Skinheads prosecuted on rarely used charges

Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press
April 7, 2004

Enmity With the Use of Violence. Kommersant, March 9, 2004, p. 5.
Condensed text:

Editors’ Note. — The St. Petersburg City Prosecutor’s Office has
completed its investigation of the case against Dmitry Bobrov, leader
of a skinhead group known as Schultz-88, and six of his accomplices,
and has forwarded the materials to a court. . . . Andrei Tsyganov has
the details.

* * *

Detectives from the St. Petersburg Administration for Combating
Organized Crime [ACOC] came across Dmitry Bobrov’s group while
investigating one of the city’s increasingly frequent attacks on
people from the Caucasus. In late March 2003, a group of teenagers
with shaved heads brutally beat a native of Armenia in the lobby of
the Pushkin subway station. Two months later, ACOC detectives
detained Aleksei Madyunin, a 21-year-old lathe operator, and a
17-year-old skinhead on suspicion of involvement in the incident. At
first they were both charged with hooliganism. . . . However, during
the investigation the detectives concluded that a more serious crime
had occurred. During searches of the apartments of the detainees and
their friends, the detectives confiscated skinhead paraphernalia and
large amounts of extremist literature. . . . In the opinion of the
ACOC detectives, the authors of the magazine articles did their
utmost to belittle the national dignity of Jews, blacks and people
from the Caucasus, and openly called for violence against them.

In late October of last year, ACOC detectives detained 24-year-old
Dmitry Bobrov (Schultz), who had written many of the aforementioned
articles and, as it turned out, was the unofficial leader of a group
of the same name, Schultz-88. According to the detectives’
information, the Schultz-88 group had existed for about two years,
during which time it had become one of the most well-organized young
people’s groups in Petersburg. The group (Schultz himself called it a
“gang”) numbered between 30 and 40 people (aged 16-20), had its own
store on Liteiny Prospect (where skinhead literature and clothing
were sold), had established ties with unofficial groups in the
capital, and engaged in both “ideological” work and attention-getting
actions: beatings of foreigners. Detectives say the Schultz group was
responsible for at least 10 to 15 such beatings. Only a few of them
could be proved, however; many victims of skinhead attacks do not
file police reports.

After studying the materials assembled by the detectives, the St.
Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office decided to reclassify the actions of
suspects Bobrov, Madyunin and four other arrested Schultz members
from “hooliganism” to the rarely used Art. 282 of the Russian
Federation Criminal Code (“Incitement of Ethnic, Racial or Religious
Enmity”). Part 2 of this article (under which all the detained
Schultz members are being charged) provides for punishment in the
form of three to five years’ incarceration. In addition, Dmitry
Bobrov is being charged under Criminal Code Art. 282 (a) (“Organizing
an Extremist Association”; this is the first time this article has
been used), as well as Art. 280 (“Calling for the Violent Overthrow
of Russia’s Constitutional System”) and Art. 150 (“Involving a Minor
in the Commission of a Crime”). . . .