4.06.2015:22

Regarding the Situation with the Glorification of Nazism and the Spread of Neo-Nazism and Other Practices That Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

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Unofficial translation

 

Regarding the Situation with the Glorification of Nazism and the Spread of Neo-Nazism and Other Practices That Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

 

Report of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of the Russian Federation

 

Moscow

2020

 

 

List of abbreviations found in the text

 

AC FCNM* – Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

ADL (Anti-Defamation League) – Non-Governmental Organization "Anti-Defamation League"

ADV (Anti-Discriminatie Voorzieningen) – Municipal Anti-Discrimination Service (Netherlands)

AFP – Austrian Freedom Party

AGP – “Alternative for Germany” Party

ATO – Anti-Terrorist Operation (official name of the Kiev Authorities of the internal armed conflict in the East of Ukraine)

BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) – Internal Security Service and counterintelligence of Germany

BNP – British National Party

CAT** – Committee against Torture

CCRP – Commissioner for Civil Rights in Poland

CDPP – Christian Democratic People's Party (Hungary)

CDU – “Christian Democratic Union of Germany” party

COE – Council of Europe

CEDAW** – Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

CEE – Central and Eastern Europe

CEPOL (Collège européen de police) – European Police College

CERD** – Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

CESCR** – Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

____________________________________________________

* Operates within the Council of Europe.

** Operates within the UN.

 

CIDI (Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israel) – Information and Documentation Center in Israel

CPPE – Conservative People's Party of Estonia

CRC** – Committee on the Rights of the Child

C-REX (The Center for Research on Extremism) – Center for the Study of Right-Wing Extremism, Hate Crimes, and Political Violence

CSCE – Conference on Security and Co-Operation in Europe

DFGR – Democratic Forum of Germans in Romania

ECCAR – European Coalition of Cities Against Racism

ECtHR – European Court for Human Rights

ECRI* – European Commission against Racism and Intolerance

ELAM – “National People's Front” Party (Cyprus)

EU MIDIS II (Second European Union Minorities and Discrimination Survey) – The second EU study on the situation of minorities and discrimination

FCC – Federal Constitutional Court of Germany

FCPE – Federal Center for Political Education

FDP – Free Democratic Party of Germany

FRA – EU Agency for Fundamental Rights

HELP (Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals) – European Training Program in the field of human rights for representatives of legal professions

HRCtte** – Human Rights Committee

HRC – UN Human Rights Council

HRMMU – Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

IMM – Institute of Mass Media (Ukraine)

IPN (Instytut Pamięci Narodowej – Komisja Ścigania Zbrodni przeciwko Narodowi Polskiemu) – Institute of National Memory – Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish people

JCL – Jewish Community of Lithuania

MiND (Meldpunt Discriminatie Internet) – Hotline Discrimination on the Internet (Netherlands)

MIVD (Militaire Inlichtingen-en Veiligheidsdienst) – Military Intelligence and Security Service of the Netherlands

NDPG – National Democratic Party of Germany

NIHR (The National Institution for Human Rights) – The National Institution for Human Rights (Netherlands)

NIOD (Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie) – Institute for War Documentation of the Netherlands

NRC – National Radical Camp

NRM – Northern Resistance Movement

NUJU – National Union of Journalists of Ukraine

OCU – Orthodox Church of Ukraine

OSCE – Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe

OSCE ODIHR – Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe

OSCE SMM – Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine of the Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe

OUN – Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists

PNOS – Party of Nationally Oriented Swiss

PPOS – People's Party “Our Slovakia”

ROC – Russian Orthodox Church

SB – French Nationalist Movement “Social Bastion”

SFIS – Swiss Federal Intelligence Service

SIAN (Stopp islamiseringen av Norge) – Organization “Stop the Islamization of Norway” (Norway)

SOC – Serbian Orthodox Church

SPD – Social Democratic Party of Germany

SRM – Swedish Resistance Movement

UCCRC – Ukrainian Coordination Council of Russian Compatriots

UINM – Ukrainian Institute of National Memory

UNDP – United Nations Development Programme

UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNHCHR – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights

UNHCR – Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UOC – Ukrainian Orthodox Church

UPA – Ukrainian Insurgent Army

UPR – Universal Periodic Review (procedure under the UN Human Rights Council)

UVAPLS – Union of Veterans' Associations in Support of the Values of the People's Liberation Struggle in Slovenia 1941-1945.

WPSJCR – Workers' Party of Social Justice of the Czech Republic

 

 

 

Introduction

The principle of universality, indivisibility, interconnectedness and complementarity of all human rights was reaffirmed by all states on 25 June 1993 in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the outcome document of the World Conference on Human Rights. At the same time, human rights issues are still used by individual countries in favor of their political interests as a tool for interfering in internal affairs and violating the sovereignty of independent states. As a result, the practice of applying so-called “double standards” in evaluating certain situations and phenomena is becoming widespread.

With this cynical approach, the historical past was sacrificed to momentary considerations of the moment. Purposeful attempts to revise history, especially the period associated with the Second World War, have been made for years. In fact, a systematic policy of falsification and distortion of history is being implemented that leads to the revision of the results of the Second World War and belittling, and sometimes perverting, the role and place of the USSR in the Victory over Nazism and fascism. The thesis of equalizing the responsibility of the Nazi regime, recognized as criminal by the Nuremberg Tribunal, and the state, which was one of the main participants in the Anti-Hitler Coalition and the founders of the UN, is imposed. At the same time, there is selective quoting of the past, selectively omitting such unsightly episodes in the history of Europe as the Anschluss of Austria, the Munich conspiracy and the German attack on Poland, which occurred before the beginning of the Second World War.

As was rightly noted on May 7, 2020 in an article for “Spiegel” magazine by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Director of the Institute of Modern History Andreas Wirsching on the occasion of the Day of the Liberation of Europe from National Socialism, all these measures are taken in order to “dishonorably rewrite history”, when “the attacked are made the attackers, and the victims – the criminals”. It is symbolic that those who play a leading role in determining the current foreign policy of Germany and studying its recent history recognize that “Germany alone unleashed the Second World War by attacking Poland”. The authors also rightly point out that “the German past shows the danger of revisionism, which replaces rational thinking with myths[1].” Such recognition and statement of historical truth in the current conditions deserve respect and should become an example for everyone else.

We fully share H. Maas and A. Wirsching opinion in relation to the need to defend the position we have outlined. This year the 75th Anniversary of Victory in the Great Patriotic War and World War II is celebrated. We remember that all the peoples of the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Victory over Nazism. It is difficult to overestimate the significance of this epoch-making event for all humankind.

We believe that the real facts of history cannot be ignored, regardless of the attitude to the Soviet Union, which liberated the world from the brown plague in those years, and to our country today. The theme of the sacred feat of the older generation in war should not become a space of pseudo-historical battles that pursue opportunistic goals. Today, it is important to do everything not to allow the feat of our fathers and grandfathers to be forgotten, not to allow young people to forget what national selfishness, disunity, connivance to any manifestations of chauvinism, xenophobia and aggressive nationalism lead to.

Moreover, the history of the Second World War has already confirmed that attempts to implement one of the ideological foundations of National Socialism, the theory of racial superiority, resulted in tens of millions of victims and brought incalculable suffering to the peoples of the world.

It is the goal of preserving the historical truth about that war that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, together with other authorities of the Russian Federation, is dedicated to in order to use our archives to counter these destructive plans and prevent the revision of the international legal results of the Second World War, including the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal. It is important that the absolute majority of the members of the world community together with us defend the same positions. This was confirmed by the Annual Resolution of the UN General Assembly on “Combating glorification of Nazism, Neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” adopted by an overwhelming majority of votes.

However, there are still attempts to rewrite the history of the Second World War. The campaign to falsify the history of this period, the cynical attempts to whitewash war criminals and their accomplices – those who created and put into practice the theory of racial superiority, the declaration of collaborators who collaborated with the Nazis as participants in national liberation movements, the blasphemous efforts of political elites in a number of Western and Eastern European countries to destroy historical memory – are of serious concern. It is particularly regrettable that all these campaigns were being actively launched in the year when the international community could have been celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Victory over Nazism in a consolidated manner.

Such irresponsible actions, which are incompatible with international obligations, have already led to a generation in Europe and America that does not know the truth about the worst war in human history, including the purpose of the SS and its units, which were declared criminal by the Nuremberg Tribunal, and their numerous war crimes.

At the same time, many people know and remember the true war history. Evidence of this was the reaction to a comment published by Washington on social networks on the eve of the Victory Day celebration that attributed the Victory exclusively to the United States and Great Britain. Numerous responses from not only Russians, but also Americans, as well as people from all over the world prove that a significant part of society does not share the narrowly opportunistic mood of American politicians. It is a matter of bitter regret that these correct and historical-based comments are being methodically removed. And this is done in the “most democratic country”, constantly repeating its “commitment to freedom of speech”.

The “war” waged in a number of European countries as part of a campaign to falsify history with monuments and memorials on the mass graves of Red Army soldiers who died in the battles for the liberation of these countries from the Nazis is also of serious concern. Such a “war” with those who will not be able to give an adequate response, aimed at obscuring the dark pages of collaboration with the Nazis, looks absolutely unworthy. As a result, a disrespectful, blasphemous attitude to the memory of liberators is spreading, which was not so long ago even difficult to imagine. For example, in Poland, cases were often registered when parents allowed children to behave disrespectfully at memorials and mass graves, and responded to comments of caring people with racist statements, saying: “They are Russian”, “You can do that against them”.

In addition, the world is witnessing how, despite the legal mechanisms developed and functioning within the framework of the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe that deny, condemn and prevent the glorification of Nazism, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, in a number of countries, the propaganda of Nazi ideas and values is openly carried out, and national radicals raise their heads, who often become the main perpetrators of the above-mentioned blasphemous “war” with monuments to Soviet soldiers. Attempts to divide society along national and linguistic lines are also becoming more active, and there is a steady increase in the number of xenophobic and racist incidents, manifestations of aggressive nationalism, chauvinism, and other forms of racial and religious intolerance. It is also disturbing that inaction against racism and intolerance is justified by the authorities on the same grounds as the alleged absolute nature of the right to the freedom of expression.

Many experts point out that the glorification of Nazi collaborators in a number of European states, especially in the former Soviet bloc, is due to the fact that the current power circles in these countries have erased in a nationalistic frenzy the best representatives from the history of their peoples: heroes – from ordinary soldiers to generals and marshals – the winners of the Nazis, who developed military science, and culture together with the Russian people. Today, in assessing the history of the war, the emphasis is mainly on “suffering under the Soviet occupation”, glorifying the “feat” of voluntary participants in the national legions of the SS, who fought for Hitler's Germany and took part in numerous mass killings of civilians. If we remove these historical myths, there is almost nothing left.

In this regard, the example of Latvia is indicative, where the “Canon of Culture” was approved in the early 2010’s. This document included a list of 99 best cultural achievements of the Latvian people (works in folk traditions, literature, painting, architecture, music, theater, cinema, etc.). According to the calculations of the Latvian journalist and civil activist Yu. Alekseev, who compared these achievements with the timeline, it turned out that 40% of the items on the list were created in over 46 years of the Latvian people being under the “Soviet occupation”, while over the past almost thirty years the period of independence, in spite of the complete freedom of expression that was allegedly prohibited in the USSR, practically no cultural achievements of the Latvian people were noted.[2]

Against this background, it is not surprising that in some countries, in addition to the active glorification of Nazi collaborators, the problem of protecting the rights of national minorities and ethnic groups, especially language and educational ones, has become seriously acute. The measures taken in this area cannot be described as anything other than discriminatory. The most alarming situation is in the Baltic States and in Ukraine.

The Russian Federation sees all these manifestations as a direct threat to the fundamental values of democracy and human rights, as well as a serious challenge to international and regional security and stability in general. We are convinced that the most urgent task in the fight against the glorification of Nazism and other activities that contribute to the manifestation of racism and racial discrimination today remains to unite the efforts of countries to prevent the restoration of false “values” of the superiority of one nation, its religion and culture over other peoples and cultures.

That is why the Russian Federation annually submits to the UN General Assembly the draft resolution on combating glorification of Nazism. In 2019, a record number of 62 States, including Russia, co-sponsored the document adopted during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly. The resolution was supported by the overwhelming majority of 133 countries. As in previous years, only the US and Ukrainian delegations opposed the vote, while 52 countries (including EU member states) abstained.

The resolution condemns the glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Waffen-SS, including through the opening of monuments and memorials, as well as public demonstrations to glorify the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism. It is particularly emphasized that the construction of monuments in honor of the SS, their processions and other similar actions desecrate the memory of countless victims of fascism, negatively affect the younger generation, and are absolutely incompatible with the obligations of the UN Member States. The co-sponsors of the resolution cannot ignore the fact that some countries are persistently trying to raise those who fought against the Anti-Hitler Coalition or collaborated with the Nazis to the rank of national heroes and heroes of national liberation movements. The Russian Federation and our like-minded people are convinced that this is not about political correctness, but about the most outright cynicism and blasphemy towards those who freed the world from the horrors of National Socialism.

The resolution emphasizes that such actions do not constitute implementation, but a clear and explicit abuse of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, as well as the right to freedom of opinion and expression. Moreover, such acts may fall within the scope of Article 4 of the International Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, which requires states parties to the Convention to prosecute them.

The document adopted by the UN General Assembly also emphasizes that such practices fuel contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, and contribute to the spread and multiplication of various extremist parties, movements and groups, including neo-fascists and skinheads.

In addition, the resolution expresses deep concern about the increasing attempts and cases of desecration or destruction of monuments erected in honor of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as the illegal exhumation or transfer of their remains.

The provisions of international human rights treaties are the most important legal framework for countering these negative phenomena and the basis for developing multilateral cooperation. First of all, we are talking about the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. It should be emphasized that the vast majority of the UN Member States are parties to this Convention, including all those countries that vote against or abstain from the Russian initiative.

In accordance with Article 4, States Parties to the Convention are, inter alia, obliged to:

- condemn all propaganda and all organizations based on ideas of racial superiority or attempting to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form;

- declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred;

- declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law.

This Article is one of the key provisions of the Convention. Its importance lies primarily in the fact that it establishes a clear line between criminal acts and the right to freedom of assembly and association and to freedom of opinion and expression. That is why it is impossible to accept the references of individual states to the fact that the processions of “Waffen-SS” veterans, various collaborators, the fact of erecting monuments to the Nazis and other manifestations are allegedly only the implementation of these freedoms. In this regard, we are convinced of the need for states to withdraw their reservations to this Treaty, including those to Article 4, as soon as possible.

The threat posed by neo-Nazism and the importance of learning from history have been repeatedly highlighted at various times by the Special Rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism. In particular, the current holder of this mandate E. Tendayi Achiume pointed out in the thematic report to the 38th session of the Council in June 2018 (A/HRC/38/53) that neo-Nazism is not just a glorification of the past, but a modern movement with a vested interest in racial inequality. The Special Rapporteur drew attention to the fact that today neo-Nazism is constantly mixed with other ideological concepts of racial superiority or racial hatred, which provides it with wider recognition and more reliable support. It was noted that political leaders and government officials up to the highest level are complicit in this movement. In 2017, in her report to the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly (A/72/291), the Special Rapporteur also pointed out that any solemn commemorations, both official and unofficial, of the Nazi regime, its allies and related organizations offend the memory of the countless victims of World War II and have a negative impact on children and youth.

The importance of “history lessons that teach information about dramatic events and human suffering resulting from ideologies such as Nazism and fascism” was emphasized in 2009 by Gitu Muigai, one of the previous Special Rapporteurs of on this issue.[3]

This report, based on data from international and national sources, summarizes factual information on all forms of glorification of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the focus countries, as well as examples of best practices to combat these phenomena at the legislative and practical levels.

The basis was taken of the provisions of the above-mentioned annual resolution of the UN General Assembly on combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, adopted annually on Russian initiative (included as Annexes are the text of the Resolution and the Table with the results of the vote at the 74th session of the General Assembly).

Accordingly, the main focus is on the growth of neo-Nazism occurring in a number of countries in Europe, the United States and Canada, in some cases with active encouragement from the state leadership, as well as increased discrimination and racism against certain ethnic groups.

As part of the efforts aimed at confirming the importance of Victory as a common heritage of the peoples of the UN Member States and the inadmissibility of destroying or desecrating monuments and memorials to fighters against Nazism in line with the provisions of the UN General Assembly resolution on combating glorification of Nazism, this report also focuses on the situation with the attitude and preservation of monuments, statues and memorials in European countries dedicated to the Red Army soldiers who liberated Europe from the brown plague, as well as monuments to anti-fascist soldiers, and members of the Resistance Movement.

In light of the increased historical aggression against Russia on the eve of the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II in terms of reviewing issues related to the beginning of the war and its results (especially in view of a number of recent facts and statements of the leaders and organizations of the relevant countries in the context of the 75th Anniversary of the end of the War, aimed at falsifying the history of events of those years and equating communism with Nazism), the Annex includes a list of quotes from the leaders of the allied states of the war period and post-war years, which provide objective assessments of the role of the USSR and the Red Army in ensuring the Victory over Nazism.

Russian language discrimination in education in the Baltic States and Ukraine is also covered in the report, as well as, more generally, discrimination against national minorities in these states, especially against Russian and Russian-speaking populations, and harassment of the media, also based on racial discrimination.

A number of country sections also highlight episodes of racial discrimination and discrimination against national minorities in connection with the spread of a new coronavirus infection, in particular, the increase in anti-Chinese and/or anti-Semitic attitudes in certain countries.

We expect that the threat of the resurgence of Nazism, the danger of its use for political purposes, as well as the danger of condoning manifestations of racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, are recognized in the EU member states, the United States, Canada and Ukraine, including at the level of the legislative and executive branches of the power. We remain convinced that formal condemnations alone, especially when combined with double standards, are not enough – concrete and decisive measures are needed, including impartial and effective monitoring of manifestations of neo-Nazism and racism, consistent steps to criminalize them at the national level, and measures to prevent them.

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Austria

After the end of World War II, Austria, which was liberated from the Nazi occupation, faced an urgent question of creating effective legal mechanisms that could prevent the resurgence of fascism. At the same time, the primary goal was to prevent the resumption of activities of fascist, Nazi or neo-Nazi associations and parties or other types of fascism in the country.

International legal obligations of the Vienna to combat Nazism arise from the provisions of the State Treaty on Re-Establishment of Independent and Democratic Austria of May 15, 1955 under which (Article 9 and 10) the state pledged to eradicate from the political, economic and cultural life all traces of Nazism, to prevent the resurgence of such organizations in any form, and all Nazi and militarist activity and propaganda in the country.

The provisional government of the Republic of Austria, in its first statement since its formation in April 1945, announced the introduction of criminal prosecution of crimes of the Nazi regime. For this purpose, on May 8, 1945 the constitutional law banning the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) (the “Prohibition Law”) was adopted, and later, on June 26, 1945, the constitutional law on war crimes and other atrocities of the national socialists (the “War Crimes Law”). These laws remain in force (with changes made as national post-war legislation improved).

According to this legal act, “the NSDAP, its military formations (SS, SA and others), organizational structures and affiliated associations, all national socialist organizations and institutions, as well as the resumption of their activities are prohibited.” Their property was alienated in favor of the state.

Clause 3 of the said law specifies that any type of activity on behalf of the NSDAP or its goals is prohibited, even if it is carried out outside of this organization. Those who continue to belong to the party or support its goals are declared guilty of committing a crime with the penalty of death and confiscation of all property. If there are serious mitigating circumstances, the death penalty may be commuted to 10 to 20 years' imprisonment and confiscation of all property.

In 1992, the “Prohibition Law” was amended to increase criminal liability for any attempt to recreate or support the activities of banned Nazi organizations. At the same time, the upper limits of the sentence of life imprisonment are preserved and the lower limits are omitted. The penalties for propagating Nazi ideology through the dissemination of publications or works of art were increased, and a new offence was introduced that criminalized denial of the Nazi genocide and crimes against humanity or adherence to National Socialism.

The provisions of the War Crimes Law may also apply to Nazi criminals. According to Austrian sources, 13,607 convictions were handed down in accordance with this law in the post–war period, 43 of them were the death penalty, and 29 were life imprisonment. However, according to Jewish associations in Austria, the law does not actually work today. The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem, in its annual report for 2017/18, criticizes Austria for not punishing a single Nazi criminal in the past 30 years. Despite the fact that in 2011 a research center for post-war justice was established in Austria to search for them, so far its activities have not brought any results.

The right-wing extremist acts, which are most common in Austria, are addressed by the Insignia Act of 1960, which prohibits the public use of symbols (signs, emblems, uniforms, etc.) of prohibited organizations of a fascist or Nazi orientation, including those similar to it and used as a substitute. Such an offence is administrative in nature and is punishable by a fine of up to 4 thousand euros or arrest for up to 1 month (except for theatrical and artistic works, as well as exhibition pieces and printed products, if the use of such symbols is not an essential element of them and does not serve the purpose of propaganda or approval of Nazism). Since March 2019, Austria has banned the symbols of 13 organizations classified as “extremist” by Vienna, including the Croatian Ustasha fascists, the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization and political party Hezbollah, the Hamas movement, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, and the Turkish nationalist organization “Gray Wolves”. Violators face a fine of 4 thousand euros; if repeated the fine is up to 10 thousand euros.

There are no separate regulations in Austrian law that regulate the issue of countering extremist manifestations. Also, the national legal practice does not clearly define the concept of "extremism". Therefore, criminal acts that could fall under this concept are regulated in a number of laws:

- “Prohibition Law” (constitutional law banning the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) (Verbotsgesetz);

- Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB);

– Insignia Law (Abzeichengesetz);

- Code of Administrative Offences.

In accordance with Article 283 of the Criminal Code (hereinafter – CC), extremist actions (incitement to violent acts, bodily harm, threat to life and health, etc.) and other acts (damage to property, etc.) are considered criminally punishable in relation to individuals, groups persons, religious or church association on the basis of racial, linguistic, national, religious, ideological, state, ethnic, gender, age, sex. According to Article 33 of the Criminal Code, the manifestation of racism (primarily in relation to the persons specified in Article 283) when committing illegal actions is an aggravating circumstance.

The provisions of the Code of Administrative and Legal Violations are applied if certain acts of an extremist nature do not fall under the criminal law due to the absence of serious negative consequences for society or the insignificance of damage. In particular, Cl. 4 of Article 1 of Section III establishes a penalty in the form of a monetary fine for spreading national socialist ideas.

The Austrian authorities attach particular importance to preventive work in the field of countering right-wing extremism, which is carried out both in state structures, as well as in educational institutions and families.

Since 2013, Austria has had a “National Action Plan to Combat Right-Wing Extremism”, which provides a comprehensive approach to countering various right-wing and neo-Nazi manifestations. There is a special website that allows declaring, including anonymously, right-wing extremist or neo-Nazi activities (in 2019, 95 such statements were registered). There is a “hot line”, it is possible to obtain an appropriate consultation of experts.

In 2017, the Republic of Austria nationalized the house in Braunau (Federal State of Upper Austria), where Hitler was born, in order to prevent it from becoming a “place of worship” for neo-Nazis (before that, starting in 1972, the Austrian Interior Ministry rented it for 5 thousand euros a month). The owner was paid compensation in the amount of 310 thousand euros, but she considered the amount insufficient and is currently in litigation (according to experts, the amount may be up to 1.5 million euros).

The right-wing extremist environment in Austria is heterogeneous and consists of a variety of structures, groups and individual activists. Organizational forms include “ideological” parties, unions and “circles of friends”, individual revisionist activists who deny German responsibility for the outbreak of World War II and the Holocaust, and downplay other crimes of the national socialist regime. Moreover, the “works” of pseudo-historical revisionists from Germany, the USA, Canada and Great Britain are used as the “ideological base”. Since such campaigning is prohibited by local law, it is carried out from abroad, including with active use of the Internet.

Right-wing student unions (Olimpia, Arminia Chernivtsi, etc.) have a certain influence in Austria, which Austrian human rights NGOs consider to be right-wing. Their members include federal and regional politicians from the Austrian Freedom Party (AFP): 31% of the party's deputies from the previous convocation of the National Council (Lower House of Parliament) of Austria were members of such unions.

The other part of the spectrum consists of groups of youth right-wing extremist “subculture” (mainly regional), neo-Nazi “associations” (including virtual ones), the skinhead movement, as well as individual activists representing the marginal strata of Austrian society. This can also include well-organized groups of sports fans who are prone to right-wing manifestations. For these groups, the ideological component plays a secondary role, while they are quite mobile, have high activity and a noticeable tendency to violence.

To promote their views, far-right movements use meetings, demonstrations, and “walks” around the city (including those unauthorized by the authorities), as well as print publications (“Assembly Hall”, “Phoenix”, “New Order”, “Currently”, “Eckart”, etc.). The role of the Internet, especially social networks, which are actively used by right-wing extremist groups for ideological propaganda, has significantly increased. In some cases, law enforcement agencies are able to identify such Internet sites, but blocking them is often difficult, since most of them are hosted on foreign servers.

The Austrian right-wing extremist environment maintains links with similar ideological structures from Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Norway, Sweden, and Belgium. Organized groups and individual activists regularly participate in demonstrations and marches in other countries, especially in Germany.

The Austrian authorities pay close attention to the issues of tracking, preventing and avoiding the activity of right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis. According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Fight Against Terrorism (FAT) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which is involved in countering extremist and neo-Nazi manifestations, in 2019, 797 unlawful actions of the right-extremist (732 in 2018), 89 of racist (236 in 2018), and 30 of an anti-Semitic character (49 in 2018) were registered.

In the wake of “migrant phobia”, the police registered an increase in the number of offences committed by the local population, primarily in relation to temporary detention facilities for migrants (damage to property, arson, etc.). In the “Report on Racism” for 2018, the human rights NGO “ZARA” (“Civil Courage and Activities against Racism”) notes the growth of tension in society in relation to people of different racial and religious affiliations. In 2018, 1,920 cases of racial intolerance were registered (1,162 in 2017), which is the highest value in recent years. Most cases were reported on the Internet (60% of the total number of offences) and in public places (16%). Most often, we are talking about manifestations of racism on social networks (about 60% of online offences occur on social network Facebook), domestic racism, as well as in slogans or the application of Nazi symbols.

In this regard, there is a certain polarization of views in society on the migration problem. According to public opinion polls (March 2018), 67% of respondents said that Austria should help refugees, but 74% agreed with the statement about the existence of a parallel society of migrants in the state. According to human rights activists, the Austrian Freedom Party, as part of the Austrian Federal Government (December 2017 – May 2019), the concept of zero tolerance for migrant offenders played an important role in the increase in the number of such manifestations.

The level of integration of foreigners in general and refugees in particular remains an extremely important indicator for the Austrian authorities and local society. In the wake of “migrant phobia”, the police registered an increase in the number of offences committed by the local population, primarily in relation to temporary detention facilities for migrants (damage to property, arson, etc.).

International human rights monitoring bodies have also pointed out these problems related to the situation of migrants. For example, in October 2015 the Human Rights Committee expressed concern that, despite the measures taken by the Austrian authorities, migrants, foreigners and ethnic minorities, especially the Roma, face the problem of intolerance and discrimination. In particular, there has been an increase in the propaganda of racial or religious hatred against migrants and asylum seekers, as well as Roma, Muslims, and Jews; an increase in the number of not always suppressed hate speech by political figures, as well as propaganda of hatred against people of other faiths by radical Islamist preachers. There has been an increase in hate speech on the Internet and in online forums. In this regard the Committee also noted the low representation of ethnic minorities in the political and public life of the country, including in the legislative and executive bodies.[4]

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women also expressed concern about hate crimes and attacks against refugees and asylum seekers, including women and girls, in July 2019.[5]

In addition, according to experts of the Human Rights Committee, the polarization of public attitudes is manifested in the increased radicalization and resurgence of far-right groups inspired by extremist national socialist ideologies and neo-Nazism, as well as the increased activity of extremist groups that include members of the Muslim community.[6]

In March 2019, the Austrian government announced plans to open a “Documentation center for political Islam" to combat anti-Semitism, especially among migrants. According to a study conducted in 2018 by the Vienna Institute for Empirical Social Research commissioned by the Austrian Parliament, 10% of Austrians are "persistent anti-Semites”, especially anti-Semitic sentiments are common among Turkish and Arabic-speaking residents of the country (from 50% to 70% of them).

Anti-Islamic organizations have recently been gaining popularity and expanding their ranks in the context of an increased public debate over the “dominance” of migrants and in favor of the need to tighten immigration laws in Austria. The “locomotive” of the process is the “Identitäre Bewegung Österreich” (IBÖ, “Austrian Identity Movement”), represented in most of the Federal States of Austria. The movement, which brought together various groups of skinheads, football ultras, and hooligans, belongs to the neo-Nazi wing by experts. Using the slogans of “ethnopluralism” as opposed to traditional nationalism and replacing the concept of “race” with the term “culture”, the organization opposes mass migration, multiculturalism, and the Islamization of Europe and maintains close contacts with “partner” organizations in Germany, France, and Italy.

The Documentary archive of the Austrian resistance and the Austrian Mauthausen Committee, which conducts research and educational work and publishes thematic materials on their websites, contribute to monitoring the activity of right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis in Austria. The Austrian Mauthausen Committee regularly updates its brochure “Right-Wing Extremism” (the last edition was published in 2019).

In general, it can be stated that there are no political prospects for Austrian right-wing organizations in the current situation. The number of their active supporters is small, and the main part of the problems they raise (“the dominance of migrants”, “Islamization”, etc.) is traditionally represented by the right-wing Austrian Freedom Party.

The principles of non-discrimination, equality, a culture of tolerance and respect for ethnic, religious and cultural diversity, in addition to the above-mentioned legal norms, are promoted by the active application of the Equality Act of 2004 (Gleichbehandlungsgesetz), aimed at eliminating discriminatory approaches based on gender, ethnicity, age, religion or other affiliation in the workplace, as well as in the provision of services, social protection, education, etc.

However, there are still manifestations of neo-Nazism and racial intolerance in some areas. For example, the country hosts annual “commemorative events” organized by Church structures or Austrian NGOs associated with the right-wing environment, which local anti-fascist organizations unsuccessfully demand to ban. Since the 1950’s, a Croatian action in memory of the “Bleiburg Massacre” of May 1945 has been held in the city of Bleiburg (Federal State of Carinthia) in May. The event is traditionally attended by high-ranking politicians, public figures and clergy of Croatia, including Prime Ministers I. Rachan (in 2002) and I. Sanader (in 2004). In the city of Linz (Federal State of Tyrol) in June, a memorial day is held for the “Linz Tragedy” (the forced surrender of the British occupation forces to the Soviet Union on June 1, 1945, serving in the 15th SS cavalry Cossack corps) with the participation of representatives of the city authorities.

The report presented on the eve of Catholic Christmas of 2019 by the Historical Commission of the Austrian Freedom Party, which was formed to study its history and “dark spots” after a series of scandals that rocked the party in 2018-2019, related to the fact that a number of functionaries and ordinary party members were close to right-wing and neo-Nazi circles, as well as manifestations of anti-Semitism in the ranks of the APS, caused a great public discussion in Austria. Most experts and journalists agreed that the report was an attempt to “retouch” inconvenient pages of the party's history and whitewash the Nazi past of its founders.

Many cities in Austria still have street and square names associated with the Nazi past. Thus, a special Commission of historians headed by Professor Sh. Karner (co-chair of the Russian-Austrian Commission of historians) worked in Graz in 2016-2019. It studied 790 names and came to the conclusion that almost every eighth of them has such a “link”. The city authorities took the decision that was criticized by local NGOs, to hang "explanatory" signs at the beginning and end of such streets for 10 years instead of renaming them.

Topics related to the Nazi past continue to be discussed periodically in Austrian society. In November 2018, a group of Austrian artists “Memory Gaps” proposed to “rethink” the preserved “Hitler balconies” in Vienna (in addition to the famous balcony on Heldenplatz square, from which the Fuhrer spoke 3 days after the “Anschluss” of Austria in March 1938, a balcony was built specially for him at the Vienna city hall). In December 2018, Austrian NGOs demanded to rename one of the most famous local red grape varieties “Zweigelt”, since F. Zweigelt, who bred it, was a “fiery Nazi” (despite the fact that the breeder himself called the new variety “rotburger”, the renaming only happened through 10 years after his death, in 1975).

Austria as a whole faithfully fulfils its obligations to care for Soviet military graves, most of them are in good condition. In cooperation with the Austrian Ministry of Internal Affairs and the NGO “Austrian Black Cross”, a new obelisk in memory of Soviet prisoners of war who died during World War II, made by the Russian Military Historical Society, was opened on June 22, 2017 in the Central Cemetery of Vienna. On April 14, 2020, with the assistance of the Austrian Ministry of Internal Affairs and financial support from the Russian company Gazprom Neft Trading and the Volnoe Delo Foundation, memorial steles with the names of 170 Red Army soldiers who were previously considered missing were installed next to the obelisk.

However, in recent years, there have been cases of desecration of the monument to Soviet soldiers who died during the liberation of Vienna on the Schwarzenbergplatz square: twice in 2019 (April 25 and May 8), three times in 2018
(January 10, March 6, July 5), on January 16, 2017, and February 23, 2015 the facade plinth was splattered with paint. On May 1, 2018, there was an attempt to desecrate the monument: a group of unknown persons tried to throw paint vessels at the base but was stopped in time by tourists from Russia. Due to the lack of police in the square, the vandals managed to escape. On May 17, 2019, a Soviet military burial place was desecrated in Laa-an-der-Thaya (State of Lower Austria) – red stars were broken on four tombstones. The perpetrators of the violations were not identified and, accordingly, were not brought to justice.

In April 2019, after repeated insistent requests from the Russian side, the Austrian authorities installed two video surveillance cameras at the monument in the Schwarzenbergplatz square. This required changes to Austrian law.

The Austrian authorities, political forces or social movements do not interfere with our commemorative events. There were no illegal exhumations/transfers of the remains of anti-fascist soldiers.

The Austrian authorities respect monuments to anti-fascist soldiers and victims of World War II, including the Holocaust. New memorial sites are also being created. In 2017 in Baden (Federal State of Lower Austria) a monument to the Jewish victims of the Nazi terror was opened (a joint project of the city authorities and Jewish community of Baden, with the support of the Federal lands, Future Fund of the Republic of Austria and National Fund of the Republic of Austria). In March 2018, the Austrian government supported the idea of the Name Wall Memorial NGO on the construction of a monument to Austrian Jews in Vienna with the names of all 66 thousand people who died in 1938-1945 in Austria (the idea of such a monument had been discussed since 1997). It was also stated that it was ready to adopt a law to simplify the procedure for acquiring Austrian citizenship (while maintaining the existing one) by descendants of Jewish refugees who left the country in the 1930’s.

The state memorial complex on the territory of the former Mauthausen concentration camp plays an important role in educating the population, especially young people, in the spirit of awareness and rejection of the crimes of National Socialism. Created in January 2017, the Federal Institution “Mauthausen Memorial complex” conducts educational work with young people in order to maintain the memory of the war and prevent a repeat of the horrors of Nazism. The Austrian Mauthausen Committee, an NGO, organizes memorial events every year in May on the anniversary of the liberation of the camp with the participation of the Austrian leadership, the local community, foreign guests, and the Vienna diplomatic corps, which usually gather a significant number of participants, including civil society.

At the same time, in the international arena, Austria follows the common line of the EU. For example, Austrians annually abstain from adopting the UN General Assembly resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. In addition, when on September 19, 2019 the European Parliament adopted a resolution “On the importance of preserving historical memory for the future of Europe”, which effectively equates the responsibility of Nazi Germany and the USSR for the outbreak of World War II, 17 of the 18 MEPs from Austria, representing all the main parties of the country, voted “Yes” (one deputy did not vote).

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Albania

During the Second World War, Albania was occupied by fascist Italian and then Nazi German troops, from which the Albanians were able to liberate the territory of their state in 1944, without resorting to direct foreign assistance. After that, a Communist dictatorship was established in the country for 40 years, which is why today the socialist government, wishing to demonstrate to both the Western allies and the Albanian public that it has nothing in common with the predecessors of its party, increasingly declares the need to review the history of the anti-fascist struggle of the Albanian people.

