Russia | 04/16/2022

Russia 2022 April

In general, far-right and nazi activity in Russia during April 2022 was medium. There were no public events but nazis started a violence wave in Hitler’s birthday to protest against war in Ukraine.

NS/WP assasination case

On April 25, the FSB reported the detention of a gang of neo-Nazis NS/WP (National Socialism/White Power), who were preparing to assassinate Russian top propagandist Vladimir Solovyov at the request of the Security Service of Ukraine. It was also reported that they were discussing the murder of other prominent propagandists: Dmitry Kiselyov, Olga Skabeeva, Margarita Simonyan and Tigran Keosayan. It is reported that during searches of the six suspects, they seized components for the manufacture of explosives, as well as a sawed-off hunting rifle, an RGD-5 grenade and drugs. In addition, fake passports of Ukrainian citizens with false personal data of the detainees, which were planned to use after the crime was committed, were seized. After the operation, the FSB made a statement in the NS/WP telegram channel that the detainees were members of the organization, but the connection with the security or special services of Ukraine was denied. Security Service of Ukraine denied ties with NS/WP.

Among the detainees was nationalist Andrei Pronskiy, known as Bloodman. He is described as the leader of the NS/WP group and the administrator of the “Oderint, Dum Metuant” Telegram channel, who wrote there under the nickname “Signature Undecipherable”. In 2013, he was sent to compulsory treatment after a court found him guilty of the xenophobic murder of an acquaintance. In December 2011, Pronskiy killed an acquaintance, an ethnic Jew, and then posted a video of mutilation of the body). In June 2021 Pronskiy was arrested after a fight between far-right and anti-fascists in Moscow, and put under house arrest on charges of hooliganism, which was extended until 28 April 2022.

The media claim that the FSB identified Pronskiy by the inscription on his sweatshirt “Oderint, Dum Metuant”, in which he attacked anti-fascists. He posted a photo of himself in the same sweatshirt in the channel of the same name.

Other members of the gang include Vladimir “Molodoy” Stepanov and Vladimir “Scout” Belyakov, who were convicted in 2012 of racist murder, attempted murder and hooliganism committed on the grounds of ethnic hatred, Vasily Strizhakov, previously prosecuted for drug distribution and attempted murder and sent for compulsory treatment, and Maxim Druzhinin.

Arsonist wave

On April 20, Adolf Hitler’s birthday, the Nazis began sending out messages to the media and anti-fascists about the burning of cars with the letter “Z,” the symbol of the “special military operation” that the Russian army is conducting in Ukraine. In the message, NS/WP claimed responsibility for the car burnings. At the same time, the published video on NS/WP channel clearly shows a police car on fire. On April 21, police reported that a Nazi was detained in the Moscow region on suspicion of committing arson. He showed Nazi tattoos on the video and also had Adolf Hitler books and Donetsk People’s Republic flags found in his possession during a search.

Since the beginning of hostilities, at least six Russian regions have set fire to military commissariats. It is not known whether the attacks were carried out by the far-right.

The first arson of a military registration and enlistment office that became known to the media occurred on February 28: a military registration and enlistment office in Lukhovitsy, Moscow region, caught fire. As Moskovsky Komsomolets wrote Kirill, a 21-year-old local resident, became a suspect in this case: on February 28, he smashed the windows of the building and threw Molotov cocktails into it. “In addition, the gates of the military commissariat were painted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, and a provocative record was left about a special operation by the Russian Armed Forces,” the newspaper claimed. On March 8, the arsonist was detained.

On March 3, pro-government telegraph channels dedicated to the work of law enforcement agencies reported that in Voronezh, an unknown person broke a can of flammable liquid at the front door of the military enlistment office. When the fire started, the arsonist fled.

On March 11, a young man tried to set fire to a building of military registration and enlistment office in the city of Berezovsky in the Sverdlovsk region. The fire was set by a 24-year-old consultant of an electronics store. He set fire to the entrance of the building, and the flames were noticed by the traffic police. During detention, the arsonist “confessed that he wanted to disrupt the drafting campaign”.

On March 18, in the town of Shuya in the Ivanovo region, a man threw an incendiary mixture through the window of the local military registration and enlistment office. Also in the city there appeared “inscriptions expressing disapproval of the special operation in Ukraine. The arsonist was detained five hours later – he admitted that he drank three bottles of port wine.

On April 18, unknown persons threw Molotov cocktails at the military registration and enlistment office in Zubova Polyana settlement in Mordovia.

On May 4, unknown persons threw Molotov cocktails at the military registration and enlistment office in Nizhnevartovsk (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Area).

“Listva” bookshop police raid

On April 5, the far-right bookstore Listva advertised a lecture by Andrei Dmitriev, coordinator of the “Other Russia” party, titled “Limonov and Ukraine: How Prophecies Come True”. As a result, police came to the “Listva” bookstore, detained three employees and several customers, and seized some of the books, including books by Nikolai Ulyanov, “The Origin of Ukrainian Separatism” and Eduard Limonov, “Kiev Kaput”. It should be noted that “Listva” supported a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

Legal cases

According to the Sova Center, in March 10 people were convicted for xenophobic statements. Three persons were convicted for public calls to extremist activity, two of them – for calls for attacks on law-enforcement officers published on social networks and one – for a leaflet with appeals to attack Jews. Three people were convicted in March under Article 205.2 of the Criminal Code (public justification of terrorism on the Internet) for approving the terrorist attacks in Moscow and Beslan and shootings at educational institutions in Kazan and Perm. Two people were convicted – under both articles combined – for calling for attacks on the Russian president, FSB officers, and Jews.