The minister of national policy, Vladimir Zorin, announced that the MVD has on record 457 leaders and active members of extremist nationalist groups. In the past year, 17 people have been convicted of inciting interethnic disturbances.
According to the minister, there are at present no signs of rising ethno-political conflict in Russia. Vladimir Zorin asserted moreover, that Russians and Chechens are not completely at odds with one another over the conflict in Chechnya. “We are learning to distinguish terrorists from peaceful citizens,” he emphasized, and continued, “although there was a strong possibility of its disintegration, the country is preserved.” However, a strong tide of nationalism has risen in present day Russia. The level of discord has shifted from the public sphere of a central federation and its subjects, down to local, interpersonal conflicts. It is common knowledge that many residents of major cities feel hostility toward immigrants, especially toward those arriving from the Caucasus. However, according to Zorin, in the Northern Caucasus, representatives of native peoples have begun actively driving out local Russians.
According to the data of the MVD, last year Nazi related groups incited 60 criminal acts. 20 of these cases went to court, and a total of 17 persons were convicted. Currently, 10 trials are still in process. Although in the records of Russian law enforcement agencies, a total of 457 leaders and active members of young skinhead groups have been apprehended, in the course of last year, 2,500 persons were held for participation in extremist activities and after preventative discussion, were released. The ministry of publication closed 12 Nazi newspapers. However, the majority of them immediately started up again under different titles.
The director of the institute for Ethnography and Anthropology, Valerii Tishkov, said that poverty does not necessarily present a direct cause for extremist organizations. “Many skinheads come from well-to-do families,” he observed. In his opinion, the extremists who are responsible for oppressing their Caucasian neighbors may have pay the price for their brutality in the next generation, “Children of the persecuted see everything. There are many of them. And inevitably, they will grow up and repay the insult of their parents.”