In 2005-2013, the Democratic Party in power promoted in practice the idea of “equal responsibility of totalitarian regimes” for the beginning of World War II. At the state level, attempts were made to rewrite the history of the anti-fascist struggle, including the USSR participation in it. One of the most striking examples of revisionist activity was the renaming of topographic objects that bore the names of Communists fighters against fascism.

At the end of 2018, the remains of the “national hero” Midhat Frasheri, the leader of the collaborationist anti–Communist organization “National Front”, who was in power during the military occupation of Albania, were reburied in the center of Tirana. The authorities ignored the condemnation of this action by members of the Organization of Veterans of the Anti-Fascist National Liberation Struggle of the Albanian people and the Organization of Families of Patriots who Gave their Lives for their Homeland.

Attempts to glorify the Nazis themselves and conduct neo-Nazi marches and rallies are not noted in the country. At the same time, experts note that the Albanian leadership, both Socialists and Democrats, has consistently pursued a course to review the results of the Second World War. The country produces printed publications that present the events of those years in a one-sided Pro-Western interpretation. A Government Commission has been set up to prepare a new version of Albanian history for educational institutions, where German experts are responsible for correcting the section on the events of the 1940s and 1950s.

Anti-fascist veterans have a negative attitude to such hidden propaganda of the authorities, regarding it as an attempt by reactionary forces to belittle the merits of patriots in the liberation of the country, to erase the role of Communist partisans from history and to whitewash the Albanian collaborators of the Nazis.

Against this background, the position taken by the delegation of Albania when considering the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors to the UN General Assembly on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” is not surprising. As a candidate for membership in the European Union, Albania follows the course set by it and abstains from voting.

Ideas of nationalism and extremism are not popular in the country. The only relatively large far-right formation was the Public Association “Red-Black Alliance”, formed on the basis of several groups of football fans. In 2012, it was transformed into a political party whose ideology was mainly based on Greekophobia and calls for the creation of a “Great Albania” by tearing away Albanian lands from neighboring countries. Since this aspiration has always resonated with a significant part of the population, the leadership of the Alliance decided to use it for electoral purposes. However, the 2013 parliamentary elections were a failure for the party. If in December 2012, 14% of respondents were ready to support it, in the end, only 1.7% of voters gave their votes for it. After that, the activities of the “Red-Black Alliance”, including in the Internet space, became much less active.

However, on June 2, 2014, at the opening of an Orthodox Church in Tirana the party held an action against the presence of a representative of the Serbian Orthodox Church. On the Church fence, protesters hung placards with the words: “Serbian Patriarch is against Albania”. The demonstration was dispersed by the police.[7]

Moreover, nationalist appeals were made at an event organized by the party in the capital to honor the memory of Prince Skanderbeg, the leader of the anti-Ottoman uprising that united Albanians in the 15th century.[8]

Individual manifestations of neo-Nazism are also noted in the country. This ideology is widespread among the fans of the football club “Tirana”, in particular among the members of the associations “Tirona Fanatics” and “Capital Crew”. Both of them openly demonstrate their hatred towards the Communists, especially during the matches in which “Tirana” plays against “Partizan” football club. In 2014, Deputy Prime Minister E. Brace called fans fascists for chanting anti-Communist “roll calls” and hanging a poster addressed to the opposing team with the following inscription: “We will reopen Auschwitz for you.” The Albanian public for the most part condemned this act. However, some Internet users, in comments on articles covering these events, expressed the view that Germany was in fact always an ally of the Albanian state, and the 21st SS mining division formed by Albanian collaborators, which was named after the national hero Skanderbeg, fought for ethnic Albania.[9]

Along with this, “Capital Crew” regularly posts images with Nazi or fascist symbols on its Facebook page. So, in one of the drawings, one can see two people with tattoos in the form of a swastika and a Celtic cross, beating the owner of a tattoo with a hammer and sickle. Photos of fans playing the Roman salute are also common. They also use the image of the eagle as a symbol of the Third Reich, printing it on t-shirts. In turn, members of the “Tirona Fanatics” use a flag with a white double-headed eagle on a black background that very slightly differs from that of the SS “Skanderbeg” division.[10]

Despite the fact that the problem of the development of the ultra-right movement is not so acute in Albania, the legal regulation does not allow eliminating it completely. It does not outlaw racist organizations and does not establish criminal liability for participation in them. In particular, this was pointed out by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in December 2018.[11]

At the same time, Article 9, Cl. 2 of the country's basic law prohibits the establishment of parties whose activities incite racial, religious, regional or ethnic hatred. According to Article 3 of the Constitution, the state undertakes to respect and protect national equality, religious co-existence, co-existence and mutual understanding between Albanians and national minorities. The equality of all religions is further enshrined in Article 10. Article 20 is devoted to the rights of national minorities. It establishes the right of representatives of non-titular peoples to express their ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity, to teach and study in their native language, to unite in organizations and societies to protect their interests and their identity.

According to Article 18 of the Constitution, discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, religion, nationality and other similar grounds is prohibited in Albania. However, Cl. 3 of this Article contains a reservation according to which this prohibition is valid only if “there are no reasonable and objective reasons” for its non-compliance.

Albania's criminal legislation also contains a number of provisions against discrimination and intolerance. Thus, discrimination by officials on the basis of origin, gender, health status, religious or political values, trade union activities, or because of belonging to a particular ethnic group, country or religion is criminalized. In accordance with Article 253 of the Criminal Code, this act is punishable by a fine or imprisonment for up to five years.

In addition, the Albanian Law on Protection against Discrimination was adopted in 2010. This regulation contains a detailed list of potential grounds for discriminatory treatment, including, in addition to nationality, race, skin color and other traditional characteristics, pregnancy, marital status, health status, genetic predisposition, etc.

In the Albanian Criminal Code, Article 265 (“Incitement to hatred or enmity”) and Article 266 (“Calls to incite ethnic hatred”) are dedicated to combating xenophobic crimes. The commission of a crime motivated by racial hatred, as well as on the grounds of intolerance to people of a certain color, ethnicity and other similar characteristics, in accordance with Article 50, Cl. j of the Criminal Code, is an aggravating circumstance.

A certain set of problems related to manifestations of hatred based on race and ethnicity is noted.

Albania has a policy of deliberately hiding statistics related to hate crimes. CERD drew attention to this, expressed concern at the lack of reliable information on the number of investigations, prosecutions and convictions in cases of acts of racial discrimination. The Committee also voiced criticism over the continued use of hate speech by state and public figures in public speeches.[12]

Discrimination against members of national minorities remains one of the most problematic areas of Albania's human rights record. However, there is still a high level of tolerance based on cultural and religious affiliation. Infringement of the rights of believers of all faiths represented in the country is not registered.

The most vulnerable national minority is the Roma, who are discriminated against in terms of access to employment, education, health, housing and various services. International experts call on Albania to strengthen the implementation of the National Action Plan for the Integration of Roma and Balkan Egyptians for 2016-2020, as well as to develop other special measures to combat discrimination against these categories of the population.

A report prepared following a visit to Albania by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, D. Mijatovic (published in September
 2018), notes that vulnerable groups still have difficult access to justice. A 2017 UNDP study on access to justice showed a high level of legal illiteracy, especially among Roma, and a lack of confidence in the justice system among Albanians. According to the study, it is much more difficult for the Roma, the poor, people with low education levels, the disabled, victims of domestic violence and children from residential institutions to achieve justice than for the average Albanian citizen. Many of them are victims of multiple discrimination and have financial difficulties, which makes it impossible for them to get better services. As a result, some of them give up all attempts to resolve their legal issues.[13]

According to the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, the law of Albania “On the Protection of National Minorities in the Republic of Albania” adopted in 2017 contains declarative provisions aimed at protecting, preserving and developing the cultural identity and languages of national minorities. It defines the personal scope and rights of persons belonging to national minorities. As noted by the AC FCNM, this legal act is very general and programmatic in nature. In many important areas, it delegates the resolution of specific issues to the Council of Ministers. However, in order to make legislative provisions effective, it is necessary to ensure the adoption of secondary legislation in the form of decisions of the Council of Ministers. These decisions were not taken within the six-month period established by law, which deprived persons belonging to national minorities of access to their rights. In addition, decisions of the Council of Ministers have a subordinate legal status, which as a result provides less protection of rights.[14]

In 2018, the said law was amended: for national minorities, the qualification of 20% of the population living in municipalities for the possibility of receiving school education in their native language was finally fixed.

However, the AC FCNM, in its opinion on Albania adopted in October 2018, noted the lack of progress in providing education in national minority languages or languages of national minorities. Greek-language schools continue to operate in Gjirokastra, Saranda, Delvin and Korce, while Macedonian-language education is provided in schools in Korce. In addition to the limited teaching of the Romani language, education in other languages of national minorities or other languages of national minorities has not been introduced. The new law on national minorities creates opportunities for teaching in the languages of all national minorities in Albanian schools. However, the draft decisions of the Council of Ministers set out restrictive criteria for the creation of classes teaching national minority languages.[15]

Many minorities – Roma and Balkan Egyptians – are being forcibly evicted as part of major infrastructure projects, such as the construction of a ring road around the capital. While welcoming a number of measures to ensure the right to housing, including the adoption of the Albanian Law “On Social Housing”, CERD noted with concern the need for full implementation of the guarantees introduced by this new law in the context of planned evictions.[16]

Women and children from the Roma community make up a disproportionately large number of victims of human trafficking, especially for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation, as well as forced begging.[17] In addition, Roma and Ashkali women still have limited access to primary health care and services related to sexual and reproductive health, often without even knowing that such services exist. They also face obstacles to their participation in political and public life, including the exercise of their right to vote. Access to the official labour market for such women is also limited. All these factors were brought to the attention of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in July 2016.[18]

CEDAW noted with concern the limited access to education of Roma and Ashkali girls and girls with disabilities, as well as children living in rural and remote areas, due to the poor quality of school infrastructure and the lack of teachers.[19]

The fact that the country's authorities are making efforts to correct the situation should be assessed positively. In Albania, there are institutions for the public defender and the Commissioner for Protection against Discrimination. Following the entry into force of the Albanian Law on the Protection of National Minorities, the State Committee for Minorities received a new mandate and is in the process of restructuring, and a fund for national minorities is being created.[20]

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Belgium

Belgium is not one of the countries where there are acute problems of glorifying Nazism and revising the results of the Second World War.

The law of July 30, 1981 “On the Prevention of Acts Motivated by Racism and Xenophobia”, the law of March 23, 1995 “On the Prevention of Denial, Minimization or Justification of Genocide committed by the German Regime during World War II”, and the law of May 10, 2007 “On the Suppression of Certain Forms of Discrimination” provide the legal basis for combating manifestations of neo-Nazism, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

In general, Belgium respects the memory of Resistance fighters and victims of Nazism, and maintains memorials and cemeteries dedicated to them, where Red Army soldiers who participated in the partisan movement are buried, including those who died in battles on the territory of the country. The largest of the Belgian memorials is the “Fort Breendonk” complex – a former Nazi concentration camp near Mechelen, through which thousands of prisoners passed before being deported to Auschwitz and the Holocaust Museum at the Dossen barracks, located nearby.

In Belgium, celebrations are held in connection with the end of the Second World War and the liberation of the country from the Nazis. In particular, in 2019, on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the country, large actions were held in Brussels, Liege, and Antwerp with the participation of federal and regional leaders, which noted the role of the USSR in the Victory over Nazism. Representatives of the Belgian authorities, veterans' organizations, and the public periodically take initiatives to hold joint commemorative events with the Russian side. So, in March 2019, in Comblay-au-Pont, at the suggestion of the local Military-Patriotic Society, a slab was opened in memory of the hero of the Belgian Resistance, major E. Dotsenko. In October 2019, in the city of Rebeck with the participation of the Governor of Walloon Brabant Zh. Maye and Deputy speaker of the Federal Parliament A. Flao at the grave of a Red Army soldier, a member of the Resistance movement V. Talda, a memorial was opened in honor of all Soviet soldiers who fought in Belgium in the Resistance ranks. In agreement with the authorities in Liege, the construction of a temple-monument to Russian soldiers has begun.

The manifestations in civil society of disagreement with the pan-European line on blurring the role of the Red Army and the USSR in the Victory over Nazism are also noted. In connection with the adoption by the European Parliament on September 19, 2019 of the resolution “On the importance of preserving historical memory for the future of Europe”, the prominent Belgian historians and publicists on the pages of Central Newspapers criticized its text, pointed to obvious distortions of acts, attempts to rehabilitate the Nazi regime and impose a revision interpretation of history.

Despite the authorities' declared rejection of Nazism ideas, neo-Nazism and the ideology of hatred, as well as efforts to counteract the holding of such events, Belgium follows the EU and abstains from voting in the UN General Assembly on the resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

The Belgian authorities attribute the manifestations of neo-Nazism and xenophobia to the deterioration of the security situation after the terrorist attack in March 2016, as well as the migration crisis. Currently operating in the country, neo-Nazi groups (usually with a small number of activists) are marginal and do not have a noticeable impact on the domestic political situation. Such structures include, for example, the Belgian branch of the international neo-Nazi organization “Blood and Honor” and the “Flemish Resistance”. Their actions are criticized by representatives of the country's authorities and come to the attention of law enforcement agencies. As a rule, the Belgian media also react to such events. For example, the carnival in the Flemish city of Aalst in February 2020 turned into a scandal due to the ridicule of a number of participants over the Jewish community. The incident raised a wave of public outrage over obvious signs of anti-Semitism. The stunt was condemned at various levels by the Belgian authorities, including the country's Prime Minister. “The Center for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism” acted as an intermediary in contacts on this subject between the Alst administration and Jewish associations.

In March 2019, another high-profile crime against representatives of the Jewish community in Belgium was put to an end (then, as a result of the attack on May 24, 2014 at the Jewish Museum in Brussels, 4 people were killed; the crime caused a wave of indignation and sympathy for the country's Jewish community in Belgium and throughout Europe). The culprit was sentenced by a jury to life in prison. The court also noted in its decision the anti-Semitic nature of the attack.[21]

However, some manifestations of Nazism and racism are noted in Belgium.

The case of the installation of a monument in honor of Latvian Legionnaires “Waffen-SS” in September 2018 in Zedelgem (West Flanders) at the site of a former British POW camp where Latvian SS members were held after World War II (this action was carried out in cooperation with the Latvian “Museum of the Occupation of Latvia”) received considerable fame. In response to the appeal of the activists of the Belgian Federation of Russian-speaking organizations to the leadership of the commune, the mayor of Zedelgem A. Vermeulen informed that the monument was erected taking into account the “historical ties” of this Belgian city with Latvia in order to “recall former legionnaires from a purely human perspective” and “for propaganda of contemporary art.”

Taking into account the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism addressed to states to prohibit "any solemn commemorations both official and unofficial of the Nazi regime, its allies and related organizations"[22], noted in particular in UN General Assembly Resolution 74/136 on combating glorification of Nazism, it is worth mentioning the information published in August 2019 by the Belgian media about the leader of the far-right party “Vlaams Belang” T. van Griken. It became known that while still a student, in 2005 he published a note praising the famous Flemish nationalist, the Creator of the “Vlaamse Militanten Horde” (“Flemish order of battle”), A. Eriksson (also a member of the Nazi organization “Hitler Youth”) in connection with his death.[23]

An alarming symptom is that “flea markets” in Belgium sell military paraphernalia with Nazi symbols. In 2014-2018 the Minister of Internal Affairs Ya. Yambon recognized in this regard that the Criminal Code of the Kingdom does not contain provisions prohibiting such practices. Prosecution, including criminal one, is provided only for active expression of commitment to the ideas of Nazism, denial of the Holocaust, and propaganda of illegal discrimination.

The problem of the spread of racism and xenophobia manifests itself in the context of the population's perception of the migration threat, which leads to a deterioration in relations between various ethnic and religious groups in Belgian society. The main complaint of human rights defenders against the Belgian authorities in this area is the inadequate conditions of detention of asylum seekers, illegal immigrants and their family members. According to experts, the reason for this is the lack of funding for specialized Belgian services and the lack of trained personnel.

The NGO "League of Human Rights" noted that the practice of placing minors in closed centers used by the authorities from August 2018 to April 2019 contradicts the provisions of the main international documents on the protection of children's rights. The fact that unaccompanied children are placed in centers for adult asylum seekers was pointed out by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in January 2019. It also noted that in Belgium, there are widespread cases of disappearance of unaccompanied children in transit through the country.[24]

In July 2018, a new closed detention center for families with children awaiting return was opened in Belgium. The NGO “Children on the Run” strongly criticized the work of this center. The Commissioner for Children's Rights expressed concern about the extension of the maximum stay of unaccompanied migrant children in families and noted that this created stress and fear among children.[25]

Human rights organizations noted that many refugees in the country had to be placed in the street due to the fact that the Belgian migration service could not accommodate all of them. The largest of these places is a spontaneous tent camp in the Maximilian Park in the Central part of Brussels. After the beginning of the spread of coronavirus infection, the tent camps of migrants were liquidated by the authorities.

The EU Agency for fundamental rights (FRA) expressed concern about the “punitive” measures taken by the Belgian authorities against sympathizers of migrants or refugees. For example, two journalists, a social worker and another person were tried for providing asylum or otherwise supporting migrants.[26]

In January 2019, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) noted with concern the numerous problems faced by migrant children in the country due to prejudice and discrimination (in addition to serious difficulties in obtaining school education. CRC experts were also concerned about the radicalization of children and incitement to hatred, including against children in vulnerable situations. Bullying and violence at school by both peers and teachers is still widespread in the country.[27]

The migration problem also highlighted the prevalence of racial profiling in law enforcement agencies in Belgium. Citing an “Amnesty International” human rights NGO survey of police officers and officials in nine local police districts in Belgium, FRA indicated racial or ethnic profiling during police checks of identity and identity documents. However, half of the police officers surveyed believe that ethnic profiling occurs, and they often do not have the tools to prevent this practice. According to the respondents, there is no clear and consistent policy in the field of verification of identity documents, since there are no guidelines, instructions, training or monitoring of identity verification.[28]

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, noted that Belgian criminal law does not contain concepts that distinguish between discrimination and hate-based violence. It was emphasized that any violation of anti-discrimination laws constituting a criminal offence is usually classified by the police or Prosecutor as “discrimination”. The police or Prosecutor's databases do not indicate whether a particular incident is hate-motivated violence or another form of discrimination. In this regard, Belgium was recommended to include data on aggravating circumstances of offences in statistical reporting so that hate crimes could be more easily identified.[29]

The restrictive measures introduced in connection with the spread of coronavirus infection highlighted the problem of stratification of Belgian society. Thus, well-off Belgians are comfortable working remotely, while less well-off groups living in overpopulated areas are either forced to continue working at risk to their health and life or lose their income. Against this background, the sense of injustice has become more acute: on April 11-12, 2020, riots occurred in the migrant district of Brussels, Anderlecht. The reason for people's speeches was the death of a young man in a collision with a car while trying to escape from a police patrol. Clashes with the police ended with the use of water cannons and mass arrests.

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Bulgaria

In Bulgaria, there are cases of glorification of Nazi collaborators. Since 2003 on an annual basis, a neo-Nazi torchlight March “Lukov March” was held in Sofia in memory of General H. Lukov (figure of Bulgarian Nazism during World War II, supporter of the Alliance with the fascists, leader of the Union of Bulgarian national legions[30]). Participants of the action use military uniforms, symbols and slogans of appropriate content. In 2005, on the facade of the house where H. Lukov lived, a memorial plaque was installed.

It should be noted that in 2020, the calls of Bulgarian anti-fascists and Jewish organizations, as well as diplomatic missions, including the Russian Embassy to stop the neo-Nazi gathering that disgraces the country were heard by the capital's authorities. In February 2020, the mayor of Sofia Y. Fandykova issued an order banning the torchlight procession in the center of the Bulgarian capital, which was confirmed by the decision of the Supreme administrative court of Bulgaria. Fans of the Bulgarian nationalist could only lay wreaths at the place of his death. The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry published an official message on its website that strongly condemned “manifestations of extreme nationalism and xenophobia”, and stressed that such events “have no place in modern Bulgaria” .[31]

Despite the authorities' declared rejection of Nazism ideas, neo-Nazism and the ideology of hatred, as well as efforts to counteract the holding of such events, Bulgaria follows the EU and abstains from voting in the UN General Assembly on the resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

Attempts to prosecute Bulgarian veterans who fought on the side of the Bulgarian National Army formed in the fall of 1944, partisan detachments and battle groups, as well as the Resistance Movement, were not registered.

There are no facts of obstacles, including at the state level, to the holding of events in Bulgaria to celebrate the Day of the Victory in World War II and related dates.

There were no cases of counteraction to the activities of veterans' organizations and anti-fascist NGOs, as well as the introduction of bans on the symbols of the Red Army and the USSR.

The situation with ensuring the inviolability of monuments to Soviet soldiers of the Red Army who died in battles on the territory of the country causes some concern. Although at the moment there are no facts of serious destruction or dismantling of Soviet war memorials in Bulgaria, acts of vandalism occur periodically.

The most frequent attacks are made on the main Soviet military memorials: the majestic monument of the Soviet Army in the center of Sofia, the monument to the Soviet soldier-liberator (“Alyosha”) and the mass grave of 153 Red Army soldiers in the capital's Lozenets quarter.

In 2019, the vandals desecrated the monument to the Soviet Army twice: on the night of June 22 (the date of Nazi Germany’s attack on the USSR, the beginning of the Great Patriotic War), when the central epitaph memorial plaque was inscribed with the inscription “The Soviet Army who liberated the grateful Bulgarian people”, and on the night of August 26, when the monument was doused with paint on three sides, and the rear facing slab of its base was broken. On the night of January 13, 2020, the police stopped an attempt of two Bulgarian schoolgirls who wanted to put drawings on the monument.

On April 12, 2019, vandals desecrated the mass grave of Bulgarian anti-fascists in the center of Stara Zagora and the monument to Soviet soldiers-liberators (Starozagorsky “Alyosha”) in the Park “Metropoliti Metodiy Kusev”, they drew swastikas and obscenities.

On the night of January 30, 2020, the monument to the Soviet soldier-liberator in Plovdiv (“Alyosha”) was desecrated: the side of the monument and the exposition with a bas-relief in front of it were covered with red paint, the inscriptions “do not forget” and “will not forgive” are applied.

On February 12, 2020, an act of mockery was registered over the mass grave of 153 Soviet soldiers in the Lozenets quarter of Sofia: a bas-relief sculpture group of Soviet soldiers was damaged by unknown persons (the noses were chipped and the heads of two soldiers were damaged).

On the night of April 8, 2020, an act of vandalism was committed against a monument on the mass grave of 45 Soviet officers and soldiers in the city park of Dobrich. On the 7-meter sculpture and 12-meter pylon vandals painted in blue the words “Death of the USSR”, “Death of Russia”, “Bulgaria itself”, “Death to the occupier”, “Death to Alyosha”, “Death to communism” and “Enough of self-abasement”.

There are no facts of illegal exhumation or transfer of the remains of Soviet soldiers on the territory of Bulgaria.

There are several nationalist and openly neo-Nazi structures in the country that promote racial hatred, ideas of national socialism, and intolerance of national minorities living here, primarily Turks and Roma. Among them are the Bulgarian national Union (the leading neo-Nazi movement in Bulgaria established in 2001 and registered as an NGO, positions itself as the successor of the Union of Bulgarian national legions), the Bulgarian branch of the international neo-Nazi organization “Blood and Honor” (“Blood and Honor” was founded in 1987 in the UK) in the city of Plovdiv, the far-right organization “National Resistance” (founded in 2008) and the Nationalist Party of Bulgaria (founded in 2013).

Forces on such structures in Bulgaria organized the event in honor of the Nazi leaders. Since 2017, the traditional commemoration of the Bulgarian Nazi collaborator, military pilot D. Spisarevsky (held since 2006 on December 20 in the village of Dolni-Pasarel, Sofia region), takes place in the form of a torchlight procession.

On April 21, 2019, the founding Congress of the neo-Nazi Association Fortress Europe was held in Sofia, attended by representatives of far-right European organizations. Bulgaria was represented by members of the “Bulgarian National Union”. On April 30, 2019 (the date of the next anniversary of A. Hitler’s death) the streets of Sofia and the region were pasted with leaflets praising the leader of the Nazis.

At the same time, there is no tendency to increase the number of groupings of this kind. On the contrary, on February 10, 2020, the Sofia city Prosecutor's office filed a claim with the Sofia city court to cancel the registration of the NGO “Bulgarian National Union-Edelweiss” (organizer of the “Lukov March”).

Neo-Nazi ideas are being spread on the websites of the Bulgarian National Union www.bgns.bg and Lukov Marsh www.lukovmarch.info, where, among other things, online lectures on nationalist topics are published. The social network Facebook is used for campaigning and fundraising. In the streets of Sofia, you can find pasted leaflets and graffiti with swastikas or the logo of SS units (Schutzstaffel). The works of A. Hitler “Mein Kampf”, as well as foreign and Bulgarian nationalists and Holocaust deniers, such as R. Harwood, A. Panayotov, B. Stankov, etc. are available for free sale.

The spread of hate speech against national minorities in Bulgaria mainly takes place at the domestic level. Parties and NGOs that protect the interests of the Turkish and Roma populations operate freely in the country. At the same time, nationalistic passages of individual politicians appear periodically in the media, mainly concerning the growth of crime and illiteracy of the Roma ethnic group.

However, international monitoring structures have expressed concern about reports of an increase in incidents of hate speech and hate crimes, especially those targeting minority groups such as Turks, Roma, Muslims, Jews, people of African descent, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. This was discussed in particular by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in May 2017[32] and the Human Rights Committee in November 2018.[33] This plan highlighted the vulnerable situation of the Roma, who, including children, are widely stigmatized and discriminated against, that results in violence and hate speech against them.

There are also cases of vandalism against places of worship. Investigations of such cases rarely lead to the identification and prosecution of those responsible.

Nazi symbols are regularly found in Bulgarian stadiums during football matches between local clubs, whose fans (mostly teenagers and young people who call themselves “ultras”) do not hide their affiliation with neo-Nazi movements. For example, in October 2019, during a football match of the Euro 2020 qualification stage between the Bulgarian and English national teams, Bulgarian fans shouted racist slogans and defiantly raised their hands, imitating a Nazi salute. The incident has received a wide response in Europe. As a result, the leadership of the Bulgarian Football Union was forced to resign.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter referred to as BH) generally recognizes the key importance of the Victory over Nazism, which gave the peoples of Europe freedom. Commemorative events related to the struggle of the Yugoslav people against the invaders are regularly held throughout the country, significant dates are celebrated. First of all, the Battle of Suteska (May 15 – June 15, 1943), the Battle of the Neretva (February 16 – March 15, 1943), the Igman March (January
1942), the liberation of Sarajevo and Banja Luka, the Yasenovac concentration camp (April 1945), and others.

The fact that anti-Nazi sentiment prevails in local society and leadership is also evidenced by the country's support for the UN General Assembly resolution adopted in December 2019 on the initiative of Russia on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

However, the peoples living in BH (Serbs, Croats, and Bosniaks-Muslims) have differences in their assessments of the results of the Second World War. For example, representatives of the Bosniak political elite promote the thesis of fighting the invaders and “external aggression” both in 1941-1945 and in 1992-1995. They emphasize that in both cases the Bosniaks managed to defend a “united and indivisible” Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnian Serbs remember the victims of the concentration camps of the pro-fascist state formation on the territory of present-day Croatia and BH – the so – called Independent State of Croatia (hereinafter – ISC) (1941-1945). They emphasize the decisive contribution of the Serbian people to the fight against the Nazis, but often record representatives of the other two peoples in the camp of Nazi collaborators.[34]

Representatives of the Croatian population tend to underestimate the number of victims among Serbs and Jews during the war. They promote the thesis of the need to remember all the Croats, who died both those who fought in the ranks of the partisans during the Second World War, and supporters of the ISC. At the same time, the “bloody regime of I. B. Tito” is criticized for the massacre of ISC supporters after the war. Leaders of local Croats regularly take part in relevant commemorative events (including in the city of Bleiburg, Austria).

To date, there is no glorification of the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism at the state level in BH. Nevertheless, neo-Nazi manifestations in the country are making themselves felt. In particular, the Muslim-Croatian Federation of BH (hereinafter – FBH) has noted attempts to “whitewash” Nazi collaborators. A number of streets in Mostar, Shiroki-Brieg, and Chaplin were renamed in honor of the Ustasha criminals – M. Budak, Y. Frantsetsich, A. Vokich, I. Zeleniki, D. Spuzhevich, and M. Lorkovich. In Sarajevo, streets bearing the names of nationalists and ideologues of the pan-Islamist movement “Young Muslims” M. Busuladzic and V. Churcic, as well as the commander of the ISC units during the occupation in Sanjak (Serbia) and Sarajevo, C. Pachiris[35], have appeared. In June 2016, a secondary school in Gorazd (FBH) was named in honor of Imam Hussein Efendi Jozo, who was a member of the SS Hajar division, which was formed mainly of Bosniak Muslims and was famous for its punitive raids in the Balkans during World War II.[36] All the above-mentioned persons were sentenced to death by the military tribunals of Yugoslavia after the War.

 Moreover, Bosnian Croats have plans to build a “peace memorial” in the suburb of Mostar in the area of Bili, where it is planned to install several thousand crosses with the names of Croats from Herzegovina who died during the Second World War, including on the side of the ISC.[37]

The Republic of Srpska (hereinafter referred to as RS) and the Bosnian Serb population of BH actively promote anti-fascism ideas. The “Immortal Regiment” and “St. George's Ribbon” campaigns are gaining popularity every year in the Bosnian-Serbian entity. At the initiative of the RS Government, the educational programs of the entity since the 2018/ 2019 academic year include extended lectures on crimes and genocide against Serbs and the Holocaust in the ISC. In 2019, on the initiative of the authorities of the Serb entity formed by society “February 7, 1942”, the purpose of which is to gather information about the Ustasha crimes against the civilian Serbian population in the villages of Drakulic, Sagovac and mine Rakovac when one day with special cruelty more than 2.3 thousand people were killed.

At the same time, Bosnian Serbs have a special perception of the role of Serbia in World War II, in particular, the government in exile and its armed forces in the Balkans. In June 2019, a monument was erected in Bilecha to the leader of the Chetniks movement, D. Mikhailovich, who took part in the war on the territory of Yugoslavia in fighting not only against the fascist invaders, but also against the partisans of the People's Liberation Army of Yugoslavia (PLA). In addition, every year, on the day of D. Mikhailovich's arrest (March 10, 1946), supporters of the Chetniks movement organize commemorative events in Visegrad.

The activities of associations of participants of the Second World War in BH are based on the traditions of existence within the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The successor to the Yugoslav SUBNOR of the Socialist Republic of BH (Union of Societies of Veterans of the People's Liberation War) – SABNOR BH (Union of Societies of Anti-Fascists and Veterans of the People's Liberation War) and SUBNOR RS – after the armed conflict in BH 1992-1995 united all the primary veteran organizations and has an extensive network of representative offices throughout the country, acting almost on a voluntary basis.

There are cases of vandalism against the Partisan cemetery in Mostar (Croatian part). In November 2019 (on the eve of BH Statehood Day celebrated in the Muslim-Croatian part of the country) and in April 2020 (on the eve of the anniversary of the creation of the ISC), neo-Nazis staged pogroms at the restored cemetery, as a result of which many tombstones were destroyed or painted with Nazi symbols.[38]

In February 2020, a group of local Croatian football fans attacked a parade on the anniversary of the liberation of the city Mostar from Nazi invaders.[39]

Organized activity of nationalist or far-right groups is not registered in BH. Some of them function on social networks, such as the "Bosnian National Pride Movement"[40] created in 2010, however, its activities have no practical realization.

The same applies to hate speech directed at persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities. It is expressed primarily in negative comments under materials on the Internet portals of Bosnian media (for example, klix.ba and faktor.ba information portals operating in the FBH) but does not go beyond the Internet space.

In addition to the growing number of racist hate speech in the media, the attention of international human rights bodies, in particular the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Human Rights Committee has been drawn to the increasing number of anti-Semitic hate speech in sports, as well as the prevalence of hate crimes against Roma.[41]

The Roma community, which is one of the largest, remains the most marginalized among national minorities in BH. Despite the activities of human rights organizations and the assistance of the international community, including the OSCE Mission in BH, the Roma community is very difficult to integrate into the educational process. Coverage of Roma children in both pre-school and secondary education is insufficient. Minors are often denied access to education due to poverty and economic difficulties, due to the high level of unemployment in this part of the population and their lack of access to adequate housing. At this stage, there are no opportunities to provide Roma with education in their native language, and effective mechanisms for social integration of Roma have not been found[42]. In addition, Roma children are often victims of arranged marriages[43].

In many areas with a mixed population, the learning process is complicated by the separation of children on the basis of nationality, the creation of “two schools under one roof”. This practice is of serious concern to the Council of Europe and the OSCE, which are demanding that the Bosnian authorities to end segregation in schools.

Due to the specifics of the Constitution of BH, which is part of the Dayton peace agreement of 1995 and focuses on the settlement of relations between the three constituent peoples, representatives of other ethnic groups, united in the category “other citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina”, cannot be elected to the highest state authority (consisting of three members of the Presidency) and the upper house of the BH Parliamentary Assembly.

In 2006, a public figure D. Sejdić (a Roma by nationality) and the head of the Jewish community J. Finzi filed a lawsuit in the European Court of Human Rights against Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to eliminate discrimination and ensure passive suffrage for other citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Presidency and the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly of BH.

In December 2009 ECtHR ruled in their favor and ordered BH to provide a mechanism for the participation of national minorities in these state structures by making appropriate changes to the Constitution and electoral legislation. The process of implementing the verdict of the ECtHR has not yet brought results due to the lack of agreement of the country's leading political forces on this issue.

According to the Croatian community representatives, the trend of discriminatory attitude of the Bosniak majority towards the legal rights of the Croatian people in BH continues. It is noted that according to the results of the General elections held in autumn 2018 in BH, Bosnian Croats again did not receive their legitimate representative in the Presidency. The situation around the non-held municipal elections in Mostar, where the population has not been able to exercise their legal voting rights since 2008, is potentially dangerous.

Ethnic minority groups, especially Roma, are also very poorly represented in decision-making bodies and in public positions at the entity level[44].

In this regard, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination recommended BH to take concrete measures aimed at achieving a more integrated society based on the values of equality and non-discrimination, in which all citizens, regardless of their ethnic, ethno-religious or national affiliation, can participate[45].

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Great Britain

The nationalist movement in Great Britain has deep roots going back to the historical past of this state. The first supporters of extreme right-wing views – “British Fascism” – appeared in the country in the first half of the 20th century. At the same time, the formation of the national-patriotic pole of the political spectrum of Great Britain took place in line with the General European trend.

In the 30s of the 20th century, a number of new organizations of this kind appear, including those with an anti-Semitic bias. Although all of them were banned at the beginning of the war, they were soon replaced by new groups. So, founded by the famous British nationalist O. Mosley (leader of the organization “British Union of Fascists”) in 1947 the “Union Movement” united more than 50 small far-right organizations and groups.

Some monarchs were also noted for their ultra-right leanings (including connections with the Nazis). So, in 1937 the British king Edward VIII paid a visit to A. Hitler. A photograph of him performing the Nazi salute is known.

The fight against the “dominance” of migrants associated with the collapse of the colonial system, and the desire to preserve the traditional way of life of the British were in the focus of attention of right-wing groups and do not leave it
until now. The focus is shifting from external to internal issues of British society. In recent years, these factors have been added to the ongoing debate in the country about membership in the European Union, which culminated in the June 23, 2016 referendum on the UK's exit from the EU.

Modern British political correctness largely prefers to ignore the painful issue of the activities of neo-Nazi organizations in the country. In turn, the extreme right, who tend to call themselves “true conservatives”, continue to advocate for the preservation of the unity of the UK as the heir to the Empire in the territorial, cultural and racial sense, which is very appealing to some tired of the “dominance of migrants” British citizens.

