Tag Archives: Rashid Nurgaliev

The Power of the Waltz to Shape Troubled Young Minds

Russian police wants to know what young people read and listen to

Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev has said that the activity of some internet resources should be restricted to prevent extremism among the youth.
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Young people are very often influenced by others, and they commit “the most audacious and cynical crimes on the grounds of national, racial or religious hatred,” Police Chief Rashid Nurgaliev said. He was speaking at the first regional meeting of the new interdepartmental counter-extremist commission in Novosibirsk on Tuesday.

President Dmitry Medvedev created the new body last week in order to combine the efforts of 16 ministries and state agencies to prevent extremism and remove the conditions which fuel it.

Young people should be protected from harmful influence, Nurgaliev said, adding that they are supposed to “continue and develop the traditions of a multinational country that has many faiths.” The authorities and law enforcement agencies are bound to study the situation in the regions so that the state can develop “adequate measures of response”, the minister noted.

To prevent extremism, it is necessary to know the cultural preferences of young people in regards to music, literature and movies, the police chief believes. The monitoring of what people listen to, read, and watch is also long overdue, the minister stressed. Many cultural values that have united people for years, including such important facets of our musical heritage as love songs and waltzes, have been forgotten in the recent times, he noted.  



Russian waltz instructors

Quite recently, however, employers and members of selection committees in universities were interested in young people’s musical and literature preferences, Nurgaliev said. He added it was necessary to see if their current musical preferences are “one-sided.”



The mass media could play its part in preventing extremist manifestations, the police chief said. But he also called for placing restrictions on the activities of some internet resources. The Internet has become “a means of organizing extremist or even terrorist actions,” he noted. The work of certain websites should be limited, “without infringing on the freedom to exchange information,” Nurgaliev said.



The new commission, headed by the interior minister, will coordinate the efforts of the federal and regional authorities in fighting extremism. The police chief has no doubts that the body will bring about real results in the fight against this evil.

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The St. Petersburg Times
August 3, 2011
Dozens of Arrests Made at Strategy 31 Meeting
By Sergey Chernov

Around 70 were detained as the police shut down a peaceful rally in defense of the right of assembly on Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg’s main street, on Sunday, the organizers said. The police admitted to “around 50” arrests during the demo which drew from 500 to 700 people.

The detained were charged with violation of the regulations on holding public events and failure to obey police officers’ orders.

Five people were released later on the same day after being brought to a court that agreed to move their cases’ hearing to their local courts, but most were left at four police precincts overnight. Two women were hospitalized after they fell ill in police precincts, according to the organizers.

Court hearings continued on Monday.

Apart from dispersing the rally, the authorities made preventive arrests, a practice they have not used since the Strategy 31 campaign was launched in St. Petersburg in January 2010.

Olga Kurnosova, the local chair of the United Civil Front and one of the rally’s organizers, said she was detained by plainclothes men, who refused to introduce themselves, near her home as she was heading to the demo. She said she was held in the car for around three hours.

“They were trying to brainwash me telling me that it’s time to stop demonstrating on the 31st day of the month, that I had better think about my children and nonsense like that,” Kurnosova said by phone Monday.

Three activists of the Other Russia political party were detained before they reached the site near Gostiny Dvor, where the event was held.

The police have frequently shown unnecessary cruelty. The St. Petersburg Times witnessed two women being dragged by their wrists, with their backs dragging across the ground. One of them, Alexandra Kachko, had her wrist broken by an unidentified policeman during the May 31 demo.

A passing Navy veteran, celebrating Navy Day which also fell on July 31, was evidently shocked by how Kachko was treated and tried to speak out on her behalf to a police officer. He was also seized and put in the bus, where the detained were held.

The police officers also were seen twisting arms and feet of the detained as they made arrests and pushing people around. Although they tended to arrest people who identified themselves as demonstrators by sitting on the ground or shouting slogans such as “Russia Will Be Free,” a number of the arrested were passers-by and onlookers.

The police claimed that one demonstrator kicked an officer in the jaw, but did not give the name. They said a criminal case would be filed against the alleged offender.

Author Nina Katerli, who came to the demo for the first time with a homemade poster to support a bill introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin into Congress in May to freeze assets and block visas of individuals who commit gross human-rights violations against whistleblowers and activists in the Russian Federation, only just managed to escape arrest.

