Russian security boss says Ukraine not discussed at regional meeting

Russian security boss says Ukraine not discussed at regional meeting

Mediamax news agency
30 Nov 04

YEREVAN

The committee of secretaries of security councils of the [CIS]
Collective Security Treaty Organization member states did not discuss
the situation in Ukraine at its meeting in Yerevan today, the
secretary of the Russian Security Council, Igor Ivanov, told Mediamax
in Yerevan today.

As for Russia’s position, Igor Ivanov said that “we are for a stable,
strong and economically prosperous Ukraine and we are interested to
see the political forces of that country find solutions that will
allow them to overcome this difficult stage and to ensure further
democratic growth for Ukraine”.

CIS official sees Kazakh, Kyrgyz stance on NK as coordination fault

CIS official sees Kazakh, Kyrgyz stance on Karabakh as “coordination fault”

Arminfo
30 Nov 04

YEREVAN

The position of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on the voting “on the
situation on Azerbaijan’s occupied territories” at a UN session is
seen as a certain fault in the coordination system of the Collective
Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), Nikolay Bordyuzha,
secretary-general of the CSTO, told a press conference in Yerevan
after a session of the CSTO committee of secretaries.

Asked about the position of Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan which voted
“for” discussing “the situation on Azerbaijan’s occupied territories”
which was raised with the UN General Assembly session at the
initiative of Azerbaijan, as well as about his assessment of the level
of coordination within the framework of the CSTO, Bordyuzha pointed
out that the CSTO has drawn up a mechanism of coordination and “it is
functioning quite successfully”.

He said that a consensus is reached on many issues that pertain to
political problems in the world. “As for this case, it was discussed
at the session of the council of foreign ministers where the states
mainly expressed their points of view. I can say without going into
detail that a common understanding of the situation has been found,
and as far as I understand, this incident is seen as a certain fault
in the coordination system and there is an agreement to coordinate
actions more actively, especially on burning issues such as security,”
Bordyuzha said.

Armenian pilots sentences to imprisonment in Equatorial Guinea

RIA Novosti, Russia
Nov 29 2004

ARMENIAN PILOTS SENTENCED TO IMPRISONMENT IN EQUATORIAL GUINEA

YEREVAN, November 29 (RIA Novosti) – The Court of Malabo, the capital
of Equatorial Guinea, has passed its verdict on the case of a coup
attempt that involved six Armenian pilots as the accused.

The court sentenced the crew commander to 24 years in jail, and the
other pilots to 14 years, Gamlet Gasparyan, press secretary of the
Armenian foreign ministry, told RIA Novosti.

A South African citizen accused of organising the coup attempt was
sentenced to 63 years while three other South Africans to 50-60
years.

Local residents facing the same charges have been sentenced to one
year.

The court held to confiscate the fishing vessel owned by the Armenian
Dvin concern.

Lawyers of the Armenian pilots intend to appeal the verdict in the
Supreme Court of Equatorial Guinea, and international courts, if need
be.

“We are convinced that the Armenian pilots have nothing to do with
any actions aimed against Equatorial Guinea and its authorities, and
the court failed to provide any substantial evidence to prove that
they are guilty. The Armenian government will do its best to make
sure that the competent Equatorial Guinean bodies make a fair
decision to the point of releasing them,” the Armenian Foreign
Ministry reported.

The official Armenian delegation to Malabo that visited Equatorial
Guinea more than once before and spared no effort will further stay
in the country to discuss the release of the Armenian pilots to
Armenia with the local authorities, the Foreign Ministry said.

Six Armenian pilots worked in Equatorial Guinea from January 2004
onboard the AN-12 aircraft registered in Armenia in accordance with
an agreement between the German KAL company and the Armenian company,
Dvin Concern. Late on March 7, the Armenian pilots and a
representative of the German firm were arrested in Malabo.

The authorities of Equatorial Guinea are accusing them of involvement
in the coup attempt as mercenaries. They are also accused of
espionage – collecting information of political, economic and
military interest.

The Armenian pilots strongly deny the charges.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Tbilisi: Azeri-Georgian rail border closed to cargo

The Messenger, Georgia
Nov 29 2004

Azeri-Georgian rail border closed to cargo

Tbilisi waits for official explanation though some say cargo bound
for Armenia led to delay
By Anna Arzanova

Over 900 train cars carrying cargo, including 114 loaded with a
donation of wheat from Kazakhstan bound for Tbilisi, are currently
stalled at the Azerbaijan-Georgia border.

The reason for the stoppage is unclear although officials in Tbilisi
have speculated that the cargo has been detained, some for as long as
ten days now, because of a dispute between the Azeri and Georgian
governments regarding cargo being transported from Azerbaijan to
Armenia via Georgia.

Only Azeri products, including crude oil, petrol and diesel fuel, are
being allowed to cross into Georgia, and analysts are concerned not
only by the losses currently being made by Georgian importers, but
also that Georgia’s image as a reliable transit country is being
damaged.

Head of Georgian Railway Davit Onoprishvili told journalists on
Friday that the prevention of cargo from crossing the border was
having a negative impact on revenues.

He also said that the Azeri side had not officially said to either
Georgian Railways or any other Georgian state structure that they are
blocking the transit of cargo. “According to official information,
the Azeri side is just checking the cargo,” he said.

Deputy Minister of Economy Geno Muradian added that the Azeri side
was checking the cargo because of suspicions that much of it is bound
for Armenia.

“According to unofficial data the Azeri side suspects that 40 percent
of the cargo [currently waiting to cross into Georgia] is bound for
Armenia. The second reason given for the blocking of cargo is that
the Azeri side is allegedly fighting against corruption,” Muradian
said.

In June 2004, Azerbaijan and Georgia signed an agreement, which has
been ratified in Azerbaijan but not in Georgia, according to which no
cargo bound for any third country that could damage Azeri interests.
Although no country is named, the article was meant to prevent
transit of goods to Armenia.

