Thirteen alleged neo-Nazis on trial in Moscow
During the trial the prosecutors will state the indictment, while the accused will respond with their plea.
Possible sentences should the accused be found guilty range from years in jail to a life sentence.
Investigators claim the gang was part of the National-Socialist Society, an ultra-nationalist movement that was banned for its extremist activities.
Four of the defendants have been ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination.
Slowly getting better
Veronica Koroleva is a self-professed, deeply religious woman who is full of hate for those who are different. She despises immigrants and accuses them of occupying, disrespecting and contaminating her nation.
Russians she insists are fighting a race war motivated by love.
“Love for our homeland and our nation, love for our god. Pure families where people don't just date and then break up; but, rather, they get married in church; they don't practice abortions; they don't support inter-ethnic marriages,” Koroleva said.
“I believe everyone should live in their own homeland where they belong,” she reacted when seeing RT’s Staci Bivens.
Armed with this belief and inspired by racist bloggings, her husband Nikolay Korolev and two fellow students bombed Moscow’s Cherkizovsky market in 2006. They targeted it because of the number of traders that come from Central Asia and China. The blast killed 14.
Veronica’s husband is serving a life sentence for actions neither of them regrets and for a cause they both support.
Attacks against non-Slavic looking people are often brutal and, in cases like in Cherkizovsky market, they are deadly.
The deeds of angry mobs pummeling outnumbered victims are recorded by racists and then posted on nationalist websites.
Activists call the situation out of control, but Galina Kozhevnikova from SOVA Center for Information Analysis – a local, non-profit crime watchdog – does acknowledge it is slowly getting better.
“They started seizing the most odious groups that had been involved in systematic violence and terrorism. During the last two years, the largest formations in Moscow were dispelled, and the key activists and murderers were detained,” Kozhevnikova said.
She says 19 people have been killed due to hate crimes in 2010, which is down from 50 for the same time period last year.
However, that math does little to satisfy migrants, who feel self reliance is better than police protection.
“They won’t any longer walk alone, they will walk in crowds. People take care of their own safety. Law enforcement comes into action after a crime is committed, not before,” migrant labor rights activist Karomat Sharipov said.