It is worth noting that in general, nationalist ideas are rejected in British society. However, the situation sometimes reaches the point of absurdity: people who promote the “English way of life” and “English heritage” for good reasons may be accused of xenophobia. The flag of England is already perceived by many as nationalistic, and they try not to display it at public events, in particular at matches of the England football team.

Despite the similarity of ideas, the far-right flank of the British political landscape can hardly be called unified: it is full of organizations that pursue their own narrow corporate goals.

British organizations of the ultra-right and nationalist persuasions are mostly clearly marginal in nature, their number usually does not exceed a few hundred people. In their activities, they focus on activity in the Internet space, as well as on holding high-profile public events in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Belfast.

The most prominent far-right organization, “British National Party” (hereinafter – the BNP) was founded in 1982 by the leader of the neo-Nazi movement J. Tindal. It opposes mass migration to the country and sharply criticizes the creation of a “Federal Superstate in Europe”, i.e. the European Union. Among the slogans of the BNP for a long time there were such theses as the preservation of the values of the “white” British family, the complete closure of the border for migrants and the repatriation of those who had already arrived in the country. Its supporters often put forward anti-Semitic theses and called the Holocaust a “historical hoax”. The BNP also sees its goal as uniting the world and, above all, the European camp of the far-right. The highest political result for the BNP was winning two seats in the European Parliament elections in 2009.

This party is still trying to claim leadership in the British nationalist camp. However, due to internal party disagreements, the number of officially registered party members has decreased from 13.5 thousand in 2009 to 500 in 2020 (according to representatives of the BNP itself, the number of its supporters for 2019-2020 is about 3 thousand people).

Another noteworthy British neo-Nazi organization is the one founded in 2011 by a far-right political activist from Scotland, J. Dawson and the BNP's “Britain First” Party, which opposes the “Islamization” of the UK and mass migration to the country. Its main goal is to protect the traditional British way of life, ethno-cultural heritage and Christian faith. The organization has a “combat wing” in its structure, which calls itself the “party defense forces”.

The party attracted attention in 2014 with a number of provocative actions against Muslims in London, Glasgow and Luton (attacks on mosques, forced distribution of anti-Muslim propaganda leaflets, organized protests in the vicinity of the homes of Muslim community leaders). Also in London, “Christian patrols” of up to 12 activists were organized to “counter Islamic extremism” (their actions were condemned by religious figures representing both the Muslim community and the Anglican Church)[46].

Recently, the “English Defense League”, led by the far-right activist T. Ablitt, has been rapidly gaining political weight. It appeared spontaneously in the form of street traffic in March 2009 as a protest reaction to the protests organized by the Islamic group “Al Muhajiroun” against the parades of British servicemen returning home from Afghanistan in Luton[47].

This informal, mostly youth movement openly opposes the “Islamization” of the country. The main form of its activity is conducting marches and demonstrations, organizing public protests against the construction of new mosques and the attributes of Islamic culture imposed on the British.

On March 15, 2019 the city authorities of Wellington (Shropshire) announced the suspension of the planned “National March” against the Islamization of the country by the English Defense League on March 16, 2019 (about 50 activists were expected to participate in the action) as a sign of respect for the persons, who died on March 15, 2019 as a result of the terrorist attack in New Zealand, and their relatives. As a result, the March was postponed to April 13, 2019. Just over 10 nationalists and over 100 opponents of the “National March” appeared at the event.

Another far-right organization, “National Action”, was listed as banned under the 2000 Terrorism Act in December 2016, and its leader, K. Litgo, received an 8-year prison sentence. The “Youth Wing” of this organization in the period 2015-2017 was marked by a number of demonstrations in Liverpool (numbering up to 100 people), which, according to some reports, were attended by representatives of other far-right groups (“English Defense League”, “Britain Above All”), as well as Polish football fans.

In September 2017, the organizations “Scottish Dawn” and “National Socialist Anti-Capitalist Action” were also included in the list of prohibited terrorist structures as organizations that have "alternative names to the already banned “National Movement”.

Every year on September 23, on the day the founder of the international neo-Nazi group Blood and Honor, J.S. Donaldson, was dead, a concert dedicated to his memory is held in the UK. The 2008 concert in Redhill, Surrey, received extensive coverage from the BBC, radio and print media. The event, organized in 2013, was the largest of its kind in the UK over the past 15-20 years (it was attended, according to various estimates, by between 1,000 and 1,200 neo-Nazis from all over Europe)[48].

One of the most striking manifestations of neo-Nazism in recent years has been the scandal surrounding the situation with the use of Nazi symbols by the Royal Marines in June 2019: during the “Initiation into the Marines”, they put a swastika on the chest of one of their colleagues, and then posted photos of this on social networks. The British military police is investigating the case. Senior management of the United Kingdom Navy is considering banning Royal Marine Units from participating in exercises abroad. It is noteworthy that this is not the first time that representatives of the British armed forces have demonstrated Nazi symbols: in 2013, a photo was published with two British soldiers who served in Afghanistan standing against the background of their country's flag with their hands raised in a Nazi salute[49].

At the international level, the UK delegation abstains in the vote on the annual resolution by the United Nations General Assembly “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”

British law does not prohibit the activities of far-right organizations. Their existence can be terminated only if they are recognized as terrorist in accordance with the Law “On Combating Terrorism”[50] and are included in the relevant list[51]. This can happen if the British authorities believe that such an organization is “involved in terrorist activities”, namely, “commits or participates in terrorist acts, prepares for the commission of a terrorist act, promotes and encourages terrorist sentiments (including illegal glorification of terrorism) or is otherwise associated with terrorist activities”. From the moment an organization is recognized as prohibited, belonging to it (or admitting such affiliation), providing assistance (making a call for assistance), as well as displaying the symbols of such an organization (including clothing) are crimes and are punishable by imprisonment for a period of 6 months to 10 years and/or a fine[52].

The fight against racial discrimination and xenophobia in the UK is carried out on the basis of the Public Order Act 1986[53]. It prohibits incitement to racial hatred and provides for a penalty of 6 months to 7 years' imprisonment and/ or a fine for intentionally committing this act against a racial group, distributing racist materials, making inflammatory speeches, creating racist websites on the Internet, or distributing information against a person or ethnic group with the purpose of spreading racial discontent.

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 also places in the legal framework offences related to “inciting hatred against persons for racial and religious reasons”. A special feature of this legal act is that it introduces for the first time into British law the concept of offences related to incitement to hatred for religious reasons (punishable by up to 7 years' imprisonment and/or a fine). The provisions of this law apply if “verbal language, behavior, written materials, video and audio recordings, as well as programs "carry a threat” and “are aimed at religious hatred”. Discriminatory actions based on religious beliefs in the workplace may also constitute an offence under this law in certain circumstances[54].

Another legal instrument aimed at combating discrimination is the Equality Act 2010[55]. It prohibits insults, harassment, and any discrimination in the workplace on the following grounds: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or having children, race, religious beliefs, gender, and sexual orientation.

The ethnic composition of the UK (67.5 million people) is extremely diverse. The population is English (76%), Scottish (5.8%), Welsh (3.1%), Irish (1.9%), Indian (2.3%), Pakistani (1.8%), Polish (0.9%), Bangladeshi (0.7%), Chinese (0.5%), Arab (0.4%), CIS (0.3%), Iranian (0.1%) and other groups (6.2%). According to the 2011 census, there were 1.9 million Blacks (3% of the population) and 3.1 million South Asians (4.9%).

Official London declares, within the framework of monitoring the implementation of its international legal obligations in the field of combating racism and promoting and protecting the rights of national minorities, “respect for the rights of national minorities living in the country”, declares “ongoing efforts to combat discrimination, support the development of the culture and identity of minorities”, and strongly emphasizes “the guarantees provided by the state for their rights and freedoms, including access to education and the media, protection of the languages of national minorities, as well as their participation in public life”. However, in reality, the state of affairs in the field of combating racial discrimination and discrimination against ethnic minorities leaves much to be desired.

In May 2019, the Guardian published data from opinion polls conducted by the Agency “Opinium” among representatives of national minorities, according to which 71% of respondents faced cases of racial discrimination (in January 2016 – 58%).

One in four employees of African, Asian or other ethnic origin has witnessed racially motivated harassment or bullying by managers in the past two years[56].

According to data published on October 15, 2019 by the UK Home Office, there has been a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes committed over the period 2018-2019. During the reporting period, more than 103 thousand of such offences were registered (for 2017-2018 – 94 thousand, for 2016-2017 – 80 thousand). The absolute majority (almost 79 thousand, or 76% of the total; in 2018 – 71 thousand) of these crimes are based on racial hatred (an increase of 125% compared to 2012-2013)[57].

According to the UK Home Office, in 2017-2018, the number of reports of alleged manifestations of far-right extremism increased by 36%, while the number of requests for manifestations of Islamist extremism decreased by 14% over the same period. In 2017, the organization “Tell MAMA” registered 1201 proven incidents against Muslims[58].

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in August 2016 and the Human Rights Committee (HRCtte) in July 2015 expressed concern about the sharp increase in the number of racial hate crimes,[59] especially in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.[60] CERD noted, in particular, the prevalence of anti-migrant rhetoric, including on the Internet and the practice of negative portrayals of ethnic or ethno-religious minorities, migrants and refugees by the media. Experts pointed out that many political figures not only failed to condemn such rhetoric, but also contributed to the spread and perpetuation of prejudice, thereby inciting individuals to commit acts of intimidation and hatred against ethnic or ethno-religious minority communities and visually distinct individuals. It was also noted that the problem of underestimating the number of hate crimes persists, and there remains a significant gap between reported cases and successful prosecutions. As a result, a large number of racial hate crimes go unpunished.

In recent years, the Committee Against Torture (CAT) noted a marked increase in the number of crimes motivated by racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and hatred of persons with disabilities in May 2019, following consideration of the UK's 6th periodic report. The CAT also indicated that it was estimated that only 2 per cent of such crimes resulted in convictions in which hostility on protected grounds was an aggravating circumstance[61].

The publication of the report on violations of the rights of ethnic minorities prepared by the independent Equality and Human Rights Commission of the United Kingdom on 18 August 2016 caused a significant response in the UK[62].

The document, which local experts call “the most comprehensive review of the situation with equality in the country in its history”, notes that members of ethnic minorities (primarily Afro-British) are victims of crime on average three times more often than white British people. The unemployment rate among representatives of national Diasporas is 12.9%, which is twice the national average. There is discrimination in the workplace: the salary of black Britons with higher education is 23% lower than the average salary. At the same time, only 6% of people from Africa and the Caribbean go to any of the 24 leading universities in the UK (among the indigenous population, this figure is 12%, in the Chinese Diaspora – 11%). In addition, discrimination against ethnic minorities in employment in the judiciary and law enforcement agencies is pointed out. In general, the document concludes that the situation of representatives of national Diasporas has deteriorated significantly over the past few years.

The Head of the Commission, D. Isaac, stated in connection with the publication of the report that “discrimination based on race is firmly entrenched in the UK”. It is noted that representatives of national minorities “often have a sense of living in another country”, as a result of which they “do not identify themselves as British, integrated into society”.

People of African descent are also more likely to be victims of illegal actions by British law enforcement agencies. Data from the London Police Service published in August 2017 showed that people of African descent are more likely to die as a result of excessive use of force by the police and subsequent lack of access to appropriate medical care than the rest of the population. Despite the fact that black men and women, Asian people and ethnic minorities make up only 14% of the total population, their share of prisoners is 25%, and 40% of pre-detained young people are black and Asian people and people from ethnic minorities. Human rights activists note that the database of suspects in united criminal groups maintained by the Metropolitan Police Service has been criticized: the number of young black men in this database is disproportionate to the likelihood of their connection with the criminal world[63]. In addition, people of African descent are subjected to random checks by law enforcement nine times more often than whites[64].

Asian people, Roma and other national minorities face similar problems. In August 2016, CERD highlighted that representatives of these categories of the population continue to face exclusion and are subject to negative stereotypes and stigmatization in the media. The Committee noted the persistence of discrimination against persons belonging to ethnic minorities, especially Roma and people of African descent, in terms of access to health services and the quality of medical care provided. In addition, the Treaty body pointed out that the reform of the legal aid system and the introduction of payment of court costs related to labour appeals had restricted access to justice for the above-mentioned categories of persons[65]. Despite the statements made by T. May immediately after taking office as Prime Minister in 2016, regarding the need to tighten the fight against racial discrimination in the UK juvenile justice system, the situation in this area also continues to deteriorate. As of February 2019, the number of black people aged 15 to 21 in children's correctional facilities was estimated at 51% of the total number of young prisoners (in 2017, this figure was 40%). According to experts, the reason for this was a combination of factors, including a decrease in funding for local authorities, police, mental health services, an increase in the confiscation of residential property from black families, etc.[66]

In addition, CERD pointed to the existence of racist bullying and harassment in UK schools, as well as a disproportionately large number of excluded pupils belonging to Roma or Afro-Caribbean communities[67]. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) noted with concern that some groups of the population suffer more from poverty or are at higher risk of falling into poverty, in particular those belonging to ethnic, religious or other minorities[68]. The report of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on extreme poverty and human rights, F. Alston, following a visit to the UK, notes that the current tax system in the UK negatively affects the well-being of the most vulnerable segments of the population (including women, people of Asian and African descent, representatives of ethnic minorities, single parents, people with disabilities and asylum seekers)[69].

In February 2019, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), following its consideration of the 8th periodic report of the United Kingdom, expressed concern about the vulnerable situation of women, especially those of Asian and African descent and women from ethnic minorities and refugees.[70]

Despite active public censure and widespread media coverage of anti-Semitism in the UK, human rights activists assess the situation in this area as extremely negative. According to a report by the British NGO “Community Security Trust”, the record for the number of anti-Semitic incidents was broken in 2018. In total, 1,652 cases of anti-Semitism were registered during the period, it is 16% more than in 2017. The vast majority of incidents occurred in London and Manchester, where the country's largest Jewish communities live[71].

The report of the human rights organization “Labour against Antisemitism”, submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is devoted to cases of anti-Semitism by members of the labour party[72].

However, it should be noted that the position taken by the party leadership on this issue implies an unequivocal condemnation of anti-Semitism. On January 27, 2020, in a statement made on the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day and published on the Facebook page, the party's leader, Jon Corbyn pointed out that “the loss of social unity today allows racist political movements to turn some social groups against others”. He stressed that the Holocaust Memorial Day is an occasion to “reflect on the horrors of the past, the evils of Nazism, genocide and anti-Semitism”.[73]

The scale of the problem of anti-Semitism in the country was pointed out by Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism E. T. Achiume in her report to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly on contemporary manifestations of racism and the fight against the glorification of Nazism, prepared in compliance with UN General Assembly resolution 73/157.[74]

Since 1999, the British police have been trying to attract more members of national minorities to the service so that the ethnic composition of the security forces corresponds proportionally to the groups of the population in whose interests the work is carried out. However, according to experts, activities in this direction are moving slowly, which is the subject of criticism by representatives of law enforcement agencies themselves. So, according to the head of the National Council of police chiefs (coordinates the work of law enforcement agencies in the UK), S. Thornton, for 20 years, none of the 43 police departments in England and Wales has achieved its goals, at best, progress on this issue will not be seen until 2052.[75]

It should be noted that national minorities are widely represented in government offices: former Finance Minister S. Javid was born in a Pakistani family, Interior Minister P. Patel is from a family of Indian migrants from Uganda, and the Deputy Foreign Minister, J. Cleverley is a descendant of Sierra Leoneans, London Mayor S. Khan is the son of Pakistanis who immigrated to the UK, and Finance Minister R. Sunak is of Indian origin.   

On April 5, 2020, it became known that the counter-terrorism unit of the London police is investigating attempts by British far-right groups to use the critical situation with coronavirus in the country to incite hatred against the Muslim population.

So, the founder and former leader of the “English Defense League” T. Robinson published a video on social networks that showed a group of Muslims leaving a “secret mosque” in Birmingham at the height of the epidemic, despite the demands of the British authorities not to gather in groups. The video quickly gained more than 10 thousand views and negative comments. The police later denied the time period of the footage, noting that it was taken before the quarantine was declared.

However, not all manifestations of xenophobia against the background of the spread of coronavirus infection are the result of organized activities of radical groups. The commission of crimes motivated by national and racial hatred in many cases is caused by panic among the population and the desire to hold certain social groups responsible for what is happening. Here are some examples of aggressive attitudes towards people of Asian origin.

On March 2, 2020, a University College London student originally from Singapore was attacked. He was beaten by a group of young men who shouted accusations of spreading coronavirus at him, and suffered several fractures. The case is currently being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service[76]. Two people have already been arrested on suspicion of committing a crime[77].

In Exeter, as of March 6, 2020, there were 6 independent racial hate crimes committed against people of Asian origin per day[78].

The new virus also put representatives of the business sector at risk. Many Chinese companies and British corporations whose activities are closely linked to China have seen a significant decrease in the number of consumers of their services, while in other years, the period leading up to the Chinese New year celebration, on the contrary, has been characterized as more profitable[79].

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Hungary

In Hungary, there are no cases of open manifestations of racism, as well as the official glorification of Nazism and neo-Nazism. Torchlight processions and gatherings of former members of the Waffen-SS and their admirers are not held. There are no registered attempts to bring to justice veterans who served in the Red Army. The ruling right-wing conservative Alliance FIDESZ-HDNP, which is determined to build pragmatic, mutually beneficial relations with Russia and maintain a high level of Russian-Hungarian political dialogue, is generally effectively working to prevent xenophobic manifestations and intolerance on a confessional basis.

In Hungary, neo-Nazi organizations and related paraphernalia are legally prohibited. There is also no government support for them. Among the groups that existed earlier and were dissolved by a court decision, the largest were “Blood and Honor”, “Betyarshereg” (“Robber Army”), “National Guard – Carpathians and Motherland”, “National Self-Defense”, “Hungarian National Guard” and the movement “For a Better Future”.

Another notable ultra – right-wing organization, the “64 Regions” Association[80], when faced with a real threat of dissolution, promptly changed its Articles of Associations, got rid of legally prohibited symbols (nilashist crosses, swastikas and SS runes) and currently positions itself as a “sports and patriotic movement for the preservation of traditions”. In fact, it is the “64 Regions” that has absorbed the bulk of neo-Nazi youth, including those from the above-mentioned banned groups.

A special place in the Hungarian social and political life is occupied by the national populist party “Jobbik – For a Better Hungary”, represented in the State Assembly, which previously actively interacted with far-right groups, but during its first parliamentary cycle (2010-2014) noticeably cleared its ranks of marginals and actually abandoned xenophobic rhetoric. At the moment, this structure is gradually moving away from the slogans of Euroscepticism, which were adopted by the “Our Motherland” party that spun off from Jobbik.

With regard to the promotion of distorted interpretations of the history of the Second World War period, it should be noted that the specific feature of Hungary is the constitutional consolidation of the thesis of the interruption of state sovereignty since March 19, 1944 (the entry of Hitler's troops in the framework of operation Margarita, the approval of the nilashist regime led by F. Salashi) on May 2, 1990 (the formation of the first government after the change of system), that is, in fact, the idea of a “double occupation” of the country, first by Nazi Germany, and then by the USSR. At the official level, the message of complete identity of the Communist and Nazi regimes is persistently cultivated. Along with the Nazi swastika, SS runic signs, and nilashist crossed arrows, the public wearing of the red star, sickle, and hammer is prohibited.

At the same time, the FIDESZ-HDNP government tries not to exaggerate this issue and in every possible way retouches differences in Russian and Hungarian assessments of the history of the war and post-war period, inclining to the inexpediency of excessive politicization of the historical past. The official authorities do not prevent the holding of events to celebrate the victory in World War II and memorable dates associated with the liberation of the country from the Nazi invaders.

There are no concerns about the situation with Russian military memorial sites located in Hungary of different historical periods. To date, their status is regulated by the Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Hungary on perpetuating the memory of fallen military personnel and civilian victims of war and on the status of graves dated March 6, 1995. The mechanism for direct implementation of the Agreement – the joint Russian-Hungarian intergovernmental Commission on military graves – is working successfully.

In 2019, there were 3 cases of desecration of memorials to Soviet soldiers, the consequences of which were quickly eliminated.

Cases of unauthorized demolition by local authorities of Russian military memorial objects in recent decades are not registered. Individual incidents of this nature occurred in 1991-1992 but were quickly suppressed and after the settlement of the legal status of graves in 1995, they were not repeated.

At the same time, in the international arena, Hungary follows the common line of the EU. For example, the Hungarian delegation annually abstains from adopting the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

It should be noted that the mood of the Hungarian leadership to build pragmatic relations with Russia causes undisguised irritation on the part of the EU, Brussels and Washington, which seek to “punish” Hungary for trying to conduct an independent foreign policy that meets its national interests. It is expected that this provokes an opportunistic criticism of the human rights situation in the country with the use of the resources of large Pro-Western human rights organizations.

In terms of manifestations of racism, international human rights organizations refer to the vulnerable situation of the country's Roma population, the vast majority of who have a low social status, which, according to human rights defenders, makes them subject to various forms of discrimination. The reports of the Hungarian Commissioner for human rights also repeatedly drew attention to the difficult living conditions of this national minority and called on the Government to take real steps to improve the situation in this area, since “the Roma themselves are not able to break the vicious circle of poverty”. It was emphasized that in recent decades, in a number of regions of the country, especially in the North-East, about a hundred Roma ghettos have actually been formed, which do not contribute to improving the living standards or social adaptation of the Roma.

The vulnerable situation of Roma, including in the sphere of education, the fight against poverty and unemployment, and the development of infrastructure in Roma settlements, was noted in March 2018 by the Human Rights Committee[81] and in June 2019, by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination[82].

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Greece

In Greece, there are no cases of glorification of Nazism by central or local authorities. The country does not build monuments and memorials to the Nazis and their collaborators, or organize public demonstrations to glorify the Nazis or spread the ideas of neo-Nazism. There are no registered facts of desecration or destruction of monuments in honor of fighters against Nazism during the Second World War, exhumation and transfer of their remains, prohibition of symbols of the USSR or the Red Army, etc. The municipal leadership has a positive attitude to the celebration of Victory Day, including the holding of “Immortal Regiment” marches in a dozen cities in the country over the past years. Greek society has a relatively high level of immunity to far-right rhetoric, does not accept attempts to revise history and whitewash the Nazis and their allies. This is due to the historically significant popularity of the “left” views here, the preserved memory of the rule of the dictatorial regime of the “black colonels” in 1967-1974 and the occupation of Greece by the “axis” countries in 1941-1944, which caused numerous human victims and huge material damage, the question of compensation for which Athens still regularly, although to no avail, put before Berlin. According to public opinion research, over 65% of Greeks are in favor of restricting the activities of neo-Nazis.

Local authorities carefully treat memorials in honor of anti-fascist soldiers, including monuments and burial sites of Soviet partisans (Paleo Faliro district of Athens, Thessaloniki, Chania on the island of Crete, the villages of Kaloskopi, Karoutes, Kato Korifi, Mesovuno, Stylida) and the victims of the events of the Second World War among the civilian population (Drama and Kalavryta, the villages of Viannos, Dervenochoria, Distomo, Doxato, Kandanos, Kommeno, Paramithia, Rodakino, Chortiatis, etc.).

The annual conferences of the NGO “Greek-Russian club “Dialog”” by F. Ignatiadis, held since 2015, as well as the active efforts of the public figure-anti-fascist V. Kossivakis, contribute to preventing the revision of the results of the Second World War and the denial of the crimes of fascism. They regularly arrange screenings of Soviet and Russian films.

Currently, a long-term project is being implemented in Thessaloniki to create a Holocaust Memorial Museum and a human rights Education center, aimed at overcoming racism and religious discrimination in Greece, among other things[83].

At the same time, in October 2019, a new wing of the Jewish Museum was opened in the same city; a part of the exhibition is dedicated to the period 1912-1945, when the Jewish community was almost completely destroyed. Former Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, in his speech at the opening ceremony, stressed the need to preserve the memory of the Holocaust as one of the most brutal crimes against humanity. The head of state also said that the revival of Nazi and fascist organizations in Europe is fraught with a repeat of the horrors of the Second World War[84].

However, domestic manifestations of xenophobia have become more frequent in the country, with an influx of asylum seekers from the Middle East and North Africa region peaking in 2015-2016 and increasing again in late 2019 and early 2020. The increase in the number of such cases was noted on March 5, 2020 by the Greek NGO “Racist Violence Recording Network”, which cooperates with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees (UNHCR) in Greece. Currently, there are a total of more than 90 thousand refugees and migrants on the Greek territory.

In the political space, the expression of extreme nationalist beliefs is the "Golden Dawn" party, which has been active since 1993. It uses fascist symbols, promotes the ideology of national exclusivity, and is involved in a number of high-profile crimes motivated by racial intolerance. In 2013, a criminal case was opened against the leadership and activists of the party. Since April 2015, the trial continues, in which seventy people are accused, including all persons who were at that time part of the parliamentary faction “Golden Dawn”. In September 2019, judges already found seven defendants, including a member of the European Parliament from the “Golden Dawn” party, Ya. Lagos, and a former MP, N. Michos, guilty of an attack in July 2013 on a community center that offered free Greek lessons for migrants.

In March 2019, the Greek branch of the German NGO “Rosa Luxemburg” (rosalux.gr) and the human rights organization HumanRights360 (humanrights360.org) published data on cases of aggression against migrants in Athens, noting that the responsibility for most of them lies with the supporters of this far-right party. It is noted that more than a thousand similar actions took place in 2011-2018.

Fifty of the most high-profile attacks were reflected in an exhibition of drawings by young Greek artists organized in the capital on March 11-17, 2019. Special emphasis in the selection is made on the inaction of the police in such situations.

Recently, the popularity of “Golden Dawn” is declining, which is caused, among other things, by the trials of its members. In July 2019 parliamentary elections, the party did not break the three percent barrier and thus lost representation in the legislative Assembly for the first time since 2012. This provoked a split in its leadership and middle ranks.

Among the Greek neo-Nazi groups in recent years, “Cryptia” has been particularly active. It borrowed its name from the units of ancient Sparta who committed the murders of Helot slaves, and the Greek branch “Combat 18” (in the name of the organization, according to the Nazi tradition, numbers 1 and 8 refer to the first and the eighth letters of the Latin alphabet – A and H, which are capitalized in the name of A. Hitler). Both organizations are responsible for dozens of crimes against migrants. In March 2018, the law enforcement agency managed to mostly eliminate the Greek branch of “Combat 18”.

According to a report by the Greek NGO “Racist Violence Recording Network”, in 2018, 117 cases of intolerance-based violence were identified in the country, with more than 130 victims. In 74 cases, migrants or refugees were attacked on the basis of their ethnicity, religion and skin color, human rights defenders with links to them, and associations of third-country citizens. This also includes the destruction of the monument to migrants who died at sea. In six other cases, attacks were carried out against Greek citizens for the same reasons. The other nine targeted the Jewish community and a number of places sacred to Jews. Another incident involved a Greek citizen who was engaged in educational activities against anti-Semitism. It is noteworthy that the document notes, on the one hand, an increase in xenophobic attitudes and the number of attacks committed by organized groups, on the other – an increase in the effectiveness of the authorities' actions in responding to such crimes.[85]

Since September 2014, Greece has been implementing the law "On Combating Racism", in which the relevant acts were designated as a separate group of crimes. This act increased the penalties for inciting hatred and inciting violence against certain groups of the population. The penalty for committing these crimes is imprisonment for up to three years and a fine of 20 thousand euros.

It should be noted that there are practically no examples in Greek law enforcement practice of combating the spread of racist, hateful and xenophobic ideas in the media and on the Internet. A precedent was the case opened in 2017 on charges of Islamophobia against the writer S. Triantafillou, who made statements on her Internet blog that were regarded as religious hatred. However, in 2018, this process was closed due to the lack of evidence of a crime.

The Human Rights Committee in October 2015 and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in August 2016 drew the attention of concern to the regular manifestations of racism and xenophobia,[86] especially against refugees and Roma arriving in Greece.[87]

In February 2018 The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, welcomed the establishment by Athens of a specialized working group consisting of representatives of government agencies, the Ombudsman, the Greek Human Rights Council, NGOs and trade unions to develop a strategy to combat intolerance. However, ECRI noted that not all of its proposals were taken into account by the state and called for additional attention to the implementation of anti-discrimination measures[88].

According to Greek experts, local legislation in this area does require some improvement, since it prohibits discrimination based on nationality, religion or other beliefs, disability, age or sexual orientation, but only in the field of employment and professional activities, and not in such areas as social protection, education, access to goods and services, etc.

There are no discriminatory prohibitions on the participation of representatives of minorities in political life and government, and not only representatives of the titular nation are freely admitted to them. In a number of local government structures, official positions are held by Russian compatriots from the former Soviet Union.

The situation with ensuring the right to ethnic, cultural and linguistic self-identification of the Muslim population of the region of Thrace in the North-Eastern part of the country on the border with Turkey, as well as some Islands of the Aegean sea, remains quite difficult. The only officially recognized minority (the concept of “national minority” in Greek legislation is absent) in these regions is the “Muslim”, which unites all representatives of non-titular ethnic groups living in Thrace: Turks, Pomaks, Gypsies, more than 120 thousand people in total. The Muslims of the Islands of Kos and Rhodes are not officially recognized as representatives of the national minority and, unlike the Muslim inhabitants of Thrace, do not have the opportunity to attend specialized schools with instruction in Turkish. Athens continues to restrict by law the possibility of including the definition “Turkish” in the names of public, political, sports, cultural and any other associations.

The Human Rights Committee[89] and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination[90] have expressed concern that Greek Muslims may be denied the right to self-identification because they are recognized only as a religious minority but not as an ethnic minority.

At the same time, the authorities began work on the construction of new places of worship. In June 2019, the construction of the first mosque in modern history was completed in the Greek capital. The attitude to this event in society is contradictory. Since 2013, when the decision was made to build it, residents of Athens have repeatedly staged protests, which were often led by representatives of the “Golden Dawn”.

Among the events that encourage interfaith interaction, the Greek Foreign Ministry regularly holds a conference on the peaceful coexistence of representatives of different religions in the Middle East, as well as actions through the charity organization of the Hellenic Orthodox Church “Apostoli” and a number of dioceses, including the Metropolitan of Piraeus.

When the UN General Assembly considers the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, the Greek delegation abstains and follows the consolidated position of the European Union Member States on this issue.

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Denmark

In Denmark, there are no cases of glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Nazi SS organization and its component parts, including the Waffen-SS. Participants in national liberation movements of the Nazis and their accomplices are not declared in the country. Monuments and memorials are not built in their honor. In Denmark, there were no cases of desecration or destruction of monuments dedicated to those who fought against Nazism during World War II, and to the victims of these tragic events. There have been no recent reports of public demonstrations to glorify the Nazi past and the Nazi movement, or the organization of violent rallies and protests. There were no episodes of illegal exhumation and transfer of the remains of anti-fascist soldiers, prosecution of anti-fascist veterans, and the introduction of a ban on the symbols of the Red Army and the USSR.

Organizations of compatriots living in Denmark have not been hindered from holding commemorative events related to the celebration of Victory and other memorable dates either by the Danish authorities, or by political forces, social movements, or radical structures. Veteran organizations and NGOs that fight against neo-Nazism, the glorification of Nazism and racism freely exercise their activities.

However, when voting at the UN General Assembly on the draft resolution submitted annually by Russia and other co-sponsors on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, the Danish delegation abstains, in solidarity with other member states of the European Union on this issue.

Experts do not confirm the increase in the number of extremist and radical nationalist political parties, movements and groups of a racist and xenophobic nature in Denmark, their greater involvement in the political life of the country, and their increased representation in national and local legislative bodies.

At the same time, such right-wing neo-Nazi organizations as the Danish National Front (DNF)[91], the Danish Defense League, the Danish National Socialist Movement and White Pride continue to operate in the country with varying degrees of activity[92]. Their level of activity is quite low, mainly due to a lack of funding and a small number of followers. Practical work focuses on the dissemination of propaganda materials on the Internet and social networks.

The right-wing neo-Nazi group “Northern Resistance Movement” (operates in Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland) stands out against the general background, which, unlike other similar organizations, has a clear political program (the creation of a national socialist republic consisting of the countries of Scandinavia, Finland and possibly the Baltic States, and subsequently the spread of the ideology of national socialism around the world), as well as a “combat wing” involved in violent and other illegal actions. Among the latest actions is the destruction of the Jewish cemetery in Randers on November 9, 2019 dedicated to the anniversary of Kristallnacht in 1938. As a result of the actions of the radicals, 84 tombstones were damaged and desecrated. Shortly before that, in Silkeborg, the stars of David were pasted on mailboxes in the homes of a number of Jewish families. Many also reported receiving threats.

On March 20, 2020, the Danish counterintelligence service has submitted a regular report with assessments of the level of terrorist threat against the Kingdom, which, according to the Agency, comes mainly from radical Islamism. However, against the background of an increase in the frequency of violent actions by right-wing extremists in the world, the threat level from the relevant groups has been raised from “limited” to “general”. At the same time, the security services do not exclude the possibility of carrying out similar actions in Denmark.

The Danish Criminal Code still does not penalize the use of Nazi symbols. In accordance with Article 27 (paragraph 266 b), a fine or imprisonment of up to two years is imposed for public statements and messages intended for subsequent widespread dissemination that contain threats or insults to a group of persons on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation. An aggravating circumstance is the propagandistic nature of such actions. However, in practice, if such incidents come to the attention of law enforcement agencies, sanctions for such actions should not be imposed under the pretext of protecting the right of citizens to freedom of expression, guaranteed by Article 77 of the Danish Constitution.

The involvement of extremist nationalist parties, as well as movements and groups of a racist and xenophobic nature, in the political life of Denmark is limited. The right-wing political party “Hard Course”, which became famous for carrying out provocative actions, including the burning of the Quran, in areas densely populated by Muslim migrants and refugees, failed to overcome the two-percent barrier of passage to the Folketing (Parliament) in the elections held in June 2019, and received only 1.8% of the vote.

The “New Right” Party (Nye Borgerlige), whose political program combines a liberal economic policy and a strict anti-immigration policy, on the contrary, in 2019 for the first time passed in the Folketing; it received 2.4% of the vote and 4 seats.

In Denmark, there is a difficult situation in the field of combating hate crimes. This conclusion is supported by statistics from the Kingdom's law enforcement agencies. In 2018, they registered 449 hate crimes (446 in 2017 and 274 in 2016), including 260 racial hate crimes and 112 religious hate crimes. Among the most vulnerable religious groups are Muslims and followers of Judaism (56% and 23% of the total number of such crimes, respectively), but Christians can also become victims (about 13%). In this last category of illegal acts, about half are crimes against former Muslims who have changed their religion[93]. At the same time, the Danish Police Academy provides cadets with a mandatory course of interaction with the relevant target groups, as well as victims of such crimes. Specialized seminars are part of the training program for Danish police officers.

In August 2018, a ban on wearing face-concealing clothing in public places came into force in Denmark. The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and a number of human rights NGOs operating in the state consider this rule to restrict the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion of Muslim women living in the country who, due to their religious beliefs, wear appropriate clothing. The ban contributes to their social isolation and the development of a “parallel society” in the Kingdom.

