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On April 12, Eduard Chuvashov, a federal judge of the Russian Federation was gunned down in front of his apartment building in Moscow in a contract-style killing. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev denounced the killing as "cynical" and vowed to bring the perpetrators to justice. Police officials stated that the murder may have been an act of retribution for the sentences Judge Chuvashov handed down against neo-Nazi skinheads convicted in violent hate crimes that targeted Russian minorities.


Eduard Chuvashov

Just last week, the 47-year-old judge sentenced two skinheads to 10 years in prison. Their group, the Ryno Gang, was convicted of killing 20 people of "non-Slavic" appearance and posting videos of the murders on the Internet. Earlier this year, in February 2010, Chuvashov jailed nine members of "White Wolves," a gang of mostly teenage skinheads that clubbed and stabbed dark-skinned migrants to death.

At some level, this brutal murder - as brazen as it was - may come as little surprise those familiar with Judge Chuvashov. Judge Chuvashov had received death threats for several weeks before the attack. One neo-Nazi website had also included him on a list of "enemies of the people" to be targeted for violence. Furthermore, this killing seems to be part of a broader trend documented by the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis - Russia's leading monitors of neo-Nazi violence - in which the targets of neo-Nazi violence have increasingly included judges, lawyers, rights defenders, and journalists.

This murder can't but recall several other similarly brutal slayings of those involved in work to address neo-Nazi violence: Stanislav Markelov, a human rights lawyer who had represented the mother of an anti-fascist campaigner who was murdered by skinheads, was himself gunned down in downtown Moscow, allegedly also by neo-Nazis, in January 2009; Anatasia Baburova, a freelance journalist who reported on the problem of hate crime violence, was murdered with Markelov; and Nikolai Girenko, an expert witness in several hate crime cases, who was gunned down at the entrance of his St. Petersburg apartment in 2004. Nobody has been held accountable in any of these cases, although a group of men are on currently on trial in St. Petersburg for a range of murders and other crimes, including the murder of Girenko.  

The Russian criminal justice system, long overwhelmed by the surge in violent hate crimes, largely perpetrated by adherents of far-right and neo-Nazi ideologies, has begun to make some progress. In 2009, the number of such crimes decreased for the first time since 2004, in what was partly attributed to efforts by law enforcement to bring to justice some of those responsible for these brutal hate crimes. Yet, this latest tragic murder makes clear that these efforts need to include more robust protections to the prosecutors, judges, and witnesses involved in bring to justice those responsible for Russia's endemic hate crime problem.

Originally posted to Paul LeGendre on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:31 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Here's what's weird: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, Dauphin, meldroc, CathodeRay

    Hitler planned to basically kill off the Slavs, those not necessary for slave labor on the new German estates on their former land. A bedrock of Nazi racialist theory being that Slavs were too stupid to exist.

    So then you get Slavs who identify as Nazis!? How do these people possibly reconcile that? What do they tell themselves?

    Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

    by Jim P on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:43:52 AM PDT

    •  No one accuses neoNazis of logical consistency. (5+ / 0-)

      Sort of like crazy Teabaggers; logic and reason are not their strong suit. But teh crazy? That's strong.

      •  But it is mind-boggling. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Wee Mama, Dauphin, meldroc, Shhs

        Do they get together and chant "Slavs are Stupid! But Superior!" ?

        Just another proof that the extreme right, all over earth, is a bunch of emotionally fucked up people banding together to justify their willfully fucked up characters.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:52:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  As a Slav, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, Shhs, roadbear

      I can say it's complicated. Nazifascist regimes did a bang-up job of exploiting hatreds and divisions within a country, and communistic retaliation (think extrajudicial killings) didn't really help that reconciliation thing. In my country you still get right-wing politicians (quite a lot of them, actually) defending collaborators as "merely defending the people from those murderous partisans," because "Stalin was worse," and "we wouldn't have suffered if the partisans didn't rise up."

      Never mind that the Nazis managed to off and deport 10% of the population. This has turned into a generational political feud.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:58:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  May I ask which country is yours? (0+ / 0-)

        I'm guessing from what you say either Belarus, the Baltic States, or Ukraine.

        My mother's side comes from Ukraine, although I gather before that they were Russians ("farmers for the Czar," as my granddad said of his parents) who were settled there.

        Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

        by Jim P on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:12:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Slovenia. (0+ / 0-)

          We had the misfortune of the fact that the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation ended with a divide between city (where Habsburgs had to leave Protestants be, and although they all but disappeared their influence is felt in culture to this day), and country (where cuius regio, eius religio applied), to which the city/country divide during industrialisation was added, followed by a liberal/clerical, progressive/conservative divide, to which the partisan/collaborator division was added (although, to be fair, in some parts of the country the rurals opposed Nazis while they collaborated with others, and we're only talking about general trends).

          Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

          by Dauphin on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:19:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks. Know a good book in English (0+ / 0-)

            covering the history of the region?

            I've just started for the first time to look into the 30 Years War, so I'm a bit aware of the old divisions you are talking about.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:26:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  There is some truth to that. The... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dauphin

        In my country you still get right-wing politicians (quite a lot of them, actually) defending collaborators as "merely defending the people from those murderous partisans," because "Stalin was worse," and "we wouldn't have suffered if the partisans didn't rise up."

        Soviet Red Army was a very undisciplined and brutal force. My grandfather was a refugee in the eastern theater and he said that the German Army treated them better then the Russians did. Obviously the experiences of Jews were different but even then I think most of the atrocities were committed by the SS and not the regular army).

    •  Russian neo-Nazis target Muslims, Central Asians (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shhs

      Russian neo-Nazis think of themselves as white Christian Europeans, and attack people who they decide aren't all of those things. That means Muslims of any color and/or people of darker-skinned Central Asian ancestry.

      They also perceive the political and cultural "Left" as coming from Western Europe to emasculate Russia and pave the way for Western conquest and destruction. It doesn't help that Russians have always seen themselves as distinct from Western Europe, and Moscow as the natural center of gravity of Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

      The "Slav" identity is simply everyone who's never been included in Western Europe by the Western Europeans themselves. Just like the German volk of the Nazis, it's vague and often contradictory.

      I'm hungry for some "giant vampire squid" sushi.

      by Visceral on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:36:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes they do target Muslims a... (0+ / 0-)

        lot but I think they leave the Muslim Tatars alone for the most part. Most of the people that they are targeting are people from the Caucasus (mostly Muslims but also some Christians like Georgians) and they also target people from central asia.

        Ironically, most people from the Caucasus would be considered white in the US. Yet in Russia they call them 'blacks.' Not because they have black skin (they mostly have white or olive skin tone) but because they usually have dark hair.

        The "Slav" identity is simply everyone who's never been included in Western Europe by the Western Europeans themselves.

        Anyone who speaks a Slavic language is a Slav.

    •  I don't think most of them are... (0+ / 0-)

      Neo-Nazi. I think they are Slav supremacists but get labeled 'neo-nazi' by the lazy western media.

  •  Where's that KGB when you need 'em? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CathodeRay

    This sounds a bit bizarre, but we'll find ourselves yearning for the 'good old days' of a Communist Soviet Union, armed to the teeth with thousands of nuclear weapons. At least the Soviets were straightforward and predictable by their own rules, they had a strong sense of self-preservation, and they had exceptionally tight control of crime within the Soviet Union's borders. There are at least a couple of things police states are good at.

    Nowadays we have a breathtakingly corrupt and chaotic Russia, still in possession of thousands of nuclear warheads. But it no longer has the capacity or manpower to control its own borders, it lacks the most basic police skills or the capacity to suppress even common street crime, and its control of nuclear materials is suspect. Moreover, the old Soviet Union may have been brutally repressive and corrupt, with a massive gulag. But the new Russia is even more corrupt, with a capricious way of randomly murdering journalists or business rivals rather than bringing the State's official power against them. Sort of like "Mafia-land".

    Scary times.

    •  They weren't so predictable w/that whole (0+ / 0-)

      uhm breakup of the Soviet Union thing.  If I remember right, almost no one, think tank, talking head, or anyone in the establishment (heck not even film makers) thought the Soviet Union would breakup.

      GOP = Godless opposition party We Hassle to make America a Vassal (state)

      by Shhs on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 09:51:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, democracy in the former Eastern (0+ / 0-)

      Bloc has a strange way of turning into a Tarantino movie.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Wed Apr 14, 2010 at 10:00:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This will go unpunished. There is an (0+ / 0-)

    understanding between the former KGB guys running the country, the unrepentant communists in the streets and the neo-nazis.  The Brown-Red alliance is really dangerous

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