However, Onoprishvili denies that any of the cargo is bound for
Armenia, saying that inscriptions on the train cars show they are
bound for Batumi and Poti.

Analyst Gia Khukhashvili, meanwhile, who was one of the authors of
the June agreement when he was a member of the railway’s supervisory
board, says that the dispute is actually due to the detention of
train cars belonging to the Azeri Bashlam company by Georgia because
of the non-payment of transportation costs.

“This concerns the payment of train car fees. The Azeri side has
certain arguments in connection with this matter. Some times ago the
Georgian side detained cargo belonging to the Bashlam company.
Azerbaijan is not an ordinary country and we have to understand that
all issues connected with Azerbaijan must be solved through
negotiations,” said Khukhashvili, adding that it is impossible to
maintain good relations with Azerbaijan when their cargo is being
detained.

However, Onoprishvili attacked Khukhashvili’s opinion as absurd,
saying that Georgian Railway has every right to detain cargo until
its transportation has been paid for. “His statement is absolutely
absurd. As for the company, if somebody has a debt to us, we stop the
train. The law gives us such a right and I think that otherwise it
would not be possible to make people pay their debts,” he said.

Onoprishvili thinks that if the money is not paid in advance no cargo
should be transported. According to him, there is no other way of
retrieving the debt. This way, he said, Bashlam know they must pay
their debts.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is waiting to receive an
explanation from Azerbaijan. “We want to clarify now why cargo bound
for Georgia is being blocked,” said Deputy Minister of Foreign
Affairs Mikheil Ukleba.

The Azeri Ambassador to Georgia has been summoned to the ministry on
Monday and according to reports the fate of the cargo will be decided
then.

Davit Onoprishvili has also left for Azerbaijan in order to settle
this problem.

When Presidents Eduard Shevardnadze and Heidar Aliev were in power, a
limited amount of cargo was transited to Armenia from Azerbaijan via
Georgia, and some too from Armenia to Azerbaijan. Heidar Aliev closed
his eyes to this and never questioned Georgia about it.

However, his son President Ilham Aliev has put the issue firmly on
the agenda: Alia reports that during the summer he threatened not to
visit Georgia unless the paragraph forbidding the transportation of
goods bound for any third country be included in the June agreement
between the two sides.

Clearly concerned, Armenian President Kocharian traveled to Tbilisi
almost immediately after the agreement was signed.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