In 2015, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted the existence of racial prejudices in the country, as well as manifestations of violence, xenophobia and intolerance, and recommended that the Danish authorities step up their efforts to combat them and promote tolerance and intercultural understanding among different groups. CERD also pointed out that there are no provisions in the Danish Criminal Code prohibiting organizations that promote racial discrimination, as well as participation in their activities.[94]

It should be noted that the information provided by the Danish authorities on the implementation of the concluding observations did not address CERD's concerns regarding measures to combat racism, xenophobia and intolerance, bring those responsible for such crimes to justice, increase access to justice for victims of discrimination, and increase the participation of minority representatives in the labour market. A year later, the Committee specifically asked the Danish side to reflect these issues in Denmark's next periodic report.[95]

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) also drew attention to shortcomings in the area of countering discrimination in October 2019. In particular, it was emphasized that there is no legally established prohibition of discrimination on grounds such as age, disability or religious affiliation outside the labor sphere. CESCR also noted that the Danish authorities are taking legislative measures that explicitly allow different treatment based on criteria such as ethnicity, social status, and place of residence, which is contrary to the country's international legal obligations.[96]

As for Jews living in the country, according to the results of a study by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) published in December 2018, 80% of them are constantly (9%), often (32%) or sometimes (39%) forced to avoid wearing or displaying things and objects that identify them as representatives of Jewish nationality. Although only 56% of respondents consider anti-Semitism a very serious or rather serious problem (14% and 42%, respectively), the largest Association – the Jewish society of Denmark, with 2,400 members, traditionally warns against public display of appropriate accessories or clothing.

Moreover, this organization has been preparing and publishing reports on anti-Semitism in Denmark since 2012. According to the latest report, 30 relevant cases were registered in 2017, including assaults and physical assaults (2), threats (3), and anti-Semitic statements (24). At the same time, the number of incidents tends to increase: in 2016, 22 such cases were registered. The number of suspected enemies is treated as persons born in the Middle East and the ethnic Danes.

The growth in Denmark of xenophobia, hate propaganda against people from foreign countries, as well as an increase in the number of racist publications in the media and the Internet, increased Islamophobia and anti-Semitism after the terrorist attack on the Jewish community in Copenhagen in February 2015, and the stigmatization of the Roma community was noted in May 2015 by CERD. It also expressed concern about the high level of unemployment and the poor economic situation of stateless persons and persons belonging to minority groups.

According to CERD's National Integration Barometer, 45% of people belonging to ethnic minority groups believe that they are discriminated against on the basis of their ethnicity[97].

It should be noted that in recent years, measures to counter the influx of migrants have become an integral part of the political programs of even those parties whose ideology generally does not allow them to be attributed to the right wing. This is necessary in order to win over an electorate of ethnic Danes who show a negative attitude towards people from non-European states. A report published in 2019 by the Danish Institute for Human Rights noted the strengthening of xenophobic attitudes among representatives of the titular nationality[98].

Thus, the center-left “Social Democrats” Party, which won the last parliamentary elections, adheres to a fairly strict position on the migration issue. Earlier, its representatives supported the adoption of the “ghetto set” proposed by the Danish People's party – laws that apply to areas that meet certain criteria, the main of which is the residence of immigrants from non-Western countries (if they make up at least half of the population). The list of ghettos is updated annually by the Danish government, now it has 28 positions.

Since the stated goal of the new legislation is to ensure better integration of residents of such areas into Danish society, local children must spend 25 hours a week in special classes dedicated to Danish values upon reaching the age of 1. This includes learning the Danish language and learning the traditions of celebrating Easter and Christmas. Failure to comply with this rule by parents deprives them of the right to social benefits. However, pre-school attendance is not mandatory for other Danes.

Parents who arrange long-term trips to their country of origin for their children are liable to 4 years' imprisonment.

However, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, following the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, noted with concern the different approaches of the Danish authorities to providing education in the mother languages of children from European countries and children of non-European origin. According to experts, this discriminatory approach will negatively affect the integration of minorities and foreigners into the Danish educational system[99].

Another possible criterion for classifying a district as a ghetto is that at least 2.7% of the population has a criminal past. In this regard, committing a crime in a ghetto usually carries a penalty twice as severe as that imposed on the rest of the country[100].

A specific problem is that measures taken by the authorities that are formally aimed at eliminating segregation in housing and creating a more optimal composition of residents may actually have a negative impact on access to housing for persons from minorities and socially marginalized groups. Thus, on the basis of the “mixed rental” rule, only 28 of the 709 residents who were refused relocation to a certain dwelling received alternative housing from the municipalities. In addition, when renting a private housing market, people with a Middle Eastern surname need to send 27% more applications to get a positive response than people with a Danish surname.

The situation of migrants in Denmark and the measures being developed by the Danish authorities in this regard have been brought to the attention of the UN Human Rights Treaty bodies. For example, in October 2019 the CESCR noted that the authorities had recently taken many measures that directly or indirectly affect the rights of refugees and migrants in the economic, social and cultural fields, and often their development was not caused by a reduction in resources. Among these measures, the Committee pointed to the introduction in 2016 of gradations for family reunification in various situations, the launch of the procedure for temporary stay of refugees in 2018, according to which local authorities are no longer required to provide permanent housing to refugees, as well as the restriction in 2019 of the provision of free translation services when applying to medical institutions[101]. The Human Rights Committee expressed similar concerns in 2016[102].

In addition, in 2018, benefits for migrant families living in Denmark for more than three years were reduced by 30%. The right of refugees to receive a standard Danish pension in the event of early retirement has been revoked if the person has not lived permanently in Denmark for the past three years.

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Ireland

Attempts to glorify the Nazi movement, former members of Nazi organizations of the SS and its parts, including the Waffen-SS (including the construction of monuments and memorials to such figures and organizations, holding public demonstrations in their honor to glorify the Nazi past, Nazi movements, modern Nazi movements, declaring members of such organizations and those who collaborated with the Nazi regime as participants in national liberation movements), are not noted in Ireland. Due to the country's neutrality, there are no monuments or other forms of memorials dedicated to the Nazis and their collaborators, as well as structures commemorating those who fought against German Nazism. Those Irish soldiers who voluntarily left Ireland to join the Anti-Hitler Coalition forces (mainly British) were subsequently convicted of desertion and rehabilitated only at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

This situation was observed until 2012, when the Law was approved, according to which an Amnesty was declared to Irish citizens who refused to serve in the Armed Forces of Ireland and joined the ranks of those who fought on the side of the Anti-Hitler Coalition. The Irish Government has officially apologized[103].

Currently, attempts to bring to justice veterans who fought on the side of the Anti-Hitler Coalition during the Second World War are not noted in Ireland.

There are no restrictions on the activities of veterans' associations and NGOs fighting against neo-Nazism and the glorification of Nazism, and the introduction of a ban on the symbols of the Red Army and the USSR in Ireland.

There were no obstacles to holding events to celebrate the victory in World War II and other commemorations of the War in Ireland. In 2019, a set of events was held to celebrate the Victory Day, including a rally and March of the “Immortal Regiment”, which was organized by the Irish police (guards) in terms of ensuring the security of the mass event.

When the UN General Assembly considers the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, the Ireland delegation abstains and follows the consolidated position of the European Union Member States on this issue.

The problem of spreading neo-Nazi, hateful ideology, and recruiting new members of neo-Nazi and nationalist organizations using the Internet and social networks is of increasing concern to the Irish government. On November 27, 2019 following the meeting of the police Department, Garda Commissioner D. Harris noted the growth of right-wing extremism in Europe in general and in Ireland in particular, primarily through publications on the Internet and social networks[104]. In this regard, the Garda Commissioner called for increased attention from Irish law enforcement, as well as European law enforcement and intelligence agencies, to this aspect of the work in order to effectively counter the growing threat.

We are talking about the spread of right-wing extremist statements on social networks to organize arson attacks and attacks on centers for providing international protection to foreign citizens, since supporters of right-wing extremist sentiments are opposed to opening new service centers for migrants, and are imbued with a mood of inciting discriminatory attitudes towards them.

The general assessment of the human rights situation in the country was given by the President of Ireland, M. D. Higgins, during a public speech in January 2020 at an event dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp[105]. The President noted the growth of extremist rhetoric in Europe and stressed that anti-migrant sentiment is gaining strength in Ireland, despite the growth of the economy. While acknowledging that right-wing extremism has not received as much support in Ireland as in many European countries, he warned that nationalism and populism used for self-serving purposes is a reminder of how fragile democracy is. Human rights achievements are under threat from extremist groups that view universal rights as a threat to their individual rights. There is also anti-Semitism in this rhetoric.[106]

Human rights defenders point out that the number of racist statements and hate crimes, as well as cases of discrimination, has increased significantly in recent years. According to the NGO “Irish Network Against Racism”, in 2019, an online system for reporting racist incidents iReport.ie registered 530 incidents, including 112 criminal offences, 174 attempts to incite hatred, 50 racist attacks and 92 cases of harassment (390 cases in 2018)[107].

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission, a national independent human rights institution that reports to the Irish Parliament, has expressed concern that Dublin does not comply with its international obligations to combat racial discrimination, as current legislation does not effectively combat hate speech, including on the Internet. Violence and hate speech against people belonging to ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (including people of African, Asian origin, Roma, and migrants) are registered. There are also multiple overlapping forms of discrimination that people of African descent, especially women, face the most[108]. The Commission pointed out that the public authorities in Ireland have not yet responded sufficiently to the needs of national minorities. This applies primarily to the areas of justice, health, and education.[109]

In this regard, the Commission has formulated more than 150 recommendations to remedy the situation, first of all, calling on the leadership of political and public institutions of the state to actively combat racial discrimination and resolve issues that contribute to its growth. Among the recommended measures are the improvement of the Law on the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred of 1989, raising public awareness on the issue of combating racial discrimination, and the development of standards at the state level to combat hate speech on the Internet, the monitoring of which would be entrusted to an independent state body.

Human rights activists are concerned about the situation around the constantly growing Muslim community in Ireland (about 70 thousand people). Human rights activists point out that the number of manifestations of a racist nature against Muslims in general remains at the same level – about 40% of Muslims in Ireland said that they had experienced violence (verbal or physical) at work, in educational institutions and in everyday life in connection with their religion. However, in some cases, the complaints received were not confirmed. At the same time, there were cases of intolerance and hatred on the part of Muslims towards Irish people and people of other nationalities living in Ireland. Human rights defenders claim that radical Islamic preachers are indirectly and directly responsible for these cases, which make statements of an extremist nature in their sermons, taking advantage of the inaction of law enforcement agencies that do not comply with the Law on the Prohibition of Incitement to Hatred adopted in 1988.

Another aspect of the problem of religious discrimination is the widespread practice of discriminating against children's admission to schools based on the religion of the child and his or her parents, as well as whether the children's parents attended this school.[110]

Society's attitude towards the Muslim community is influenced by the difficult situation regarding the implementation of migrants' rights. According to the State Immigration Board of Ireland, between May 1, 2018 and May 1, 2019, about 300 cases of racism were reported (a decrease of 5% compared to 2017). They were mostly of a domestic nature and were not accompanied by violent actions. The Committee against torture also noted the practice of holding detained migrants and asylum-seekers in prisons and police stations together with arrested offenders.[111]

The situation in the Irish temporary detention centers was also highlighted by the UN High Commissioner for refugees, F. Grandi, who expressed concern about the conditions of stay in them during his visit to Ireland in July 2019. The Commissioner pointed out that out of 6 thousand people living in migrant institutions, 1 thousand live in unacceptable living conditions that require immediate improvement. In addition, it was pointed out that there was a delay in issuing permits for refugees to obtain the appropriate status and their employment.

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Iceland

Iceland preserves the memory of its contribution to the formation and maintenance of polar convoys during the Second World War and respects the history of this time period. The President of Iceland, G. T. Johannesson, including due to his professional historical education, regularly participates in memorial events dedicated to memorable dates in the history of the War. There is no evidence of attempts to glorify Nazism and its modern forms at the state level or to desecrate monuments and memorials to anti-fascists.

However, in recent years, the country has registered cases related to the manifestation of neo-Nazi activities, the spread of neo-Nazi or hateful ideology. At the same time, all of them were implemented and coordinated from other states.

Until December 2019, their participants and performers were citizens of other states. In September 2019, the head of the far-right organization “Northern Resistance Movement” (NRM, also known as the “Movement of Northern Resistance”), Swede S. Lindberg, was in Iceland. On September 5, 2019, in the center of Reykjavik, his supporters held a rally (10-15 people participated – several Icelanders and activists accompanying S. Lindbergh), during which they distributed leaflets of appropriate content[112]. Later, they held several similar actions in other cities of the country. The media reported that the police only intervened in the Akranes rally, where neo-Nazis were standing at the entrance to a shopping center.[113]

It is reported about the opening of the Icelandic branch of the NRM, which has its own website https://nordurvigi.is. It published messages about the first action of Icelandic NRM activists distributing leaflets in the center of the Icelandic capital.

The reaction of the Icelandic public was sharply negative. In the beginning of 2020, there were a number of actions to support refugees on the verge of being expelled from the country.

The country's legislation contains provisions that make it possible to prosecute racism. According to Article 223 (A) of the Icelandic Criminal Code, bullying, slander, threats or any other speech or action of a defamatory nature against a person or group of persons concerning their nationality, skin color, sexual orientation or gender is punishable by a fine or 2 years' imprisonment.

However, in the fifth report on Iceland published on 28 February 2017 by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance within the Council of Europe, it was noted that there is no legally defined definition of racial discrimination in Icelandic law and no separate state structure for countering racism.[114]

In the international arena, Iceland joins the common line of the EU and annually refrains from adopting the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

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Spain

The issue of combating Nazism, neo-Nazism and other contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance has been firmly placed among the priorities of the Spanish leadership's domestic and foreign policy, regardless of its party affiliation. While setting strategic goals to contribute to the global fight against these threats, Spanish diplomacy pays considerable attention to the fight against impunity and strengthening accountability for crimes in these areas. In this work, Madrid relies on multilateral structures with broad international legitimacy and responds flexibly to the relevant requirements and recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council, the Council of Europe, UNESCO, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), human rights NGOs (“Médecins Sans Frontières”, “Amnesty International”, “Human Rights Watch”, “SOS Racismo”, “Movement against Intolerance” and others).

At the same time, Spanish right-wing nationalism appeals mainly to the period of francoism (1939-1975). Despite the differences in the approaches of political forces to the assessment of this period in the country's history, the question of the participation of the “Blue division” (a Spanish volunteer division in the Wehrmacht, nominally considered to be staffed by members of the far-right, the only legal party under F. Franсo, the “Spanish Phalanx”, actually consisting of soldiers of regular Spanish troops, civil war veterans and Falangists) in the Second World War on the side of Nazi Germany is discussed mainly within the framework of historical scientific discourse and does not affect the political life of the country.

In Spain, there is no evidence of the glorification of the Nazi movement, members of the Nazi SS organization and all its components, the construction of monuments dedicated to the Nazis, public demonstrations to glorify the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism. The Spanish authorities understand Russian concerns about the danger of revising history and reviving the ideology of Nazism.

Nevertheless, from year to year, during the consideration of the UN General Assembly resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, Spain, like the rest of the European Union Member States, abstains from voting.

It should be noted that in recent years, the country has registered individual cases of desecration of monuments to fighters against francoism and fascism during the Spanish Civil war of 1936-1939. In particular, there was a swastika on the building of a school for disabled children in Fuenlabrada on May 23, 2016, on monuments to participants of the Spanish Civil war of 1936-1939 (including Soviet volunteers) at Madrid's Fuencarral cemetery on August 29, 2017, and on posters of parties opposed to Catalan nationalists in December 2017.

On October 25, 2018, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the growth of neo-fascist violence in Europe (2018/ 2869(RSP)), which included a call to ban various types of associations and NGOs that “glorify Nazism or fascism”. The Francisco Franco Foundation as an organization that “glorifies the dictatorship and its crimes” was given special attention in this document[115].

In Spain, cases of neo-Nazism are also reported. In a report for 2019, the Spanish NGO “Rights International Spain” states an alarming increase in the number of such facts, the reasons for which the human rights defenders see in the “historical heritage” of Spain in the 20th century (The Civil War of 1936-1939, the dictatorship of General F. Franco in 1939-1975)[116].

So, since 2007, members of far-right organizations annually organize a March in Madrid in memory of the fallen soldiers of the “Blue Division” with a demonstration of fascist symbols[117]. Local residents have repeatedly expressed their protest and appealed to the Spanish authorities to prohibit such events.

Neo-Nazism is also being expressed in the protests of some Spanish society against migrants. In early March 2019, the far-right neo-Nazi Association “Hogar Social” (“Public Shelter”), which advocates providing social assistance only to ethnic Spaniards, was registered as a political party in Spain and declared its desire to participate in the next parliamentary elections[118]. The organization became known after a March against immigrants and incitement based on Islamophobia in May 2016 in Madrid, as well as numerous violent acts, incitement to hatred and calls for discrimination in August 2017 in Madrid and Granada, in response to the attacks that took place in Catalonia at that time.

The rise of nationalist sentiment in Spain was reflected in the growing popularity of the ultra-patriotic party “Voke”, which is currently the third political force in the country. In the early parliamentary elections on April 28, 2019, the party managed to pass the Congress of deputies (the Lower House of Parliament) for the first time; it received 10.26% of the vote and 24 seats. In the re-election on November 10, 2019, the party has already won 15.09% of the vote, and its representation in the Parliament has grown to 52 deputies.

At the same time, a number of NGOs are active in Spain aimed at countering the spread of neo-Nazism. These include “Plataforma Global Contra las Guerras” (“Global Platform against Wars”)[119], “Committee of solidarity of the Basque Country with the Donbass” (holds meetings, seminars, and other events denouncing human rights violations by the Kiev authorities, including neo-Nazism; activists speak on television and radio, publish articles in local newspapers; all activities are conducted in Basque)[120], it was established in 1992. The “Association of Anti-Fascist Coordination of Spain" (has branches in the largest cities of Spain), the already mentioned “SOS Racismo"” (stated goals – to combat racism, xenophobia, discrimination on national grounds)[121], “Movimiento Contra la Intolerancia” (“Movement against intolerance”, also focuses on the fight against racism, extremism and violence, the promotion of civil solidarity, tolerance, respect for human rights, social integration of migrants) [122] and the Jewish community of Spain (“Casa Sefarad-Israel”)[123].

The Spanish authorities are concerned about the growing xenophobic sentiment in separatist circles in Catalonia. On November 27, 2017, the organization Movimiento Identitario Catalan (“Movement for Catalan Identity”) was created, which openly promotes violence, xenophobia, discrimination, and racial hatred (in particular, through its website), as well as popularizes the idea of the separation of the region of Catalonia from Spain under the slogans “Catalonia for Catalans, not for Spaniards or Muslims”.

In 2019, the Catalan Association “Plataforma per la Llengua” (“Platform for Language Support”), which receives subsidies from the Catalan government, conducted illegal surveillance in secondary schools in the region in order to identify which language students most often use in communication – Spanish or Catalan. The Association also insists on the exclusive use of the Catalan language in communication, even with tourists. In addition, in February 2020, the mayor of Vic (Catalonia) and part-time Deputy of the nationalist coalition “Together for Catalonia” in the Catalan Parliament A. Erra stated the need for "native Catalans not to speak Castilian to people who do not resemble Catalans in their accent or physical characteristics"[124].

According to statistics of the Spanish Interior Ministry, the number of hate crimes in 2018 increased by 12.6% and amounted to 1,598 (in 2017-1,419), including those related to racism and xenophobia – 531 (524), ideology – 596 (446), significantly increased cases of gender discrimination – 71 (35). At the same time, registered cases of religious intolerance decreased – 69 (103) and intolerance based on sexual orientation – 259 (271). However, it should be kept in mind that many incidents are not registered[125].

For comparison, the NGO “Movement against Intolerance” annually records more than 4 thousand such cases in the country, noting that the vast majority of victims do not contact the police. This data includes attacks on the streets, insults on the Internet, and the desecration of mosques in a number of Spanish cities. The rate of detection of such offences is on average about 64%, but in the case of manifestations of anti-Semitism does not exceed 30%[126].

The NGOs “Amnesty International” and “SOS Racismo” have traditionally raised the issue of discriminatory treatment of refugees, including when considering asylum applications by the Spanish authorities. Local police are also reported to be biased against people from Africa and the Middle East. The Human Rights Committee (HRCtte) and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) also expressed concern about the widespread practice of racial and ethnic profiling among Spanish law enforcement agencies[127].

CERD experts pointed out, among other things, that applications from sub-Saharan Africans for asylum were considered by the Spanish migration authorities longer than those of other asylum-seekers[128].

According to Amnesty International, during the first quarter of 2019, there was an increase in cases of discrimination against unaccompanied minors who are being held in a temporary detention center in the city of Castelldefels (Autonomous Community of Catalonia)[129].

In April 2016 CERD noted that negative clichés against various ethnic minorities were being spread in the Spanish media and social networks. One result of this practice is that people of African descent, both those who come from African countries and those who are descendants of second and subsequent generations of African descent, often face systemic discrimination and negative stereotyping in Spain[130].

Manifestations of racial intolerance and xenophobia in Spain are also noted in the report published in February 2018 by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) within the Council of Europe on the results of the fifth monitoring cycle. In particular, it notes the need to ensure that children from ethnic minorities, especially Roma (55% of them drop out of school early) and those from non-EU countries (44%), receive a full school education[131].

In March 2018 The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) expressed concern that the measures taken by the authorities do not effectively address the persistent de facto discrimination that certain groups of people continue to face, including Roma, people of African descent, persons with disabilities, migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers[132].

CESCR also pointed to persistent segregation in schools, which in some cases results from residential segregation. This negative practice has a particular impact on disadvantaged groups and ethnic minorities, especially Roma and migrants. In addition, the effects of austerity measures have a greater negative impact on access to and quality of education in certain autonomous communities, especially in those where the highest proportion of the population is at risk of falling below the poverty line and being socially excluded. It was also noted that among students from the most disadvantaged groups, especially from Roma, migrants and poor families, the percentage of repeat students in secondary education and students who drop out of school is higher[133]. The fact that Roma children and those from migrant families have lower educational indicators was confirmed in February 2018 by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC).[134]

CERD noted with concern the uneven quality of education, which particularly affects children from ethnic minorities. The Committee's experts also expressed concern about the existence of “ghetto schools” where the majority of students are children of migrants and Roma[135].

One of the most recent forms of xenophobia has been cases of intolerance towards Chinese citizens in European countries in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. According to the “ABC”, on February 1, 2020, a group of Chinese students with a residence permit in Spain was banned from entering a bar in Huelva (Autonomous community of Andalusia) because of their race[136]. The manifestation of xenophobia is also noted in Spanish social networks.

As a measure to combat racial prejudice and discrimination, the authorities launched an online company under the slogan “I am not a virus” (#NoSoyUnVirus)[137]. The Spanish government has publicly condemned any attempts to discriminate and xenophobic against the Chinese, calling on citizens to take greater responsibility.

The country's leadership is working to attract public attention to the problem of intolerance at the national level. In 2019 the Spanish government adopted Government statement on the occasion of the International day for the elimination of racial discrimination (21 March, in memory of the shooting of a peaceful demonstration of blacks in the village of Sharpeville, South Africa, in 1960) was adopted[138].

In addition, Spain's active participation in all the fundamental multilateral treaties and its work in bodies specialized in dealing with these problems is evidence of the emphasis placed on practical measures to combat Nazism, racism, racial and other forms of discrimination by the Spanish leadership and public and political circles. Spain is one of the first signatories to the International Convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination.

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Italy

Article 48 of the Constitution of the Italian Republic of 1947 prohibits the re-establishment in any form of the fascist party, which was dissolved after the defeat of Italy in World War II.

The country has a legal framework for prohibiting the activities of fascist and Nazi organizations. Adopted in 1952, the “Shelby Law” provides for criminal liability for the organization of associations, movements or groups that have characteristics inherent in the fascist party and aim to recreate it. Punishment is also provided for public praise of “the figures, principles, acts and methods of the fascist regime or its anti-democratic goals”. In 1957 the Constitutional Court of the Italian Republic has amended this law, recognizing as a criminal offence only such an apologetic of fascism, which can lead to the re-establishment of the fascist party due to its political and legal consequences. In 1993, as a follow-up to the “Shelby Law”, the “Mancino Law” was adopted, which introduced criminal penalties for “promoting ideas based on racial superiority, racial and ethnic hatred, as well as praising the figures, principles, acts and methods of the fascist regime or its anti-democratic goals”.

Now, a number of neo-fascist organizations operate on the right edge of the political spectrum in Italy. The most famous of them are the nationwide far-right parties “Casa Pound” (“House of Pound”), “Forza Nuova” (“New Force”) and “Movimento Fascismo e Liberta – Partito Socialista Nazionale” (“Movement “Fascism and Freedom – National Socialist Party”), each of which, if participating in the parliamentary and European elections, do not gain more than 1% of the vote. At the regional and local levels, there are smaller associations of radicals – for example, “Lealta Azione” (“Loyalty and Action”, region of Lombardy), “Skin4Skin” (Milano), “Hammerskin” (Milano), “Generazione Identitaria” (“Generation of Personality”, Milano), “Manipolo d'Avanguardia” (“Vanguard”, Bergamo), “Do.Ra” (Varese), “Militia” (Rome), “Avanguardia Nazionale” (Rome), “Rivolta Nazionale” (Rome), “Fortezza Europa” (Verona), “Veneto Fronte Skinheads” (Vicenza), etc.

Experts point out that the environment of the far-right in Italy is heterogeneous. In addition to legally existing socio-political associations, there are also secret cells of radicals and individuals who may have an arsenal of firearms, explosives and related extremist literature at their disposal. During 2019, Italian law enforcement agencies conducted a series of raids against neo-Nazi supporters throughout the country (Torino, Cuneo, Milano, Monza, Bergamo, Cremona, Padua, Verona, Vicenza, Genoa, Imperia, Livorno, Messina, Syracuse and Nuoro), resulting in arrests, seizure of firearms, ammunition, Nazi propaganda literature, Nazi flags and SS symbols. During verification activities, Italian law enforcement agencies registered an attempt to create the “Italian National Socialist Workers' Party", which declared Nazi, xenophobic and anti-Semitic positions[139].

In November 2019 Italy was rocked by the news of numerous threats and insults of anti-Semitic and Nazi persuasion received by life-long Senator Liliana Segre, who passed the Auschwitz concentration camp as a teenager. The Italian Prosecutor's office immediately initiated investigations into the threats, and the state provided L. Segre with permanent protection. Support for the Senator was publicly expressed by the country's leadership, including President S. Mattarella.

The discovery of a neo-Nazi cell in Siena in November 2019, which included 12 people, received a great response. According to law enforcement agencies, the extremists planned to blow up a local mosque. During searches, they were seized a significant number of small arms, explosives, Nazi symbols, uniforms and literature. The detainees planned to organize a “Republican Guard” that would “pass sentences with weapons in their hands without involving law enforcement forces”.[140]

Public actions of radicals include events dedicated to
“significant” dates (March 23, 1919 – the creation of the “Italian Union of Struggle”, July 29, 1883 – the birthday of B. Mussolini, October 27-30, 1922 – the campaign of the “Blackshirts” to Rome), as well as meetings in the burial places of fascist figures. In 2019 there were also traditional “gatherings” of neo-Nazis and neo-fascists, informal timed to the anniversary of Italian Union of Struggle (March 23, 1919, precursor of the National fascist party), birthday of Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889) and the death of Mussolini (April 28, 1945).

During 2019, there were cases of desecration of memorial tablets to members of the Italian partisan movement, Jewish graves, as well as acts of vandalism against branches of the Democratic Party of Italy.

The topic of fascism in the social and political life of Italy is not “taboo”, but in the public space, representatives of the executive and legislative branches of Government try not to give reasons to incriminate themselves in nostalgia for the period when B. Mussolini was in power. At the same time, according to experts, the authorities, regardless of the political affiliation of the ruling Cabinet, are quite loyal to the ideological followers of B. Mussolini, not seeing these marginal political associations as a real threat to public order and state security.

There have been cases when local authorities have provided such structures with opportunities to conduct events. As an example, on April 27, 2018 in Cascina (Tuscany region), at the initiative of local authorities, the Association “Last Front” (known for a detailed recreation of uniforms and equipment of the military of Nazi Germany) held a March through the city in full uniform of the Wehrmacht and SS troops[141]. On June 7, 2018, the mayor of Gazzada provided one of the halls of the city hall for the presentation of the leader's book “Do.Ra”, which tells about the “crimes” of Italian local partisans during the war.[142] On February 19, 2019, the authorities of the region of Lombardy granted patronage to martial arts competitions among children, which were organized by one of the associations belonging to “Lealta Azione”.

According to a report published in March 2020 by the Italian security services for 2019, far-right cells, organizations, as well as individual adherents of Nazi fascism in Italy maintain a high level of activity in the virtual space, use a wide range of tools of social networks and specialized sites to promote their ideas. The ultra-right is united by focusing its propaganda activities on a number of sensitive socio-political topics – the protection of national identity, the traditional family, countering migration, multiculturalism, Islamization and pan-European institutions. The target audience is young people in urban suburbs who are exposed to slogans about social injustice due to lack of work, lack of their own housing, inability to self-actualize and other socio-economic problems. An important unifying factor for Italian disparate groups of Nazi fascists is the holding of joint “political and cultural” events dedicated to memorable dates in the history of the fascist movement in Italy, as well as dedicated to “urgent problems” – actions against Roma and migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

In terms of international contacts, the priority of the far-right is to strengthen ties with European colleagues in the name of “preserving European ethno-cultural values” with anti-EU and anti-American slogans.

In September 2019, ultra-right-wing supporters were hit on the Internet when the Facebook and Instagram administration blocked several hundred open pages of a similar orientation in the Italian segment, as well as individual user accounts that demonstrated a commitment to neo-fascist or neo-Nazi ideology. The largest far-right organizations responded to the blockages with calls to “go to the square” and increased efforts to attract new members to the ranks of these structures.

Previously, the National Association of Partisans of Italy (ANPI, Associazione Nazionale Partigiani d'Italia), which is one of the key socio-political institutions for preventing the reincarnation of Nazi fascism in the Apennines and monitoring the activity of the far-right in the country, published a visual map of 4,600 interconnected pages of neo-fascist orientation in the Italian segment of Facebook (data valid for the end of 2018).

Despite the fairly active efforts to counteract neo-Nazi and racist organizations mentioned above, Italy, in line with the EU-wide approaches, abstains from voting on the Russian draft resolution of the UN General Assembly “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

As for the manifestations of xenophobia in Italy, according to experts, most of them are not related to the activities of neo-fascists and are of a domestic nature. The main reasons for the growth of xenophobic attitudes in recent years include the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the population, high unemployment among young people and the presence of migrants from Africa and Asia.

Due to the Italian government's tough stance on illegal migrants arriving in the Apennines, the ruling Cabinet is heavily criticized by both international and national human rights organizations. On May 15, 2019 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Maria Bachelet, addressed a 12-page report to the Vice-President of the Council of Ministers of Italy and Minister of the Interior, M. Salvini, which criticizes his Directive ordering the police and coast guard to prevent ships of international non-governmental humanitarian organizations that rescue illegal migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea from entering Italian ports. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is seriously concerned about the “Security Law Bis”, which, in order to ensure law enforcement and counter illegal migration, gives the Italian Interior Minister the authority to close the country's territorial waters to individual vessels.

The UN Human Rights Treaty bodies are sympathetic to the problem of the influx of migrants fleeing armed conflicts and persecution, and note the efforts of the Italian authorities in this direction. In particular, Law No. 67/2014 on the abolition of criminal liability for entering and staying in Italy in violation of legislatively established rules was adopted in April 2014. However, it was pointed out the need to ensure the rights of migrants and asylum seekers, improve living conditions in “hotspots” (special centers for primary registration of migrants, where the identity of persons arriving in the country in violation of established rules can be quickly established), first- and second-level migrant reception centers, as well as specialized “crisis centers” and centers for unaccompanied children, and stop the practice of holding migrants in detention for more than 48 hours. This has been highlighted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[143], the Human Rights Committee[144], the Committee on the Rights of the Child[145], the Committee against Torture[146] and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination[147].

CERD, in particular, continues to monitor the situation of Roma in Italy. In a subsequent letter on the basis of a study of the information provided by the Italian authorities on this issue, the Committee asked specifically to include information on the solution of the problems of Roma in the next periodic report of Italy (in the same letter, CERD sent a proposal to examine the issue of promoting the rights of migrants and asylum seekers).[148]

There is an increase in penalties for humanitarian assistance to migrants. In addition to initiating criminal cases for smuggling migrants, authorities are increasingly using other means to prevent humanitarian activities. In 2016, the mayor of the Italian border city of Ventimiglia used problems with food hygiene standards to prohibit the distribution of food to migrants. At the French-Italian border in Ventimiglia, the non-governmental organization “Doctors Without Borders” spoke to migrants who had been returned to Italy by France: 14 migrants said they had suffered violence from the Italian police. However, the Italian authorities have not received official complaints about these allegations.[149]

A complex of problems is associated with the existence of Roma settlements in Italy. We are usually talking about illegal buildings on the outskirts of settlements. These areas are highly criminalized, and drug trafficking often flourishes there. Law enforcement agencies regularly raid places where Roma live, and illegal buildings are periodically demolished. At the same time, the left-liberal media and human rights organizations use these facts to accuse the government of racism and xenophobia, and the proposal to conduct a census of the Roma population announced in 2018 by Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister M. Salvini was called by human rights experts as having no legal basis. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in September 2015, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in December 2016, the Human Rights Committee in March 2017 and the Committee on the Rights of the Child in January 2019 drew attention to the importance of addressing the situation of the Roma, including in housing, access to social services and education, and the labour market.

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Canada

Canada is at the forefront of countries that do not stop trying to falsify the history of the Second World War. The glorification of Nazi criminals is not yet enshrined in law, but the monuments to all those who fought against the USSR on the side of Hitler's Germany are treated with special care and respect.

For example, in Edmonton (Alberta), a memorial obelisk in the form of a cross with the inscription “Fighters for the Will of Ukraine” is located at the cemetery of St. Michael where the plates are withdrawn with abbreviations of units of the Sich Riflemen, the Galician Army of the West Ukrainian People's Republic, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists and the 1st Division of the Ukrainian National Army (formed from the former parts of the 14th Grenadier division of “Waffen-SS” – “Galicia”). In the same city, on the territory of the Center for Ukrainian youth unity, there is a bust in honor of the founder of the UIA-OUN, Deputy Commander of the “Nakhtigal” battalion, and commander of the 201st SS Schutzmannschaft battalion, R. Shukhevych, organizer of mass killings of Belarusians, Poles, Jews and Ukrainians during World War II. Another example is two monuments located in the Ukrainian cemetery of St. Vladimir in Oakville (Ontario). One of them is dedicated to the soldiers of the UIA-OUN, the other-to members of the punitive SS division “Galicia”. The latter was installed in memory of those who were killed in the battle with the Red Army for the city of Brody on July 13-22, 1944.[150]

As a justification for the existence of such media monuments, they cite the statements of pro-Bandera lobbyists who openly assert that “fighting on the side of the Germans does not mean being a Nazi”, especially if the Ukrainians who served under the Nazis “fought against communism”[151].

Today, many Nazi criminals live in Canada. It is well known that 121 citizens of this state receive a so-called Nazi pension.[152] According to the information given in the report “Accomplices of Nazi crimes, 96 veterans of the Latvian SS Legion who are still alive”, prepared by the Historical Memory Foundation together with the Foundation for the Support and Development of Jewish Culture, Traditions, Education and Science, 16 former Latvian SS Legionnaires who may have been involved in the Commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Second World War live in Canada[153]. The local branch of the organization “Daugava Hawks” also functions in this country, with members of which during his official visit to Canada the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia E. Rinkevich met.[154]

It should be noted that the Canadian side has expressed interest in this regard and has asked the Russian Federation to provide information about the persons involved in the report in order to conduct a review of them in accordance with the program of investigation of crimes against humanity and war crimes. According to representatives of the Ministry of Justice of Canada, this Agency works together with the border and immigration services, as well as the police to ensure that persons who personally participated in the Commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide are not granted asylum in Canada[155].

However, the current practice of the attitude (or rather, inaction and connivance) of the Canadian authorities to the persons responsible for the mass murder of civilians on the territory of the USSR, indicates the opposite. Members of the Nazi formations are carefully hidden from justice, it allows them to live out their lives peacefully. In this regard, the example of a former member of the 118th punitive SS Schutzmannschaft battalion, Vladimir Katryuk, responsible for the destruction of the Belarusian Khatyn, is illustrative: he died on May 22, 2015 at his apiary in the province of Quebec[156].

