Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press
July 21, 2004
Nazism Expert Killed; Extremists Claim Responsibility
THE VICTIM, N. GIRENKO, SERVED AS EXPERT WITNESS IN SCHULTZ-88 TRIAL,
SUPERVISED SCHOLARS PROVIDING EXPERTISE ON NATIONALISTIC NEWSPAPERS
SOURCE: NAZIS SUSPECTED IN MURDER OF EXPERT ON FASCISM. By Sergei
Nekhamkin and Yelena Rotkevich. Izvestia, June 22, 2004, p. 5.
St. Petersburg — . . . [Professor] Nikolai Mikhailovich Girenko was
murdered Saturday morning [June 19] in his apartment by a shot
through the door from a sawed-off rifle. The case is being handled by
the St. Petersburg Prosecutor’s Office’s Administration for the
Investigation of Particularly Important Crimes. Assistant city
prosecutor Aleksandr Zhukov told reporters on Monday that at the
present time, one of the hypotheses being considered by the
investigation is that the murder was connected with Girenko’s work.
But he said the investigators are also not ruling out the possibility
that the murder was motivated by hooliganism.
That phrase — “motivated by hooliganism” — evoked skepticism on
the part of Nikolai Mikhailovich’s colleague and close associate,
Valentina Uzunova. She said that a group of scholars supervised by
Girenko that has been providing expertise on extreme nationalist
publications had received threats regularly. . . .
One unfinished trial in which Prof. Girenko was serving as an
expert witness involves St. Petersburg’s most “rabid” nationalistic
group — Schultz-88. The “Schultz case” began in the spring of 2003.
At that time, while investigating an attack on an Armenian citizen,
detectives came upon a skinhead gang of about 30 people. It was
Girenko’s expert testimony that made it clear that this wasn’t just a
bunch of city toughs, but a group of inveterate racists and Nazis in
the Hitlerite mold. . . . Members of the organization have been
charged with fomenting ethnic and racial enmity and with publicly
calling for the violent overthrow of the constitutional order. The
trial is still ongoing.
Among Nikolai Girenko’s final acts was providing expert input on a
group of Novgorod newspapers: Novgorodets [The Novgoroder], Ya —
Russky [I Am Russian], Russkoye veche [Russian Assembly], Dlya
russkikh lyudei [For Russian People], Yevpaty Kolovrat and Russkoye
yedinstvo [Russian Unity] (one of them was shut down by court order).
These newspapers have ties to Russian National Unity. Prof. Girenko
tangled with that organization in St. Petersburg earlier, at the
trial of Aleksei Andreyev, another publisher of nationalistic
newspapers. Shortly before his death, Girenko had begun preparing for
a new trial involving RNU.