Neo-Nazis Claim Arson Attempt ‘the Beginning’
Published: August 28, 2013 (Issue # 1775)
A neo-Nazi group has claimed responsibility for the attempted arson of the St. Peter Church, which is associated with the St. Petersburg Legislative Assembly’s United Russia deputy Vitaly Milonov.
A group called NS/WP Nevograd (which stands for “National-Socialism White Power”) said it committed the offense on August 18 to “clear the Land of the Slavs from the Christian-Jewish plague,” the Right-Wing News website reported on August 20.
“This is only the beginning. It will get more interesting in the future!” the group wrote.
Milonov, who serves as a sacristan in the church, is a right-wing politician, best known for introducing the local law against the promotion of homosexuality as well as for lawsuits against Madonna and Lady Gaga, who spoke in support of the Russian gay community at their Russian concerts.
The Russian Ethnographic Museum’s researcher Dmitry Dubrovsky, who specializes in the radical nationalist movement, allows that NS/WP Nevograd’s statement could be authentic.
“This is entirely possible, because the radical right-wing movement has split into the Orthodox Christian and the neo-pagan,” Dubrovsky told The St. Petersburg Times this week.
“Neo-pagan groups are hostile toward Orthodox Christianity and can resort to radical methods.”
The 14-second video that illustrates the posting shows two men throwing burning Molotov cocktails at the wooden church, which then starts to burn. The video opens with titles reading “NS/WP is back in action” and is accompanied by an excerpt of a rock song beginning with the words “Burning swastika, roaring night, sacred Aryan fire.”
On August 19, a criminal investigation was launched into the attempted arson. The investigators labeled the offense as criminal misconduct committed with the use of weapons or objects used as weapons. The offenders face up to seven years in prison, if found.
According to the prosecutor’s office, a night watchman who was in the church located at 208 Prospekt Stachek in southwestern St. Petersburg heard a noise at about 3:50 a.m. When he went outside, he saw the church’s window was on fire and used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. He was assisted by police officers who arrived on the scene at the same time.
NS/WP Nevograd was founded by 18-year-old Georgy Timofeyev in 2009. In 2010, 11 members were arrested on suspicion of taking part in a series of crimes motivated by national hatred, including ten murders and four attempted murders committed between Apr. 2009 and Jan. 2010. Timofeyev was convicted of seven murders, four attempted murders and a bus stop bombing. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison in July 2012.
According to the Sova Center, which analyses nationalism and racism, the group claimed responsibility for several bombings and cases of arson, including the bombing of a Lenin monument and two railroad bombings.