydroelectric plant in Moscow Region. In the case brought against the NSO, more than two dozen neo-Nazis belonging to terrorist cells were arrested. The leaders of the NSO had links with State Duma deputies (with Nikolai Kuryanovich, in particular), and with a number of commercial organizations and neo-Nazis in Europe and the US. Such international ties are not at all unique in the neo-Nazi world. For example, a branch of the international terrorist organization Blood and Honour operates in Russia.
The Nazi terrorists mentioned above are only the tip of the iceberg. There now exists a tendency in the neo-Nazi milieu to heroize the most odious gangs of neo-Nazis. Such terrorists as Nikolai Korolev and the SPAS gang, who were responsible for the blast at the Cherkizovsky Market, or the Borovikov-Voevodin gang, who murdered the ethnographer Nikolai Girenko, sold drugs, and committed a number of other murders and crimes (including the murders of two of their own wayward comrades-in-arms), are now objects of adoration amongst ultra-rightists.
New groups of lowlifes are emulating these “heroes.” Extreme right-wing websites are distributing Voevodin’s book, allegedly written in the Crosses Prison (Petersburg), as a cult classic. The book is an artistic rendering of a hypothetical plan of action for a neo-Nazi terrorist group. As targets for attacks, Voevodin lists Orthodox priests and parishioners, members of the police and the FSB, trains, antifascists, celebrations for WWII veterans, and Jewish kindergartens. He proposes that migrants and homeless people be murdered as a way of “training” for “serious missions.” Voevodin explains that the goal of this terror is to spread fear and destabilize the country as a whole, thus easing the ultra-rightists’ seizure of power. He also suggests that the Nazis borrow the methods of the guerrillas in the North Caucasus. Yes, you heard it right: this sort of borrowing and even imitation is discussed on ultra-rightist websites and forums. Whereas Russian neo-Nazis had once taken their cues from ultra-rightists in Europe and the US, today they find their examples in the history of the dozens of terrorist groups that functioned in our country during the nineties and in this decade. What is more, neo-Nazis and racists in the west, who have been practically driven into total isolation, observe with unconcealed joy the expansion of the terrorist network in Russia: the members of all the groups that have been neutralized had been in one or another form of contact with members of other gangs and other such legal, semi-legal, and illegal networks.
In 2009, 75 people were killed and at least 284 people were injured as the result of racist and neo-Nazi violence in Russia. Over the past three years, no fewer than 277 people have been killed and 995 injured at the hands of ultra-rightists. In 2009, 319 people were convicted of crimes involving racial and ethnic hatred. This is two times more than in the previous two years.
And yet the crimes of the neo-Nazis continue. They have their own infrastructure, sources of financing, links to state officials, and security services officers who are loyal to them; and they continue to actively promote their cause amongst young people. The facts speak for themselves. All the known terrorists were educated and trained by the Slavic Union, Russky Obraz, and hundreds of other formal and informal organizations, which have supported them legally and financially after their arrests. All the murderers and terrorists were raised on the music of such neo-Nazi bands as Kolovrat, which performed in public in downtown Moscow on November 4, 2009. The absolute majority of organizations for “legal nationalists” are in fact accomplices of flagrant neo-Nazism and terrorism.
The most important problem is the absence in our society of an adequate assessment of the threat posed by neo-Nazis and extreme rightists, and, as a consequence, the absence of systematic measures for countering terrorism. Repressive methods are powerless to tackle complex phenomena of this sort: the Nazi milieu, which has been actively growing in recent years, is capable of successfully reproducing itself. In order to really combat the ultra-rightist underground we need to destroy this movement’s well-developed infrastructure, in particular that part of it where a convergence between Nazi terrorists and state officials (bureaucrats, deputies, security services officers, police officers) is taking place. Indifference to all problems has become the norm in our society. But this is precisely the situation in which such indifference is really dangerous. Our society is sick. It is sick with alcoholism, drug addiction, crime, and corruption. Nazi terrorism is another such illness. We have to recognize it and combat it, not pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. This is a situation in which the reaction of each person is extremely vital.
