By David Sophrin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
MOSCOW, Russia – Nine neo-Nazi gang members were sentenced yesterday by a Moscow city court for their role in a string of ethnicity-motivated killings.
The teen-aged defendants, sentenced to twenty-three years in prison for their role in five murders and one attempted murder, belong to an organization called ‘The White Wolves’. The White Wolves were formed two years ago for the purpose of targeting non-ethnic Russians. They have gained notoriety for publishing videos of their attacks on the internet. According to Russian law enforcement authorities, the leader of the White Stripes is an eighteen year old Georgian named Alexi Dzhavakhashvili.
This organization is just one of a number of groups that have interwoven ultra-nationalist and racist ideologies and turned their focus to foreign ethnic groups within Russia. Evidence presented at their trial demonstrated that they were responsible for eleven murders. Their primary targets were migrant workers of central Asian ethnicity, as well as foreign students from various African and Asian countries.
The attacks appear to be ideologically motivated to serve the group’s political objectives of forcing non-ethnic Russians out of the country. In one assault, a immigrant from Kazakhstan was stabbed seventy-three times. The assault was filmed, with one attacker shouting “Russia for the Russians”.
According to the Russian human rights group SOVA, approximately 60 people were killed and 300 injured in ethnicity-motivated attacks this past year. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has seen an steady increase in membership and interest in neo-Nazi and nationalist groups. The tactics of these nationalist groups include the targeted killings of human rights activists, bombings and arson.
The twenty-three year sentences handed down by the Moscow court were the maximum allowable prison terms for juvenile offenders.
For more information, please see:
AP – 9 Russian neo-Nazis Get Up to 23 Years in Prison – 25 February 2010
BBC – Neo-Nazi skinheads jailed in Russia for racist killings – 25 February 2010
RADIO FREE EUROPE – Russia Court Jails Nine For Ethnic Murder – 25 February 2010
REUTERS – Russian court jails 9 for ethnic murders – 25 February 2010
RIANOVOSTA – Russian White Wolves skinheads jailed for race-hate murders – 25 February 2010