Friday, June 14, 2024

After a Decade of Decline, Russian Nationalist Violence has Skyrocketed Since Start of Putin’s Expanded War in Ukraine, SOVA Center Reports

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 9 – After falling sharply from 2007 to 2021, the number of violent attacks by Russian nationalists on their opponents has risen sharply since the start of Vladimir Putin’s expanded war in Ukraine, according to Aleksandr Verkhovsky of Moscow’s SOVA Analytic Center.

            In 2007, the center recorded 630 such attacks, a number fell to 421 in 2010, 97 in 2015, and 54 in 2020. But now, the human rights activist and monitor says, it rose to 123 last year and continues to go up (

            This upsurge “began in the spring of last year,” Verhovsky says, acknowledging that the real increase is likely to be larger than his numbers show. On the one hand, not all attacks by Russian nationalist extremists are reported; and on the other, the SOVA Center records such attacks if victims are identified.

            Other monitoring groups show an even greater upsurge in violence over the last two years. The Nazi Video Monitoring Project, for example, reports that there have been 526 such attacks since January of this year.  Both monitors agree that while the attacks have increased and become more violent, the number of deaths has declined to only a handful.

            They also agree that most of those engaged in such attacks are young men who often engage in what looks like hooliganism and is often classified as such rather than the ethnic violence which it in fact is.


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