The iron fist of hate

The Herald, UK
Nov 29 2004

The iron fist of hate

BILLY BRIGGS

The iron fist of hate

BILLY BRIGGS November 29 2004

The weapons he chooses to maim and kill depend on which ethnic group
his victims belong to. For black Africans he uses knives. For
Chinese, Armenians, Azeris and Tajiks, it is crowbars or baseball
bats. For Chechens it is guns. Maxim Tesak is only 20 but has already
acquired a taste for sickening violence. He is a leading member of
Russian Goal, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group in Moscow.
Tesak – it means big knife, and is not his real surname – tells me of
a recent attack he carried out on a man from Azerbaijan. “We picked
him out then attacked him in the street. I stabbed him 12 times in
the ass,” he says coldly, his youthful face strained and intense. As
he speaks, Tesak is staring me out. At one point he brings out a
steel flick-knife. “We particularly hate white girls who date men
from the Caucasus region,” he says. “They get the worst beatings. One
girl we did over got a worse kicking than the guy.”
Tesak tells me he wants white power in Russia. He wants his country
to be rid of “niggers, Jews, the Chinese, Indians, Arabs, people from
the Caucasus: any f – er who is not white and not Russian”. Most of
all, though, he wants to kill Chechens. On September 9, 1999, his
girlfriend was murdered. Natasha, aged 15, died along with another
105 people when a bomb explosion brought down two sections of an
apartment block at Guryanova Street in the south of Moscow. Another
900 people were horrifically injured, including 260 children, in an
atrocity perpetrated by Chechen rebels. “I watched the news on
television,” he says. “As soon as I heard Natasha was dead I got hold
of the biggest f – ing knife I could and went looking for Chechens.”
That was when Tesak first encountered other neo-Nazi skinheads: “They
wanted to get revenge as well, so that’s where it all started for
me.” Now Tesak, with his shaved head and the build of a prizefighter,
is a key part of Russian Goal, dealing in propaganda as well as
violence for this banned organisation. It has taken five days of
negotiations to get him to agree to meet me in Moscow. Any foreigner
is viewed with suspicion.
When he does appear outside an underground station, wearing a bomber
jacket, jeans and boots, he is abrupt and unsmiling. He says he wants
somewhere quiet to talk – and quickly, since he hasn’t much time – so
we find a cafe close by. “We have members in jail,” he says. “I was
taken in by the police to be interrogated and tortured last year.
They beat me, put a plastic bag over my head and gave me electric
shocks on my hands.”
He is only slightly less candid when asked if he has ever killed
anyone. “All I will say is probably – when you jump on someone’s head
and hear their skull crack.” His manner is unnerving, his face
inscrutable: dead eyes like a great white shark. He says he is at
war. Inspired by the example of al Qaeda, Russian neo-Nazis say they
are organising themselves into a network of autonomous terror cells
and that the time of their jihad has come.
Tesak is part of a new wave of nationalism sweeping through Russian
society. As democratic reforms have stuttered and living standards
fallen dramatically since the collapse of the USSR and the end of
communism in 1991, Russia’s latent xenophobia has developed into a
more radical, sinister form. More and more young people like Tesak
are coming under the sway of neo-Nazi ideology as a response to
terrorism and immigration from the former Soviet republics.
Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International are becoming
increasingly alarmed at the escalating violence across Russia and the
number of racially motivated murders. On my second day in Moscow I
witness for myself the aftermath of a firebomb attack on a cafe run
by Azeris, Tajiks and Armenians in Ostankinsky Park in the north of
city. The situation has been exacerbated this year by Chechen
terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds of people across the
country – in the space of less than two weeks in August two passenger
planes were brought down over southern Russia and a suicide bomber
killed 40 people in the Moscow underground. This was followed by the
horrific events at Beslan that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of
children, murdered after they were taken hostage at a school. Human
rights organisations say fascist groups are feeding off these events
and are manipulating and exploiting people’s fears to promote
neo-Nazi dogma.
According to a report in June from the Russian Academy of Sciences,
which has a department studying xenophobia and extremism, there are
at least 30,000 ultra-right skinheads in Russia. If less active
supporters of their cause are included, it is estimated there could
be as many as 300,000 such racists. Emil Pain, author of the report,
said: “If in the 1990s there were only a few individuals who could be
characterised as skinheads, by the beginning of the 2000s there were
tens of thousands. Such a growth rate is unprecedented in world
history.”
The Moscow-based newspaper Izvestia says neo-Nazis have violently
assaulted at least 15,000 people over the past seven years, and the
Moscow Bureau of Human Rights estimates that up to 30 victims a year
die from such assaults, which are increasing at an annual rate of 30
per cent.
Recently there has been a catalogue of chilling murders. On February
9 this year Khursheda Sultanova, a nine-year-old Tajik girl, was
knifed to death in front of her father and young cousin after an
evening of sledging in a St Petersburg park. In another grotesquely
violent incident on September 13, 2002, a group of about 25 people
murdered Mamed Mamedov, a 53-year-old Azeri fruit-seller and father
of eight, by beating and stabbing him to death at his stall in the
Primorsky district of Russia. Armed with metal bars, the group set
upon Mamedov about 8.30pm and beat him for about two minutes until
they were sure he was dead. They even filmed the murder. Police
seized the videotape within days of the killing, and it was used as
evidence in court.
Three skinheads were convicted of murdering Mamedov in March this
year, but critics say the sentences they were given showed the
reluctance of the Russian state to seriously tackle
racially-motivated crime. Alexei Lykin, 18, was released on the
grounds that he had already served enough time in detention (18