Katerli, 77, who walks with a stick because of a broken leg, said she wanted to make a speech to urge U.S. sanctions against Russian officials connected to the persecution of imprisoned businessmen Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev.

“But I failed, because, first, I had no microphone or anything, and, secondly, as soon as I came I was seized and dragged towards the police bus,” she said by phone Monday.

Katerli said she was won back by people around who were indignant at the sight of her being dragged and that they prevented the police from detaining her until a senior officer arrived and ordered that she be left.

She described the arrests of the activists as “illegal” and a “violation of the constitution.” “Before Putin, you didn’t need any sanctions to hold a demo, it’s outrageous that Putin introduced them,” Katerli said.

Kurnosova said that the participation of Katerli was important. “It’s crucial that people have started to come with their own agendas,” she said.

“Even if they arrest the leaders, people will be coming to the demo on their own; the authorities have to understand that this tactic doesn’t work. The fact that people come to the rally is perhaps the campaign’s main result in the long run.”

The Other Russia local chair Andrei Dmitriyev said that the St. Petersburg authorities showed more intolerance to the demonstrators than the Moscow authorities.

“If in Moscow, they let people sit for two hours and only began arresting people when there was an attempted march, in St. Petersburg they shut down the demo as soon as people sat down on the ground,” he said.

Photos by Sergey Chernov. See his complete photo reportage of the protest and arrests here and here.

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One Sixth of a Revanchist Planet

The brilliance of revanchism in its early twenty-first century incarnation is its universal ambition to terrify the populace into self-discipline and compliance. But it does not do so equally or evenly. Some are targets of bombs and bombers, while others use security systems to fortify their houses and airports against them. Some are permanently subject to arrest, torture and rape even while innocent, while others inveigh with ontological spleen against Muslims, Jews, strikers, workers, immigrants, women. Those carrying out the bombings, rapes and torture in the name of anti-terrorism are generally the ones who get to fortify themselves, or at least they fall on the same side of the political equation, while those bombed are the ones most likely to be attacked in their homes. Whether one is revanchist or recipient has everything to do with existing power structures including especially, but by no means exclusively, class. I emphasize class here because although the contours of the revanchist city are fairly well discussed, the class aspects of more global conflicts are not, and need to be revealed. The war on terrorism is, like the revanchist city, a war of the rich against the poor, in which the poor often dies.

— Neil Smith, “Revanchist Planet: Regeneration and the Axis of Co-Evilism”

United Russia promises to hold thousands-strong demonstrations against terror in both capitals

On Wednesday, December 2, United Russia will hold thousands-strong demonstrations in Moscow and Petersburg under the slogan “Russian against terror!” the party’s press service has informed Zaks.Ru.

The events will begin at 3:00 p.m. In Moscow, the United Russians will assemble on Poklonnaya Gora, while in Petersburg they will gather on Sennaya Ploshchad. Participants in both capitals will be connected by a direct video link.

“We are profoundly outraged by the barbarous act of violence whose victims were civilians. Society has been challenged once again. Russian citizens have been victims of terror on more than one occasion. And there is no doubt that such inhuman actions should not go unpunished. Today all of Russian society must unite in the struggle with terrorism,” reads the text on the website of the party’s Moscow branch.

Smolny orders residence checks for children traveling in the metro

The Petersburg administration has amended its decree on “On the Travel Regime of Children and Young People on Municipal Public Transportation.” According to the amendment, ticket inspectors in the metro and ground transport have the right to demand documents from children and accompanying adult verifying the child’s age and place of residence.

Moscow Fans Hit by Mass Arrests on Way to Stadium

Hundreds of football fans were arrested and many reportedly beaten by the OMON special-task police in St. Petersburg on Sunday.

A large group of supporters of Spartak Football Club fans who came to St. Petersburg to see the Moscow football club play against the local team, Zenit Football Club, on the final day of the Russian Premier League season was on its way to Petrovsky stadium on the Petrograd Side when the OMON police started making large-scale arrests. The fans were detained just before the stadium, on the Tuchkov Bridge that connects Vasilyevsky Island to the Petrograd Side.

One Moscow politician protested what he called “illegal mass detentions” in an open letter to President Dmitry Medvedev, while the Russian Football Fans Association (VOB) said it would gather evidence and pass it to the Interior Ministry for investigation.