Here is information about the crimes of ultra-rightists and legal actions taken against them in December 2009:
- On December 6, a homemade pipe bomb filled with gunpowder and screws was thrown into the window of the Apostles Cyrill and Methodius Church, near Vladimir State University. A note containing threats against the Orthodox Church was found at the scene of the crime. On December 11, the security services detained a 28-year-old right-wing radical from the neo-pagan society Ros.
- On December 8, five underage neo-Nazis were arrested in Kopeisk (Chelyabinsk Region) for the murder of a 57-year-0ld homeless man.
- On December 11, the serious crimes unit of the Yaroslavl Region Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation Prosecutor’s Office charged eight neo-Nazis with one count of murder, three counts of attempted murder, one count of arson, and grievous bodily harm. The eight victims of their crimes included not only people with non-Slavic complexions, but also members of youth subcultures.
- On December 11, a homemade shell-less explosive device was detonated in the Kirov District of Petersburg. The bomb, which consisted of approximately sixty grams of ammonium nitrate and a detonating cap, was planted on the recess of a window of an apartment on the first floor of a building at 79, Bulvar Novatorov. The apartment is owned by a retired woman who allegedly rented it to migrants, which apparently was the reason it was targeted by racists.
- On December 11, a group of neo-Nazis torched a Yaposha (“Jap”) chain restaurant in Moscow with Molotov cocktails. In a video they made to promote their crime, the neo-Nazis claimed that the reason for the attack was the fact that Japanese cuisine is alien to our country.
- On December 20, a Vietnamese national was attacked in Petrozavodsk. The victim, Nguyen Ang, was hospitalized in critical condition with severe eye injuries and extensive facial burns. A person unknown shot this 35-year-old man in the head (probably with a flare gun). According to local residents, a large number of neo-Nazi stickers had recently appeared on the entryway of the house where the attack took place.
- On December 20 (Chekists Day), neo-Nazis set fire to the FSB office in the Southwest District of Moscow. A video of the arson appeared on the Internet the following day.
- On December 24, Muslim Abdullayev, a world and European Thai boxing champion, was shot and killed in Moscow. A communique from the neo-Nazi group Russian Shield appeared on Nazi websites in which the gang claimed responsibility for the murder. They backed up their claim with a detail description of the attack.
- On December 24, the trial of three neo-Nazis began in Nizhny Novgorod Region. The defendants are accused of murder, three counts of ethnically motivated attempted murder, aggravated arson, hooliganism, vandalism, and the illegal manufacture and possession of explosive substances. Among their crimes was the arson of the Leninsky District police station, after which they were tracked down and captured. The gang functioned from October 2008 to May 2009.
- On December 25, a well-publicized trial began in Ekaterinburg. The defendants are members of the neo-Nazi gang Volksturm. According to Mikhail Nikitin, head of the Interior Ministry Directorate for Sverdlovsk Region, eighteen members of this gang have been arrested and charged with murder, robbery, and other serious crimes.
- On December 25, Solomon Attengo Gwajio, a 25-year-old Ghanaian national, was taken to Municipal Hospital No. 26 in Petersburg. Medical personnel established that the African had suffered multiple lacerations to the head, neck, chest, stomach, and limbs, and stab wounds to the chest and abdomen, as well as other injuries to neck and limb joints and the left kidney. The man died of his injuries. On December 31, a video of the murder was posted on a neo-Nazi website. It contained a “New Year’s greeting” that welcomed ultra-rightist terrorist attacks all across Russia.
- On December 26, a shell-less, low-yield explosive device was tossed through the window of rented apartment on the first floor of a five-story prefab house at 20, Dachnyi Prospekt in Petersburg. The apartment belongs to a 63-year-old Petersburg woman, who lets it to workers from Tajikistan. A 49-year-old man was in the apartment when the blast took place.