Tips from Europe
The Russian government had not fulfilled any of the three key requirements for the fight against national discrimination, which were delivered in autumn 2013, shows the interim report of the Commission against racism and intolerance with the Council of Europe (ECRI).
ECRI from 1993, is responsible for monitoring and preparation of recommendations for member countries of the Council of Europe. Russia, the organization makes recommendations since 1996, after its accession to international organizations, and then the ratification of the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Summary is Advisory in nature and does not lead to legal consequences.
The report of the organization in the night of Tuesday published on the official website of the Council of Europe. It is a conclusion on the implementation of the recommendations, published almost three years ago. In October 2013, experts from ECRI urged Russia to simplify the process of obtaining citizenship, to reconsider the concept of extremism and to conduct a propaganda of tolerance — these were the key requirements from the list 212 in notes and suggestions.
The experts came to the conclusion that it is not fulfilled, in particular, the recommendation to simplify the procedure of granting citizenship and registration in the country of the place of residence for persons without citizenship and foreign citizens.
According to the Commission, since 2007 in immigration laws have not made any major changes. In may 2015, deputies from the party “Fair Russia” in the Duma introduced a bill amending the Federal law “On legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation”. They proposed to simplify the procedure of obtaining citizenship for Ukrainian citizens. But in November, the initiative was rejected.
Experts pointed out that now there is an alarming situation around the former citizens of the Soviet republics, which after the collapse of the Soviet Union remained without citizenship. These people not only receive no help from the Russian authorities, but on the contrary, faced with administrative obstacles, are involved in administrative responsibility and fall into the confinement center, in which they can hold up to forced removal at two years, indicate the members of the Commission.
“ECRI is concerned that the current law deprives individuals without citizenship opportunities not to disturb the migration order”, — stated in the report. The Commission urges the Russian authorities to begin to provide stateless persons the necessary documents, so they can stay in the country legally.
The interpretation of extremism
Not executed the recommendation of ECRI to clarify the notion of extremist activities, according to the report. In 2013, the Commission urged the Russian side to introduce additional criteria to qualify as extremism only “serious cases associated with hatred and violence.”
Then the experts pointed out that article 282 of the Criminal code (inciting hatred or enmity), in practice, may be used for the struggle with extremists, and uncomfortable with organizations or even human rights defenders. “ECRI is concerned that there is not only significant scope for abuse, but also the fact that the law is used widely and sometimes on issues that should not treat the sphere of its activities”, — pointed out then the report. The same situation is observed in relation to the recognition of texts as extremist materials, to the Commission.
In a new report, the authors indicated that in November 2015, the state Duma has forbidden to check on the extremism of the four sacred texts of world religions. But unprotected left all confessions. Now the list of prohibited materials in Russia has exceeded 3 thousand names, says ECRI.
Only in 2015, according to extremist articles in Russia were convicted of 554 people, including 378 under article 282 of the Criminal code, the official statistics of the Judicial Department at the Supreme court. The year before that under article 282 were convicted of a third less — 267 in 2013 — a total of 185 people.
In recent years the authorities have increasingly prosecuted for publishing and shares in social networks. In may 2016 Zavolzhsky district court of Tver has sentenced a mechanical engineer Andrew Bubeev to two years and three months in a penal colony for two repost on his page in social network “Vkontakte”.
“In our country a lot of sentences for different statements and publications,” says Director of the analytical center “Sova” Alexander Verkhovsky. — Held accountable for things for them, people should not be subject to criminal liability.”
According to the expert, at least 10% of cases on extremist articles and related compositions, for example, justification of fascism, or the insult of feelings of believers, not baseless. But law enforcement agencies became easier to search for the accused on the Internet than on the street, says Verkhovsky.
Patriotism is tolerance
The third proposal related to the establishment of national programmes for promotion of tolerance in society. “Such a program could include regional and national campaigns, youth summer camps for the development of personal contacts and other activities,” the ECRI offers.
Recalling last year’s report of the European centre for democracy development (ECDD), the ECRI experts say that in just one year 2015 the Russian government has allocated more than 50 grants for projects related to the development of international relations. Among them, for example, workshops with migrants and refugees, festivals, youth camps.
On the other hand, according to unnamed NGOs, ECRI analysts say that the majority of such programs, formally dedicated to the establishment of inter-ethnic dialogue and tolerance, in fact, focused on Patriotic education, keeping traditions and religious topics. “We also note the promotion of a militarized ideology of the Soviet times,” — experts stress ECRI. A striking example they mention the creation last fall of the Russian movement of pupils, which “promotes the Russian system of values and reminiscent of the pioneer organization”.
In General, if some of the programs include elements of promotion of tolerance”, all-Russian project against discrimination, as proposed in the 2013 report, created and was not. Consequently, ECRI considers its recommendation as unimplemented.”