The Times of London reports:
Russia’s Nazis launch wave of racist attacks
Mark Franchetti, Moscow
WEARING camouflage and firing pellets from imitation AK-47 assault rifles, the Russians acting out battle scenes in the woods last week could have been mistaken for weekenders taking part in a game of paintball.
But the secret military training exercise 70 miles southeast of Moscow was far more sinister. The three-day gathering was attended by 50 hardline neo-Nazis who worship Adolf Hitler and believe that dark-skinned immigrants living in Russia should be killed.
The boot camp, which had taken months to organise, was planned to train them in combat skills and extremist ideology. Those taking part either support or have helped carry out a string of vicious racist attacks that have shocked Russia.
The “delegates” stayed in tents beneath the red and black swastika-like flag of the Nationalist Socialist Society. They fired mock firearms and trained with knives and clubs.
At night, flanked by torches, they gathered around a bonfire exchanging Nazi salutes, chanting slogans celebrating Hitler and making speeches about a “super-race” made up of ethnic Russians.
“We need to kill all dark-skinned immigrants,” explained a young man renowned as one of Moscow’s most radical skinheads who introduced himself as Tesak, Russian slang for “hatchet”.
Weighing 17 stone, shaven-headed and wearing a black bomber jacket, Tesak, 21, an unemployed building engineer, is respected by fellow neo- Nazis for his brutal attacks on non-whites.
His hands are covered in deep knife wounds from a recent bloody clash with an armed man from Tajikistan. He walks the streets with a 10in hunting knife strapped to his side and boasts of having beaten immigrants “to a pulp”.
Tesak recently launched his own neo-Nazi website, named in Hitler’s honour, on which footage of attacks on immigrants is posted. He claimed his violent message was becoming so popular that he was asked for his autograph on the Moscow metro.
“We shouldn’t just kill adults. We must get rid of their children too,” he said. “When you squash cockroaches to death, you don’t just kill the big ones. You go for the little ones too.”
The Soviet Union lost about 20m people in the second world war and in Russia — which prides itself as the nation that did most to defeat Hitler — the views of young men such as Tesak could be dismissed until recently as an aberration.
No longer. Fuelled by rampant nationalism, racist attacks have become tragically common. Last month alone saw a record nine racial murders and 24 assaults, including the near-fatal stabbing of a nine-year-old girl.
According to Sova, a non-governmental organisation that monitors the crimes, there were 28 racist murders in Russia last year. However, Amnesty International believes the true figure is much higher: the police play down the attacks by recording many of them as mere “hooliganism”.
Last week Amnesty warned that racism in Russian cities was spinning “out of control” and attacked the Kremlin for failing to act.
President Vladimir Putin, whose elder brother died as an infant in the siege of Leningrad, has condemned racist attacks, but experts say the authorities are failing to crack down. “No one wants to admit that the country which defeated fascism could possibly be a breeding ground for fascists,” said Galina Kozhevnikova, of Sova.
For all the media coverage that some racist murders have received in Russia, the young men — and four young women — who gathered at the camp last week said they were untroubled by the authorities.
On the contrary, Dimitri Rumyantsev, a 40-year-old computer programmer, said many Russian police officers shared his prejudices.
Rumyantsev, who gave a night-time speech greeted by his supporters with chants of “Sieg Heil”, said the neo-Nazis were planning a coup that would be supported by Russia’s security forces.
“Killing immigrants is all very well; it’s good to keep the adrenaline flowing among young skinheads and keeps morale up, but it changes nothing,” he said.
“We must seize power. Only then will we be able to get rid of them all.”
Recruits armed with imitation guns split into two groups and attacked one another to learn guerrilla tactics which, they said, would be needed in the coup.
The winning side was led by a tattooed ultra-racist who said he had fought as a volunteer against Muslim forces during the war in Bosnia.
After a rancid meal of buckwheat porridge and canned meat around a camp fire, they honed their combat skills.
Later, several neo-Nazis practised stabbing as an instructor demonstrated how to target a victim’s neck and stomach. “Go for the swine’s legs first. That way he can’t run away. Then you finish him off,” he said.
That same cold-blooded hatred led to the death of Khursheda Sultanova, to date the neo-Nazis’ youngest victim. The nine-year-old Tajik girl bled to death two years ago on the outskirts of St Petersburg after being stabbed repeatedly by a gang of skinheads chanting “Russia is for Russians” as she returned home with her family from an evening’s ice skating.
The killers were arrested and a jury found them guilty, but only of hooliganism. They were sentenced to a maximum of 5Å years in jail.
“It’s unbelievable. Killing my little daughter is only an act of hooliganism according to Russia’s authorities,” said Yunus Sultanov, 37, Khursheda’s father.
“They gave these murdering thugs a green light to keep killing us just because we are a different colour. They went out of their way to defend a bunch of killers just because I am Tajik. That’s the truth.”
A MONTH’S KILLINGS
April 6 Voronezh: Vietnamese man beaten to death
April 7 St Petersburg: Senegalese student shot dead
April 8 Moscow: girl of 19 with Asian features bludgeoned to death
April 8 Moscow region: Tajik worker thrown from train
April 13 Volgograd: two gypsies beaten to death
April 16 Moscow: 19-year-old anti-fascist activist knifed
April 22 Moscow: Tajik builder stabbed
April 22 Moscow: Armenian student stabbed
La Russophobe hopes the reader notices the disgusting “opportunity” that skinheads present to Tsar Vladimir. He can let them run wild, terrorizing the population and ridding the country of all the “undesirables” that he himself can’t go after. At the same time, he can point to their outrageous behavior as proof that the country needs “strong government” and use it as an excuse to usurp lots of powers, all having nothing to do with race violance, thereby consolidating his malignant grip on the nation. This is the one area where the neo-Soviet Union truly leaves the world in its dust, propaganda and deceit. Nobody does it better.