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Ombudsman Releases Report on Human Rights

Published: April 2, 2014 (Issue # 1804)



  • Ombudsman Alexander Shishlov, left, with the chief of the St. Petersburg Public Security Police, Col. Alexei Smyatsky, at the unauthorised anti-war rally near Kazan Cathedral on Mar. 15.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Xenophobia in the city rose to alarming heights in 2013, sometimes resulting in violent crime, St. Petersburg ombudsman Alexander Shishlov pointed out in the presentation for his annual report at the Legislative Assembly on Mar. 26.

The year was marked by the right-wing initiative called Russian clean-ups, directed against migrant vendors that took place from July 26 to 31 in several districts of the city. Although called a measure against illegal street vending, many witnesses said that nationalist activists harassed and used violence against foreign citizens, the report said. The illegal activity aimed at foreigners thought to be of Central Asian origin was confirmed by video evidence.

On Nov. 4, 2013, Peoples Unity Day, ultra-nationalists carried out an attack dubbed White Car, when a group of neo-Nazis entered a metro car at the Udelnaya metro station and began attacking non-Slavic people while shouting Kill and All for one and one for all. A similar incident was reported to have taken place at Nevsky Prospekt metro station.

The report said that a group of young men wearing medical masks attempted to attack people of Central Asian descent on Prospekt Engelsa in northern St. Petersburg on Nov. 23, 2013, but were stopped by the police. According to the police, of the 707 crimes that were committed against foreign nationals in St. Petersburg in 2013, only was qualified as racially motivated.

Shishlovs report, however, omitted the high-profile murder of an Uzbek national committed following the Patriotic March, also known as the Russian March. After the march and rally organized by the pro-Kremlin nationalist party Rodina and held on Peoples Unity Day on Nov. 4, 2013, some participants dispersed throughout the city, where they harassed and beat those they perceived to be foreigners.

The Uzbek national was killed by a group of young men, who stabbed, punched and kicked him. On Nov. 21, 2013, seven suspects were detained, including 30-year-old Andrei Kosnikov, 18-year-old Sergei Bondar and five minors aged from 15 to 17 who were returning from the nationalist rally, the Investigations Committee reported.

Purporting to be a balanced assessment of the facts, the report praised city authorities for such programs as Tolerance and Migration, as well as for establishing a committee on inter-national and inter-confessional relations in Jan. 2014, but pointed out that xenophobic statements and calls to strengthening repressive measures in the sphere of migration had been heard in the city.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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