Extremism Report Finds Mixed Outcomes
The leading monitor of extremist political activity in Russia, the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, released a report today called “Under the Banner of Political Terror: Radical Nationalism in Russia and Counteraction Against It in 2009.”
SOVA deputy director Galina Kozhevnikova speaks to RFE/RL about changes in extreme right-wing activity between 2008 and 2009 and credits the government with clamping down on extremism this last year.
“We see a definite positive tendency: Neo-Nazis are being tracked down, Neo-Nazis are being convicted and [the authorities] are recognizing racism as a motive... This is serious progress,” she says.
On the other hand, Kozhevnikova says that extremists are adopting different tactics. “Ultra right-wingers are now turning to terror, the declared aim of which is a Neo-Nazi revolution in this country.”
Moscow Not Prepared To Sponsor Minsk
In this expert file, Ivan Trefilov considers the potential consequences if Moscow and Minsk fail to forge a new agreement on the transit of Russian oil via Belarus.
Negotiations have been ongoing since October, but little information about the talks has been made public. Yevgeny Minchenko, director of the International Institute of Political Expertise, and Dmitry Aleksandrov, head analyst with investment firm Univer, both agree that it is possible that Belarus could start to siphon off oil exports designated for the EU.
“The interests of Russian oil companies and of Russia itself are involved, insofar as it [disruption of oil supplies] would be a huge blow to the [Belarus–Russia] Customs Union,” Minchenko tells RFE/RL.
Russia Takes Step To Enable European Court Reform
The Federation Council has voted to ratify Protocol 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Now only President Medvedev's signature is required to complete the ratification process.
Russia is the only European Council member that has not ratified the protocol, which is required for the implementation of reforms to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
After the vote, speaker of the Federal Council Sergei Mironov told journalists, “I consider the ratification by Russia of Protocol 14 to be a gesture of the good and correct will of Russia, a European state, in order for the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to work according to the new regulations.”