MINELRES: News from SOVA center: Panic on Russian right-wing radical websites

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Sun Mar 19 09:50:12 2006


Original sender: SOVA Center <mail@sova-center.ru>


Panic on Russian right-wing radical websites 

Between end-February and early March 2006, Russian police arrested two
right-wing radical activists engaging in hate propaganda over the
internet. 

On 28 February, in Kaliningrad, police searched the home of Alexei
Safin, a leader of the local Movement against Illegal Immigration (DPNI)
branch; Safin was subsequently arrested, but then released on
recognizance. On 4 March, in Astrakhan Oblast, police arrested Igor
Mogilyov who describes  himself as leader of a few regional groups, the
best known of them being LDPR (Zhirinovsky’s party), DPNI, and Alexander
Ivanov’s (Sukharevsky’s) People’s National Party.

Both right-wing radicals face charges under art. 282 of the Criminal
Code for incitation of ethnic and religious hatred through dissemination
of xenophobic materials, including dissemination through the internet.
At the same time, the website of Kaliningrad DPNI disappeared.

The news provoked panic among owners of right-wing radical websites, in
particular those hosted by Russian providers. Starting on 1 March,
websites related directly to the arrested individuals or to the
organizations they represented, as well as some other websites, either
removed some of their most offensive content, or became inaccessible. 

Only one right-wing radical website called Posledny Chas (Last Hour)
openly announced that awaiting the outcome of proceedings against Igor
Mogilyov they removed all his articles and other materials subject to
review by the Astrakhan Oblast Prosecutor's Office. Cerberus of Freedom,
a neo-Nazi paper also currently reviewed by prosecutors, placed an
announcement on its website saying that it was temporarily unavailable.
The Wagtarey Community website where Mogilyov was the key contributor
and ideologist, had the entire content of its main pages, including the
home page, removed.

Some websites became unavailable without any reasons given - these
include Narodnaya Zaschita (People's Defense) and the website of DPNI
branch in Tula (access restored by now). 

Others announced limited access due to technical upgrade - as, for
example, the website of Grazhdanskaya Samooborona (Civil Self-Defense)
organization associated with DPNI whose activists were behind a number
of attacks against ethnic Azeri in Moscow. Access to the said websites
was limited for periods between a few hours and a few days. 

Overall, a couple of dozen right-wing radical websites became
unavailable, and some continue to be. In particular, access to the Youth
National Patriotic Gateway with all its websites (including the
mentioned Cerberus of Freedom, Tyumen, Tver, and Kurgan skinhead sites,
etc.) was unavailable from their U.S. hosting provider ostensibly for
exceeding a bandwidth limit. The gateway has been down for more than two
days by now, so we assume that rather than a technical problem, the
reason was either an extremely powerful hacker attack or the gateway
owners’ decision to lay low for a while.  

While in some other instances we can assume authorities' pressure
against hosting providers, it is highly unlikely in the case of Youth
National Patriotic Gateway hosted by a U.S. provider. Most likely, they
were affected by a denial-of-service (DoS) attack.

Most websites that restored access after a while also revised their
guestbooks and forums, removing especially radical xenophobic
pronouncements. 

At the same time, on 9 March 2006, the official website of Nikolay
Kuryanovich, State Duma member of LDPR party, published a call to
skinheads - the MP’s close associates - to change their tactics. The MP
openly warns “young Russian patriots,” for security reasons, against
possessing neo-Nazi papers, literature, and similar materials, including
in electronic form; to refrain from discussing their actions in internet
forums accessible to the public, and limit such discussions to private
space. Notably, while the MP stressed that unlawful methods of fighting
against opponents are unacceptable, his perception of lawfulness is
well-known and rather odd; in January 2006, he openly encouraged hacker
attacks against “Russophobic websites” - which is a crime in Russia -
and in 2005, he supported DPNI’s initiative of setting up “patriotic”
armed units to fight illegal immigrants and potential outside attacks
against Russia. 


SOVA Center for Information and
Analysis

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