YouTube video footage shows helmet-wearing camouflaged officers dragging young men and women, many of whom appear to be teenagers, out of the crowd. An officer dragging a young man is shown to knee him in the stomach, while another officer passing by hits the same young man with his baton across the chest. A girl who was carrying a drum is shown lying on the ground with policemen dragging and kicking her.

From 400 to 600 people were detained on the spot, according to various estimates. The police said 400 fans were detained and charged with disorderly conduct and the violation of public events regulations, while 24 more, including seven Zenit fans, were detained inside the stadium during and after the game and charged with disorderly conduct. The police said pepper sprays, brass knuckles, sharpened metal bars and flares were confiscated, Interfax reported.

Anton Orekh: “Our Work Is Dangerous and Harmful”

I believe that it will come to war. Until now it was an occupation, but now there will be war. If you had a look only at certain newspapers and websites for just the past week, you would have found out  the details of [lawyer Sergei] Magnitsky’s death; how three drunken cops beat a guy to death in Moscow; how in Petersburg the cops also killed a passerby and beat up a well-known artist. Also, a cop who got tired of waiting in line at a health clinic just took out his pistol and opened fire!

I didn’t read all the papers from cover to cover. I didn’t study the Internet from end to end or sit in front of the TV or radio following all the news bulletins. All these cases are just the ones that surfaced. How many people suffered from police ugliness only over the past week? And how many have suffered during the previous weeks, months, and years? Only an army occupying enemy territory would behave this way.

But now I expect a war. I don’t known whether it will be a civil war or a guerilla war. What else can you expect after the country’s head policeman gave citizens permission to hit the police? Up until now police officers were absolutely untouchable. They could do whatever they liked. Drunk or sober, acting lawfully or abusing their powers, they always turned out right. Even Yevsyukov’s situation is not so hopeless. You just wait and see: he will get out of prison while still a young man. The essentially bandit-like existence of the police is based precisely on this impunity, on the freedom to do what one wants with someone else’s life. It’s like a joke: here is a pistol, sink or swim. It is terrifying to imagine what will happen if citizens are even given the hypothetical right to give as good as they get.

[…] After Andrei Makarov proposed “liquidating” the Interior Ministry, I was on the air the following morning discussing the [State Duma] deputy’s speech with my colleagues. Listeners sent us SMSes. You cannot imagine what they were like! We couldn’t quote 90% of them [on air]: they were a steady stream of foul language and loathing! Makarov proposed reducing police personnel by half, and we asked [listeners] what to do with the other half. The most tempting proposal was to send them to the Far East to work in casinos. In the main, listeners [proposed giving laid-off police officers] the most dirty and humiliating jobs — as janitors, ditch diggers, and male prostitutes.

Fear and loathing: such are the emotions that the police arouses amongst the vast majority of our fellow citizens. I say “vast” because 96% of our listeners voted on air for the liquidation of the Interior Ministry. People believe that it would be better to have no police than to have the police we have now or a reformed police. That is, the police are a public enemy. How has it come to this, that society’s principal defenders have become its principal enemies?

[…]

We live in a country where the authorities formally have the absolute support of the populace. The country is not threatened with territorial collapse. And yet all the preconditions for a war are present: a war of the people against the police.

Alexander Cherkasov, Memorial:

Kidnappings, torture, murders, concealment of the bodies of kidnap victims: this system has been functioning in Chechnya for almost ten years now. At first, federal security forces engaged in such things. Then the authority to commit unlawful violence was transferred to the local security forces.

According to our data, from three to five thousand people fell victim to this system. Practically no one has been punished for this. There was a single, widely publicized case when a person who was guilty of kidnapping and torture (and, most likely, was also involved in the murder and disappearance of Chechens) was judged for his crimes. This was the so-called Cadet Case, in which Sergei Lapin, a police officer from Nizhnevartovsk, was sentenced to eleven years in prison.

The Cadet Case was made possible by three people: Natasha Estemirova, who worked in Grozny; Anna Politkovskaya, who published articles about it; and Stanislav Markelov, the lawyer who managed the trial in such a way that Lapin was unable to appeal the verdict. All three of them are no longer among the living. Think about it! Against thousands of kidnappings and disappearances (which in fact also involved torture and murders) one or, well, a handful of sentenced criminals. This is a system of organized impunity.

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