Procurator’s office responds to ADC “Memorial” concerning public danger of “russian cleansings”

Following the so called “Russian cleansings” organized in Saint Petersburg by radical nationalists last summer ADC “Memorial” felt it necessary to appeal to the procurator’s office with a request to specially control the investigations, which were opened following these incidents, and give an adequate legal qualification to the activities of the persons, who participated in these “cleansings” in accordance with the weight of evidence and the public danger of these actions. “Russian cleansings” were accompanied by attacks of foreigners, which were clearly motivated by racism and xenophobia.

At the end of September 2013 ADC “Memorial” received an official reply, which stated that Vyborg district department of the Ministry of interior had initiated a criminal investigation based on article 213, section 2 of the Russian Criminal code and the course of investigation is under control by the district procurator’s office.

However, ADC “Memorial” is of the opinion that the weight of evidence and the public consequences of these actions carried out by a group of people correspond to article 212 of the Criminal code (organization of mass disturbances and pogroms) and require taking into consideration hate motives, which are also listed in the article on hooliganism that was applied, but are not featured so far in the criminal investigation. A more clear ban on ethnic and racial hatred, featured in article 282, is also not considered in the course of this investigation so far.

It is well known that the participants of “Russian cleansings” were checking identity papers of the market vendors without any legal authority to do so. In the course of their actions they have also used violence on several occasions, overturned the tables with fruit and vegetables, shouted out racist slogans, insulted foreign citizens and demanded expulsion of immigrants from Russia. These actions clearly are subject to consideration as part of article 282 which deals with “stirring up hatred and hostility, as well as humiliation of human dignity”, but originally this was not taken into account by police officers. Moreover, in some cases the representatives of law enforcement agencies, as is evident from video footage of the events, have even supported these wrongdoings and it was only after repeated pogroms in various parts of Saint Petersburg that about 20 nationalists, including the organizer of these “Russian cleansings” Dmitry Yevtushenko, were detained following the pogrom on Sennaya square.