MINELRES: News from the SOVA Center

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Sat Feb 17 11:47:45 2007

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

News from the SOVA Center

Anti-extremism in action: a newspaper in Komi Republic is going to be
closed for interviewee’s words -
A Syktyvkar (Komi Republic) newspaper "Zyryanskaja zhizn" has attracted
attention of Rosohrankultura, a Ministry of Culture and Mass media
department, which controls the legislation observance. It’s regional
department has brought an action against the newspaper for a publication
which, in it’s opinion, incites ethnic and religious enmity and calls to
violence. However, the situation seems to be much more complicated.

The publication in question is an interview with a local Ombudsman
Leonid Vokuev. The reporter in one of his questions quotes two songs as
probable examples of extremism. The cited words are: «Patriotism simply
means killing a person of a different religion», and «Kill a Jew!»
(«Ubej zhida!»). Besides, the title of the article «Leonid Vokuev: ‘A
Jew is a Jew, even in Africa’» («Zhid – on i v Afrike zhid») is, in
fact, the exact quotation of the Ombudsman’s answer to this question of
the reporter. 

Leaving alone some absurdity of accusing of extremism a publication
which was supposed to be an anti-xenophobic one, and the fact, that the
first quotation incites enmity not to people of different religion, as
it is said in the expertise, but to «patriots», it is rather strange
that it is the newspaper which must be punished for that and not the
Ombudsman or the authors of the songs (who’s words were actually taken
out of context). 

In summer 2006 it was a warning issued against Zyryanskaya Zhizn for
publication of «extremist materials» (the propriety of such an
attribution of that materials is called into question by the observers),
and as a result, the publishers decided to stop printing the newspaper
which continued to exist only on the Internet. If Zyryanskaya zhizn is
found guilty of violating anti-extremist legislation again, it will be
deprived of the registration. The trial begins on February 20, 2007.

Besides, on February 13, 2007, an organization managing the internet
site of Zyryanskaya zhizn was unlawfully imposed a 20 thousand ruble
fine (approximately 580 Euro) for not having a mass media registration.
This contradicts Russian legislation which doesn’t oblige any Internet
resource to be registered as mass media.

News from the SOVA Center

Three attacks in two days, one person dead -
On February 8 and 9, 2007 there were three nazi attacks committed in
Russia: one in Nizhny Novgorod and two in Moscow. Presumably, this
series of attacks was committed in commemoration of Pawel Ryazanzev, a
rightwing radical activist, who was killed in Moscow 40 days before.

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