Neo-Nazi gets life sentence for hate killings

RIA Novosti
The Moscow City Court has sentenced a 22-year-old neo-Nazi to life in prison for killing 15 people. Vasily Krivets, who was also handed a fine of 13.5 million rubles ($450,000), has not confessed to the crimes.

The court also sentenced Dmitry Ufimtsev, 23, who confessed to committing five murders, to 22 years in prison. After their meeting in 2007, Ufimtsev and Krivets collaborated in the murder of 15 people, most of whom were migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus. The two have also been linked to the Nationalist Socialist Society (NSO), an ultra-nationalist gang that first began as a political movement.

Ufimtsev and Krivets said they identified their victims according to their physical appearance, specifically targeting “foreigners” and assaulting them with knives. One such victim, for example, was an elderly violinist who played for small change near a metro station in Moscow, the Gazeta daily reported. Krivets admitted to stabbing the man and leaving him to die for “being Jewish” – testimony he later denied.

This is only the third time that a man has received a life sentence for hate killings in Russia. Two previous life sentences were handed to Nikolay Korolev in 2008, for a bombing that killed 14 people, and Aleksandr Degtyarev in 2010 for murdering four people.

Ufimtsev and Krivets have refused requests to speak to the press. Their lawyers have ten days to appeal the verdict from the moment they receive a written copy of it.

Hate crimes have seen a recent rise in Russia. The Ministry of Interior has stated that 548 such crimes were committed in 2009, up by more than 50 per cent from 2007. Ultra-nationalist gangs have also mushroomed, with more than 150 of them currently operating throughout Russia.