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24 Apr, 2008 12:36

Extremists put `revenge list` on net

A radical Russian nationalist group has published a so-called “revenge list” on the internet. It contains personal information on dozens of anti-fascist campaigners and experts working on race and hate crimes in Russia.

The list includes judges, prosecutors, human rights activists, academics and experts, who track xenophobia and hate crimes in the country.

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has launched a probe over the appearance of the ‘revenge list’, also called “The List of Foes of The Russian People”, on the Internet.

“Such a check is underway, because the Prosecutor General's Office website received an inquiry, with a reference to a similar site that published approximately the same list”, Tatiana Chernyshova, Prosecutor General's Office spokesperson, said.

Moscow Human Rights Bureau Chief, Aleksandr Brod, is one of those on the list.

“A lot of academics and experts have already called me, as they are worried for their own safety. An expert's opinion can be decisive in court when the hearing is on racial hatred or fascism,” he said.

The number of hate crimes in Russia has grown in recent years. According to some estimates the skinhead movement numbers some 70.000 people.
“Similar lists have been published before. What makes this exceptional is that in addition to the names there’s personal information,” Tatiana Lokshina from Human Rights Watch said.

So this case is not being seen as a novelty.
Tatiana Lokshina says the list is part of a campaign launched by radical groups.
“The big game as such is not aimed at murdering but threatening, which is bad enough and the organizers should be punished. However, super radicals list that’s when we face calls for murder and that’s when murder can actually happen,” Tatiana Lokshina explained.
Saint-Petersburg academic Nikolay Girenko was on a similar list. He conducted studies on fascism and often served as a prosecution expert on hate crimes. Girenko was shot dead in 2004, the killer hasn’t been found.

Some fascist groups claimed responsibility for the murder on their websites.
“My position is that the internet should be properly regulated. Fascists, pornography, arms sales are all practically in free access. We should think of ways to restrict illegal agitation without violating freedom of speech,” Aleksandr Brod said.

And Russian Human Rights Commissioner, Vladimir Lukin, said that Russia’s law enforcement agencies should take immediate measures following the publication of the ‘revenge list’.  

“When  I say that the law enforcement should take measures I mean aset of measures, from   guarding [the potential targets] to the eradication of the source of the threats, naturally, using legal methods,” Vladimir Lukin said.

“I will find it perplexing if the agencies that are supposed to ensure law and order and counter terrorism in this country fail to take notice of this. The list publishes the names of people, against whom force could be used, including beatings and murders, and methods to be used in the process. Everything is as clear as daylight,” he added.