months), while his fellow assailants Maxim Firsov and Vyacheslav
Prokofiyev, both 17, were sentenced to four and seven years in prison
respectively.
In June came the clearest warning yet that Russian neo-Nazis were
willing take up arms. The assassination of Nikolai Girenko, a
64-year-old academic and leading expert on Russia’s neo-Nazis, took
the situation to a more disturbing level than ever before. As the
founder of the Group for the Rights of Ethnic Minorities, Girenko had
been a key adviser in 15 Russian ethnic-hate-crime trials, including
a case involving six members of the St Petersburg-based fascist group
Schultz88. He was shot on his doorstep as he was preparing for a
trial involving six members of the neo-Nazi group Russian National
Unity, charged with inciting racial hatred.
Police and colleagues say Girenko was silenced, and for many
observers his death marked a turning point, proof that the neo-Nazis
were becoming stronger and more arrogant. The situation is spiralling
out of control, says Amnesty International; for his part, Tesak
openly warns that there will be bloodshed on a massive scale in
Russia. “We have access to weapons and there will be war in Russia,
as happened in Kosovo and Yugoslavia. It will happen soon.”
Violence and intimidation are an everyday occurrence for Samuel Tay.
Simply because he is black and lives in Moscow, he lives in daily
fear of his life. The 22-year-old Ghanaian works in a soup kitchen
run by a Christian church in the south-west of Moscow, near the state
university and close to the Swedish embassy. He helps feed the area’s
poor, its destitute, its invalids and its war veterans; those bereft
of any adequate welfare aid from a Russian state that continues to
fail people who cannot fend for themselves.
We meet in a basement below the kitchen, the pungent smell of boiled
cabbage pervading the dank autumnal air and snaking its way
unappetisingly downstairs. Barely out of his teens, Tay has an
engaging, hopeful face when he smiles. Otherwise there is an air of
world-weariness and dejection about him, as you might expect from an
old man who has witnessed too much.
In July, when he had barely been in Russia for a week, he was robbed
of all his belongings in St Petersburg. “I rather naively trusted
someone at the railway station,” he says. Without documents and money
he spent three days in a police cell before a sympathetic officer
gave him his fare to Moscow.
On arrival in the capital, Tay decided to go by underground train to
the Ghanaian embassy in order to get new papers. A group of skinheads
boarded at a station along the way. “There were about ten of them,”
Tay says, his eyes widening. “Then they saw me.” The men surrounded
him and began spitting at his face, shouting obscenities. Tay did not
understand anything they yelled apart from “Russia, Russia!” Then
they took turns to slap him. He thought at first they were just
roughing him up. Then a punch. A kick. Fists and feet aimed at his
head. One man swung from the overhead handrail backwards and forwards
for extra momentum as he battered Tay’s head against the shatterproof
glass with his boots. The assault seemed to go on and on.
“I didn’t understand what they were saying,” says Tay. “I was covered
in blood. I think I passed out.” The tube was full when the assault
took place, but nobody intervened. Perhaps they were scared, I
suggest. “Perhaps,” Tay replies, lowering his eyes.
In light of the number of murders in Russia, he counts himself lucky.
The assault left him battered and bruised, but nothing was broken; he
knows it could have been a lot worse. When Tay eventually reached the
Ghanaian embassy he was simply told: “That’s what to expect in
Moscow. The ambassador himself was beaten recently in Victory Park.”
Africans are assaulted so regularly now that a Russian website,
, keeps a running log. In St Petersburg last month
there were street demonstrations by black students demanding greater
protection from the authorities following the murder of a young
Vietnamese man. In the basement below the soup kitchen we hear other
Africans – students and volunteers – tell of similar experiences.
Rony Kumy, 33, a Ghanaian, lost his teeth last October after being
assaulted by four men in an unprovoked attack; Kifle Sulomon, 36,
from Ethiopia, has been assaulted four times since he came to Moscow
in 1995; Sylvester Anene, 35, from Nigeria, was beaten badly on the
metro a year and a half ago with three friends, and attacked twice
going to church recently. All 16 of the people we speak to have been
assaulted at some point. Their fear is all too palpable.
Pastor John Calhoun of the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, who has run
the soup kitchen for three years, says the situation is deteriorating
week by week and that black people live in constant terror of their
lives. There is little protection from the police or the state, he
adds. How do they cope? “We just have to pray to God,” he says.
Boris Miranov has already had a stint in government. He worked in the
Ministers’ Council of the USSR as director of its publishing office
before becoming minister for press under the enigmatic Boris Yeltsin,
Russia’s first president after the fall of the Soviet empire. He was
sacked for his ultra-right political views in 1994.
Today Miranov remains immersed in political activity. Besides being a
writer, he is the chairman of the Slavic Union of Journalists,
representing 100 newspapers across Russia. Undoubtedly he is still a
powerful and influential actor in the sphere of Russian politics.
Sitting in the White Piano cafe in east Moscow, dressed smartly in a
black shirt and matching trousers and with a blond crew-cut, this
articulate 53-year-old father-of-three is blunt with his political
views. Just ask him about Adolf Hitler and the genocide perpetrated
by the Nazis. “The Holocaust was a fairy tale, a myth,” he says
matter-of-factly. “When Hitler set about his Final Solution it was
not about eliminating Jews but about moving them to the island of
Madagascar. There is plenty of scientific proof that shows the
Holocaust was completely exaggerated. The Jews are very clever and
have made big business from this.”
The Jews are Miranov’s enemies. They are not Russian, he says. They
are the root of all the nation’s problems, controlling
disproportionate power within business and government. Until they are
removed from such positions, he tells me, Russia will never regain
its economic and military prowess.
