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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, People’s 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.

Shishlov’s 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 People’s 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

Saturday, Dec. 20


The city’s Babushkina Park on Prospekt Obukhovskoy Oborony will be invaded by dozens of rocking-and-rolling Santa Clauses during today’s Santa Claus Parade. Not only will they parade through the park but there will also be competitions amongst the festively-clad participants and a musical master class. There will also be a prize for the best-dressed Santa Claus.


Add to your record collection during the Vinyl Christmas Sale at the KL10TCH bar on Konyushennaya Ploshchad today. Spend the afternoon perusing the records for sale while listening the classic, clean sound of records spinning out hits from a variety of musical genres and time periods.



Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts made from a plethora of sweet treats. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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