Our Association presented the special submission to the questionnaire of the UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance professor E. Tendayi Achiume, for her forthcoming report on issues of combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other relevant practices. ARC’s submission was devoted to the situation of systematic human rights violation by Russia in the Crimea in the framework of Russia’s policy of so-called “countering extremism and terrorism” and fuelling by Russia’s de-facto “authorities” the contemporary forms of racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance against ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in the Crimea.

We reminded to professor Achiume that human rights violations in the Crimea are now subject to consideration in international courts, including the International Court of Justice (case 166 Ukraine v. Russia) and the European Court of Human Rights (case 20958/14 and others). And International Court in case 166 researches exactly the issue of the violation the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination by Russian “authorities”, by limiting the education on Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar languages in the Crimea, by “ban” the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, by hate speech usage against Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars in “Russian official” and Russia-controlled media in the Crimea

“ARC” pointed for the UN Special Rapporteur that Russia uses the mechanisms of “countering the extremism” and “countering the ideology of terrorism” to discriminate ethnic Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars. After the occupation of Crimea in 2014, Russia, in violation of the requirements of Article 64 of the Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War 1949, extended the action of its own criminal legislation and legislation on administrative offenses to the occupied territory. This legislation contains the concepts of “countering the extremism” and “countering the ideology of terrorism”.

Our submission proves that the accusations of extremism are actively used by the Russia’s “authorities” to persecute dissent, in particular Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians who oppose the occupation, belongs to the ethnic-related religious communities. The very existence of such a concept as “extremism” and “ideology of terrorism” in the criminal legislation of Russia and its usage by Russian punitive structures and “courts” in the Crimea to violate the rights of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians on ethnic grounds are de-facto the modern form of racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance as a part of Russia’s “official policy”. More, this Russia’s concept of “countering the extremism” does not exist in international criminal law and in the criminal law of democratic countries.

“ARC” stressed that the very broad concept of “extremism” and “ideology of terrorism” in the Russian criminal law, which allows for almost unlimited interpretation, cannot but lead to analogies with the notorious article 58 of the Soviet-time Stalinist criminal code. The term “counter-revolutionary activity” was replaced in Russia by the terms “extremist activity” and “ideology of terrorism”, and the term “enemy of the working people” was replaced by “extremist”. However, the ideology of the creators of these norms, aimed at ensuring unlimited state arbitrariness in relation to anyone whom the authorities may consider their enemy, remained unchanged. Our submission stressed that, as the xenophobia and racial discrimination are the part of Russian “state policy” in the invaded Crimea, Russia has no urgent need to support the “private” neo-Nazis and skinhead groups. But Russian punitive bodies since 2014 used actively the squads of “Crimean Self-Defence” and “Crimean Cossacks” in the Crimea to threaten, to torture and to kill the activists who belong to Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. We pointed that now both those chauvinist and xenophobic structures of “Crimean Self-Defence” and “Crimean Cossacks” are directly supported by Russian “authorities” in the Crimea and they became the part of punitive regime, created on the peninsula.

Our submission proved that Russian “authorities” create the ground for the related incidents and manifestations against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians, brutally violating the Russia’s international human rights obligations, in particular article 4 of the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. They broadcast the hate speech and incitement to violence based on allegedly “racial superiority” and hatred against ethnic Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians. Such hate speech is disseminated by the Russia-controlled bloggers, “officials” and media, such as “Krymskaya Pravda” etc. We stressed to the Rapporteur that at the same time Russia declares own “fight with fascism”, but with one key condition – such “fascism”, as Russia’s propaganda declares, is a modern feature of democratic post-Soviet states like Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Ukraine, fighting against Russian colonisation, chauvinism, and imperialism. So our Association invited Special Rapporteur to Ukraine, including Crimea, which would contribute to collection of information, and will enable for professor Achiume to make a first-hand impression of the situation in the region.