A similar tactic was chosen for Helmut Oberlander, born in 1924, a native of the Ukrainian SSR who served as a “translator” during the Great Patriotic War as part of the Nazi punitive unit “Sonderkommando 10-A”. He was involved in crimes in the Kuban in 1942-1943, including the murder of 214 children in an orphanage in Yeysk City. The case for his deportation from Canada has been dragging on since 2001, and three times court decisions on revocation of citizenship have been overturned on appeal. Only in December 2019 the Supreme Court of Canada put an end to it, declaring it illegal to accept him as a citizen in 1960 on the basis that the documents submitted contained false information. However, lawyers and pro-Bandera structures try in every possible way to prevent the deportation of Mr. Oberlander to any country, especially to Russia, citing “humanitarian” reasons due to poor health[157].

An active role in justifying the crimes of the Nazis during World War II is played by the Canadian Ukrainian Congress (CUC) and numerous Ukrainian-Bandera structures operating under its leadership, which promote the ideas of aggressive nationalism, anti-Semitism and the glorification of Nazi collaborators who fought for “independent Ukraine”. At the same time, the obvious facts of direct participation of Bandera in the extermination of civilians, the organization of mass pogroms of the Jewish population, in particular in Lviv in June 1941, and the Poles during the “Volhynian massacres” are denied.

Under pressure from the CUC, Canada officially equates communism with Nazism, and the “Holodomor” tragedy is presented as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, without mentioning that other peoples of the Soviet Union were also victims of the famine of the 1930s. The crimes of modern followers of Nazism in Ukraine are hushed up, and the picture of what is happening is deliberately distorted in favor of the ruling regime in Kiev.

Against this background, the country has seen an increase in the activity of neo-Nazi groups and the demand for extremist ideology. Among them, the most prominent role is played by the “Proud Boys”, “Storm Alliance”, “Northern Guard”, “Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens”, the Canadian branch of the organization “Blood and Honor”, the Quebec organization “La Meute” (“Pack”), as well as regional branches “Soldiers of Odin” and the Movement “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West” (PEGIDA). In addition, the activity of the extremist organization “Jewish Defense League of Canada”, which arose as a defense organization against anti-Semitic residents of African and Latin American neighborhoods of Canadian cities, was noticed.

One of the bright inspirers and promoters of the ideas of the “brown plague”
in Canada for many years is P. Frome (head of the “Canadian Association for Free Expression”), who has a reputation as one of the most famous neo-Nazis in the country, who uses “freedom of speech” to cover up and justify the extremist activities of North American right-wing radicals.

As in other countries, the Canadian far-right has adopted neo-Nazi symbols, anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic slogans. There are regular demonstrations in major cities of the country, including anti-government ones. New supporters are actively recruited in the youth environment. The propaganda work is conducted on social networks and in the blogosphere. Neo-Nazis usually manage to mobilize up to 200-300 people for their public actions.

In August 2019, it became known that senior corporal of the reserve engineers P. Mathews (Master Cpl. Patrik Mathews), trained on duty to work with explosives, recruited in Beausejour (province of Manitoba) his colleagues in the right-wing group “The Base”, and later was forced to flee to the United States, where he and his American accomplices were detained by the FBI[158].

Law enforcement agencies in Canada indicate that there is no clear leader among far-right and neo-Nazi groups. The level of threat to public order in the country is now assessed as low. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP – the equivalent of the American FBI) monitors radical activity on a regular basis. The activities of these organizations are also closely monitored by the US intelligence services, since some of their activists took part in riots in a number of American cities.

At the same time, there is an anti-fascist movement in Canada. It consists
 of several dozen small disparate groups. Activists try to stop any public events of the far-right. For example, on September 30, 2017, a “March against Racism” was held in the center of the Canadian capital in the form of a peaceful demonstration, one of the main organizers was the NGO “Ottawa against Fascism”.

Unfortunately, Russophobia (anti-Russian prejudice) has become a common phenomenon in Canadian life. One of its most striking examples is the provocation surrounding the traditional celebration of Victory Day by the Russian-speaking community of Ottawa at the T-34 tank located in the Canadian Military Museum. In 2018, the event was disrupted by a representative of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress (CUC), who came on stage with the flag of Ukraine and began shouting anti-Russian slogans.

An open letter from the Ottawa branch of the CUC to the Museum's Director, J. Fleck, published a week later on Facebook, expressed outrage at the support of the state Museum authority of Canada in “glorifying the Soviet regime”. As examples of “proof of guilt” of the USSR, the authors cited a set of Russophobic accusatory stamps that do not have any justification. At the same time, the Victory Banner was mentioned as evidence of the glorification of the “criminal Soviet regime”, and the image of the symbol of the defeat of Nazism was contrasted with the picture of the yellow-blue Ukrainian state standard. Later, in the author's column of M. Kolga in the newspaper “Ottawa Citizen” on this occasion, a note was published about “beaten Ukrainian” and “unruly” Russians.

As a result, the Museum's management decided to prohibit the Russian community from holding events on the occasion of the Victory Day on its territory.

The total number of crimes committed on the grounds of anti-Semitism remains consistently high in Canada. According to the latest report from the Canadian statistical service[159], 347 cases of illegal actions were registered against Jews in 2018. Thus, for the third year in a row, they have become the most vulnerable ethnic group on a national scale. In general, they account for about 19% of all such crimes, although they make up only about 1% of the population of Canada.

According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center estimates, 2019 was not easy for the Canadian Jewish community[160]: cases of anti-Semitism were registered within the student community of the universities of York (York University), McGill (McGill University), Ryerson (Ryerson University) and Toronto (University of Toronto)[161]. The Edmonton journal (Alberta) has been accused of deliberate hate speech in connection with the publication of an offensive cartoon[162]. There were calls on social networks to boycott small and medium-sized businesses owned by immigrants from Israel[163]. The statements of the Quebec politician H. Gillet are recognized by the leadership of the Liberal party as a manifestation of intolerance towards an ethnic group[164]. Racist graffiti was applied to election posters of Jewish community deputies[165]. There were attacks on people[166], anti-Semitic statements were repeatedly voiced[167], and numerous cases of vandalism occurred, including with the image of Nazi symbols[168].

Manifestations of xenophobia are reported among representatives of power structures. For example, the Prime Minister of Canada, J. Trudeau, was accused of racism during the campaign in September 2019 after publishing archive photos showing him in “blackface” makeup. The politician later admitted his behavior was “unconscionable racism” and apologized to Canadian minorities[169].

In 2019-2020 The Senate of Canada has twice decided to suspend Senator from Ontario L. Beyak for promoting hatred and racism: in March 2019, when she refused to delete from her personal page on the official portal of the Senate letters received from citizens expressing support for her positive statements about the colonial system of boarding schools for indigenous children and containing racist comments against the Indian population; and in February 2020, because the politician did not fully implement recommendations, including successful completion of training courses on countering racism[170].

The rapid spread of coronavirus infection has also led to numerous manifestations of xenophobia and racism in the country. According to an official statement issued on April 8, 2020 by the Canadian Commissioner for Human Rights, M.-K. Landry, cases of racist insults and threats, including physical violence, against minorities, especially citizens of Asian origin, have increased during the pandemic[171].

In Montreal, Vietnamese Buddhist temples were attacked by vandals. Several statues and objects of worship were smashed. The city police suggested that the crime was committed on a hate basis[172].

In Vancouver, Canadian entrepreneurs of Chinese origin were forced to reduce business activity by 50-70%[173]. In Greater Toronto, sales of Chinese restaurants fell by 30-80%[174].

However, Canada has a set of legal and regulatory measures to counter racism and neo-Nazism. First of all, the principle of equality of all residents of the country, regardless of race, social origin and religion, is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 and the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988. There is no formal ban on the activities of far-right movements in the country, but the Criminal Code for spreading ideas of racial superiority (calls for physical violence and artificial deterioration of the situation of certain groups of the population) provides for a penalty of up to two years in prison (Article 319). The Commission of a crime based on racial hatred is not established in the legislation as an independent component, but it is an aggravating circumstance in the Commission of other criminal offences.

Afro-Canadians are the most likely targets of racial hate crimes: black people account for 44% of such acts[175].

At the same time, racial profiling is widespread among police, security and border officials. It applies equally to indigenous peoples, Canadians of African descent and other ethnic minority groups, as well as to Muslims.[176] Police “street checks”, where law enforcement officers stop and question persons suspected of a crime and check their documents, are carried out arbitrarily and disproportionately affect people of African descent.[177]

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted the over-representation of Canadians of African descent and indigenous peoples at all stages of the administration of justice, from arrest to incarceration. Among the reasons for the discriminatory situation, the human rights body attributed, first of all, widespread poverty among this population group and the insufficient quality of social services provided to its members.[178]

In Canada, attempts have been made to conduct an official analysis of the state of racism and to develop measures to counter it. The first policy document was the “Action Plan against Racism” (Canada's Action Plan Against Racism)[179] adopted in 2005 by the government of P. Martin, which was an attempt to systematize the forms of racial intolerance registered in Canada and distribute the powers between Federal ministries and departments in the implementation of measures to prevent them.

In 2018, the government of J. Trudeau introduced the National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence.[180] The document analyzes the political, religious and ethno-cultural factors that lead to the escalation of extremism in society. The main challenges are poverty, low level of education, and limited access to health care.

To implement the Strategy, the Canada Centre for Community Engagement and Prevention of Violence was established under the Ministry of Public Security in 2017. This structure received a good financial boost (35 million Can. dollars in 2016, followed by an annual budget of 10 million Can. dollars). In addition, it has established a special “Community Resilience Fund”, whose resources will be directed to research on countering extremism in Canada (in the period 2019-2020, 7 million Can. dollars have been allocated for this purpose).

As for regional law enforcement, only Ontario has
an anti-racism law (adopted in 2017 by the Provincial Legislature (Anti-Racism Act)).[181] The main provisions of the document: the development of a comprehensive anti-racism strategy by the regional government, consultations with representatives of the African and Jewish communities, as well as the indigenous community, and the collection and analysis of information on manifestations of racial intolerance. There are large fines for violations (up to 100 thousand Canadian dollars).

In the document “Anti-Racism Policy” submitted in 2018 in response to this act[182], the key preventive measures include strict observance of the principle of equality in employment for representatives of all ethnic groups, holding training seminars, and the promotion of representatives from the “colored” and indigenous populations to senior positions in Federal and provincial government.

In addition, the government of Ontario adopted the Anti-Black Racism Strategy[183], which provides for the allocation of $ 47 million to help children and adolescents from African-canadian families to “socialize”, improve education, and review correctional policies for young offenders.

However, when Canada passed the Universal Periodic Review under the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, referring to the Human Rights Commission of Canada, noted that there has been little progress in addressing many long-standing problems, including the situation of indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups[184].

In 2015, the Final report of the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission was submitted, noting that the socio-economic development of indigenous peoples in Canada is significantly lagging behind that of the rest of the population. The main reason for this is the existing system of boarding schools for indigenous peoples and the policy of colonialism[185].

The HRC Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples noted the adoption of legislation that removes some of the discriminatory effects of previous provisions, according to which Indian women (and all their descendants) who marry “non-status” men lose their status, while this status is granted to non-aboriginal women who marry “status” Indians. He pointed out that some categories of persons were still not granted this status because of historical discrimination against maternal offspring[186].

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern about reports that indigenous women and girls in the foster and childcare system are at particular risk of being trafficked for sexual exploitation[187].

The HRC Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples indicated that the housing situation for Inuit and First Nations communities has reached a crisis level. People live in overcrowded conditions, and houses need serious repairs. Here we should add a broader and serious problem with the water supply of reservations: more than half of them pose a risk to human health.[188] The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) expressed similar concerns.[189]

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern about reports of unequal distribution of resources for education and insufficient funding for mother-language education, which has resulted in some groups of children, especially those of African-Canadian and indigenous descent, not having equal access to quality education, potentially leading to socio-economic inequality among these groups[190]. For its part, CEDAW expressed concern about the high percentage of girls who suffer discrimination and sexual harassment in schools, and the disproportionately large number of migrant, refugee, asylum-seeker and indigenous girls who continue to face difficulties in accessing quality education[191].

The National Aboriginal Association against Domestic Violence indicated that in most communities in Canada, social services are funded through provincial or territorial governments. However, in First Nations reservations, these services are usually funded by the Federal government, which in many areas provides significantly less per capita funding for related programs and services than is the case for provincial and territorial governments[192].

These are just a few of the comments made by international human rights bodies and non-governmental organizations regarding the discriminatory policies of the Canadian authorities against indigenous peoples and Canadians of African descent.

Given the ambivalent attitude of the canadian authorities to countering manifestations of racism, it is not surprising to see Canada's position with regard to the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, introduced annually by Russia together with a wide range of co-sponsors. In 2018 and 2019 the delegation of Canada abstained in the vote on this document. In previous years, representatives of the country have repeatedly voted against the adoption of the resolution.

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Cyprus

In general, there are no attempts to glorify Nazism, Nazi figures and collaborators, or to spread neo-Nazi ideas on the territory of the Republic of Cyprus. There are also no registered obstacles to the holding of events to celebrate the Victory and related dates, desecration of monuments and memorials in honor of the fighters against Nazism.

At the same time, the delegation of Cyprus, following the General European line, annually abstains during the vote in the UN General Assembly on the resolution introduced by Russia and other co-sponsors “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

Although the vast majority of the population of the Republic of Cyprus is committed to the traditional political ideas against the background of the crisis in the talks over settlement of the Cyprus problem, the number of migrants on the island and the unresolved socio-economic issues, the specific response in society find nationalist ideas. Against this background, the far-right nationalist National People's Front (ELAM) party is gaining popularity in the country, which currently has two representatives in Parliament. In the European Parliament elections in May 2019, 3 times more voters voted for it than in the previous elections. ELAM does not hide its ties to the “fraternal organization” – the Greek right-wing political party “Golden Dawn”. In the early 2010s the media published reports of ethnic crimes committed by its activists.

This party opposes the presence of labor migrants from the “third world” countries, considering them the cause of unemployment in Cyprus and an increase in the tax burden for its native citizens, for the deportation of all illegal immigrants from the country, as well as the establishment of quotas for immigrants from EU member states. The structure is supported mainly by young and middle-aged people who are impressed by their uncompromising position on the Cyprus settlement, the fight against corruption and restrictions on the reception of migrants on the island. According to one of its leaders, the organization also opposes Russophobia, which is now cultivated in the EU.

At the domestic level, there have been isolated cases of xenophobic rhetoric against Russian compatriots in Cyprus. In general, it is not typical for Cypriot society to spread hate speech against ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities.

Recently, Cyprus has seen an increase in the number of migrants. According to NGOs, the country does not meet international standards for the treatment of refugees in places of temporary accommodation and in the framework of deportation procedures. The situation with refugees especially worsened in 2019. For the first half of 2019 more than 3 thousand refugees from Syria, Nigeria, Cameroon and a number of other countries have arrived on the island, which makes Cyprus a record among EU member states in the number of refugees per capita. The problem is compounded by the lack of migrant accommodation centers, lack of employment opportunities and lack of decent living conditions. The situation is worsened by the long processing times for applications for refugee status, which can last several years. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted the limited number of reception centres for refugees.[193] The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) noted with concern the difficulty of access to justice for migrant domestic workers due to their possible detention and subsequent deportation pending the completion of legal proceedings.[194] On the positive side, we can note the beginning of the functioning of a special judicial body in Cyprus from June 2019, which will consider refugee applications in an accelerated manner.

The spread of racially motivated verbal insults and physical attacks by extreme right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi groups against people of foreign origin, including people of African descent, as well as human rights defenders and Turkish Cypriots, was noted with concern in May 2017 by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. CERD also expressed concern about the spread in society, often through the media, of racist stereotypes and hate speech against members of certain ethnic minority groups, as well as Roma who are Muslim. Experts pointed to the lack of legal provisions to hold such acts accountable, as well as the efforts of law enforcement agencies.[195]

The situation in Cyprus is quite acute with manifestations of racism among football fans, who still represent largely uncontrolled groups of aggressive youth. There have been cases of disciplinary actions against Cypriot football teams by the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). In the press there are periodic reports on violence and racist chants in Cypriot stadiums during national and international matches. In this regard, the government has repeatedly stated its intention to strengthen work with football fan communities, but so far no significant measures have been taken.

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Latvia

The leadership of the Republic of Latvia continues to pursue a consistent course of revision of the history and results of the Second World War, as well as the whitewashing and protection of former Waffen-SS Legionnaires and Nazi collaborators, who are elevated to the rank of participants in the “national liberation movement”. And this attitude often takes the most absurd forms.

On October 29, 1998, the Latvian Saeima adopted a Declaration “On Latvian Legionnaires in World War II”, which, contrary to the facts, stated that “the purpose of conscripted and voluntarily joined the Legion warriors was to protect Latvia from the restoration of the Stalinist regime” and that they “never participated in Hitler's punitive actions against the civilian population”. The Latvian authorities could not have been unaware of the true nature of the activities of the Latvian SS Legion, however, according to a member of the Commission of historians under the President of Latvia, K. Kangeris, the Declaration of the Saeima “was aimed at protecting Legionnaires from attacks in our country and even more in the foreign press, where they were called Nazis, murderers and war criminals”. Later in 2000 in the village Lesten a memorial complex dedicated to the memory of Latvian SS Legionnaires was opened with the support of the state. It was created with donations from the organization “Daugava Hawks”, created by veterans of the Latvian Legion.[196]

Moreover, in Latvia between 1991 and 2020 – that is, during the entire period of independence – no Nazi collaborators from the Latvian auxiliary security police SD, Latvian police battalions or other units of the Latvian SS Legion were convicted of war crimes or crimes against humanity. The only exception was the case of Konrad Kaleis, the commander of the Salaspils camp guard who was involved in the mass murder of Jews. After revealing the details of K. Kaleis's biography during the Second World War and the deprivation of his US citizenship in 1994, the Latvian authorities belatedly sent a request to Australia for his extradition only in 2000, a year before his death. As a result of bureaucratic delays by the authorities of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, as well as delays with the request from Latvia, the war criminal, which left many obvious traces, was never brought to justice.[197]

There are currently about 400 former Latvian SS Legionnaires living in Latvia and abroad, at least some of whom may have been involved in serious crimes during World War II. Civil society organizations are currently making efforts to draw attention to this egregious fact. In a report prepared in March 2020 by the Historical Memory Foundation and the Foundation for the Support and Development of Jewish Culture, Traditions, Education, and Science titled “Supporters of Nazi Crimes. 96 Veterans of the Latvian SS Legion who are Still Alive”, data were published for the first time on nearly 100 living members of the Latvian SS Legion, 22 of whom live in Latvia, as well as in Australia (19 people), Argentina (2 people), Brazil (3 people), Great Britain (4 people), Canada (16 people) and the USA (33 people).

The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation confirmed that a number of persons whose information is contained in the report on members of the Latvian Legion are already being checked for involvement in crimes against humanity against peaceful Soviet citizens. The report also notes that units that were part of the Latvian SS Legion are highly likely to be involved in the destruction of civilians in the village of Gestyanaya Gorka and the village of Cherny in the Novgorod region, where mass graves of more than 2.5 thousand people were found. In May 2019, the Investigative Committee of Russia opened a criminal case on the fact of genocide in these localities in 1941-1943.

At the highest level, the Latvian authorities are making attempts to falsify history, aimed at blackening the Soviet Union and the actions of the Red Army that liberated Europe, equating Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and retouching their own unsightly pages of the history of cooperation with the Nazis. Another attempt was made on the eve of the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, when on May 7, 2020, the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, G. Nauseda, E. Levits and K. Kaljulaid, adopted a joint statement on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. In a document published on the official websites of the heads of the Baltic States, they presented their own picture of events that had no real basis and accused the USSR and the Red Army of liberating the Baltic States from the Nazis, calling it “occupation”, allegedly “because one totalitarian regime was replaced by another”.

In addition, on May 7, 2020 on the initiative of the National Association the Latvian Saeima adopted a Declaration “On the 75th Anniversary of the Second World War and the need to create a comprehensive understanding of events in Europe and the world”, which is in the tradition of the concept of “two occupations” and the idea of “equal responsibility of totalitarian regimes”. The thesis that Russia as the legal successor of the USSR “refuses to recognize the aggression of the USSR against the Baltic countries, justifies their occupation and illegal annexation” is given, and charges are voiced against Russia in attempts to revise history in its own interests.

In line with this policy of whitewashing collaborators and justifying their crimes, Latvia annually abstains from voting on the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” introduced by Russia together with a number of co-sponsors. The last time this document which condemns the glorification of the Nazi movement and the whitewashing of former members of the SS organization, including the Waffen-SS units recognized by the Nuremberg Tribunal as criminal, as well as the cowardly struggle of individual countries with monuments and memorials in honor of the fighters against Nazism and fascism was adopted at the plenary session of the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2019.

In the European Parliament, Latvia is also a regular author of Russophobic initiatives. In particular, MEP from Latvia S. Kalniete became the author of the draft anti-Russian resolution of March 12, 2019, which includes a call to the Russian authorities to “condemn the Communist and Soviet regimes”. MEP D. Melbarde (member of the National Association, former Minister of Culture) was one of the initiators of the pseudo-historical resolution of the EP of September 17, 2019 on the problem of the beginning of the Second World War, which attempted to equalize the crimes of the Nazis and the Communist regime.

With this in mind, the active efforts of the Latvian authorities to glorify various Nazi collaborators are not surprising. In February 2019 the Prosecutor General of Latvia decided to close the criminal trial on the possible involvement of the Latvian pilot G. Zukurs (who was a member of the “Arays Team” – a unit of the Latvian auxiliary SD police – and was nicknamed “the butcher of Riga”) in the destruction of the Jewish population of Latvia during World War II. The investigation was conducted since 2006 under Article 71 of the Latvian Criminal law “Genocide”. The Latvian Prosecutor's office did not find the elements of a crime provided for in Article 71 in the actions of Mr. Zukurs. However, later, under pressure from the public, Latvian and international Jewish organizations, as well as after the appeal in May 2019 of the Council of Jewish communities of Latvia to the Prosecutor General on this issue, this decision was reviewed and the investigation was resumed.

In order to denigrate the period when Latvia was part of the USSR, the Latvian authorities are also actively using the tactic of making “claims” against Russia. On March 22, 2019, during the international conference “Compensation for damage caused to the Baltic States by the Soviet occupation”, held at the site of the Ministry of Justice of Latvia, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of Latvia Ya. Bordans, together with colleagues from Lithuania E. Linkevicius and Estonia U. Reinsalu, announced that compensation claims were being filed against the Russian Federation.

On August 23, 2019, the Foreign Ministers of Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Estonia issued a joint statement on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which condemned “crimes of the ideologies of Nazism and Stalinism”, and also issued a call to the governments of all European countries to “support both morally and materially the continuation of investigations into the crimes of totalitarianism”.

On June 11 and October 11, 2019, the Latvian Foreign Ministry stated that “it is unacceptable to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Riga from the German-fascist invaders in Moscow” and to hold a festive salute dedicated to this event in the Russian capital. In addition, on October 11, 2019, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia published a video on social networks stating that there was no liberation of the capital of Latvia, and the Nazis allegedly “left by themselves”.

Latvian officials regularly make public statements aimed at justifying and glorifying Nazi collaborators. On September 30, 2019, Latvian Defense Minister A. Pabriks, taking part in a solemn event at the locality More, where 75 years ago the 19th Waffen-SS division held the defense against the Red Army units advancing on occupied Riga for a week, called the Latvian Legionnaires “patriots of Latvia” and “pride of the Latvian people and state”, and also called “to honor and not allow anyone to defame their memory”.

In an effort to justify the Nazi criminals, the Latvian authorities are trying to reach the European level. On September 23, 2018, a monument to Latvian Waffen-SS legionaries who ended up in a local POW camp at the end of the War was unveiled in Zedelgem (Belgium).

On January 16, 2020, a statement of the Saeima of the Republic of Lithuania “On the 80th anniversary of the occupation of the Republic of Lithuania and the inadmissibility of distorting the history of the Second World War” was published. This opus included a call to “pay attention to and critically evaluate the attempts of Russian officials to rewrite the history of World War II, as well as to justify the illegal occupation and annexation of Latvia”.

On April 23, 2020 in the final reading, the Latvian Saeima adopted legislative amendments prohibiting the wearing of Soviet military uniforms during public events, which are now equated to fascist uniforms.

Revanchist ideas in the Latvian political establishment are still promoted by the National Association, an Alliance of right-wing parties that is part of the ruling coalition. Supporters of this Association are headed by the Ministry of Culture (N. Puntulis) and the Ministry of Agriculture (K. Gerhards). Member of the National Association I. Murniece has been the speaker of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia for many years.

Latvian officials regularly participate in various events dedicated to the memory of Latvian SS Legionnaires and other collaborators.

On March 2, 2020, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Justice of Latvia Ya. Bordans took part in gathering sympathetic to the “Forest Brothers” in Vilakkam region on the occasion of the 75th anniversary events at the Stompack wetlands – operation to eliminate illegal armed groups of the Latvian Soviet security organs. The event was also attended by former President of Latvia R.Vejonis. In a subsequent comment on this event on the Facebook network, Ya. Bordans published laudatory reviews of the leader of the criminals, Peteris Supe.

In 2020, despite complaints from international specialized human rights organizations and the appeal of 38 MEPs to the Latvian authorities to condemn and ban the glorification of Nazism in the country, the March of SS Legionnaires on March 16 was allowed by the Riga Duma. Only after the Declaration of a state of emergency in the country due to the threat of spread of coronavirus infection, the leadership of the Metropolitan municipality was forced to cancel its decision. However, even in such conditions, some fans of the Latvian SS laid flowers and wreaths at the Monument of Freedom, one of which was in the form of the Latvian Legion's Chevron.

Among the officials, the event was again attended by a member of the National Association, adviser to the Prime Minister of Latvia I. Paradnsex, the leader of the party R. Dzintari, as well as the Deputy from the National Association Ya. Nesalnieks. Information support for this action was provided by the release of the propaganda film “Latvian Legion. The Resurrection of Justice”, which whitewashes the Legionnaires “Waffen-SS”. This propaganda material of Nazism is recommended for viewing by Latvian schoolchildren.

March 16 has been excluded from the list of official commemorations since 2000 and is not an official holiday. However, nationalists, and first of all the National Association, regularly try to return this day to a special status. To this end, Latvian politicians are trying to shift the focus and provide local neo-Nazis with legal grounds for their actions. In particular, the President of Latvia E. Levits has put forward an initiative to declare March 17 the day of remembrance of the national resistance movement. This initiative is presented as an effort to honor the memory of Latvian patriots who resisted the “occupation regimes”. In fact, this is an attempt at the state level to consolidate the honoring of the “Forest Brothers”, some of whom were former SS Legionnaires who were hiding from justice.

In contrast, a completely different attitude is observed in the Latvian authorities to the celebration of Victory Day on May 9 and those who celebrate it. Due to restrictive measures due to the quarantine, all mass events for this day in 2020 were canceled. However, residents of the Latvian capital were not forbidden to come to Victory Park and lay flowers at the monument to the Liberators of Riga individually. The people who did this provoked indignation from the "Patriotic" public and personally the Prime Minister of Latvia, K. Karinš, who demanded explanations from the Minister of Internal Affairs, S. Girgens, about how the police worked on May 9. Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks suggested not only not to treat those people who came to pay tribute to the Red Army soldiers at the monument to the Liberators of Riga on Victory Day, but also to oblige them to pay for treatment “to those they surrounded”. In response, S. Girgens said that “the order does not divide people into nationalities, does not divide them into those who have the right to lay flowers, and those who do not, and also respects the personal motivation of each person when laying flowers. Especially in cases when people remember their dead relatives”. At the same time, the Minister said that he laid flowers at the Monument of Freedom on May 4, marking the Restoration of Independence of Latvia[198]. It is noteworthy that the actions of law enforcement officers that day did not cause any complaints or questions. This story once again highlighted the acute problem of non-citizenship in Latvia, since most of those who lay flowers at the monument to the liberators of Riga are Russian and Russian – speaking residents of the country – and the persistent reluctance of the top leadership of the Republic of Latvia to respect the rights of this category of residents.

The Waffen-SS veterans' marches have been heavily criticized by the international community. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, has repeatedly expressed concern in its reports about the annual commemoration of Latvian legionaries of the Waffen-SS on 16 March. ECRI noted that members of Parliament belonging to the National Union party, which is part of the ruling coalition, were seen participating in these ceremonies. ECRI has repeatedly made recommendations to the Latvian authorities to condemn all attempts to perpetuate the memory of those who fought in the Waffen-SS and collaborated with the Nazis, as well as to urge members of Parliament to refrain from participating in such ceremonies.[199]

The situation of veterans of the Great Patriotic War living in Latvia remains discriminatory. In contrast to the “Forest Brothers” recognized as national partisans (many of whom served in the Waffen-SS volunteer legions during the war), they cannot claim pension and social security allowances. In January 2018, the Law on the Status of a Participant in the Second World War was adopted, which effectively put an equal sign between soldiers of the Soviet Army and Legionnaires who fought on the side of the Nazis. The decision to establish benefits for holders of this status is made by the local authorities themselves.

Anti-fascist civil society organizations are also obstructed in Latvia. At various times, the Latvian authorities persecuted activists of the Russian-speaking community fighting fascism, human rights defenders A. Gaponenko, V. Linderman, I. Kozyrev, D. Sumarokov, Chairman of the Latvian branch of the international human rights movement “World Without Nazism” I. Koren, as well as Latvian journalist and leader of the “Congress of Non-Citizens” Yu. Alekseev. In June 2019, criminal proceedings on charges of “glorifying the Soviet occupation” began against A. Finea, a member of the board of the Russian Union of Latvia and permanent author of the Russian analytical portal RuBaltic.ru.

On March 17, 2020, the State Security Service of Latvia published a report on its activities for 2019, which attributes Russia's desire to consolidate its “own vision” of history by organizing a conference and publishing books about the events of the twentieth century, caring for Soviet military graves, celebrating important historical events, as well as attempts to “marginalize the 80th anniversary of the conclusion of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact”.

The Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism points out in his report to the 38th session of the Council that in the annual report of the police for the protection of public order for 2016 published in April 2017, an entry was made according to which unofficial celebrations of the Victory Day over Nazi Germany pose a threat to national security.[200]

For the “correct” education of young people in Latvia, the structures of “Yaunsarzde” are used – a youth paramilitary organization operating under the Latvian Ministry of Defense[201]. Currently, “Yaunsarzde” has more than 8.5 thousand people. Starting from the 2024/ 2025 school year, it is planned to introduce compulsory military training lessons in all schools to educate “loyal and patriotic citizens of Latvia”. One of the mandatory components of this work is to study the history of the state in the “occupation” interpretation. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) drew attention to the activities of this structure, pointing out that training minors in the use of firearms is contrary to the obligations of states under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its 1st optional Protocol.

The campaign of the Latvian authorities to “desovetize” and level the significance of the feat of the Red Army soldiers is clearly expressed in the unleashed cowardly war with monuments and memorials in honor of the Red Army. In 2019-2020, attempts to desecrate and destroy or dismantle Soviet monuments were still noted. On October 26, 2019, the inscription “occupiers” was painted on the memorial to the soldiers-liberators of Riga and Latvia from the German-fascist invaders, installed in the capital's Victory Park.

The Saeima of the Republic of Latvia continues to consider the blasphemous initiative to dismantle this monument, despite the fact that it contradicts the Russian-Latvian intergovernmental Agreement of April 30, 1994 on social protection of military pensioners of the Russian Federation and their family members living in the territory of the Republic of Latvia, as well as the position of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which consistently opposes the demolition of the monument. In October 2019, a working group was created in the Saeima, where deputies from the ruling coalition discuss the future fate of the memorial: renaming it, placing “explanatory tablets” in the immediate vicinity of it that reflect its “true” meaning.

The Internet is actively used to attack the monument. Currently, the Google Maps service opposite the Russian-language name “Monument of Victory”, despite complaints to the resource administration, still contains a distorted “translation” into Latvian as “okupacijas pieminekeis” (“monument of occupation”).

On the night of October 30 to November 1, 2019, the Latvian enterprise “State Real Estate” dismantled a monument to Soviet submariners of the Baltic Sea, located in the Riga district of Balderaya, near the Headquarters of the Latvian Maritime Forces, which was cared for by public activists from the Association of Seamen and local residents[202]. This monument was demolished in violation of the Russian-Latvian agreement of 1994 on the social protection of Russian military pensioners, while the company that carried out these works reported that during the dismantling the monument fell apart and cannot be restored.

In 2020, on the eve of Victory Day, a series of acts of vandalism against memorials to Red Army soldiers took place in Latvia. In the village of Skulte, a memorial plaque was removed from the monument to the pilots of the 1st Guards Air Regiment of the Baltic Fleet Air Force. In Valmiera, a memorial on the mass grave of Soviet soldiers located in the city center was covered with paint by vandals. The desecration of this monument was registered by employees of the Russian Embassy during a tour of the mass graves of Soviet soldiers and laying flowers to them.[203] These blasphemous actions are not accidental and are part of the general line of cynical rewriting of history in Latvia.

According to the State Security Service (SSS) of Latvia, the activity of right- and left-wing extremist organizations in the country is quite low. The Latvian authorities do not advertise any ethnic clashes between Latvians and representatives of national minorities. Information about hate crimes is not publicly available.

However, human rights mechanisms have drawn attention to this problem.

In 2016 the Latvian Center for Human Rights (LCHR) conducted a survey among representatives of 11 NGOs and migrants, as well as foreign students studying in Latvia, regarding manifestations of intolerance and discrimination. Almost 68% were victims, and 33% witnessed or heard of hate incidents or discrimination. 13% of respondents were victims of attacks or attempted attacks, or had heard of other victims of such attacks. According to respondents, hate incidents were motivated by race (36%), ethnicity/ xenophobia (25%), language (22%), and religion (6%). However, NGOs and minority representatives pointed out to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance that victims of hate speech prefer not to report such cases to the police because of doubts about the ability or readiness of law enforcement agencies to effectively investigate these incidents.[204]

More than 40% of third-country citizens report that they have been discriminated against, for example, when contacting state authorities, the police, medical institutions, when passing border points, as well as on the street and on public transport.[205]

According to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, the system for recording data on such crimes, on the basis of which statistics are generated, needs to be improved[206].

In August 2018, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted that unofficial data showed a higher number of hate crimes and hate speech than officially reported and expressed concern about information that victims of hate crimes do not want to report these crimes to the authorities. It also pointed to the use of hate speech by politicians in connection with the election, including the use of hate speech on the Internet[207].

ECRI also noted an increase in Islamophobic rhetoric in public and political discussions in Latvia. During the discussion of Latvia's acceptance of refugees under quotas, Islamophobic comments were noted, equating refugees with a terrorist threat and generally directed against migrants. Egregious examples include the case of a Latvian entrepreneur who used the Internet to incite racial hatred against people of African descent by declaring his readiness to shoot them, as well as comments from Internet users calling for the burning of Muslims. There are frequent cases of anti-Semitic statements on the Internet, threats against a Jewish community school, vandalism and desecration of a Jewish cemetery in Riga. Latvian media reported that the Jewish cemetery in Rezekne was vandalized four times in August and September 2017.[208]

According to the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, in Latvia, as in a number of other EU member states, the collection of classified information on hate crimes is ineffective. It is significant that when preparing a report on discrimination and hate crimes against Jews living in EU member states (presented by FRA) in December 2018), the Agency's experts had to conduct it “manually”, organizing interviews with 200 residents of Latvia who consider themselves Jews. 12% of them consider anti-Semitism a very significant problem for their country, 77% believe that the situation in this area has not changed in the past 5 years. However, 61% of respondents did not express concern about anti-Semitism on the Internet. 3% of respondents during the year prior to was subjected to various acts of aggression motivated by anti-Semitism, 6% – within 5 years before the survey. One in three was afraid of being the victim of insults or physical violence because of belonging to the Jewish minority, and an even larger number of respondents feel a sense of anxiety for their family members. 3% of Latvian Jews feel discriminated against because of their religious affiliation, and the same number feel discriminated against because of their origin.

