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Prosecutors� Office doesn�t Recognize Swastika

Prosecutors� office of Central Region of St. Petersburg refused to bring a criminal case against the painting of Swastika on the wall at home. The oversight agency considered that fascist Swastika was similar to the symbol of Tibetan monk �Bonk Lo� and its portrayal did not constitute vandalism. Therefore, it was not illegal. The prosecutors admitted it to the Youth Union "Yabloko", in response to the following question in the campaign �Petersburg without Racist Graffiti�, which these young politicians have conducted for years.

Correspondents of � Fontanki� were told by Press-Service of the organization, at the end of April �Yabloko� members asked Prosecutors� Office to examine the house at Building 18 Soviet Street, where Swastika was drawn on the wall, which caused xenophobia and interethnic dissension.

Prosecutors� Office investigated it for a long time. After one month the organization received a reply with the signature of Oleg Popova, the Vice-Prosecutor of Central Region. It read that �According to the oral consultation with Shevchenko U.U., the senior researcher of Research Institute of Museum Anthropology and Ethnography of Russian Academy of Sciences, portrayal of Swastika, which was used at World War Two by Fascist Germany, is totally identical to the symbol of Tibetan monk �Bonk Lo�. Without accompanying context it is impossible to discriminate one from the other.� �The portrayal of Swastika turns out to be an element of ornament and ancient symbol of many countries.� the Prosecutors� Office confirmed. But at the same time it directed Residential Service to include the residence in their list of �residential units needed cosmetic repair�. In the letter it is also said that the Prosecutors� Office refused to file a criminal case against it under the article 24 of the Criminal Code of Russian Federation. (Vandalism)

Requests for comments on the given decision by the Prosecutors� Office of Central Region have been refused. Members of �Yabloko� confirmed that in the past the department reacted to the similar petition not by digging into historic analysis that Swastika is symbol of fascism or Tibetan monk �Bonk Lo�, but only directed Residential Service to clear the �wall painting�. Residential Service is intended to carry out maintenance of the resident unit at Building 18 Soviet Street No.2 in the year 2008. �Yabloko� intends to remove the Swastika on the structure before that.

Correspondents of � Fontanki� were told by Alexander Shurshev, the leader of the young members of �Yabloko� : �we didn�t ask the office to file a criminal case. We only direct attention to the appearance of Swastika and conscription on the walls in the city, which inflames interethnic anger, and ask for measures to remove them.� On the federal level administration has fought with Nazism. For example, Rashem Nurkaliev, Minister of Internal Affairs has suggested learning from Germany for many times. In Germany spreading propaganda materials about non-constitutional organizations, including late German Social Democratic Workers� Party in Czechoslovakia, is subject to confinement of 3 years. In March this year there was an amendment of criminal code went into effect which toughens the punishment for simply presence of Nazi symbols. Production, sale and acquisition for sale of these symbols lead to penalty which equals 1,000-2,500 rubles with confiscation of these objects. Legal entity that is indicted in trade of Swastika and Fascist Cross will be penalized as much as 100,000 rubles.

If we had the right, then any skinhead verdict could justify bearing fascist symbols as confession to Tibetan monks. Fontanka recalled that one year ago the agency of Russian Protection of Culture issued a warning to one of the city newspapers for publishing cartoon strip with the Swastika. At that time the Prosecutor's Office supported the prosecution against the newspaper, although in that case the Swastika did not promote Nazism or inflame inter-ethnic discord. On the contrary, journalists blamed the phenomenon. Publications filed in court, but lost.

Source: fontanka.ru/

� 1993-2003

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