Sentence has been pronounced on skinheads who murdered a Bangladesh student in March 2002
A federal judge of the Leninsky district in the Russian city of Ivanovo, Olga Mutovkina passed a sentence of guilty on six members of the Skinhead group who had slaughtered foreign students in the center of the city on March 10, 2002.
This time the court has made much progress. All six criminals were sentenced to real, not suspended imprisonment (a man was killed, and although it may sound strange, but a suspended sentence was even suggested during investigation of the crime). It is important that the court emphasized the crime had been committed because of "national and racial hatred or animosity"; the crime wasn't just ordinary hooliganism and causing deliberate health damage.
Six teenagers belonging to a skinhead group stood a trial for committing crimes; they openly declared their extreme nationalist views. Within a period when the guys committed crimes, all of them were at the age of 15-16. One boy had a swastika tattooed on his body. Nationalistic literature was withdrawn from one of the boys in searches. During a preliminary investigation and being already at court the boys didn't repent, didn't acknowledged the guilt or come round to a different view. Judging by all characteristics, the criminals are undisguised Russian Fascists.
On March 10, 2002, about 5:00 p.m., a group of teenagers of 15-20 people cruelly beat a student from India. The teenagers stood in a circle in the center of which the Indian was lying on the ground; the poor guy was severely kicked.
In half an hour after the incident, two more students from Bangladesh who studied in Ivanovo were also severely beaten very close to the Prosecutor's Office of Ivanovo's Leninsky district. On May 6, 2002, one of them died of grave injuries in a regional hospital. Six teenagers participating in the beating were detained on the same day, but soon released after they gave a written undertaking not to leave the city. A separate criminal case was started with respect to the rest of the detained criminals.
The same day, the skinheads gathered for a birthday celebration in a bar called Pogrebok, the place haunted by skinheads of Ivanovo. It was the bar where skinheads were allowed to play their own records of heavy metal music; the guys were shouting "Heil!" (as one of the attorneys said at court, the guys were hailing the popular Russian musical group Hi-Fi; this is a rather incredible explanation because the group is playing music that has nothing to do with heavy metal).
It is sad statistics, but beating of foreign students near the city's Fredrick Engels Avenue were treated as something common a year ago. Beatings were always organized by groups of 10-20 skinheads. The direction of institutes of higher education complained about severe beating of foreign students to the city department for internal affairs. Unfortunately, the law enforcement authorities took some preventive and restrictive measures only when one of the beaten foreign students died.
When criminal proceedings were instituted because of the beatings, the Prosecutor of the Ivanovo region Nikolay Gamzin ordered the head of the federal security department of the region to consider activity of Ivanovo skinheads from the point of view of political extremism. All attacks of the skinhead group were directed against foreign students, that is why it was decided to treat the problem as political extremism.
One shouldn't overestimate the danger of Fascist and extremely nationalist groups in Russia. The Russian people always considered themselves to be the bearer of a Messiah role. It is not typical of Russians to conquer territories and subordinate other people; they always involve other people into their orbit. It is believed here that the Empire cannot emerge and exist with a prevailing extreme nationalist idea. Even if such a state has strong military power, it will inevitably contract to its original size (Germany may serve an example in this case). Religious, racial and national tolerance on a level beyond the everyday one is typical of Russians; that is why Fascism will never be a real threat to the society and to the state here.
However, the above mentioned explanation cannot excuse the inertness of authorities in those cases when crimes were committed because of national or racial motives. Crimes of this kind are treated as especially dangerous all over the world; instances of racial or national intolerance even when no serious damage is caused to health of people, are severely punished in other countries. However, the situation is quite different in Russia. It is very seldom that national and racial hatred is admitted as the motive of a crime. It cannot be ruled out that the problem of foreign students getting beaten in the city of Ivanovo would still be ignored if it hadn't been the case that one of the victims died. If none of foreigners were killed, the skinheads could probably beat even a hundred of foreign students in front of witnesses. At that, the criminals would get a suspended sentence.
Russian people treat the nationality problem rather pragmatically and even arrogantly sometimes. But Russia's law enforcement and judicial systems demonstrate in this case those vulgar feelings that are typical of degenerating nations, not of Russians. When the sentence was pronounced on the teenager criminals and it was clear that all of them would have to serve their sentences in prison, the skinheads and their parents looked rather amazed. Nobody expected that the guys would be taken to prison for the crime; they hoped to get off with a suspended sentence. The 6 skinheads who had cruelly beaten three foreign students in Ivanovo (one of them died of grave injuries) were sentenced to imprisonment of 1.5 to 5 years in a penitentiary for young criminals.
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