The government's policy of narrowing the scope of use of non-state languages is becoming more and more noticeable. Latvian is the only language allowed for communication with authorities, use in topographic signs and other inscriptions, as well as in identity documents. In this regard, the Advisory Committee of the Council of Europe on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) concluded that the language policy of the country's leadership leads to a reduction in the use of other languages, in particular the languages of national minorities, and, as a result, restricts the right of ethnic and linguistic minorities to freedom of expression.[209]

The actual elimination of the Russian-language educational space is carried out through a comprehensive education reform (transition of schools and kindergartens into the Latvian language of instruction, development and implementation of new educational content, optimization of the school network, prohibition of teaching in Russian in private universities).

Thus, in April 2018, the next amendments to the law “On Education” and to the law “On Universal Education” were approved, providing for the gradual full transition of school education into Latvian from the 2021-2022 academic year. According to them, in the main school (grades 7-9), teaching will be carried out in the proportion of 80% to 20%, in the secondary school (grades 10-12) – only in the state language.

Starting from the 2017-2018 school year, all students, including those who studied in national minority programs, are required to take centralized exams in Latvian in subjects such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, computer science, geography and economics.

In June 2018, amendments to the Law on Higher Education were adopted, which provide for a ban on teaching in Russian also in private universities and colleges. Accreditation of programs in Russian will remain in force until the expiration of their term, but new students will not be enrolled for them since 2019.

Attempts by the concerned public to get the school reform revised were not successful. On April 23, 2019, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia announced the decision on the lawsuit against amendments to the Law on Education filed by the party “Consent”. The Court recognized the educational reform aimed at the de facto elimination of bilingual schools in accordance with the Constitution of Latvia.

The measures taken by the Latvian authorities that have seriously reformatted pre-school education in the country are also in line with the general discriminatory policy aimed at permanently imposing restrictions on the use of the Russian language in education. On September 1, 2019, the Rules of the Cabinet of Ministers of Latvia No. 716 of November 21, 2018 regulating pre-school education came into force. These rules provide for the use of the Latvian language as the main means of communication during games with young children. Human rights defenders note that no consultations were held with representatives of national minorities and human rights defenders working to protect the rights of national minorities before these measures were developed.

On May 14, 2020 in the final reading, the Latvian Saeima adopted amendments to the law “On Education”, according to which all Russian-speaking kindergartens will be required to open groups with instruction in Latvian. The implementation of these innovations will accelerate the displacement of the Russian language from the pre-school education system, negatively affect the further educational process, which in turn will lead to inequality in the labor market and a decrease in the standard of living of national minorities.

Latvianization of education has also affected private educational institutions. On July 4, 2018 the President of Latvia R.Vejonis approved amendments affecting the ability to use the services of private universities with Russian-language training programs (since the 2019 academic year, no new sets of students are made). These amendments ignore the interests of a third of private students who studied in Latvia in Russian, and are currently being challenged in the constitutional court by deputies of the “Consent” Party.

On November 14, 2019, the Constitutional Court of Latvia has recognized that the transition of education into the state language in private schools for national minorities is in accordance with the basic law of the country.

All the mentioned measures to translate education into Latvian are carried out by the authorities without taking into account the opinion of the students themselves. According to a survey of Latvian school children conducted by the newspaper “Latvijas Avize”, most of them consider the Russian language extremely popular for improving their competitiveness in the labor market. Many of them are interested in learning Russian because they consider it a tool for interethnic and international communication, which opens up opportunities for them to work not only in Russia, but also with other countries.

In this regard, the AC FCNM expressed the view that the amendments to the Education Law adopted in April 2018, which provide for the transition of school education into Latvian by the 2020-2021 academic year, put students belonging to national minorities at a deliberately unfavourable position in terms of academic performance, which in turn may negatively affect their opportunities for successful integration into the social and economic life of society.[210]

The education reform was also criticized by the OSCE High Commissioner for national minorities, L. Zannier, who believes that the complete transition of national minority schools to teaching in Latvian “takes Latvia away from the existing bilingual model of education in the country, which performed its functions well and was based on the Hague recommendations on the rights of national minorities to education”. He called on the Latvian authorities to provide residents with the opportunity to receive education in Russian.

Although there are no formal restrictions on participation in political life and government (with the exception of the problem of “non-citizens”) in Latvia, the authorities exercise selective pressure on left-wing forces that position themselves as fighters for the rights of the Russian-speaking population. Thus, in June 2018, MEP and Co-Chairman of the Russian Union of Latvia party, T. Zhdanok, was denied participation in the Saeima elections (6 October 2018) on the basis of the election law prohibiting participation by persons who were members of certain Soviet organizations (Communist party, etc.) after 13 January 1991. However, language requirements are used as a pretext for terminating the powers of elected members of local councils. One of these cases concerns the Balva Duma Deputy Ivan Baranov, whose mandate was revoked on the grounds of insufficient knowledge of the Latvian language. The mayor of Daugavpils, Richard Eigim, was fined in October 2017 for insufficient knowledge of the Latvian language. He was asked to improve his knowledge of the Latvian language within six months, after which he must pass a new exam.[211]

Activists who seek to resist the official line on Latvianization of public life and the deterioration of the legal and social status of Russian compatriots have recently been under tremendous pressure. This includes the prosecution of compatriots who actively advocate for the preservation of Russian schools – 11 people were called for questioning by the security Police in connection with the organization of the all-Latvian parent-teacher meeting in March 2018, eight of them (including T. Zhdanok) were investigated in a criminal case, charged with inciting national hatred and actions against the state integrity and security of Latvia.

Requirements for a certain level of Latvian language proficiency were imposed in almost all professions listed in the Annex to the Cabinet of Ministers regulation No. 733 of July 7, 2009. “On the scope of knowledge of the state language and the procedure for checking the skills of state language proficiency required to perform professional and official duties, obtain a permanent residence permit and acquire the status of a permanent resident of the European community, and on the state fee for checking the state language proficiency” – this is about 3,600 professions and positions, including such as gravediggers, shepherds, grooms, bus drivers.

Such language practices negatively affect the ability of Latvian citizens who are not native speakers to hold state and municipal positions, in particular those belonging to national minorities.

In accordance with Cabinet of Ministers regulation No. 733 of 7 July 2009, members of the governing bodies of NGOs are also required to speak Latvian at the native language level (level C1 is the highest). According to the procedure, they can apply to the State Language Center (operating under the Ministry of Justice) with a request to lower the requirements for members of the Board of Directors. However, the criteria to be applied by the State Language Center when considering exceptions remain uncertain.

According to the law “On the State Language”, other languages can only be used in extremely limited circumstances when contacting state bodies such as the police, medical institutions, rescue services (in case of emergencies, urgent calls, medical assistance, crimes or other violations of the law).

The regular report of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, D. Mijatovic, published in October 2019 contains a sharp criticism of Riga's language policy, “where access to public positions is restricted for national minorities by imposing excessively strict requirements for knowledge of the state language”. According to the Commissioner, “instead of imposing sanctions, fines and inspections, as well as strict language quotas, these countries should encourage the study of state languages by providing new opportunities, including providing additional funding for relevant training programs”. Riga is recommended to “protect the rights of minorities and reduce tensions in society”, where “the rights of citizens who speak minority languages are not taken into account, and laws are often enforced by violent means”.

Despite the fact that many local authorities, including in Riga, provide interpretation services, Latvian is still the only language used by municipal authorities, regardless of the percentage of the population belonging to national minorities. These legal provisions create difficulties in obtaining public services for some elderly residents, in particular for those who have not studied the Latvian language. Russian ethnicity was reported by 40.2% of residents of Riga in the last census, and according to the same source, 55.8% of residents of Riga and 60.3% of residents of Latgale district speak Russian at home. The AC FCNM has repeatedly reiterated its position that “the current approach to restricting the use of other languages is incompatible with the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and, in addition, believes that it may be counter-productive”.

The AC FCNM noted the lack of progress on the long-standing issue of the right of persons belonging to national minorities to write their first and last names in the minority language in official documents. The procedure for deciphering personal names originating from other languages in Latvian and their use in personal documents is determined by the law “On the State Language”, the law “On Identity Documents”, and Cabinet of Ministers regulations No. 114 of March 2, 2004, “Rules on the writing and use of personal names in Latvian, as well as their identification”, Rules of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 134 of 21 February 2012 “On Identity Documents”. The practice of transcription in Latvian in birth certificates and identification documents, personal names used by persons belonging to national minorities, are written in accordance with the grammatical rules of the Latvian language, and do not take into account the norms of minority languages. The way personal names are written is a right protected by the Framework Convention and is an integral part of cultural traditions.[212]

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) also expressed concern about the Latvian authorities' policy on ethnic minority languages in 2018, noting that it discriminated against ethnic minorities in the areas of education and employment, public and political life, and access to services. In particular, the Committee was concerned about the reduction in the teaching of minority languages in public and private secondary schools, which would create unjustifiable restrictions on access to education in minority languages. The application of Article 6 of the law “On the State Language”, which provides for the use and knowledge of Latvian by employees and self-employed persons, may, in the opinion of CERD, lead to direct or indirect discrimination against minorities in terms of access to work in public and private institutions. Latvian language requirements affect the ability of minorities to participate in public and political life and their access to basic services.[213]

Thus, by choosing a punitive approach, the authorities send a negative signal to speakers of national minority languages, in particular Russian. This indicates disagreement with its presence on the air and, as a result, in the public life of Latvia. In general, the AC FCNM recognized that the conditions and requirements established by this legislation violate the Framework Convention, go beyond the licensing requirements and unduly hinder private broadcasters, thereby restricting access to the media to persons belonging to national minorities.

The issue of the lack of citizenship of a significant part of the Latvian population (11% or about 210 thousand residents) remains the most acute in Latvia, demonstrating the discriminatory attitude of the authorities.

For a long time, official Riga did not take any real steps to resolve this problem, limiting itself to various “cosmetic” improvements. However, after the amendments to the law of the Republic of Latvia “On Citizenship” came into force on October 1, 2013, the share of children of “non-citizens” who received citizenship almost doubled, reaching 90% of the total number. In addition, on March 21, 2019, the President of Latvia, R.Vejonis re-introduced the initiative to grant automatic citizenship to children of “non-citizens” born after January 1, 2020. On November 5, 2019, the corresponding law was adopted, which marks the actual termination of the “reproduction” of this status.

However, the potential changes are more symbolic and will not affect the discriminatory situation of more than 200,000 living “non-citizens”. At the same time, the problem concerning the birth of new “non-citizens” in Latvia is not so acute – in 2018, only 33 children received this status (in 2016, 47 children received non-citizen status, in 2017 - 51). Thus, a significant number of people remain, and minors “non-citizens” are generally less than 5 thousand people. At the same time, the amendments made in 2013 to the citizenship law of 1994, allowing “non-citizens” to register their children born in Latvia as a citizen of Latvia on their own initiative, deserve a positive assessment. The birth registration procedure is simplified. A request for Latvian citizenship for a newborn child born by “non-citizens” can now only be made by one parent, and not both, as previously. As a result, the number of newborn “non-citizens” decreased to 23 in 2017.[214]

“Non-citizens” of Latvia are deprived of several important social, economic and electoral rights. Currently, Latvian human rights defenders count about 80 differences between citizens and "non-citizens" (for comparison: 61 in 2004), including 47 restrictions in terms of professional self-realization (in 2004-2025). “Non-citizens”, in particular, do not have the right to be state officials, including municipal officials, to hold positions in the military service, to be judges, prosecutors, etc. In the socio-political sphere, “non-citizens” cannot act as founders of political parties, are deprived of the right to participate in the work of courts as assessors, as well as conclude transactions for the purchase of land and real estate without the consent of municipal authorities, etc.

The unfavourable situation in the field of naturalization is confirmed by official statistics: the rate of obtaining citizenship is decreasing every year (in 2016-2018, this indicator remained at a record low level and amounted to 987, 915 and 930 people respectively, for comparison: in 2005, 19169 people were naturalized, in 2012 – 2213).

If the current domestic policy of the Latvian authorities is maintained, it is possible to predict a further decline in the rate of naturalization. At the same time, the reduction in the number of “non-citizens” is already mainly due to the natural loss of this category of population and its migration outflow.

Official Riga continues to ignore numerous comments of international human rights organizations regarding the unfavorable situation with the rights of national minorities in the country.

In addition to the AC FCNM, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination paid attention to this problem, indicating that this group of the population is considered a separate legal category of non-citizens who are at risk of statelessness, which may hinder their access to certain rights under international law. According to CERD, 13% of such persons are of voting age, but they do not have the right to vote or participate in political life. This group also faces discrimination in access to public services. Moreover, CERD, while noting that the rate of naturalization of non-citizens is low, recognized as untenable the efforts made in 2017 to amend the Law on Citizenship to allow children of non-citizens to automatically acquire Latvian citizenship. In practice, this leads to the fact that non-citizen children are still being born in Latvia.[215]

In January 2019, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) published a report on the results of the recent elections to the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, which focused on the lack of voting rights of a significant proportion of the Latvian population – “non-citizens”. Latvia was recommended to increase the involvement of this category of residents in political processes by increasing the rate of naturalization.

ECRI also drew attention to the problem of mass statelessness in Latvia[216].

On February 20, 2019, the EP Culture Committee sent an official letter to the Prime Minister of Latvia expressing concern about the plans of the Latvian authorities to restrict the use of minority languages in higher, secondary and primary education.

The offensive against Russian-language media continues. In recent years, the National Council for Electronic Media of Latvia has restricted the broadcasting of the RTR-Planeta TV channel under false pretexts and blocked the website of MIA “Russia Today Baltnews.lv”. In November 2019, the broadcast of nine Russian television channels was stopped.

In February 2020 the State Security Service of Latvia conducted searches in the premises of the Latvian holding BMA, which includes about 25 TV channels (including “First Baltic Channel”, “First Baltic Music Channel”, “REN TV Baltic”), the advertising and media agency “Baltic Media Advertising”, the publishing house “Print Media”, the newspaper “MK Latvia”. Documents and data carriers were seized. BMA accounts in local banks have been frozen. Due to pressure from the Latvian authorities, in March 2020 the BMA decided to liquidate the news service of the First Baltic Channel, and to discontinue the production of the daily news program “Baltic Time”, the author's programs “Behind the Scenes” and “Five Kopecks” from March 20, 2020.

Also in February 2020, the Riga administrative district court upheld the November 2019 decision of the National Council for electronic media to stop retransmitting nine Russian-language channels. In addition, the President of Latvia E. Levits addressed the Saeima with a proposal to increase the proportion of TV programs in the official languages of the EU in the Republic's cable networks to 80% (now – 75%).

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Lithuania

The purposeful state policy of the Republic of Lithuania to falsify the history of the Second World War and glorify fascist collaborators, which obviously contradicts, in particular, the decisions of the Nuremberg Tribunal regarding the perpetrators, causes and results of the war, as well as the provisions of UN General Assembly resolution 74/136 of December 18, 2019, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” actually serves as a justification for Nazi crimes and contributes to the revival and spread of the ideology of hatred. Respectively, it is not surprising that Lithuania regularly abstains from voting on this document in the General Assembly.

At the highest level, the Lithuanian authorities are making attempts to falsify history, aimed at blackening the Soviet Union and the actions of the Red Army that liberated Europe, and retouching their own unsightly pages of the history of cooperation with the Nazis. Another attempt was made on the eve of the 75th Anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War, when on May 7, 2020, the presidents of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, G. Nauseda, E. Levits and K. Kaljulaid, adopted a joint statement on the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. In a document published on the official websites of the heads of the Baltic States, they presented their own picture of events that had no real basis and accused the USSR and the Red Army of liberating the Baltic States from the Nazis, calling it “occupation”, allegedly “because one totalitarian regime was replaced by another”.

Due to the systematic policy of the authorities to falsify the history of World War II, attempts to equalize the Nazi and Soviet regimes, political, administrative and even criminal prosecution of persons who question the official interpretation of historical events continue in Lithuania.

In order to consolidate the new “historical” approaches, textbooks for schools and universities are appropriately rewritten in Lithuania, visual material is reformatted in regional local history museums, new thematic museums are created, including the Vilnius Museum of the Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian Residents to Occupation Regimes, located in the building of the former KGB LSSR.

The glorification of the “Forest Brothers” (in the Lithuanian interpretation – “partisans”) remains one of the main priorities of the Lithuanian authorities. The topic of crimes of “Forest Brothers” in the Republic of Latvia is actually prohibited. This ignores the documented facts that the victims of the so-called partisans were tens of thousands of civilians from the civilian population.

Armed groups operating on the territory of Lithuania during the war and in the post-war period are responsible for the death of more than 25 thousand people, the vast majority of whom are peaceful Lithuanian citizens, including about 1,000 children. Many of the band members actively collaborated with the occupation administration of the Third Reich and were part of it, personally participated in the crimes of the Holocaust, during which almost the entire Jewish community of the country was destroyed, that is more than 220 thousand Jews (or 95% of the Jewish population living at that time). The country has many monuments to these "figures" who committed many crimes against Lithuanian Jews and civilians. Streets, squares, schools, and even military units are named after them (for example, the Juozas Vitkus battalion, which took part in the extermination of Jews in Lithuania during World War II).

In 2019, declared by the Saeima of the Republic of Lithuania as the year of “General” J. Jemaitis-Vytautas, who headed the headquarters of the Lithuanian anti-Soviet bandit underground in the post-war years and was officially recognized as the “President of Lithuania" (already in the 2000s), a series of events in memory of the country took place about the “Forest Brothers”.

During the solemn session of the Lithuanian Parliament on January 13, 2019 on the occasion of the “Defender of Freedom Day”, dedicated to the Vilnius events of January 13, 1991, interpreted by the Lithuanian authorities as “Soviet aggression”, with the participation of the country's top leadership, the annual “Freedom Award” was awarded to seven “partisans” who have survived to this day, and on January 13, 2020, this award was awarded to another former “forest brother” A. Kentre.

On May 3, 2019, on the occasion of the “Day of Honoring Partisans, the Unity of the Army and Society” and the 110th anniversary of J.Jemaitis-Vytautas, the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Latvia held a solemn pedestrian March in the area of Jurbarkas. As part of the “Day of Civil Resistance” on May 14, 2019, the then President of Lithuania, D. Grybauskaite, opened an exhibition in a symbolic bunker dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the so-called Declaration of the Movement of Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania” in 1949, which was signed by former leaders of the “Forest Brothers”.

In the summer of 2019, a memorial plaque dedicated to Zenonas Ignatavicius, chaplain of the Second Lithuanian auxiliary battalion (later renamed the 12th LAPB), was unveiled in the town of Vilkija, near Kaunas. This police battalion, characterized by exceptional brutality, was involved in the extermination of at least 20,000 Belarusian Jews in 1941-1942 in Minsk, Koidanov, Rudensk, Dukar, Kletsk, Nesvizh and Slutsk[217]. The head of the Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, E. Zuroff, noted that the chaplain was aware of the nature of the punitive battalion's activities, but there is no indication that Ignatavicius expressed any disapproval of their activities or sympathy for the innocent victims[218].

In September 2019, a campaign “Along the Paths of the Green Devil” was held with the participation of Lithuanian servicemen in honor of another bandit known for his direct participation in the Holocaust – Y. Misiunas (nicknamed the “Green Devil”).

In October 2019, the “last forest brother” A. Krauyalis (nicknamed “Syaubunas” – “Terrible”), known for numerous murders and robberies of civilians (shot himself on March 17, 1965, when he was surrounded by KGB officers), was reburied with honors at the Antakalnis cemetery located in the center of Vilnius.

After a meeting in New York in September
 2019 with the widow of an active participant in the anti-Soviet post-war gangs Yu.Lukshi, N.Brazhenait-Lukshene-Paronetto, Lithuanian President G.Nauseda publicly announced the decision to initiate a search for his remains. At the same time, there are publicly available memoirs of KGB officer N.Dushansky about the participation of the mentioned "partisan" in the Kaunas Jewish pogrom on June 23-25, 1941.

In December 2019, the deputies of the Saeima of the Republic of Lithuania from the conservative party “Union of the Motherland – Christian Democrats of Lithuania” sent letters to the Ministry of Defense of Lithuania, the Ministry of Culture and the parliamentary commission for the preservation of historical memory with a proposal to perpetuate the memory of General P.Plehavičius, who served Nazi Germany[219] (under his leadership a volunteer military formation was organized that participated in the struggle against Soviet partisans)[220].

Preparations are continuing for the installation of the “Freedom Hill” monument in the form of the “Forest Brothers” bunker on Lukish square, located in the center of Vilnius. In October 2019, in the village of Križkalnis of the Kestut region, the construction of the monument “To all the dead "Forest Brothers" of Lithuania” began.

In August 2019, President of Lithuania G. Nauseda attended the unveiling of a monument to the pro-fascist dictator of pre-war Lithuania A. Smeton in his hometown of Uzhulenis, Ukmergsky District, and publicly approved the idea of installing a monument in his honor in Vilnius. In March 2020, a working group was created to solve this problem.

Lithuanian legislation provides for a wide range of prohibitive and repressive measures related to the display of symbols of the USSR, public denial of the official interpretation of the period of Lithuania's stay in the USSR as “occupation”, statements about the crimes of the “Forest Brothers”. Article 170 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Latvia, for example, provides for a penalty of up to two years in prison only for “denying the Soviet occupation”.

Repressive measures are widely used by the Lithuanian authorities against undesirable persons. In January 2019, the Lithuanian writer M. Ivashkevicius was harassed, who was publicly accused by the organization of political prisoners and exiles of Lithuania of slandering the Lithuanian “Forest Brothers” in the novel “The Greens” for mentioning their participation in the mass murder of Jews.[221]

In May 2019, the Court sentenced the Deputy of the Klaipeda city Council, who represents the interests of Russian-speaking voters, V.Titov to pay a fine of 12 thousand euros (later reduced to 10 thousand euros) for statements in 2018 against the glorification of one of the leaders of the “Forest Brothers” A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas (the former Deputy opposed the installation of a memorial plaque to A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas at the University of Klaipeda, stating that the “national hero” was involved in the murder of thousands of peaceful Lithuanians)[222], qualifying them as “an insult to memory”, “inciting discord” and “denial of the Soviet occupation”. V. Titov was deprived of the Deputy mandate.

Earlier in October 2017, writer Ruta Vanagaite was targeted by the Lithuanian security services. About 20,000 copies of her book about participants of the Holocaust “Svoi” were withdrawn from bookstores. One of the leaders of neo-Nazis, a former employee of military intelligence Giedrius Gataveckas openly threatened R.Vanagaite.[223]

A criminal case is underway against human rights activist, co-chairman of the Socialist People's Front G. Grabauskas for his statements in the media exposing the crimes of the “forest partisans” on charges of insulting the memory of the dead and denying the “Soviet occupation”. In March 2020, the Kaunas district Prosecutor's office decided to conduct a forensic psychiatric examination against him.

On the eve of the 75th anniversary of Victory in March 2020, a number of public figures involved in the preparation of the celebrations were subjected to repression. The leader of the youth organization “Juvenus”, the organizer of the “Immortal regiment” in Klaipeda, A. Greychus, was arrested for 3 months. The activist is charged with espionage, which can lead from 3 to 15 years in prison. T. Afanasieva-Kolomiets, who is preparing the “Immortal regiment” in Vilnius, was searched and interrogated by employees of the State Security Department.

The problem of glorifying the “Forest Brothers” was pointed out by the Human Rights Committee (HR Committee) in July 2018. It expressed concern that the initiatives of the Lithuanian authorities were aimed at restricting freedom of expression, including in relation to persons indicating the involvement of Lithuanians (“Forest Brothers”) in Nazi crimes against Jews. In particular, it was pointed out that in previous years the names of such persons were included in the annual reports of the Lithuanian State Security Department and the Second Department of operational services of the Ministry of Defense of Lithuania (“military intelligence”) and that there was no information about the criteria for such publication and its justification.[224]

In 2019 and early 2020, anti-Semitic manifestations continued to grow in Lithuania. This negative trend was noted by the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM), which noted the presence of anti-Semitic statements in the media, including online one[225]. In August 2019, the organization's office and the Vilnius synagogue were closed for two days due to anonymous threats against the Chairman of the Jewish community of Lithuania (JCL), F. Kuklianski. In September 2019, an image of a swastika was laid out in the ground near the JCL building[226].

In February 2020 F. Kuklianski was forced to contact the police in connection with anti-Semitic insults addressed to her during a solemn session of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia on the occasion of the anniversary of the events of January 13, 1991.

In October 2019, in the historical Jewish quarter of Vilnius, an anti-Semitic symbol was painted on a wall by unknown people next to one of the drawings of the art project “Walls that Remember”, dedicated to reviving the memory of the Jewish community of Vilnius.[227]

In November 2019, an inscription praising A. Hitler was made by unknown persons at the synagogue in Kaunas.[228]

In February 2020, a memorial to the victims of the massacre of Jews was desecrated in Vilnius – an unknown person threw a jacket and set it on fire, and the police launched an investigation.

In January 2020, the head of the Commission on Historical Memory and Struggle for Freedom of the Saeima of the Republic of Lithuania, A. Gumulyauskas, initiated the preparation of a draft law that legally denies the participation of the Lithuanian state and people in the Holocaust[229]. The head of the Council of Rabbis of Europe, P. Goldschmidt, described this legislative initiative as “a direct insult to hundreds of thousands of Lithuanian Jews whose murders were facilitated and incited by Lithuanian political and military leaders, as well as the local Lithuanian population” and called on the Lithuanian government to "recognize its history, and not try to ignore or deny it"[230]. E. Zuroff, an Israeli historian and head of the Jerusalem branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said that if such a bill was passed, it would be “a disgusting attempt to justify Lithuania's complicity in the crimes of the Holocaust, which was huge”.

In order to exclude the possibility of evaluating the activities of the “Forest Brothers” that contradict official state policy, the TV and radio broadcasting Commission of the Republic of Lithuania constantly monitors media materials, especially Russian channels broadcasted in Lithuania. “Violations” are regularly registered – for example, in January 2019, the Commission accused the First Baltic channel and NTV Mir Lithuania of spreading “false, slanderous and hateful information about Lithuania and Lithuanian partisans”. For non-compliance with the requirements of censorship, serious sanctions are provided – after the third “violation” within a year, the channel’s broadcasting may be restricted. In addition to the two above-mentioned media, REN TV Baltic and TVC fall under the sanctions of the Lithuanian regulator, and the work of the news portal Sputnik.Lithuania is blocked.

Since December 2017, the Lithuanian side has effectively blocked Russian activities to repair and restore burial sites of Soviet soldiers. This is due to the beginning of the application of the “rules for the improvement of immovable cultural heritage significant for foreign states located on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania” approved by the order of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania in 2016 and the entry into force of their new, even more stringent and bureaucratic version in July 2018.

At the same time, the activity of Lithuanian radical nationalist forces is growing, in particular, the far-right party “Union of Lithuanian Nationalists and Republicans”, which is conducting information attacks against the Jewish community in Lithuania. So, on the official website of the party there was an author's article by Professor A. Butkus, in which he justifies the above-mentioned bill[231]. On the same day, the “Union of Lithuanian Nationalists and Republicans” issued an appeal to the JCL, accusing it of popularizing “fakes”. An unsubstantiated and illegal statement about the guilt of a number of Soviet Lithuanian partisans (mostly Jews who escaped from the ghetto) in the murder of 38 civilians in January 1944 and the destruction of the village of Kanyukai was also published.

Based on the nationalist organization “Pro Patria”, the far-right party “National Union” was established in March 2020 that plans to participate in the October 2020 parliamentary elections in Lithuania. The party slogan – “Raise your head, Lithuanian!”[232] – copies the title of a book by a Nazi collaborator Y. Noreika, a member of the “Lithuanian Activist Front”, which was oriented towards cooperation with Nazi Germany[233], the Creator of the Jewish ghetto during the German occupation, and a participant in the confiscation of Jewish property (also later the “forest brother”), which contained open judophobic appeals.

Regularly twice a year, the Lithuanian National Youth Union, despite the criticism of the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), organizes actions of radical nationalists in the center of Vilnius on the occasion of public holidays on February 16 (“Day of Restoration of Lithuanian Statehood”) and March 11 (“Day of Restoration of Lithuanian Independence”). In 2019, about 1,000 participants gathered at the meeting on February 16[234], and up to 400 on March 11[235]. Many carried portraits of Y. Noreika, K. Shkirpa (the founder and head of the anti-Semitic organization “Front of Lithuanian Activists”) and the Pro-fascist President-dictator of pre-war Lithuania, A. Smetona. The slogans “Shkirpa, Noreika are heroes of Lithuania”, “Lithuania[236] is for Lithuanians, Lithuanians are for Lithuania” were chanted.

In the fall of 2019, nationalists from the “Pro Patria” and “Cryptis” (“Direction”) movements with the full connivance of the authorities illegally installed a memorial plaque to Y. Noreika on the building of the library of the Academy of Sciences. This was done without official permission and after the previous board was removed by the decision of the city's mayor, Remigius Shimashus. The mayor's action caused a resonance in the Lithuanian society; many politicians were outraged by the removal of the memorial plaque. Commenting on the situation around the new memorial plaque, the mayor of the capital said that it is “a monument of shame to the legal mechanism, moral degradation and spineless politics”. However, R. Shimashus stated that he did not intend to remove it.[237]

In early January 2020, a group of “Pro Patria” activists held an impromptu meeting in honor of K. Shkirpa in the Tricolor Alley in the historical center of Vilnius (the former “K. Shkirpa Alley”, renamed by the decision of the city government) and posted street signs with the same name.[238]

Earlier, in the early 2010s, Lithuanian neo-Nazis were noted for committing aggressive attacks on anti-fascist figures. So, for example, in 2013 in Kaunas, neo-Nazis brutally beat Igor Krinitsky (an active member of the Social Front who participated in many actions). I. Krinitsky was in intensive care for a long time, after which he died. At the end of 2014, in Vilnius, neo-Nazis attacked the composer Thomas Dobrovolskis, who was also severely beaten, and died in hospital two days later. The reason for the attack was a statement in support of V. Putin.[239]

In addition, violations of the rights of national minorities, especially the Russian-speaking population, as well as Roma, and certain social groups are continued in Lithuania. These violations have been repeatedly noted by relevant international organizations. In May 2019 the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), in particular, pointed to the prevalence in Lithuania of biased attitudes towards members of vulnerable and minority groups, especially migrants, Muslims and Roma, “hate speech” and insults against them, including anti-Semitic statements in the media and on the Internet. Recommendations are addressed to the authorities of the Republic of Lathuania to overcome discrimination against Roma in various spheres of life, adopt comprehensive legislation to protect the rights of national minorities, and improve the conditions of detention of refugees.[240]

Among the human rights problems in Lithuania, the Human Rights Committee also noted with concern the use of “hate speech” against vulnerable minorities, including Roma, Jews, migrants and refugees. HRCtte was also concerned about the unreasonably long periods of detention of migrants (up to 18 months) and unsatisfactory conditions at the Center for Registration of Foreigners, as well as the detention of prisoners in prisons.[241]

In addition to using repressive measures against anti-fascist activists, the Lithuanian authorities also target public figures who speak out in favor of developing a dialogue with Russia, as well as former Soviet figures. The most striking example is the long-standing trial in a politically fabricated criminal case concerning the famous events in Vilnius in January 1991. It grossly violated the norms of Lithuanian law and international law, including the prohibition on making the law retroactive, the principles of presumption of innocence and competition. At the same time, there was no proven cause-and-effect relationship between the actions of the military carrying out their orders and the death of civilians.

As a result, on March 27, 2019 the Vilnius District Court sentenced 67 former Soviet party and state figures, special forces soldiers and military personnel, most of them citizens of the Russian Federation, to long terms of imprisonment for committing “war crimes and crimes against humanity”, including former Soviet Defense Minister D. T. Yazov (for 10 years), former commander of the Vilnius garrison of the Soviet Army V. N. Uskhopchik (for 14 years), former KGB officer M. V. Golovatov (for 12 years). Among the convicted are two Russian citizens who were sentenced in person – a resident of Kaliningrad, Yu. N. Mel (sentenced to 7 years in prison) and a resident of the Lithuanian capital, G. A. Ivanov (sentenced to 4 years).

Yu. N. Mel was detained in the Vilnius pre-trial detention center for 5 years from the moment of his detention until the verdict was announced. The Lithuanian court extended the term of his arrest every three months, ignoring the fact that he had diabetes. These actions are contrary to generally accepted procedural practice[242].

Another case of criminal cases being fabricated in Lithuania for political reasons is the one launched at the end of 2018. The State Security Department is conducting a campaign of harassment and intimidation under a false accusation of spying for Russia against a group of Russian and Lithuanian citizens.

The main accused in the criminal case was a well-known Lithuanian politician A. Paleckis, who visited the Republic of Crimea of the Russian Federation and has his own point of view, different from the position of the official authorities, on the process of the January events in Vilnius in 1991. He was arrested and has been in custody since October 2018. The development of local law enforcement agencies included Russian citizens, a publicist, historian V.V. Ivanov and a scavenger, the head of the public organization “Forgotten Soldiers” V.V. Orlov. They have not been charged with any specific charges or evidence of their guilt under the mentioned article. However, Russian citizens were given to understand that they were being persecuted for dissent and publicly showing sympathy for Russia. At the same time, another charge was fabricated against V. V. Ivanov – illegal possession of firearms in connection with a broken starting pistol found in his possession during a search.

In October-November 2019, the Chairman of the Union of Human Rights Observers in Lithuania, D. Shultsas, and the Chairman of the Socialist Popular Front of Lithuania, G. Grabauskas, came under pressure from the Lithuanian special services, calling for an end to political persecution of A. Paleckis and Yu. Mel. A case was opened against D. Schultsas for preparing a petition to the Supreme Court of Lithuania jointly with L. Plunge and R. Plunge, in which it was stated that the actions of the two judges may have been illegal. The human rights defender was found guilty. In early November 2019, he was forced to leave the country.

On October 22, 2019, the apartment of Grabauskas was searched as part of a criminal case initiated against him – also about “insulting” the “Forest Brothers”. In early December 2019, the human rights defender was detained by border guards at Vilnius airport, where he arrived after attending the 12th session of the UN Human Rights Council's Forum on Minority Issues, where he pointed out the practice of politically motivated criminal cases in Lithuania.[243] In fact, the human rights defender was harassed for participating in the UN event.

Problems remain in the field of respect for the rights of national minorities in Lithuania as a result of the policy of official authorities aimed at their assimilation. This was clearly shown in the course of the school education reform. The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities notes that insufficient efforts are being made by the authorities to mitigate its negative consequences for students of minority languages.

The Education Law of 2011 introduced Lithuanian as the only language of instruction in all schools and unified the state language exam in grades 10 and 12. This has created significant difficulties for children belonging to national minorities, and the eight-year transition period started in 2012. For students of national minority schools who took this exam for the first time in 2013, the teaching of the Lithuanian language was 818 hours less than for their peers from Lithuanian schools. Currently, the gap in results is narrowing. However, concerns remain in minority schools in the light of the end of the eight-year transition period.

According to the AC FCNM, schools that teach in minority languages report that they are not ready to provide adequate training for their students to pass the unified state exam and that they are trying to adapt the unified curriculum to the needs of children for whom Lithuanian is a second language. Consequently, the results of students of minority language schools in final exams were lower than average, which put them at a known disadvantage when applying for state-funded places in higher education.

The number of hours of instruction in the Lithuanian language, as well as methodological manuals and educational materials, is not sufficiently adapted to the needs of children from families where minority languages are mainly spoken and who come to school with a very low level of knowledge of the Lithuanian language. Many children entering primary school start learning Lithuanian almost as a foreign language and experience overloads caused by the requirements of the unified Lithuanian language curriculum.

In the current education system, students' knowledge of the minority language is not taken into account when passing final exams. Only the results of the Lithuanian language, mathematics and one foreign language (usually English) exams are counted in this final class, while Polish or Russian can only be taken as an optional exam.

