On Thursday, November 4, Court continued hearings on Kirill Filatov case, one of the members of Russian National Socialist movement Restrukt. In July, 2014 together with other Restrukt members (their trials began in early February) Filatov attacked Uzbek citizen Alexander Lee. The victim received a severe spinal injury. He has been bedridden for a long time.
Investigation in cases of Occupy-narcofiliay(Occupy drugs) activists, one of the activities of Russian unregistered National Socialist movement Restrukt, lasted for almost two years. Investigative Committee has indicted more than twenty members of the organisation, created by a neo-Nazi Maksim Martsinkevitch, better known as Tesak (Hand Axe, Machete in Russian).
In late January the case consideration began. A complainant is an applicant of Civic Assistance Committee, Uzbekistan citizen Alexander Lee. Occupy-narcofiliay activists attacked him in July, 2014, near Sokol underground station, when Alexander, working as a cook in a cafe nearby, was going to get back home. Teenagers from Restrukt group came in this area, making an appointment with a smoking mixes merchant, who didn’t come. The leader of the group, looking around, saw Lee and attacked him.
From defendants’ statements: “There M. saw a man of Asian appereance, Lee, who was talking on the phone, and gave a command to catch him, saying us, that it was a security guard of smoking mixes’ merchant. When M. ran aften him, the man ran away. Others ran through underground passage. When he ran out of the passage, he saw that M. caught Lee up, knocked him down and sprayed tear gas in his face. M. began to kick him in his head. Others also ran up and started kicking him in various parts of his body.”
One of the asssailants was armed with telescopic baton, he beat Alexander’s back and neck with it repeteadly. When the teenagers ran away Alexander was not able to stand up. Blinded by a pepper-spray ball, he was lying on the lawn and was moaning.
From witness testimony: “He said nothing, he was moaning and crying of pain <…>The man couldn’t stand because he didn’t feel his legs. Then the witness tried to put the man of the edge of a lawn. The man couldn’t sit straight, complaining about lack of sensitivity in his legs and pain in his arm. Moreover, he complained that he saw nothing because he had eyes aching.”
Ambulance doctors set a primary diagnosis: bruise of thoracic section and lumbar spine and chemical burn of both eyes. Alexander Lee applied to Civic Assistance Committee and Committee’s employees provided him fullest support. They payed for treatment and helped him to get to Taskent. He couldn’t work and support his family anymore. And it is unclear would he ever be able to.
“Few days after the attack Alexander’s friend called a hotline for victims of hate attacks”, told Anastasiya Denisova, who coordinated the project of assistance to victims of hate crimes. “I came to the hospital where I saw a young man lying motionless. We started talking; Alexander Lee is fluent in Russian. The thing that impressed me the most is that Alexander was continuously wondering why he had been attacked? Why they were pursuing him shouting “churka!” (churka, literally ‘block of wood’, is an offensive term for someone from the Caucasus or Central Asia) and “catch up and kill!” on a busy Moscow street? He couldn’t understand why this had happened; this primitive national hatred was absolutely incomprehensible to him. We managed to provide assistance to Alexander from collected donations to pay for his treatment. Few weeks later I ordered taxi and a wheelchair so Alexander could go back home for rehabilitation. We have no doubt that it is Alexander’s Asian appereance that provoked a hatred and attack of the neo-Nazi group.
Lee’s case could remain uninvestigated as well as other similar cases of Civic Assistance Committee, in which victims were abused, but investigators couldn’t find assailants for years. But there was a critical point in this case; one of the alleged drug dealers, who had been previously attacked by the group, died of the received trauma in hospital.
That time, in Jine, 2015, Occupy-narcofilyay activists called a smoking mixes’ merchant, pretending clients, and set an appointment near Sviblovo underground station. There a man, who turned out to be from Caucasus, was beaten and then reffered to the police. Less than an hour later the man was free, but teenagers attacked him again and beat him that he was taken to hospital. There he died from head injuries.
This and other cases materials confirm mass and deliberate nature of the crimes, committed by Restrukt members in the years 2013 and 2014. During the attacks teenagers used all available types of weapons: knives, metal batons, brass knuckles, stun guns, tear gas spray. Activists of Martsinkevitch’ movement tried to attach the visibility of social benefit to their activity; deliberate publicity and attempts to cooperate with police allegedly justified their brutal beating and murders. However, movement’s activists tried to hide, speaking in social networks and video recordings, using assumed names and nicknames.
Occupy-narcofiliay are neo-Nazis not because they beat smoking mixes’ merchants, but bacause they always have been neo-Nazis. Chasing drug dealers is not a specific neo-Nazi activity, people of all sorts could deal with this problem. The reason is that all the members of ‘Occupy’ groups are neo-Nazi ideology proponents and they never denied this fact. Sometimes they were sided by more moderate activists, but no so often. Demonstrative neo-Nazi ideologic content and subcultural peculiarities of the founder of the movement and his assets were very attractive for these radicals, but didn’t let other people to join them, ” clarified Alexander Verkhovskiy, head of SOVA Center for Information and Analysis .
According to him, brutal attacks on foreigners, caused only by their otherness, are typical for neo-Nazis. But these attacks were condemned by society and sistematically persecuted by police.
“Tesak is rather ingenious man and he has created lots of alternative ways of manifesting neo-Nazism, ” added Alexander Verkhovskiy. “As a mere formality Restrukt tried to stay within the law, but it constantly failed, given the composition of participants and their radical views. Restrukt actions, ‘pedofiliay’ (occupy pedophilia) and ‘narcofiliay’ (occupy drugs), were directed ahainst real and suspected representatives of groups, causing much greater stigma in society, than ethnic minorities. These are homosexual pedophiles and drug dealers, so a great public support was expected. Moreover, there were no brutal forms of violence in video records of Tesak and his followers; victims were humiliated, beaten once or twice, but no more. Thus, all these actions didn’t cause police intervention, since there were no victims’s statements. But in practice young neo-Nazis found it difficult to stay within this way of acting. Therefore, if racial hatred is added to the charge, it will be a proper qualification of the crime. And this is important because, firstly, it means more severe punishment, that is not indifferent to these and similar assailants. Secondly, the qualification of this kind is an important signal that the government is looking into this matter.”
Elena Srapyan, Civic Assistance Committee