How would he remove Jews from Russia? “Only by force, of course – and
it will happen,” he replies acidly. His political ideology stems from
the simple principle that each nation should be ruled by its own
people – the French rule France, the Germans rule Germany and Russia
is ruled by Russians.
“The Scots wanted to be ruled by Scots,” he says. “Look at the film
Braveheart, which is a very popular film in Russia. The Scots tried
to drive the English out, and that is what we must do with the Jews.
And the will in Russia is now there.” As he speaks, Miranov smacks
his fist into his hand.
Citing the recent upsurge in nationalism across Russia, he explains
that before the end of communism Russians were afraid to talk of a
Russian motherland, but that “citizenship” is a concept that is now
widely accepted and promoted. As the chairman of the Slavic
journalists’ union, purveying fascist propaganda is Miranov’s
political raison d’etre – and it is a role he relishes.
At present Miranov is facing three criminal charges for producing
literature liable to incite racial hatred, but remains dogmatic. He
hands me a book he has published. It has a picture on the cover of a
fearful-looking young Russian woman in a headscarf, holding a baby
and cowering from a dagger with the Star of David inscribed on it.
Like Tesak, Miranov predicts that there will be an armed uprising by
white Russians, and that it will happen sooner rather than later.
“They will not silence us and the movement is growing,” Miranov says.
“There will be another revolution in Russia.”
Sergey Belikov, a 28-year-old academic who has put his life at risk
to infiltrate neo-Nazi organisations, has a deep understanding of how
the nascent fascist movement operates at street level and in the
political arena. Currently writing his third book on the subject, he
explains that the neo-Nazi political elite from the largest groups –
such as United Brigade 88, Blood and Honour, Hammerskins and Russian
Goal – have connections to the main political parties, and are
working within them to promote the cause of Russian “nationalism” in
an attempt to drag the parties further to the right.
He cites Rodina as an example – it took about ten per cent of the
vote at last year’s election and has 37 seats in the Duma. “It has
three wings, one of which is called the People’s Wheel,” says
Belikov. “Its leader, Sergei Babourin, is good friends with
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French fascist. I know of many fascists within
it.”
Babourin is not the only high-profile politician in Russia infamous
for holding ultra-right views. Others include Vladimir Zhirinovsky of
the notorious Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, a stridently
anti-Western, anti-Semitic and ultra-nationalist organisation that
polled 11.6 per cent at the last election and won 38 seats. Many
newer, younger organisations are also springing up across Russia with
a view to espousing the nationalist cause.
Mikhail Ochkin, a 21-year-old economics student from Moscow, is a
leader of the youth movement of an organisation calling itself the
Supreme Russian Patriotic Motherland. Despite insisting that he
advocates peaceful means to gain political power, Ochkin has views
that are entrenched in far-right ideology. “In Germany it is stated
in law that there were less than six million Jews killed,” he tells
me, citing the American author David Duke – a former Klansman, and a
consummate racist and anti-Semite – who wrote My Awakening, a
minor-league Mein Kampf. Ochkin claims that the far right has even
infiltrated United Russia, the nation’s largest political party,
which supports President Vladimir Putin. He adds that there are
strong relationships with fascist groups elsewhere in Europe,
particularly in Germany.
It is also widely claimed that many soldiers who return from
Chechyna, a breeding ground for fascist sentiment, end up joining the
police. A natural progression, this has led to racism pervading many
forces across Russia. I see this for myself when we meet Maxim Tesak
again, this time near Red Square in the magnificent Ploshchad
Revolutsii underground station, resplendent in black marble from the
Urals, Armenia and Georgia.
It is rush hour and a sea of gaunt faces washes out of carriages. I
spot Tesak standing with two other skinheads, speaking to a
policeman. My translator approaches warily. They start walking
towards us; then Tesak suddenly lurches forward, smashing his
shoulder into the face of a young Chinese man. People stare and the
man runs, while Tesak, and his friends Andre and Elia, laugh. The
policeman smiles before taking off his cap. He is a skinhead too.
The Herald would like to thank Irene Sheludkova for her assistance
with this article.
The weapons he chooses to maim and kill depend on which ethnic group
his victims belong to. For black Africans he uses knives. For
Chinese, Armenians, Azeris and Tajiks, it is crowbars or baseball
bats. For Chechens it is guns. Maxim Tesak is only 20 but has already
acquired a taste for sickening violence. He is a leading member of
Russian Goal, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group in Moscow.
Tesak – it means big knife, and is not his real surname – tells me of
a recent attack he carried out on a man from Azerbaijan. “We picked
him out then attacked him in the street. I stabbed him 12 times in
the ass,” he says coldly, his youthful face strained and intense. As
he speaks, Tesak is staring me out. At one point he brings out a
steel flick-knife. “We particularly hate white girls who date men
from the Caucasus region,” he says. “They get the worst beatings. One
girl we did over got a worse kicking than the guy.”
Tesak tells me he wants white power in Russia. He wants his country
to be rid of “niggers, Jews, the Chinese, Indians, Arabs, people from
the Caucasus: any f – er who is not white and not Russian”. Most of
all, though, he wants to kill Chechens. On September 9, 1999, his
girlfriend was murdered. Natasha, aged 15, died along with another
105 people when a bomb explosion brought down two sections of an
apartment block at Guryanova Street in the south of Moscow. Another
900 people were horrifically injured, including 260 children, in an
atrocity perpetrated by Chechen rebels. “I watched the news on
television,” he says. “As soon as I heard Natasha was dead I got hold
of the biggest f – ing knife I could and went looking for Chechens.”
That was when Tesak first encountered other neo-Nazi skinheads: “They
wanted