The situation with the teaching of the Lithuanian language exam in the state language is still problematic in areas, which are home to a significant number of persons belonging to national minorities – Šalčininkai, Trakai, Vilnius (Polish), Sinensky (Russian and Polish), Klaipeda and Visaginas (Russian). Serious problems persist in rural areas, such as the Shalchinink district. The number of Russian-language schools in the country is decreasing, while the number of subjects taught in Lithuanian is increasing, and the requirements for passing the Lithuanian language matriculation exam for graduates of national minority schools and Lithuanian schoolchildren are being fully equalized. Thus, Russian compatriots living in Lithuania are deprived of the opportunity to receive a full-fledged higher education in their native language.[244]

The negative political and informational background surrounding the issue of education in national minority languages in Lithuania has led to constant discussion of the topic of Russia's ideological influence on the population of Lithuania, questioning of Russian school teachers by employees of the state security Department in connection with students' trips to Russian summer camps, as well as proposals by certain officials of the Republic of Lithuania to close these educational institutions.

The fact that the Roma in Lithuania are still the most vulnerable group was pointed out by the HR Committee, CERD, as well as the AC FCNM. The latter, in particular, noted with concern the persistence of discrimination against Roma, especially in the enjoyment of their rights to housing, health, employment and education. According to the AC FCNM, the ingrained reprehensible and negative attitude towards the Roma in Lithuanian society has been reflected in a number of incidents that have taken place in recent years.[245]

The AC FCNM also noted with concern that the media often referred to the ethnicity of alleged perpetrators who were not Lithuanian, which often provoked public discussion leading to increased negative attitudes towards the minority group concerned. According to the AC FCNM, the police should not disclose information to the media or the public about the ethnic origin of alleged criminals/ offenders.

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Luxembourg

There is no open activity of neo – Nazi movements or organizations in the public space of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg (hereinafter referred to as GDL). There are no facts of public propaganda of the ideas of Nazism and racial superiority. The glorification of the Nazi movement and former members of the Nazi SS organization and all its constituent parts, including the Waffen-SS, in any form is also not observed.

Public demonstrations in order to glorify the Nazi past, the construction of monuments and memorials dedicated to the Nazis and their collaborators are not carried out. The ban on the image of the swastika and any other Nazi symbols is strictly observed (recently, only one case of this kind was reported, when at the end of January 2020, a number of buildings, bus stops and road signs in the capital were painted with the image of the swastika, but, as the police found, it was not used to glorify Nazism, but for offensive purposes).

The importance of preserving the memory of the tragic events of the Second World War is declared by the authorities of Luxembourg at the highest level. The country's leadership is making efforts to promote the thesis of the heroic resistance of the country's population to the Nazi occupation during the Second World War. In 1940, despite its status as a neutral state, Luxembourg was occupied by Nazi Germany. The policy of Germanization began, and citizens were forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht. Many Luxembourg soldiers, unwilling to fight on the side of the Third Reich, voluntarily surrendered to the Red Army or Allied forces. On the territory of the Grand Duchy itself, resistance to the occupation turned into a General strike by 1942[246]. However, in general, the interpretation of the events of those years is ambiguous, which is also associated with the facts of collaboration. Accordingly, when discussing this topic, the scientific and journalistic community of GDL prefers to adhere to a certain degree of caution and self-censorship.

In this regard, it should be mentioned that 6 citizens of Luxembourg and their families continue to receive “Nazi pensions”, appointed by A. Hitler for cooperation with the Third Reich or service in the armed forces of Nazi Germany. Pensions are paid by Germany, and the Luxembourg authorities refuse to disclose to the public the names of their recipients or the “merits” for which they were appointed.

There were no facts of desecration of military graves or damage to monuments and memorials dedicated to the Second World War. Such facilities are protected by the state, and local authorities maintain them in general in an exemplary state. In Luxembourg, the installation of new monuments and plaques in memory of the victims of Nazism and fascism continues. So, in 2019, a new monument to the victims of the Holocaust was opened in the center of the capital. The administrations of local communes make sure that the graves of Soviet citizens who were victims of the Nazi regime are kept in order. At the moment, the issue of installing a monument to Soviet citizens forcibly taken to forced labor in Luxembourg during the Great Patriotic war is being considered. The agreement on the creation of this monument was reached during the official visit of Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to GDL in March 2019.

Publications that call for racial or national discrimination or use hate speech are not allowed in Luxembourg's print media or online publications.

Events related to the struggle against the Nazi regime (first of all, the anniversary of the General strike) are solemnly celebrated at the state level. National Remembrance Day, celebrated on October 10, is dedicated to the struggle of Luxembourgers against the Nazi occupation in 1940-1945. Every year on this day, the Grand Duke participates in the lighting of the Eternal Flame at the Luxembourg Solidarity monument.

Local authorities also provide the necessary assistance in carrying out events dedicated to the Victory Day. Representatives of the relevant municipal administrations regularly take part in them.

In September 2019 GDL solemnly marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Luxembourg from Nazi occupation. In January 2020, the Grand Duchy was represented at the highest level during commemorative events in Poland and Israel on the occasion of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp and in memory of the Holocaust.

From March 5, 2019 to March 3, 2020 Luxembourg served as the chair of the International Alliance in memory of the Holocaust. During his presidency, in particular, Recommendations on teaching knowledge about the Holocaust were developed and approved. Also in July 2019, the GDL authorities approved the Alliance's “working definition of anti-Semitism”.

In order to preserve historical evidence of Luxembourgers' participation in World War II, a special decree established the Committee to commemorate forced conscription into the Wehrmacht and the corresponding documentation and Research Center in 2005. In addition, the law of June 21, 2016 established the World War II Memorial Committee. The tasks of the latter, which includes members of veterans' organizations and representatives of a number of GDL ministries, include the protection of the rights and interests of veterans, citizens of Luxembourg forcibly conscripted into the Wehrmacht, and victims of the Holocaust. In addition, the Committee participates in the organization of celebrations dedicated to the Second World War, the search and identification of places of historical and memorial character, and conducts awareness-raising activities among young people.

The authorities of Luxembourg, bearing in mind the country's historical experience, strive to prevent the emergence of neo-Nazi movements on the territory of Luxembourg. Extremist and radical nationalist parties and groups of a racist and xenophobic nature are not popular or supported in Luxembourg. At the same time, law enforcement agencies do not exclude the presence of certain elements in the country that sympathize with and share the ideas of neo-Nazism. However, their activities are not open.

At the same time, it is worth noting that, while not shying away from condemning the crimes of the Nazi regime, Luxembourg, along with other EU member states, has consistently abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly on the draft resolution submitted annually by Russia, together with other co-sponsors, on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

Ethnic and racial profiling among GDL law enforcement officers is generally not practiced. At the same time, service in the Grand Duchy's police force is subject to the mandatory presence of Luxembourg citizenship. There is no such requirement for the armed forces.

At the administrative level, several institutions are involved in combating racial discrimination: the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Wider region, the Office of Reception and Integration of Luxembourg, the Ministry of Equal Opportunities, the Centre for Equal Treatment, the Committee of the Ombudsman for Children's Rights, and the Inspectorate for Labour and Mines. With regard to the fight against intolerance, in 2017 the government established a center to combat radicalization[247].

In order to promote cultural diversity and tolerance, as well as to promote ideas of inter – ethnic and inter – religious interaction, festivals are held in Luxembourg both at the national level and in individual communes, the largest of which – “CultiMulti” – is organized on a regular basis.

Despite GDL achievements in the field of human rights, many EU human rights institutions, including the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, have criticized Luxembourg for the lack of a clear definition of racism in its Criminal Code as an aggravating circumstance in the Commission of crimes. In addition, the country's legislation does not include provisions on recognizing as illegal and prohibiting any organization that incites racial discrimination[248].

In addition, the country's legislation does not include provisions on recognizing as illegal and prohibiting any organization that incites racial discrimination. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has repeatedly pointed out that the Law on Equal Treatment of November 28, 2006 does not contain criteria of national origin, colour or descent, and that the racial background of a crime is not considered as an aggravating circumstance in Luxembourg. The Committee also noted with concern that, although the Luxembourg Criminal Code provides for the possibility of prosecuting legal persons, including organizations, for incitement to racial discrimination, there is no provision in the criminal law to prohibit an organization that incites racial discrimination or to declare such an organization illegal.[249]

Public opinion polls on anti-discrimination issues, including pan-European ones (for example, the study “Being black in the EU” by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), conducted in 2019) show that Luxembourg is among the three countries lagging behind in a number of indicators. For example, among almost 6,000 respondents from 12 countries, 47% of people from the African continent have experienced various forms of harassment in Luxembourg, mainly in employment. At the same time, for other countries that took part in the study, the average detected indicator is 39%. A number of experts still note the existence of anti-Semitic attitudes in Luxembourg society. According to the EU coordinator for combating anti-Semitism, K. von Schnurbein, and 13 manifestations of anti-Semitism were registered in the GDL in the period 2018-2019. It is a considerable number, taking into account the small number of the Luxembourg Jewish community of the GDL.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2014, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 2018[250], and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in 2017[251] pointed out the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes and Islamophobia in Luxembourg, as well as the prevalence of discriminatory stereotypes in the media and on the Internet that contribute to prejudice against certain groups of the population.

ECRI also noted that the Luxembourg authorities do not publish statistics on verbal hate speech. With reference to the Prosecutor's office of GDL, it is reported that in 2015, 4 sentences were handed down for inciting hatred (3 in 2014, 2 in 2013, 2 in 2012, none in 2011 and 1 in 2010). At the same time, the police registered 28 such cases in 2015, 43 in 2014 and 29 in 2013. In 2014, the Minister of Justice of Luxembourg acknowledged that statistics on hate speech do not necessarily reflect the real extent of this phenomenon. According to ECRI, many cases of hate speech were not reported to the authorities. This is evidenced by the data of the stopline.bee-secure.lu portal, whose experts noted a significant increase in the number of messages about potentially racist content: in 2015, 309 messages were received (compared with 28 in 2014), information on 79 cases was transmitted to the police.[252]

We noted the international monitoring mechanisms and the difficult situation with refugees in the Grand Duchy. According to many human rights defenders, the basic allowance assigned to them is clearly insufficient for life, and employment opportunities are limited. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women expressed concern that local language requirements act as barriers for foreigners and migrants in the labour market and in education[253]. The method of registering incoming refugee families also raises concerns – one dossier is created for the head of the family, which includes spouses and children, which preserves the ground for possible discriminatory relations.

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Malta

As an integral part of the Western community and a member of the European Union, Malta has positioned itself as a consistent defender of democratic freedoms and human rights.

In the island republic, there are generally no public manifestations of Nazism and neo-Nazism, no cases of glorification of the Nazi movement, the construction of monuments dedicated to the Nazis and their accomplices, the holding of appropriate public demonstrations, the desecration of memorials dedicated to fighters against Nazism, and the prosecution of anti-fascist soldiers.

In Malta, there are no bans on the symbols of the Red Army and the Soviet Union, there are no facts of interference by the authorities to hold commemorative events on the occasion of the Victory in World War II. Veteran organizations and specialized NGOs operate freely. They assess the historical significance of the Victory and the decisive contribution of the peoples of the Soviet Union from an unbiased point of view, and recognize the need to preserve the memory of the war and draw lessons from it, primarily in terms of countering manifestations of extremism and neo-Nazism.

The topic of the role of the Soviet Union during World War II, as a rule, remains outside the scope of political speculation by both local authorities and representatives of the opposition. Nevertheless, when voting in the UN General Assembly on the annual resolution introduced by Russia and other co-sponsors to combat the glorification of Nazism, Malta always stands in solidarity with the line of the EU and Brussels, joining the number of abstainers.

Maltese media in their materials mainly try to avoid historical falsifications, distortions and overestimations. However, periodically, reprints of politically biased publications by Western news agencies (mainly Reuters and the Associated Press) appear on the topic “The role of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in the outbreak of war”, “The totalitarian post-war enslavement of the European peoples, including the Baltic, by the Stalinist regime”, etc.

In recent years, there has been no increase in the number of extremist and radical parties, movements and groups, as well as in the election of their representatives to legislative bodies.

At the same time, a significant problem is the presence in Maltese society of clearly expressed racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic attitudes, which are primarily reflected in the situation of migrants from Africa.

The existence of relevant problems in this area was once again confirmed by the results of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Malta held by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in November 2018.

The report to the UPR of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for human rights, in particular, expresses “concern at reports of racism and xenophobia against migrants, including violence based on race and racial discrimination in access to employment, housing and services”.[254]

Furthermore, the Human Rights Committee recommended that Malta strengthen its efforts to eliminate stereotypes and discrimination against migrants, in particular through awareness-raising campaigns to promote tolerance
 and respect for diversity.[255] The HRC Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants recommended that Valletta fully apply its legislation to combat direct and indirect manifestations of racial discrimination in the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by immigrants, especially refugees and asylum-seekers, including access to private rental housing and the labour market.[256]

The Committee recommended that measures be taken to ensure that cases of racially motivated violence are systematically investigated, the perpetrators are brought to justice and punished, and victims are properly compensated[257].

The Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) has noted cases of discrimination in Malta on the grounds of racial or ethnic origin in accessing housing, employment or health care. According to the AC FCNM, indirect evidence points to cases of racially motivated crimes, bullying in schools, and treatment of people of other colors as perpetrators of crimes, rather than as victims or innocent bystanders[258].

Research shows that more than 60% of black Africans in the country constantly face manifestations of intolerance in their daily lives and rarely communicate with local residents. At the same time, about 30% of them have been victims of racial hate crimes in the past.

According to a May 2019 opinion poll by the Times, more than 70% of the Maltese population recognizes the existence of a problem of racism in the country. At the same time, 46% “feel threatened” by representatives of other cultures, and 45% believe that there are too many migrants living on the island.

One of the major problems in Malta is the use of the Internet and social media to spread racist ideas, as well as misogynistic rhetoric and ideas.

According to the AC FCNM and the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), social networks in Malta are full of aggressive materials and continue to serve as a means of spreading racist statements, and public opinion is mostly negative towards migrants. In addition, it is pointed out that there is no centralized system for collecting data on the number of cases of racist crimes reported to the police, including hate speech[259].

According to a study by the Eurobarometer statistical bureau in 2018, Malta has the highest rate of hate speech in the European Union in the Internet space. At the same time, according to the police (interview with inspector J. Spiteri in the Malta independent newspaper of September 3, 2018), the main victims are migrants.

There are also some cases of misogynistic rhetoric being used by political and public figures.

Thus, during 2019, the Prime Minister J. Muscat and opposition leader E. Delia have publicly spoken out about the “dominance” of migrants in the Maltese labor market.

The local press periodically publishes reports of episodes of bias on the part of law enforcement officials towards black migrants, including cases of excessive use of force. The most high-profile of these were the attacks by two members of the Maltese Armed Forces on migrants (February and April 2019) with firearms, which resulted in several people being injured, and one (a native Ivorian) killed. At the same time, one of the Maltese arrested in this case confessed to hating people of African descent.

A significant resonance was also caused by an interview published in the local Times by a Thai student studying in Malta who complained that due to her Asian appearance, she had to deal with racism not only in everyday life, but also in dealing with local officials.

The prohibition of racial discrimination is enshrined in the Maltese Constitution and a number of other legislations. In particular, the Criminal Code (Article 82A) provides for a penalty of 6 to 18 months' imprisonment for actions aimed at inciting racial intolerance. Article 83B defines racism and xenophobia as an aggravating circumstance. These measures are assessed by human rights defenders (in particular, the local branch of the European Association of law students) as generally adequate to prevent hate speech and incitement to violence.

Malta does not have a legal ban on organizations and movements that promote racial discrimination and glorify Nazi ideology. Also, in recent years, no facts have been made public about the suppression of support for radical parties and organizations, as well as the fight against the practice of ethnic and racial profiling among law enforcement agencies.

Local authorities pay due attention to the preservation of monuments to the victims of the events of World War II. There are no separate monuments dedicated to the Holocaust in Malta.

In the island Republic, a number of educational measures are being implemented to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. At the same time, there is no purposeful work aimed at countering attempts to revise the results of the Second World War and deny the crimes committed by the Nazis against humanity.

In February 2017, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and National Security of Malta signed an agreement with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) on the implementation of the program “Training law enforcement officers in measures to combat hate crimes”. In its report (May 2018), ECRI recommended that the Maltese authorities intensify their efforts to train law enforcement officials, prosecutors and judges[260].

In September 2018 the NGO “SOS Malta” and the Maltese edition of the “Times” newspaper have launched a year-long #stophate project aimed at countering the spread of hate speech by promoting knowledge about this phenomenon, training volunteers to moderate online content, and conducting research in this area.

Education for children and young people on countering racism and promoting a culture of tolerance and mutual respect in Malta is based on the national education strategy for the period 2014-2024, as well as the respect for all framework adopted in 2014. The UNESCO project “Education in the Spirit of Global Citizenship” is also being implemented, which involves measures to promote programs aimed at countering violent extremism in educational institutions.

The National Commission for the Promotion of Equality regularly conducts activities aimed at raising awareness of non-discrimination. Other state and non-state organizations also organize such thematic events. Thus, in November 2018 and February 2019, the Office of the President of Malta held seminars on interfaith dialogue with representatives of 12 religious communities and organizations. The result of these efforts on February 8, 2019 the Maltese Declaration on interreligious harmony was signed. The head of state also regularly participates in such events (for example, in the conference “Religious Marriages in the Mediterranean Region” organized by the University of Malta in March 2018).

In October 2018, the Maltese NGO “People for Changes” held a round table on issues of racial intolerance.

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Netherlands

Manifestations of neo-Nazism and intolerance in the Netherlands are sporadic. There are no special provisions in national legislation to combat them, and enforcement in such cases is based on the more general provisions of the Dutch Criminal Code (CC). In particular, Article 137c of the Criminal Code criminalizes any public insult to groups of persons on the basis of race, religion, beliefs, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities in oral or written form, as well as in the form of images. Article 137d provides for liability for incitement to hatred or discrimination on a wide range of grounds.

The display of Nazi symbols as such (including badges, uniform attributes, greetings, etc.) is not a separate crime, but may be subject to criminal prosecution on the basis of general anti-discrimination provisions.

There are no separate elements in the criminal legislation of the Netherlands that criminalize the denial of historical facts, including the Holocaust. Falsifiers of history (as well as, for example, owners or administrators of sites where such materials are posted) may be held liable under the mentioned articles of the Criminal Code.

In practice, each specific action is considered in court in accordance with its context. The act of making a Nazi salute does not in itself entail criminal responsibility, but in cases where it is purposefully performed in public or during memorial services, accompanied by the voicing of Nazi slogans, etc., it is punishable. At the same time, the same Nazi greeting addressed to a particular person, and not to a group of people, is most likely to be qualified as an insult under Article 266 of the Criminal Code.

The judicial practice of the Netherlands in the fight against anti-Semitism is quite modest. Provocative statements and acts are punishable only if their aims go far beyond “open, freedom of expression-based discussions in a democratic society”[261]. However, there are also opposite examples. For example, in 2017, several Dutch citizens were sentenced to community service and/ or fined for chanting anti-Semitic slogans and displaying the symbols of right-wing radicals “Combat 18” and “Defend Europe”[262].

An example of the application of anti-discrimination articles of the Criminal Code in relation to the use of Nazi symbols is, in particular, the case that reached the Supreme court of the Netherlands in 2012 about 100 daggers with the image of the swastika, symbols of the Waffen-SS units and slogans of the Third Reich for the purpose of selling them (as a result, the “entrepreneur” was found guilty under Article 137 (e) of the Criminal Code)[263].

A wide public outcry in the Netherlands was caused by the naming of the world's largest pipe-laying vessel after Pieter Schelte Heerema – a famous Dutch Nazi who was a member of the Waffen-SS during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Due to the negative reaction in public circles and the media, the management of the company “Allsis” announced the renaming of the ship from “Peter Schelte” to “Pioneer Spirit”, retaining the original abbreviation.

Public outrage was caused by the holding of an exhibition dedicated to the Nazi design of the Third Reich in September 2019 in Hertogenbosch. In the words of the organizers, it created “a seductive image of prosperity and carefree fun”. The Association of anti-fascists in the Netherlands considered the exhibition disrespectful[264].

The facts of cooperation between the Dutch authorities and the Nazis during the Second World War came to the attention of the public. Employees of the Institute of Military Documentation NIOD found that the apparatus of the mayor of Amsterdam helped the Nazis to identify objectionable persons, detain them and escort them to camps. In the publication of the newspaper “NRC Handelsblad” it was noted that thanks to the efforts of city officials during the war, 3/4 of the then 75 thousand Jewish population of the capital was eliminated. The initiative to investigate this fact was taken by the head of Amsterdam, F. Halsema, a politician of the old formation. NIOD announced the preparation of a report on the activities of the Amsterdam administration in the period from 1930 to 1950.

The fact that the state company of the Netherlands Railways (“Nederlandse Spoorwegen”) collaborated with the Nazis also caused a noticeable resonance: the company, in agreement with the German authorities, not only transported Jews, Gypsies and representatives of other “second-rate nations” to concentration camps, but also cynically charged them a fare. After the end of the war, the Dutch Railways refused to recognize this fact for a long time[265]. The trial in this case was initiated in 2005 by one of the relatives of Holocaust victims against “Nederlandse Spoorwegen”. In 2018, during the review of the case, the President of the Board of the company, R. van Boxe, confirmed his readiness to make concessions and allocate about 40-50 million euros to pay compensation to victims. At the same time, the amount of payments turned out to be small: survivors and living victims (there are about 500 people) were supposed to pay 15 thousand euros, and relatives of the victims – half of this amount.[266]

The Dutch media periodically publish articles about alleged cases of Dutch military personnel expressing support for the ideology of Nazism. For example, the Folkskrant newspaper reported that over the past 5 years, the military intelligence and security service MIVD conducted internal investigations on 21 such cases. For the use of Nazi literature, swastika images and SS emblems, depending on the situation, disciplinary measures were applied to military personnel, but no one was brought to criminal responsibility. One of the most recent high-profile examples took place in 2018, when the Dutch military exchanged extremist assessments via messenger, used swastikas and other Nazi symbols in correspondence, expressed interest in the ideas of Hitler and his associates, as well as in relevant literature. In this regard, the Ministry of Defense of the country and the Prosecutor's office have launched a series of investigations into the facts of unacceptable behavior of the military.

Against the background of a generally careful attitude to World War II memorials, both at the state level and on the part of the public, there are some cases of vandalism. So, in September 2019, at the military cemetery in Mierlo, where 664 British soldiers and one Dutch soldier who participated in the liberation of the country are buried, unknown people desecrated hundreds of tombstones, putting swastikas and inscriptions on them: “MH17-false”; “British + Dutch blood sings”; “Plug your head in”. An investigation has been launched by the police into the vandalism[267].

The attitude of the Dutch authorities to the memory of the feat of the Soviet people certainly deserves a positive assessment. The Netherlands budget allocated the necessary funds for the reconstruction of the memorial complex near Amersfoort, part of which is the cemetery “Soviet Field of Glory”, where 865 soldiers of the Red Army who died during World War II in German captivity in the Netherlands and Germany are buried. Thanks to the efforts of the Dutch public organization “Soviet Field of Glory" Foundation, it was possible to intensify work on identifying buried Soviet prisoners of war and searching for their relatives[268].

However, despite the Dutch authorities' respect for the memory of the Second World War, the Dutch delegation refrains from considering the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, following the position of the European Union on this issue.

One of the most influential right-wing organizations is the “Freedom” Party, founded in 2006 by G. Wilders. Its political discourse is based on the idea of danger from “outsiders” (immigrants and refugees). Supporters of the Association are in favor of closing borders, stopping migration from Muslim countries, and getting rid of political correctness[269]. At the same time, the supporters of this political organization demonstrate a loyal attitude to the Jewish community. The party positions itself as a defender of European liberal values and works with issues of gender equality and the elimination of homophobia. In foreign policy, the Association adheres to the positions of Euroscepticism. In the European Parliament, it is part of the “European Alliance for Freedom”.

Since 1971, the “Netherlands People's Union” (“Nederlandse Volks-Unie”), an organization that can be described as neo-Nazi, has been functioning. Its supporters advocate the rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators. This political party supports an amendment to the Constitution that German-Christian culture should remain dominant in the Netherlands, the subject of “nationalism” should be introduced in schools, migration policy should be tightened, and the construction of new synagogues and mosques in the Netherlands should be banned.

The country also has a number of loosely organized neo-Nazi groups with a small number of supporters: “Autonoom Nationaal Socialistische Actie” (“Autonomous National Socialist Action”), “Verenigd Nederlands Arisch Broederschap” (“United Dutch Aryan Brotherhood”), “Stormfront” (“Storm Front”), “Identitait Verzet” (“Resistance to Identitarianism”).

In March 2020, the media reported that the neo-Nazi movement “Feuerkrieg Division”, created in 2018 and calling on its followers to commit acts of violence against people of African descent and representatives of Jewish communities, was partly run by subjects of the Kingdom of the Netherlands[270].

The Netherlands is traditionally positioned as one of the oldest European democracies, in whose human rights record issues of intolerance are not among the most acute. The state has developed anti-discrimination legislation and a progressive system of anti-discrimination bureaus that provide citizens with advice on relevant issues. In addition, there is a special Prosecutor for discrimination in the country[271].

However, in recent years, considerable changes have taken place in the public consciousness of the Dutch. The reason for this was the migration crisis and the arrival of a significant number of people of the Muslim faith in the country, demonstrating no intention to assimilate in the host state.

In addition, the activity of right-wing Dutch politicians contributes to the spread of discriminatory attitudes towards representatives of ethnic, national and religious minorities. For example, in 2018, there was a wide response to the essentially xenophobic statement of the Dutch Foreign Minister, S. Blok, that there are no “peaceful multicultural societies” and that people are genetically wary of strangers[272].

The result of the new trend is an increase in public interest in the activities of far-right organizations. Political analysts assumed that the parliamentary elections held in the country in 2017 should have demonstrated a serious expansion of the electorate of the “Freedom Party” and could even have ended in its victory. However, in reality, the results of the vote only managed to slightly increase its representation in the legislature. This is largely due to the fact that the ruling “People's Party for Freedom and Democracy” also promised its voters to take a course to tighten migration policy[273].

Today, the ethnic composition of the Netherlands is extremely diverse. Indigenous peoples include the Dutch and Friesian, the latter is the only group with official national minority status.

According to the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism, E. Tendayi Achiume, there is a danger of spreading racist ideas in Dutch society. In her statement following a visit to the country in early October 2019, she stressed the high degree of polarization in the political sphere of Dutch society, where the rhetoric of intolerance is widespread. The expert also noted that the stereotype of perception of a real Dutch citizen as a person of European origin is popular in the public consciousness, while people from the African or Asian region, even if they have Dutch citizenship and live in the country not in the first generation, are still perceived as an alien element[274].

International experts continue to record discrimination in the Netherlands against members of ethnic, national and religious minorities, including naturalized migrants.

In 2015 The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), following its consideration of the combined 19th – 21st periodic reports of the Netherlands and in 2014 the Working group on people of African descent of the UN Human Rights Council[275] highlighted the tense situation with minorities in the Netherlands and, in particular, discrimination against Jewish and Muslim communities, as well as Roma. Separately, CERD addressed the use of a Dutch Christmas celebration character called “Black Pete” in a negative context, describing it as “reflecting the negative stereotypes experienced by Afro-descendants as a relic of slavery”[276].

In 2019, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), functioning within the Council of Europe, pointed out a number of unresolved issues in the government's policy to combat intolerance in society as a whole (strict requirements for the integration of foreigners, discriminatory and xenophobic statements by a number of politicians and journalists against Islam, Muslims, migrants, etc.). ECRI called on the Netherlands to tighten civil, administrative and criminal legislation and ensure full independence of the competent authorities in this area.[277]

The use of hate speech by politicians, as well as in the media and on the Internet, remains a problem. ECRI noted that the xenophobic rhetoric used by the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy and the Forum for democracy is increasingly heard in public and political discussions, ranging from imposing collective responsibility on groups of people based on their migrant origin or religious beliefs to trivializing prejudices and negative representations of Muslims compared to the “ordinary Dutch person”. Xenophobic rhetoric is used not only by far-right parties, but also by some leading politicians and officials who openly express their racist beliefs. Such claims are supported by actions such as the launch of websites to file complaints against workers from Romania, Poland and Bulgaria (2012), asylum seekers (2015), and a caricature contest for the Prophet Muhammad (August 2018)[278].

There were also cases when authoritative Dutch figures expressed ideas of historical revisionism and justification of crimes committed by the Nazis. For example, in December 2017, Professor J. Tollener of Utrecht University, a descendant of one of the officials of the collaborationist government of Flanders during the German occupation of Belgium, expressed the opinion that the historical report on the Holocaust is propaganda used for profit, and called the Jews parasites, profiteers and bad people[279].

Persons belonging to minorities believe that the Dutch media makes a significant contribution to their isolation in society. A study of more than 600,000 news programs in 2016 and 2017 showed that the most commonly used words in relation to Muslims are “radical”, “extremist”, “terrorist”, “insult”, “rape”. In cases where the Dutch and Muslims are mentioned at the same time, we are talking about tensions in society. Such numerous negative news stories lead to stereotypical representations of Muslims, reinforce prejudices, and can provoke discrimination. Minority representatives informed the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance that Dutch television and persons belonging to minorities often do not have the opportunity to express themselves in the media[280].

CERD also expressed concern about racist motives that are widely heard in the media and the dissemination of racist statements and threats on the Internet. According to experts, the spread of such sentiments creates the ground for the growth of activity of politicians and right-wing movements in the Netherlands[281]. As a confirmation of the growth of such manifestations, we can cite the already mentioned statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, S. Blok, that there are no "peaceful multicultural societies" and that people are genetically wary of strangers[282].

There is an underreporting of hate crimes. The results of the Second study on the situation of minorities and discrimination in the European Union (MIDIS II study) for 2017 indicate a high degree of underestimation of data on cases of discrimination and intolerance: 39% of all people of North African origin living in the Netherlands said that they had recently been discriminated against in the public and private sector, 12% of people of Turkish and 11% of North African origin answered similarly about the situation in educational institutions. Only 16% of victims of Turkish origin and 29% of victims of North African origin filed a complaint with the relevant authorities. In addition, 70% and 69%, respectively, of all respondents from these groups did not know of any organization that could provide them with support or advice. Victims of hate speech often do not report such cases to the authorities because of a lack of confidence in the authorities' readiness and ability to investigate such incidents. Comments on the Internet aimed at inciting hatred are not deleted for long periods of time[283].

According to the 2017 discrimination report, prepared jointly by the police, the municipal anti – discrimination services (ADVs), the Internet discrimination hotline (MiND) and the national Institute for Human Rights (NIHR), the police initiated 3,499 cases of discrimination (20% less than in 2016), ADVs registered 4,691 such cases (1% less), MiND – 1,367 (49% more) and NIHR received 416 requests to assess incidents (10% less) and 4,259 – to clarify the situation (more than 30%). Among the cases reported by MiND, 37% concerned discrimination on social networks, 18% on blogs and public opinion sites, and 37% on other sites[284].

In 2017, the Prosecutor's office reviewed 144 cases of discrimination. Of these, 42% were motivated by racial or ethnic discrimination, 41% by anti-Semitic sentiments (mainly anti-Semitic chants by football hooligans), and 7% by Islamophobia. 42% of these incidents occurred during sporting events, 19% on the Internet, and 13% on the streets or in public places. In 44% of cases, an indictment was issued, and in another 17%, a punishment order was issued.
71% of the suspects were criminally responsible. A further 187 cases of discriminatory offences have been initiated under the general criminal law[285].

In 2017, the police received 603 complaints of hate-based violence, 329 of which were motivated by ethnic origin. A significant number of hate attacks were carried out, in particular against Muslims and mosques. Muslim women in hijabs are regularly the victims of racist attacks[286].

Anti-Semitic sentiments are still common among right-wing football fans: slogans of hateful content are occasionally heard during football matches. So, it is known that during one of the games of football clubs “Utrecht” and “Ajax” fans of the former chanted slogans: “Hamas, Hamas, Jews in Gaza”; “My father was in the commandos, my mother was in the SS, they burned Jews together, because Jews burn the best!”. The sports organization subsequently apologized for the actions of its fans[287].

The results of various studies indicate that the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the Netherlands as a whole remains at a consistently high level. Thus, according to the annual report of the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel (Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israel, CIDI), 182 anti-Semitic incidents were registered in 2019 (135 in 2018, 113 in 2017, 109 in 2016, and 171 in 2014). The authors of the report usually link the growth and fall of indicators from year to year to Israeli military operations, but this connection is not observed in 2019. In addition, in 2017-2018, cases of anti-Semitism on the Internet were registered for the first time. According to the specialized center that studies cases of discrimination on the Internet (Meldpunt Internet Discriminate, MiND), 236 reports of anti-Semitism were registered in 2017. According to the Dutch police, in 2018, 19% of registered and reviewed cases of discrimination related to allegations of anti-Semitism.

The situation with migrants in the country remains quite tense. A number of additional difficulties for migrants resulted in stricter requirements for the integration of foreigners in 2013. Children from migrant families or from the Netherlands Antilles are still overrepresented in correctional schools, often in lower grades during their secondary education, and face problems finding internships.

Members of minorities are more likely to face problems in finding employment. Migrant workers are more vulnerable to exploitation. The unemployment rate for young people in this group is almost three times higher than for the rest of the Dutch population, and the gap continues to widen. Although this situation is largely due to factors such as educational attainment and average age, discrimination also contributes in it. The EU MIDIS II study shows a really high level of alleged discrimination among people of Turkish and North African origin (19% and 20%, respectively, when looking for work, and 14% and 13%, respectively, at work).

The Roma lag far behind other groups in terms of education, resulting in low unemployment and poverty. About 1,000 Roma are currently stateless[288]. According to Dutch law, the statelessness of parents entails the statelessness of children. In turn, the status of stateless persons makes them vulnerable to possible eviction and exploitation, negatively affects their children's school opportunities and access to health services and legal employment. According to the monitoring of Roma integration into public life in 2013, 2015 and 2017, the main problems remain unchanged, and only minor positive developments can be observed. The number of Roma (Roma, Sinti and nomads) in the Netherlands who have received an education is lower than the national average. Pre-school enrolment is relatively low, and Roma children often enter primary school with insufficient knowledge of Dutch. In primary and secondary schools, absenteeism and dropout rates are significant problems. Girls often do not receive secondary education. These problems lead to lower levels of employment, poverty and social exclusion. Children belonging to the Roma, Sinti and nomadic communities are often discriminated against in schools. Because of their lower level of education, Roma often work in low-paid jobs. In general, their position in the labour market in the Netherlands is characterized by a high level of unemployment and dependency on benefits.

Along with these problems, the housing situation is extremely difficult for this group of people. While many Sinti and nomads express a desire to live in vans at (permanent) campsites, the majority of Roma, including recent arrivals, live in social housing or private rented apartments[289].

The Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) expressed regret that the position of the Dutch authorities regarding restrictions on the use of the Frisian language remained unchanged. The exercise of the majority of the rights granted to the Frisian minority to use and learn the Frisian language is limited in territorial scope, namely by the province of Friesland[290].

The problem of racial profiling by law enforcement remains. In its report, ECRI cites data according to which 61% of respondents of North American origin and 43% of people of Turkish origin consider cases when they were last stopped by law enforcement officers to be a manifestation of this practice. At the same time, there are no objective reasons for conducting 40% of such street checks.

The surge in xenophobia and especially sinophobia, triggered by the spread of a new coronavirus infection, also did not pass by the Netherlands.

Instagram Facebook and Dutch news portal NOS reported that users leave a lot of racist and discriminatory comments under news reports about the spread of a new disease on its pages on social networks Facebook and Instagram. Residents of the Netherlands of Asian origin face the fact that they are called carriers of the virus not only on the Internet, but also in transport, supermarkets and schools[291].

A satirical song about the spreading infection appeared on Dutch radio, including calls to stop eating Chinese food in order to avoid infection. Ethnic Chinese in the Netherlands found the text discriminatory and offensive. The performer and the radio station that launched it later apologized to the public[292].

