Saturday, June 12, 2010

Rightists cheer vigilante police killings in Russian Far East

Surveying the Russian language news media, JOTMAN.COM contributor Sanjuro reports on a "a worrying trend of which I have warned previously [i.e. here, here, here, and here] - growing citizen vigilantism against law enforcement officers." Sanjuro writes:
The issue is particularly worrying because it is prone to hijacking by the ultraright (and sometimes by plain ordinary criminals), and also because it provides a convenient pretext for increased persecution of liberals and radicals alike. I have been following news for the last few days and -- although there are lots of conflicting messages (a recent Moscow Times story is not conclusive) -- what is more or less clear is that:
  1. Several (3-5) young men in the Russian Far East with troubled relationships with law, chose to attack policemen and to hide in the woods, mimicking the "Rambo" story. At some point it was claimed that they were led by an alleged Chechen war veteran / an Airborne trooper / a GRU operative who had gone rogue.
  2. Russian law enforcement agencies mounted a spectacular containment operation and by now have been able to kill/detain all/most of the vigilantes in an apartment in the city of Ussuriysk.
  3. The comments in the Russian internet were quite mixed, with a very visible proportion of commenters hailing the vigilantes as "heroes rising against the police lawlessness" (the language of these commenters was similar to that of the ultraright/nationalist groups), or simply sympathising and wishing luck - these (majority, perhaps) seemed to regular citizens with a contempt for the law enforcement system. In the Russian press the vigilantes were referred to as "partisans" - in reference to the WW2 Soviet guerilla fighters.
  4. It is remarkable and not surprising that the story happened in the Far East.
  5. The ultra-right link is quite worrying.
With regard both to Sanjuro's introductory remark and fourth point, Jotman wonders if the event could precipitate a Moscow-led clamp-down in the Russian Far East, conveniently sweeping-up dissenters of various political stripes.


  1. Not far from Alaska where US right-wing insurgencies have also been known to get out of control. Something in the food chain. Delayed toxic effect of that oil disaster in Prince William Sound.

  2. AnonymousJune 14, 2010

    Maybe too much fish oil? :)

    No, I think it's more a social phenomenon. Russia has generally been "developing" towards the likes of Mexico and Brazil of the recent past. Crime and police brutality. Violence feeds violence. The 1990s-2000s were a particularly destructive period for the education system, resulting in a massive erosion of the human capital. A country of many young men who'll never grow old. Tragikistan.



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