to get revenge as well, so that’s where it all started for me.” Now
Tesak, with his shaved head and the build of a prizefighter, is a key
part of Russian Goal, dealing in propaganda as well as violence for
this banned organisation. It has taken five days of negotiations to
get him to agree to meet me in Moscow. Any foreigner is viewed with
suspicion.
When he does appear outside an underground station, wearing a bomber
jacket, jeans and boots, he is abrupt and unsmiling. He says he wants
somewhere quiet to talk – and quickly, since he hasn’t much time – so
we find a cafe close by. “We have members in jail,” he says. “I was
taken in by the police to be interrogated and tortured last year.
They beat me, put a plastic bag over my head and gave me electric
shocks on my hands.”
He is only slightly less candid when asked if he has ever killed
anyone. “All I will say is probably – when you jump on someone’s head
and hear their skull crack.” His manner is unnerving, his face
inscrutable: dead eyes like a great white shark. He says he is at
war. Inspired by the example of al Qaeda, Russian neo-Nazis say they
are organising themselves into a network of autonomous terror cells
and that the time of their jihad has come.
Tesak is part of a new wave of nationalism sweeping through Russian
society. As democratic reforms have stuttered and living standards
fallen dramatically since the collapse of the USSR and the end of
communism in 1991, Russia’s latent xenophobia has developed into a
more radical, sinister form. More and more young people like Tesak
are coming under the sway of neo-Nazi ideology as a response to
terrorism and immigration from the former Soviet republics.
Human rights organisations such as Amnesty International are becoming
increasingly alarmed at the escalating violence across Russia and the
number of racially motivated murders. On my second day in Moscow I
witness for myself the aftermath of a firebomb attack on a cafe run
by Azeris, Tajiks and Armenians in Ostankinsky Park in the north of
city. The situation has been exacerbated this year by Chechen
terrorist attacks that have killed hundreds of people across the
country – in the space of less than two weeks in August two passenger
planes were brought down over southern Russia and a suicide bomber
killed 40 people in the Moscow underground. This was followed by the
horrific events at Beslan that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of
children, murdered after they were taken hostage at a school. Human
rights organisations say fascist groups are feeding off these events
and are manipulating and exploiting people’s fears to promote
neo-Nazi dogma.
According to a report in June from the Russian Academy of Sciences,
which has a department studying xenophobia and extremism, there are
at least 30,000 ultra-right skinheads in Russia. If less active
supporters of their cause are included, it is estimated there could
be as many as 300,000 such racists. Emil Pain, author of the report,
said: “If in the 1990s there were only a few individuals who could be
characterised as skinheads, by the beginning of the 2000s there were
tens of thousands. Such a growth rate is unprecedented in world
history.”
The Moscow-based newspaper Izvestia says neo-Nazis have violently
assaulted at least 15,000 people over the past seven years, and the
Moscow Bureau of Human Rights estimates that up to 30 victims a year
die from such assaults, which are increasing at an annual rate of 30
per cent.
Recently there has been a catalogue of chilling murders. On February
9 this year Khursheda Sultanova, a nine-year-old Tajik girl, was
knifed to death in front of her father and young cousin after an
evening of sledging in a St Petersburg park. In another grotesquely
violent incident on September 13, 2002, a group of about 25 people
murdered Mamed Mamedov, a 53-year-old Azeri fruit-seller and father
of eight, by beating and stabbing him to death at his stall in the
Primorsky district of Russia. Armed with metal bars, the group set
upon Mamedov about 8.30pm and beat him for about two minutes until
they were sure he was dead. They even filmed the murder. Police
seized the videotape within days of the killing, and it was used as
evidence in court.
Three skinheads were convicted of murdering Mamedov in March this
year, but critics say the sentences they were given showed the
reluctance of the Russian state to seriously tackle
racially-motivated crime. Alexei Lykin, 18, was released on the
grounds that he had already served enough time in detention (18
months), while his fellow assailants Maxim Firsov and Vyacheslav
Prokofiyev, both 17, were sentenced to four and seven years in prison
respectively.
In June came the clearest warning yet that Russian neo-Nazis were
willing take up arms. The assassination of Nikolai Girenko, a
64-year-old academic and leading expert on Russia’s neo-Nazis, took
the situation to a more disturbing level than ever before. As the
founder of the Group for the Rights of Ethnic Minorities, Girenko had
been a key adviser in 15 Russian ethnic-hate-crime trials, including
a case involving six members of the St Petersburg-based fascist group
Schultz88. He was shot on his doorstep as he was preparing for a
trial involving six members of the neo-Nazi group Russian National
Unity, charged with inciting racial hatred.
Police and colleagues say Girenko was silenced, and for many
observers his death marked a turning point, proof that the neo-Nazis
were becoming stronger and more arrogant. The situation is spiralling
out of control, says Amnesty International; for his part, Tesak
openly warns that there will be bloodshed on a massive scale in
Russia. “We have access to weapons and there will be war in Russia,
as happened in Kosovo and Yugoslavia. It will happen soon.”
Violence and intimidation are an everyday occurrence for Samuel Tay.
Simply because he is black and lives in Moscow, he lives in daily
fear of his life. The 22-year-old Ghanaian works in a soup kitchen
run by a Christian church in the south-west of Moscow, near the state
university and close to the Swedish embassy. He helps feed the area’s
poor, its destitute, its invalids and its war veterans; those bereft
of any adequate welfare aid from a Russian state that continues to
fail people who cannot fend for themselves.
We meet in a basement below the kitchen, the pungent smell of boiled
cabbage pervading the dank autumnal air and snaking its way
unappetisingly downstairs. Barely out of his teens, Tay has an
engaging, hopeful face when he smiles. Otherwise there is an air of
world-weariness and dejection about him, as you might expect from an
old man who has witnessed too much.
In July, when he had barely been in Russia for a week, he was robbed
of all his belongings in St Petersburg. “I rather naively trusted
someone at the railway station,” he says. Without documents and money
he spent three days in a police cell before a sympathetic officer
gave him his fare to Moscow.
On arrival in the capital, Tay decided to go by underground train to
the Ghanaian embassy in order to get new papers. A group of skinheads
boarded at a station along the way. “There were about ten of them,”
Tay says, his eyes widening. “Then they saw me.” The men surrounded
him and began spitting at his face, shouting obscenities. Tay did not
understand anything they yelled apart from “Russia, Russia!” Then
they took turns to slap him. He thought at first they were just
roughing him up. Then a punch. A kick. Fists and feet aimed at his
head. One man swung from the overhead handrail backwards and forwards
for extra momentum as he battered Tay’s head against the shatterproof
glass with his boots. The assault seemed to go on and on.
“I didn’t understand what they were saying,” says Tay. “I was covered
in blood. I think I passed out.” The tube was full when the assault
took place, but nobody intervened. Perhaps they were scared, I
suggest. “Perhaps,” Tay replies, lowering his eyes.
In light of the number of murders in Russia, he counts himself lucky.
The assault left him battered and bruised, but nothing was broken; he
knows it could have been a lot worse. When Tay eventually reached the
Ghanaian embassy he was simply told: “That’s what to expect in
Moscow. The ambassador himself was beaten recently in Victory Park.”
Africans are assaulted so regularly now that a Russian website,
, keeps a running log. In St Petersburg last month
there were street demonstrations by black students demanding greater
protection from the authorities following the murder of a young
Vietnamese man. In the basement below the soup kitchen we hear other
Africans – students and volunteers – tell of similar experiences.
Rony Kumy, 33, a Ghanaian, lost his teeth last October after being
assaulted by four men in an unprovoked attack; Kifle Sulomon, 36,
from Ethiopia, has been assaulted four times since he came to Moscow
in 1995; Sylvester Anene, 35, from Nigeria, was beaten badly on the
metro a year and a half ago with three friends, and attacked twice
going to church recently. All 16 of the people we speak to have been
assaulted at some point. Their fear is all too palpable.
Pastor John Calhoun of the Moscow Protestant Chaplaincy, who has run
the soup kitchen for three years, says the situation is deteriorating
week by week and that black people live in constant terror of their
lives. There is little protection from the police or the state, he
adds. How do they cope? “We just have to pray to God,” he says.
Boris Miranov has already had a stint in government. He worked in the
