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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, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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