Ministers’ Council of the USSR as director of its publishing office
before becoming minister for press under the enigmatic Boris Yeltsin,
Russia’s first president after the fall of the Soviet empire. He was
sacked for his ultra-right political views in 1994.
Today Miranov remains immersed in political activity. Besides being a
writer, he is the chairman of the Slavic Union of Journalists,
representing 100 newspapers across Russia. Undoubtedly he is still a
powerful and influential actor in the sphere of Russian politics.
Sitting in the White Piano cafe in east Moscow, dressed smartly in a
black shirt and matching trousers and with a blond crew-cut, this
articulate 53-year-old father-of-three is blunt with his political
views. Just ask him about Adolf Hitler and the genocide perpetrated
by the Nazis. “The Holocaust was a fairy tale, a myth,” he says
matter-of-factly. “When Hitler set about his Final Solution it was
not about eliminating Jews but about moving them to the island of
Madagascar. There is plenty of scientific proof that shows the
Holocaust was completely exaggerated. The Jews are very clever and
have made big business from this.”
The Jews are Miranov’s enemies. They are not Russian, he says. They
are the root of all the nation’s problems, controlling
disproportionate power within business and government. Until they are
removed from such positions, he tells me, Russia will never regain
its economic and military prowess.
How would he remove Jews from Russia? “Only by force, of course – and
it will happen,” he replies acidly. His political ideology stems from
the simple principle that each nation should be ruled by its own
people – the French rule France, the Germans rule Germany and Russia
is ruled by Russians.
“The Scots wanted to be ruled by Scots,” he says. “Look at the film
Braveheart, which is a very popular film in Russia. The Scots tried
to drive the English out, and that is what we must do with the Jews.
And the will in Russia is now there.” As he speaks, Miranov smacks
his fist into his hand.
Citing the recent upsurge in nationalism across Russia, he explains
that before the end of communism Russians were afraid to talk of a
Russian motherland, but that “citizenship” is a concept that is now
widely accepted and promoted. As the chairman of the Slavic
journalists’ union, purveying fascist propaganda is Miranov’s
political raison d’etre – and it is a role he relishes.
At present Miranov is facing three criminal charges for producing
literature liable to incite racial hatred, but remains dogmatic. He
hands me a book he has published. It has a picture on the cover of a
fearful-looking young Russian woman in a headscarf, holding a baby
and cowering from a dagger with the Star of David inscribed on it.
Like Tesak, Miranov predicts that there will be an armed uprising by
white Russians, and that it will happen sooner rather than later.
“They will not silence us and the movement is growing,” Miranov says.
“There will be another revolution in Russia.”
Sergey Belikov, a 28-year-old academic who has put his life at risk
to infiltrate neo-Nazi organisations, has a deep understanding of how
the nascent fascist movement operates at street level and in the
political arena. Currently writing his third book on the subject, he
explains that the neo-Nazi political elite from the largest groups –
such as United Brigade 88, Blood and Honour, Hammerskins and Russian
Goal – have connections to the main political parties, and are
working within them to promote the cause of Russian “nationalism” in
an attempt to drag the parties further to the right.
He cites Rodina as an example – it took about ten per cent of the
vote at last year’s election and has 37 seats in the Duma. “It has
three wings, one of which is called the People’s Wheel,” says
Belikov. “Its leader, Sergei Babourin, is good friends with
Jean-Marie Le Pen, the French fascist. I know of many fascists within
it.”
Babourin is not the only high-profile politician in Russia infamous
for holding ultra-right views. Others include Vladimir Zhirinovsky of
the notorious Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, a stridently
anti-Western, anti-Semitic and ultra-nationalist organisation that
polled 11.6 per cent at the last election and won 38 seats. Many
newer, younger organisations are also springing up across Russia with
a view to espousing the nationalist cause.
Mikhail Ochkin, a 21-year-old economics student from Moscow, is a
leader of the youth movement of an organisation calling itself the
Supreme Russian Patriotic Motherland. Despite insisting that he
advocates peaceful means to gain political power, Ochkin has views
that are entrenched in far-right ideology. “In Germany it is stated
in law that there were less than six million Jews killed,” he tells
me, citing the American author David Duke – a former Klansman, and a
consummate racist and anti-Semite – who wrote My Awakening, a
minor-league Mein Kampf. Ochkin claims that the far right has even
infiltrated United Russia, the nation’s largest political party,
which supports President Vladimir Putin. He adds that there are
strong relationships with fascist groups elsewhere in Europe,
particularly in Germany.
It is also widely claimed that many soldiers who return from
Chechyna, a breeding ground for fascist sentiment, end up joining the
police. A natural progression, this has led to racism pervading many
forces across Russia. I see this for myself when we meet Maxim Tesak
again, this time near Red Square in the magnificent Ploshchad
Revolutsii underground station, resplendent in black marble from the
Urals, Armenia and Georgia.
It is rush hour and a sea of gaunt faces washes out of carriages. I
spot Tesak standing with two other skinheads, speaking to a
policeman. My translator approaches warily. They start walking
towards us; then Tesak suddenly lurches forward, smashing his
shoulder into the face of a young Chinese man. People stare and the
man runs, while Tesak, and his friends Andre and Elia, laugh. The
policeman smiles before taking off his cap. He is a skinhead too.
The Herald would like to thank Irene Sheludkova for her assistance
with this article.
The weapons he chooses to maim and kill depend on which ethnic group
his victims belong to. For black Africans he uses knives. For
Chinese, Armenians, Azeris and Tajiks, it is crowbars or baseball
bats. For Chechens it is guns. Maxim Tesak is only 20 but has already
acquired a taste for sickening violence. He is a leading member of
Russian Goal, a neo-Nazi paramilitary group in Moscow.
Tesak – it means big knife, and is not his real surname – tells me of
a recent attack he carried out on a man from Azerbaijan. “We picked
him out then attacked him in the street. I stabbed him 12 times in
the ass,” he says coldly, his youthful face strained and intense. As
he speaks, Tesak is staring me out. At one point he brings out a
steel flick-knife. “We particularly hate white girls who date men
from the Caucasus region,” he says. “They get the worst beatings. One
girl we did over got a worse kicking than the guy.”
Tesak tells me he wants white power in Russia. He wants his country
to be rid of “niggers, Jews, the Chinese, Indians, Arabs, people from
the Caucasus: any f – er who is not white and not Russian”. Most of
all, though, he wants to kill Chechens. On September 9, 1999, his
girlfriend was murdered. Natasha, aged 15, died along with another
105 people when a bomb explosion brought down two sections of an
apartment block at Guryanova Street in the south of Moscow. Another
900 people were horrifically injured, including 260 children, in an
atrocity perpetrated by Chechen rebels. “I watched the news on
television,” he says. “As soon as I heard Natasha was dead I got hold
of the biggest f – ing knife I could and went looking for Chechens.”
That was when Tesak first encountered other neo-Nazi skinheads: “They
wanted to get revenge as well, so that’s where it all started for
me.” Now Tesak, with his shaved head and the build of a prizefighter,
is a key part of Russian Goal, dealing in propaganda as well as
violence for this banned organisation. It has taken five days of
negotiations to get him to agree to meet me in Moscow. Any foreigner
is viewed with suspicion.
When he does appear outside an underground station, wearing a bomber
jacket, jeans and boots, he is abrupt and unsmiling. He says he wants
somewhere quiet to talk – and quickly, since he hasn’t much time – so
we find a cafe close by. “We have members in jail,” he says. “I was
taken in by the police to be interrogated and tortured last year.
They beat me, put a plastic bag over my head and gave me electric
shocks on my hands.”
He is only slightly less candid when asked if he has ever killed
anyone. “All I will say is probably – when you jump on someone’s head
and hear their skull crack.” His manner is unnerving, his face
inscrutable: dead eyes like a great white shark. He says he is at
war. Inspired by the example of al Qaeda, Russian neo-Nazis say they
are organising themselves into a network of autonomous terror cells
and that the time of their jihad has come.
Tesak is part of a new wave of nationalism sweeping through Russian
society. As democratic reforms have stuttered and living standards
fallen dramatically since the collapse of the USSR and the end of
communism in 1991, Russia’s latent xenophobia has developed into a
more radical, sinister form. More and more young people like Tesak
are coming under the sway of neo-Nazi ideology as a response to
terrorism and immigration from the former Soviet republics.

www.africana.ru
www.africana.ru

BAKU: Affa sends protest letter to UEFA

Azer Tag, Azerbaijan
Nov 29 2004

AFFA SENDS PROTEST LETTER TO UEFA
[November 29, 2004, 20:55:26]

Secretary General of the Azerbaijan Federation of Football
Associations /AFFA/ Fuad Asadov has sent a protest letter to UEFA
Chief Executive Lars-Christer Ollson, AFFA’s Department of
Information and PR told AzerTAj.

The letter says: Earlier, we informed you twice on the independent
football championship organized in Nagorno-Karabakh, which is an
integral part of Azerbaijan, as well as participation of the FC
Lernain Artsakh representing Azerbaijani city of Khankendi in the
first division of the Armenia’s football championship.

The Armenian Football Federation, however, refuted this fact in
response to UEFA’s relevant query. Moreover, Armen Minasyan assured
me during Secretary Generals’ meetings in Switzerland that it was not
truth and even impossible. The other day, the fact that the Armenian
Football Federation misinforms UEFA has been confirmed. The Russian
weekly newspaper `Futbol’ published in its 19-26 November issue No 47
(2317) the final points table of the Nagorno-Karabakh championship
that clearly shows that the FC Lernain Artsakh of Khankendi had been
qualified to participate next year in the first division of the
Armenia’s football championship.

AFFA hereby states that Nagorno-Karabakh is a part of the territory
of Azerbaijan and participation of its football club in the other
country’s championship contradicts the FIFA and UEFA principle as
well as international football law. Participation of the club
representing occupied territories of Azerbaijan in the Armenia’s
championship is inadmissible. In this connection, AFFA expresses its
resolute protest and requests of UEFA to investigate the fact
independently and prevent the FC Lernain Artsakh representing
Khankendi of Nagorno-Karabakh from participation in the Armenia’s
football championship.

2005 draft budget earmarks 563m drams for business dev. program

ArmenPress
Nov 29 2004

2005 DRAFT BUDGET EARMARKS 563 MILLION DRAMS FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
PROGRAM

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS: The 2005 draft budget has
earmarked 563 million drams for Armenian trade and economy
development ministry to implement a string of projects to promote
trade and economy development.
Trade and economic development minister Karen Chshmaritian told
Friday that the bulk of that money, 300 million drams (a 50 million
increase over 2004), will be directed for carrying out a
government-development plan of actions to boost small and
medium-sized businesses. He said part of that money will be used also
to finalize the process of establishment of regional branches of the
Center for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Business.
The government program for tourism development will receive 20
million drams, as much as in 2004. The minister said the government
expects the assistance of international organizations to tourism
development program. Also 156 million will be allocated for a
government program for regulation and maintenance of standardization
and measurement norms.

Two Armenian families return voluntarily back from Switzerland

ArmenPress
Nov 29 2004

TWO ARMENIAN FAMILIES RETURN VOLUNTARILY BACK FROM SWITZERLAND

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS: Two Armenian families, living
illegally in Switzerland, came back to Armenia in November, supported
by an Armenian-Swiss readmission agreement signed earlier this year.
Hambardzum Abrahamian, an official of the department for refugees
and migrants, said the agreement provides for a reintegration program
for those who return back to Armenia. The returnees are promised
health assistance, jobs and special educational programs for their
school-aged children.
Though the agreement does not envisage providing the returnees
with housing, they are given full information and consulting about
how to buy a house or an apartment.

Armenian rivers are not as polluted as Azerbaijan alleges

ArmenPress
Nov 29 2004

ARMENIAN RIVERS ARE NOT AS POLLUTED AS AZERBAIJAN ALLEGES

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS: Armen Saghatelian, the head of a
center for ecological and noospheric studies, an affiliation of the
Armenian Academy of Sciences, denied Azerbaijan’s allegations that
rivers flowing in from Armenia are polluted heavily with radioactive
substances.
The center will accomplish next December a project for monitoring
of the South Caucasian rivers, assisted by NATO and OSCE Yerevan
office. Saghatelian said samples of water from 13 rivers running
across Armenia to Azerbaijan are taken once a month to check the
volume of their contamination. Similar work is done in Azerbaijan and
Georgia and the data is collected in one center.
He said NATO provides funds for purchase of necessary equipment
while the OSCE office helps to carry out field work.
He said NATO helps also to buy scale spectrometers to decide the
volume of radioactive substances in the rivers, which he said is
important to deny Azerbaijan’s accusations that Armenia pollutes the
rivers with such elements. The project has been carried out in the
South Caucasian republics since 2003 and its overall budget is
500,000 euros.

Khor Virap Monastery repaired

ArmenPress
Nov 29 2004

KHOR VIRAP MONASTERY REPAIRED

YEREVAN, NOVEMBER 29, ARMENPRESS: An Argentinean Armenian family
of Derdzakians has made a donation to the Armenian Church to help it
improve the territory near Khor Virap Monastery and restore a wall
that may collapse. Also six rooms will be built for the monks there
Khor Virap is situated on the hill and is one of the sanctuaries
of the Armenian Apostolic church and a pilgrimage site. According to
church lore, this is the location of the municipal jail of the
capital of Armenia Artashat, where upon the orders of king Trdat III,
they threw Gregory the Illuminator who was accused of professing
Christianity. Gregory spent there 13 years.
In 642 Catholicos Nerses III built a chapel over the jail. The
monastery also includes the church of St. Astvatsatsin (Saint Virgin)
built in the end of the 17th c, fragments of the wall that once
surrounded the monastery, the refectory, the cells of the monks. A
most magnificent view of mount Ararat opens from the hilltop of the
monastery.