On February 22, 2020, a group of students attacked a Dutch citizen of Chinese origin in Tilburg. Young people sang the above-mentioned song, and in response to a request to stop beat the girl. The victim suffered a concussion and several stab wounds[293].

On February 8, 2020, a group of Chinese students living in a dormitory at Wageningen University reported vandalism against their home: the Chinese flag was torn from the door, the elevator was polluted, and the walls were covered with insults indicating that the students were connected with the spread of coronavirus infection[294]. An investigation was launched by the Dutch police into the offence, but it was not possible to identify the culprits[295].

On the same day, in the Netherlands, an online petition “We Are Not Viruses!” ("We Zijn Geen Virussen!") was launched to protest against racism against Dutch people of Chinese and other Asian descent. On the first day, it collected 13,600 signatures, and by the end of the month, the number reached 57,600[296].

At the same time, the authorities are taking measures to combat hate speech. The national anti-discrimination program adopted in 2016 and the 2017 coalition agreement states that hate speech is unacceptable. The country's leading politicians also spoke out against the use of hate speech.

Integration policy is being reviewed at both the state and municipal levels. Intensive integration programs are being developed for new arrivals.

The Royal Netherlands Football Union is working with representatives of national minorities to solve the problem of chanting offensive slogans. The organization also issued special rules on how to behave in such situations[297].

In addition, together with the government, the Royal Netherlands Football Union has developed a package of measures to combat racism in football. These include, for example, the deployment of new and more accurate cameras in stadiums and the development of a mobile app that allows anonymous reporting of incidents of intolerance in the stands. It is also proposed to check the breakers on the availability of debt and dependence[298].

ECRI also noted an improvement in academic performance among children from migrant families and families from the Netherlands Antilles. The authorities have also focused their efforts on eliminating discrimination in the labour market and have taken effective measures to remove temporary employment agencies that exploit workers[299].

In 2017, an agreement was signed between the Prosecutor's office, the police and anti-discrimination NGOs to promote cooperation in the field of freedom of expression. In particular, a campaign was launched to inform the public about hate speech on the Internet. In addition, an independent hotline was set up to report hate speech on the Internet[300].

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Norway

There is no concept of neo-Nazism/Nazism in Norwegian law. Thus, these relevant political and social movements are not prohibited by law (criticism of Oslo on this basis has been repeatedly expressed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, most recently in December 2018).[301] However, almost all manifestations of neo-Nazism / Nazism are described in the country's Criminal Code (§§ 77, 185, 186) and are prosecuted as “hate speech” or “discrimination” based on race, national, ethnic, religious affiliation, gender, etc., and are also considered as aggravating circumstances. Nazi symbols are not legally prohibited, but their use in the context of “hate speech” against specific groups is punishable by a fine or up to 3 years in prison.

Unlike a number of European countries that have their own Nazi heritage, due to historic reasons in Norway there is no favourable ground for the increase in popularity on neo-Nazism. In 1940-1945, the country experienced the fascist occupation and the collaborationist regime of V. Quisling. Human losses amounted to more than 10 thousand people. Northern Norway was particularly affected, where the Nazis forced to evacuate the Norwegians during the retreat using the scorched earth tactics.

The depth of the trauma inflicted on the Norwegian people by the occupation is evidenced by the harsh attitude towards collaborators after the war. Up to 2% of the country's population was subjected to various forms of repression – one of the highest rates among countries that went through the stage of post-war “purges”.

Throughout the entire period of occupation of Norway by the Pro-Hitler regime, a high level of employment was maintained – according to various sources, 200 to 500 thousand Norwegians worked in jobs created by the Germans. In the first post-war years, the active participation of Norwegians in providing for the economic needs of the Reich was not considered reprehensible in principle, and subsequently was hidden for a long time (including by destroying archives showing the use of prisoners of war in the construction of key infrastructure facilities).

The Norwegian authorities were also ambivalent about the “unofficial” Resistance movement, which served as an alternative to the “officially” underground organization “Milorg” (“Military organization”), the leadership of which was carried out by the “exiled” government that left together with the Norwegian Royal family and settled in London. One of the main reasons for this attitude was the cooperation of members of the “unofficial” resistance movement with the Soviet military. As a result, they were not only properly rewarded for their contribution to the fight against fascism, but were often considered by the authorities in the post-war period as “unreliable elements” and potential “Soviet spies”, being subjected to harassment, surveillance, and restrictions on promotion.

Gradual recognition of the merits of the Norwegian partisans began only towards the end of the Cold War. In 1983 King Ulav V laid wreaths in honor of the partisans at the memorial steles in Cyberg and Berlevog (Northern Norway), and in 1992 the partisans were “rehabilitated” by King Harald V, who laid a wreath at the monument in Cyberg with the words: “I'm afraid we have unfairly brought significant personal burdens to individuals in the Cold War, ... with respect, I lay a wreath at the monument to the partisans” (an apology for the previous persecution was never made, although many in Norway interpret these words in this way).

Despite this, in Norway, according to law enforcement agencies[302], since the 1970s, right-wing groups that profess ideas of national and racial exclusivity have periodically emerged.

Recently, there has been a clear anti-immigrant bias in the right-wing environment of Norway, which is growing as the influx of refugees and migrants from Asia, Africa and the Middle East increases. Today, right-wing extremists practically do not voice the ideas of “classical” anti-communism, replacing it mainly with anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic rhetoric, combining it with criticism of left-wing Norwegian political forces that “condone” migrants.

Despite the official rejection of neo-Nazi ideology, in practice the Norwegian authorities adhere to a fairly liberal policy towards neo-Nazi movements and organizations, which, for reasons of respect for freedom of expression (freedom of speech), are given the opportunity to hold public events and marches, including demonstrations of Nazi symbols, but react to certain unauthorized actions of radicals. There were also cases when the police, in order to “avoid violence”, did not prevent unauthorized marches of the far-right, but used force against protesters against them, referring to the fact that the allegedly “aggressive” behavior of anti-fascists threatens public order.

Norwegian far-right organizations are highly fragmented. Low-activity cells are found throughout the country, but the majority of supporters of right-wing extremism are concentrated in the southern part of the country – in the region around Oslo (up to 70%, while in Oslo itself it is less than 10%) and along the southern coast. The average portrait of a right-wing extremist in Norway is a man of 30-40 years with a low level of education, often from the “hinterland”, burdened with problems in his personal life (single, unemployed) and social vices (alcoholism, drug addiction, criminal record), often with mental disabilities.

In general, law enforcement agencies believe that the process and mechanisms of radicalization of right-wing extremists and Islamists are largely similar, while right-wing radicals are distinguished by an older average age.

One of the clear examples of the “transition” from neo-Nazi ideology to radical Islamism is the Russian citizen O. V.Neganov, born in 1989, who came to Norway at the age of 17 with his family, received a residence permit, and lived in Halden in the East of the country for 12 years. For some time, he held far-right views and maintained ties with neo-Nazis V.Datsik and Ya.Petrovsky who lived in Norway. Later, he began to show sympathy for the ideology of radical Islam and in the summer of 2014 went to Syria to join the ranks of the banned terrorist organization “Islamic State” (IS). He repeatedly participated in military operations, including wearing the IS flag.

According to the media (state TV and radio company “NRK”, the newspaper “Verdens Gang”), in February 2019 O. V. Neganov was detained near the border between Syria and Jordan and is being held in the territory of the Kurdish Autonomous region of Iraq, while maintaining ties with Norway, having a “close relative with Norwegian citizenship” here. He is accused by the Russian authorities of participating in an illegal armed formation and a terrorist organization, and has been put on an international wanted list by Interpol.

As a rule, the Norwegian far-right radical structures were short-lived and small in number, but at the same time “by ear” (it is believed that a certain interest in them was fueled by the media in pursuit of a sensation). The most famous of these emerging from the 1970s are “Boot Boys”, “Norwegian Front”, “National People's Party”, “German Army of Norway”, “Cells of Armed Aryans”, “Terror of White Aryans”, “Viking”, “Zorn 88”, etc. At the same time, by the mid-1990s, the number of active supporters of right-wing radical ideas reached its peak (in particular, the figure of about 200 active participants is given).

The most organized neo-Nazi group in Norway is considered a branch of the Northern European Resistance Movement (NERM, Den nordiske motstandsbevegelsen). The structure was registered in Norway in 2011, and the head of the Norwegian “wing” is a Norwegian T. Olsen[303]. The movement is coordinated from Sweden (where it is most active), and is also represented in Finland, Denmark and Iceland.

The NERM has a strict hierarchy and strict internal structure with membership fees and an age limit (16 years). Its ideology is based on the theory of the “world Jewish conspiracy”, its adherents consider themselves national socialists. The organization advocates the establishment within the borders of the Nordic and Baltic countries the national socialist state, for the purity of the “Nordic race” against “globalist structures” (including NATO, EU, European economic area), calls to combat “the Jewish-Zionist conspiracy” and the LGBT community, and also professes the cult of self-sacrifice and at the same time – the healthy way of life.

According to a rough estimate, the “core” of NERM activists in Norway consists of 30-40 people aged 20 to 60 years (for comparison, in Sweden, NERM supporters – up to 300 people), most of them are known to law enforcement agencies for their participation in other radical groups in the past, have been tried for various criminal offences.

NERM members participate in neo-Nazi demonstrations (mainly in Sweden and Finland, with demonstrations usually involving activists from all country offices, regardless of their location), are engaged in putting up posters and distributing leaflets of the organization, organize joint “thematic” trips and training to “improve” and rally participants. Recently, agitation aimed at young people has become more active: according to reports on the website of the NERM Norwegian branch, its members regularly distribute leaflets and post posters calling for joining the organization near high schools. At the same time, the stylistic design of propaganda materials is based on similar materials of the Nazi regime.

In contrast to the above-mentioned radical structures, the NERM builds its activities mostly in the legal field. Activists of the movement act publicly and do not hide their identity but avoid clearly violent methods of struggle (although they do not completely abandon them). Similar to political parties, the NERM organizes “educational” events, summer camps for young people, “family” events and celebrations of the corresponding orientation. According to law enforcement agencies, some increase in the NERM activity is not excluded in the future (mainly due to the anti-migrant factor), as a result of which the group will become more assertive.

Despite quite aggressive rhetoric (calls to “join the fight”, the use of paramilitary terms in describing the hierarchy of the organization, accusations of “falseness” by the authorities, etc.), most of the NERM actions are formally carried out within the framework of the law, which limits the ability of law enforcement agencies to counter them. In addition, activists appeal to the principles of freedom of expression and assembly in order to demonstrate and distribute propaganda materials. Any attempts to disrupt their events by law enforcement agencies or ideological opponents are declared “gross violations” of freedom of speech and disrespect for pluralism of opinions.

At the same time, NERM actions are often provocative, and some of them are duly evaluated by the Norwegian competent authorities. For example, on the anniversary of the beginning of the German occupation of Norway on April 9, 2018, activists in several cities hung banners and leaflets with the image of swastikas and the text “We are back!”. Three NERM members (including T. Olsen) who participated in such an action in Kristiansand, in September 2019, were found guilty of inciting hatred by a court and sentenced to pay fines (the prosecution requested suspended prison terms, but the court commuted the sentence due to the fact that the investigation in the case dragged on for more than a year). The verdict was appealed by them.

In 2019, the Norwegian NERM branch suffered a split due to the unsuccessful participation of the Swedish “wing” of the organization (it has a registered political party) in the municipal elections in Sweden in 2018. As a result of the conflict because of disagreements regarding working methods, in August 2019 the most radical faction separated from the NERM, which established the new organization “Nordic Styrke”, whose leadership included the former head of the Norwegian NERM, H. Forvald. The organization advocates a “return to the roots”, that is the rejection of parliamentary methods of promoting their ideas, but it has not yet presented a clear “ideological platform”. Currently, its structure is not fully formed, and the exact number of participants is unknown. According to the organization's website, in the future it plans to open the possibility of “anonymous membership” for its supporters, who for one reason or another cannot act openly under their own name.

Recently, the “Stop Islamization of Norway” (Stopp islamiseringen av Norge, SIAN) organization has been active in the country, opposing the growing migration to Norway, especially from Muslim countries. The organization has been operating since 2000, having changed several names during its existence (SIAN – since 2008). Head is L. Thorsen.[304]

The SIAN ideology is based on the idea of countering the spread of Islam and its ideas in Norway under the pretext that this religion is “a political ideology in religious guise and poses a threat to the peace and freedom” of Western countries. At the same time, the organization distances itself from neo – Nazi labels, stating that it does not share the ideas of racism, is committed to democratic and humanistic values, and its “opponent” is not Muslims, who are themselves the “first victim of Islam”, but its political and religious ideology. At the same time, the public and most representatives of the main political forces in Norway consider SIAN a far-right radical organization, and media publications often refer to it as neo-Nazi.

SIAN does not disclose the number of its members. Although the number of subscribers to the organization's Facebook page exceeds 8,000, experts believe that the actual number of active members does not exceed 400.

Similar to the NERM, SIAN seeks to “legitimize” its views by appealing to the principle of freedom of expression. The organization conducts regular demonstrations, distributes thematic leaflets, and conducts active information work on social networks. Most SIAN demonstrations are accompanied by provocations. Periodically, there are clashes against this background, one of the most famous episodes is related to the SIAN action in Kristiansand in November 2019, during which the organization's activists burned the Quran.

This demonstration was agreed upon, but the police said in advance that “for security reasons” they did not allow SIAN to burn the Quran during it. After the activists set fire to the book, contrary to the police's demands, SIAN's opponents, who had gathered in the square, broke through the cordon, and clashes began. As a result, the police stopped the demonstration and five people were detained.

The action provoked a serious public outcry, including abroad. The SIAN provocation provoked a harsh reaction from the Turkish (a press release condemning it was published on the website of the Turkish Foreign Ministry), Iran and Pakistan authorities (the heads of diplomatic missions of Norway were summoned to the Foreign Ministry of the two countries) and a series of demonstrations in a number of Turkish and Pakistani cities with the burning of Norwegian flags. After that, the authorities were forced to take public steps. State Secretary of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry J.F. Holte in an article in the newspaper “Verdens Gang” said that the government is distancing itself from the burning of the Quran. The Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor, which provides mobile communications in Pakistan, also issued a press release condemning the action. At the same time, the Minister of Justice and Migration of Norway, J. Kallmür, distancing himself from the SIAN rally, expressed the opinion that the burning of the Quran is “a manifestation of freedom of speech outweighing the need to suppress such actions”, and demanded that the police make corrections to the “fuzzy” internal instructions.

To give the organization additional “democratic legitimacy”, SIAN tried several times to participate in “Arendal week”[305]. In 2017 SIAN was allowed to set up its stand in the center of Arendal in connection with the week, but due to riots and fights involving opponents of the organization near the stand, the organizers asked to remove it. In 2019 SIAN and the right-wing Alliance party (which participates in the elections, each time gaining less than 1% of the vote) were allowed to participate in the events of Arendal week, but after a negative public reaction to the provision of a “democratic platform for the promotion of extremist ideas” to the radicals, the organizers canceled their initial decision.

Other right-wing groups currently active in Norway are mostly marginalized and inactive, among the most prominent: Soldiers of Odin, Pegida, Vigrid, Norwegian Defence League, Motherland Party, Norwegian People's Party, Stop Migration, White Electoral Alliance, Patriots of Norway, Democrats, Alliance. At the same time, there is a growing popularity in Norway (especially among young people) of international ideological movements such as the “identarists” (“new right”) and the “alternative right”.

Despite the low popularity of the national socialist ideology in Norway, the small number of local neo-Nazis, their activities are monitored by the authorities. For example, there is an increase in right-wing extremist sentiment, depending on the growth rate of refugees and migrants from Muslim countries (currently decreased), as well as signs of increased cooperation between representatives of the neo-Nazi environment in Norway, Sweden and Finland. In order to study radicalism as a phenomenon in Norway, the Center for the study of right-wing extremism, hate crimes and political violence (C-REX) has been operating since 2016.

Norwegian law enforcement agencies are particularly concerned about the trend of neo-Nazi and racist ideology moving “to the grassroots level”, where isolated individuals are radicalized on the Internet and social networks and, often using encrypted messages on closed sites, remain outside the attention of law enforcement officers. The most famous example is the neo-Nazi A. Breivik, who in 2011 committed the largest terrorist attacks in the history of Norway in Oslo and on the island of Uteya, in protest against the “excessively soft” migration policy of the Norwegian authorities, which killed 77 people and injured more than 150. Before the attacks, he distributed a 1,500-page Manifesto outlining his views via email. He also used the trial to promote his views. The court found him sane and sentenced him to 21 years in prison.

On August 10, 2019 his follower Philip Manshaus, born in 1997, who holds right-wing views, killed his 17-year-old half-sister of Chinese origin for racist reasons, then entered the al-Noor mosque in the suburbs of Oslo and fired several shots in order to “sow fear among Muslims” (there were no victims). The investigation found that the “source of inspiration” for F. Manshaus was the terrorist attack in Christchurch in New Zealand in March 2019. F. Manshaus, who was found sane, confirms the fact that he committed the described actions, but refuses to plead guilty.

After the high-profile crime of F. Manshaus, the Norwegian security services began to consider right-wing extremism as one of the main terrorist threats to Norwegian society (terrorist attacks carried out by Islamists and right-wing radicals are now considered equally possible, while in February 2019, attacks by right-wing extremists were assessed as “unlikely”). In this regard, an action plan to combat racism and discrimination on ethnic and religious grounds was also presented, and the preparation of an action plan to combat discrimination and hatred against Muslims was announced. Law enforcement agencies believe that the threat of terrorist attacks from right-wing lone extremists will continue to grow, especially given the possible expansion of the influx of Muslim migrants.

One clear example of the tightening of Norwegian approaches to right-wing radicals is the detention and deportation from Norway in November 2019 in the interests of “preventing the radicalization of the population” of the American nationalist G. Johnson, who planned to speak at the conference on “Human Biodiversity” held by the right-wing organization “Scandza Forum” (based in Bergen) in Oslo (in July 2017, he freely took part in a similar event “Scandza Forum” in Norway; previously, he expressed sympathy for A. Breivik).

In addition to such cases of extreme right-wing and neo-Nazi radicalism, incidents involving the use of Nazi symbols in the public sphere have recently taken place in Norwegian public life. In February 2018, the use of the image of the Torah rune in the uniform of the Norwegian ski team caused a media outcry. Photos of team members in this form were published. It was announced that the manufacturer of the uniform decided to ignore the fact that this symbol was used by the Norwegian NERM branch and had previously been used by German Nazi structures. The Norwegian Ski Federation said that the uniform would not change and suggested that the players themselves choose whether to wear it or not.[306]

For a long time, the topic of deporting Jews from the country remained taboo. About 50% of Norwegian Jews (760 people) were exiled to Nazi concentration camps in Germany and Poland with the assistance of the local police during the occupation, and 25 people returned to their homeland alive after the war. This fact was completely suppressed until the early 1980s.

In the twenty-first century, the interest of historians and the public in the topic of the Holocaust and Norwegian involvement in it increased significantly, which allowed revealing new facts about the persecution of Norwegian Jews during World War II. For example, in 2019, the newspaper Aftenposten published a series of publications about the role of V. Quisling in the extermination of Norwegian Jews. With references to archival sources, they argued that V. Quisling was very likely aware of Nazi plans for Jews, including Norwegian ones, but deliberately did not take any measures to protect them. During the trial after the war, he denied any involvement in the arrests and deportations of Jews to Germany, shifting the blame solely to the Germans, and was acquitted of this charge (found guilty only of “unintentional assistance to murder”).

Based on the Norwegian historical experience with the Jewish community during the Nazi occupation, the authorities continue to pay special attention to monitoring and curbing manifestations of anti-Semitism. The country has a government program to combat anti-Semitism, with an emphasis on prevention in schools, social networks and the media (emphasis, in particular, is placed on electronic means of detecting anti-Semitic sentiments), improving the work of the police (anti-Semitism is regarded as a separate motive for “expressing hatred”).

In general, the attitude towards neo-Nazism in Norway remains negative. The society continues to reject fascism, and attempts to revise the history of the Second World War are unpopular.

The authorities of the country do not allow the glorification in any form of the Nazi movement of former members of the SS, including the “Waffen-SS”.

Norway officially emphasizes the principle of non-participation in any actions to search for and reburial the remains of Norwegians who fought in the Wehrmacht. The Norwegian Red Cross initiative put forward in 2017 to open in the country at the expense of the state a “place for remembrance” of the Norwegian Waffen-SS legionnaires under the pretext that according to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 “On the Protection of War Victims” have not found support from the public and authorities, they say, are obliged to facilitate the access of relatives of the deceased to the places of their burial.

The country does not accept, especially at the official level, the desecration or destruction of monuments to the fighters against Nazism and its victims. One of the rare exceptions is the desecration in Oslo in 2017 of a monument commemorating the exploits of the anti-fascist group “Oswald”, most of whose members were Communists. The monument was doused with red paint by vandals. The culprits were not found.

During the war, there were 212 camps for Soviet prisoners in Norway, most of which were concentrated in the North of the country.[307] Of these, about 2,000 people died as a result of the mistaken sinking of the British air force transport ship “Rigel” carrying prisoners off the coast of Central Norway. Burials of Soviet prisoners of war, especially numerous in Northern Norway, became the subject of care of Norwegians. There were frequent cases of local people building monuments on Soviet graves, in places of execution or concentration camps.

On the territory of Norway there are 63 burial places where 12,678 Soviet prisoners of war are buried (the military personnel who died in 1944-1945 during the liberation of Northern Norway were reburied until the end of 1948 on the territory of the USSR). There are also 40 free-standing monuments, and new monuments and plaques are periodically installed. Currently, about 7,800 Soviet citizens buried in Norway are known by name. This information is entered in an electronic database http://krigsgraver.no (the site is available in Norwegian, English and Russian).

The following Soviet graves and monuments are currently located in Norway:

- the main burial site (Tietta island, Central Norway, Nordland province, Alstahaug municipality, located 987 km from Oslo);

- one international military cemetery (located next to the main burial site on Tietta island), where 2,098 Soviet citizens who were transported on the transport ship “Rigel” in November 1944 are buried;

- Six Soviet military cemeteries (Verdalsøra cemetery in the village of Verdal of the Trondelag province; Hoel cemetery in the village of Sündndalsøra of the Møre og Rumsdal province; Haslemün cemetery in the village of Wolera of Inlandet county; city cemeteries in the village of Vignera and Oppdal of the province of Trøndelag, as well as in the village of Yerstadmuen of the province of Innlandet);

- 55 Norwegian civilian cemeteries in 52 settlements on whose territory the graves of Soviet prisoners of war are located (in the provinces of Agder, Westland, Westfold and Telemark, Wicken, Innlandet, Møre og Rumsdal, Nurland, Rogaland, Trøndelag);

- 29 standard commemorative obelisks with words of gratitude to Soviet soldiers from the Norwegian people, established in 1955 in accordance with the decision of the Mixed Soviet-Norwegian Commission on burials of July 1, 1954 on the site of “old” graves from which the remains were transferred (in the provinces of Agder, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark);

- 11 monuments to Soviet soldiers, established at the initiative of the local population (in the provinces of Nurland, Møre og Rumsdal, Trøndelag, Troms and Finnmark).

By the end of the war, there were about 250 Soviet burial sites throughout the country, but their number declined after the infamous operation Asphalt, a large-scale action by the Norwegian authorities to move the graves of Soviet prisoners of war, in the 1950s. In southern Norway, about 50 graves were closed with the transfer of the remains of those buried to other military cemeteries. In Northern Norway, the remains of 90 graves were moved to the Central cemetery in a remote location on the island of Tietta. The operation was conducted under the formal pretext of “facilitating access to the graves and maintaining them in proper shape”, but later it turned out that in reality it was covered by fears of “Soviet espionage” and the desire not to give Soviet representatives extra reasons to travel around the country to visit the graves. The remains were moved in the most disrespectful manner, they were mixed up in bags, without proper accounting. Despite the protests of the population, the transfer of graves was prevented only in Mu-i-Rana.

Burials and monuments to Soviet soldiers who died in Nazi concentration camps in Norway are maintained at the expense of the Norwegian state in a decent state, where necessary, the restoration and modernization of monuments is carried out. So, in 2016, the reconstruction of the Soviet war memorial in the cemetery in Tjotte was completed (memorial plates with the well-known names of the buried - 4860 people were installed, the territory was landscaped; about 1.3 million dollars were allocated from the budget for work). The monument is scheduled to be opened in May 2020 after restoration at the mass grave of Soviet soldiers in Mu-i-Rana. In the fall of 2021, a replica of the monument to Soviet prisoners of war that was blown up during operation Asphalt is expected to be unveiled on Saltfjellet mountain (Saltdal municipality, Nordland province).

In 2019, the construction of the Rose Castle complex (Roseslottet 2020), dedicated to the occupation of Norway in 1940-1945, was announced in Oslo. The initiators of the project are the former head of Military Intelligence K. Grandhagen[308] and the artist V. Sand, it is implemented with the financial support of the Norwegian government. It is supposed to perform memorial and educational functions, telling about the history of the war "without demonization and glorification". A significant place in the complex is given to works of the “Russian cycle”, dedicated to Soviet prisoners of war, the liberation of Northern Norway, and the battle of Stalingrad. Completion is scheduled for spring 2020 and is timed to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the German attack on Norway on April 9, 1940, as well as the 75th anniversary of the Victory. In 2021-2022, the object is planned to be dismantled and its individual fragments will be displayed in other regions of the country, including in Northern Norway.

On a regular basis, especially on the occasion of anniversaries of the Victory over Nazism, special events are held next to memorials to fallen Soviet soldiers with the participation of local authorities and the public, to which representatives of Russian foreign institutions are invited. Respect for Soviet monuments is especially noticeable in Northern Norway, which was liberated by the Red Army in 1944. In October 2019, Norwegians solemnly and widely celebrated the 75th anniversary of this event – the events were attended by king Harald V of Norway and the highest political and military leadership of the country in the person of Prime Minister E. Sulberg, Foreign Minister I. M. Eriksen Sereide, Defense Minister F. Bakke-Jensen, commander-in-chief of the Norwegian armed forces H.Bruijn-Hanssen. Russia was represented by S. V. Lavrov and commander of the Northern Fleet A. A. Moiseev. It is significant that in the statements of the Norwegian leadership in relation to this date, more than usual emphasis was placed on gratitude for the Soviet contribution to the Victory, common history and interests.

In Norway, structures that study the history of occupation, anti-Semitism in Norway and its current trends have been established and are actively working with official support, such as the center for research on the Holocaust and religious minorities in Oslo, and the Falstad center for memory and human rights.

The Falstad center for memory and human rights[309], which is engaged in research and educational activities in the field of the history of the Second World War, has been identifying the remains of Soviet prisoners of war in Norway on the basis of data from Norwegian and Russian archives since 2009, and is working on appeals from relatives of deceased prisoners of war.

The Archive center for peace and human rights[310] carries out scientific, educational and cultural activities on the history of the Second World War. Every year, with the assistance of the volunteer “friendship group” and schools, it organizes wreath-laying ceremonies at monuments and graves of Soviet prisoners of war in the area of Kristiansand, and regularly takes care of memorial signs. He is also one of the creators of the Register of military seamen – an open electronic database of seamen who served during the First and Second World Wars on military vessels, as well as the Norwegian Merchant Navy, which provided supplies of military and civilian products to the countries of the Anti-Hitler Coalition. The register is available on the website https://krigsseilerregisteret.no (available in Norwegian and English), as of April 2020, it contains information on 65,000 seafarers (including 46 Russian and Soviet citizens) and 5,000 vessels.

The Narvik center [311]is engaged in research, educational and exhibition work on the topic of occupation and war in Northern Norway. One of the most important areas of work is historical research on the use of labor of Soviet prisoners of war in the construction of infrastructure. The Narvik Military History Museum, which is managed by the Center, has extensive archives on the events of World War II in Northern Norway.

The Center for research on the Holocaust and religious minorities[312] focuses on the study of World War II, genocide, fascism, anti-Semitism, and the situation of minorities in modern society. The center has a noticeable positive impact on the Norwegian public, consistently speaking out against attempts to glorify Nazism and rewrite the history of World War II. At the same time, certain elements of its activities are anti-Russian in nature: a number of projects and studies indicate attempts to equate the “crimes of Stalinism” with Nazism, emphasizing the theme of Soviet “repression and camps”.

Modern Norwegian official historiography is based mainly on Western interpretations of the course and outcome of World War II, although in a relatively “soft” version. In Norway as a whole, especially among the people, the memory of the Soviet Union's contribution to achieving Victory over Hitler's Germany and the sacrifices made remains vivid. Periodically in the local information space there are statements in line with the usual Western stereotypes on certain “controversial” aspects, but for the most part they represent “private” opinions and are not imposed on the official level (the authorities prudently try to avoid such issues). The appearance of publications containing a distorted interpretation of the history of the Second World War is usually accompanied by critical reviews by historians and representatives of war memorial organizations.

Despite the fact that in Norway there are no attempts to purposefully “rewrite” history in order to distort ideas about the Soviet contribution to the Victory over fascism and the liberation of Northern Norway, in modern official and expert discourse about the role of the USSR in wartime, there are signs of politicization and a certain shift in emphasis under the influence of general Western attitudes. If the role of the USSR is mentioned in such cases, it is often “smoothed” by mentioning the ideological confrontation with “Soviet communism” during the “Cold War”.

In addition, attempts to “silence” the tragedy of war in the information space are becoming noticeable. For example, publications in which Wehrmacht veterans are depicted as “good grandfathers”, who fondly recall their service in “beautiful and peaceful” Norway, are not uncommon. Individual wartime monuments on the territory of Norway are turned into sightseeing objects in isolation from the tragic context (for example, the organization of excursions – walks to the wreckage of a Nazi plane in the vicinity of Oslo, served as an entertainment sports “March-throw”).

The purchase and sale of Nazi paraphernalia (banners, other items with a swastika and Nazi symbols), which is apparently regarded as historical artifacts without ideological burden, is not in line with government statements about the fight against the spread of extremist ideas that is freely conducted on the largest Norwegian trading platform: www.finn.no .

Recently, due to the passing of the military generation, there have been increasing trends towards "reconciliation" with the excesses of the occupation. So, in order to “restore justice”, the authorities have actually rehabilitated such a phenomenon during the occupation as the “affairs” of a large group of Norwegian women with Hitler's soldiers (according to Norwegian estimates, there were 40-50 thousand such women, which was about 10% of the entire female population of the country aged 18-35 years (these relations were not approved by the people). In 2018, Norwegian Prime Minister E. Sulberg formally apologized on behalf of the government for the persecution by the authorities after the war of Norwegian women who had relations with German soldiers during the occupation. E. Sulberg called such actions “illegal” and contrary to “the basic principle of the rule of law, according to which no one can be considered a criminal without trial or tried outside the law”.

After the war, the attitude towards these women in society was sharply negative. Many of them were arrested and sent to internment camps for forced labor. Women who married Germans during the occupation were deported, mostly to Germany (this practice continued until 1947), and for a long time they were denied the right to return. In addition, the deportees were deprived of Norwegian citizenship – a unique case in the history of Norway, never before or later this measure was applied.

Stating in words the unacceptability of any extremist ideologies, including neo-Nazism, Oslo, clearly for political purposes, does not change the approaches to the annual UN General Assembly resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (under the pretext of its allegedly narrowed nature and “infringement” in certain provisions of the right to freedom of expression and assembly). The Norwegian delegation traditionally abstains from voting (the last time it was during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in 2019).

In addition, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also condescending to the “revelry” of neo-Nazis in Ukraine, the outbreak of “war” with monuments to Soviet soldiers in Poland and other countries, the glorification of “Forest Brothers” and mockery of World War II veterans in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

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Poland

In Poland, the memory of the Second World War is cultivated at the state level, but the presentation of the events of those years is a “Polish” version of history. The decisive role of the Red Army not only in the liberation of Poland, but also in saving the Polish people from physical destruction by the Nazis is denied. The thesis about Poland as the main victim of “two totalitarianism”, equal responsibility of the USSR and Hitlerite Germany for the outbreak of the Second World War is promoted. The main emphasis is not even on the attack of the Third Reich on Poland on 1 September 1939, and the “Soviet invasion of Poland” on September 17 1939 that was a “stab in the back” that led to the final loss of independence and partition “lonely in the struggle of the Polish state”.[313]

The concept of equalizing “Soviet and German totalitarianism” is actively promoted by the Polish authorities and on international platforms. So, on September 19, 2019 the European Parliament adopted a resolution initiated by Polish MEPs from the European conservatives and reformists faction (which includes the Polish ruling Law and Justice party) “On the importance of preserving historical memory for the future of Europe”. The resolution suggests that Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Union, acting under the guise of a non-aggression Treaty and a Treaty on friendship and border, “divided Europe and the territories of independent States between two totalitarian regimes, which paved the way for the beginning of World War II”.[314]

On January 9, 2020 the Saeima of the Republic of Poland adopted a resolution of a similar orientation, in which it accused the Russian authorities of “manipulating history” and stated that the policy of two totalitarian powers – Germany and the Soviet Union – and the conclusion of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact led to the beginning of the war.[315] 

In addition, the idea is being held in Poland, including at the state level, that in achieving freedom and independence, supposedly acquired by the country only at the turn of the 1980s-1990s, [316]the merits of “underground heroes” – “damned soldiers” are great[317], the Memorial Day of which is celebrated on March 1.

Under the guise of the memory of “fighters against communism”, the cult of persons who have tainted themselves with collaboration with the Nazis, war crimes and the murder of civilians is openly instilled. So, in August 2019 in Warsaw under the patronage of the President of Poland A.Duda with the participation of representatives of the legislative and executive authorities, the Polish Army held commemorative events dedicated to the formation of the “Sventokshyska brigade” of the National armed forces[318].

Over the past five years, in the city of Hajnowka (Podlaskie Voivodeship) on February 23, a march in memory of “accursed soldiers” has been held, organized by Polish nationalists. Participants of the March praise Romuald Rice (“Brown”) and Jozef Kuras (“Fire”)[319], chanting nationalist slogans. Residents of the town of Hajnówka (overwhelmingly ethnic Belarusians) take such events sharply negatively. In 2017 and 2019, the city authorities unsuccessfully tried to ban the March (the court overturned the relevant decisions of the city authorities, referring to the Law on Public Meetings). The police usually stop attempts to prevent the March from taking place by the public protesting against the organization of such events.[320]

On March 11, 2019, the Polish Institute of National Remembrance – Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against the Polish People (INP)[321], contrary to the conclusions of its office in Białystok (Podlaskie Voivodeship), made in 2005 following an investigation into the murder in January-February 1946 by the detachment of Brown, 79 residents of Belsk-Podlaski (then it was recognized that the crime was committed not against individuals, but against groups of people united on a national and religious basis), published a cynical message that read: “In our estimation, the tragic events resulting from the actions of Brown and his soldiers do not meet the definition of the crime of genocide according to the UN Convention of December 9, 1948”.[322]

On March 12, 2019 the Belarusian Foreign Ministry said in a statement from its official representative: “A criminal who personally gave orders and participated in the murder of civilians in Belarusian villages in Podlasie cannot be blamed either in the eyes of Belarusians or in the historical memory of other sane people… Of particular concern was the outright cynicism of some Polish “researchers”, whose conclusions are based on the statement of the INP. In particular, in his defense, they state that “Brown” had the opportunity to "burn not five, but much more Belarusian villages in the province of Belsk-Podlasky”. The Polish Ambassador in Minsk was summoned to the Foreign Ministry.[323] The Polish authorities supported the cynical position of whitewashing criminals. Polish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Sh. Shinkovsky Wiel Senk said that he believes INP, as the Institute “seeks to find out the truth”, and mistakes in such a difficult case are inevitable.[324]

Poland is among the countries that seek to establish their historical narrative by “war” with Soviet monuments, which denies the liberation role of the Red Army.

In 2019-2020, the Polish authorities continued to implement the law “On the Prohibition of Propaganda of Communism or other Totalitarian System” of April 1, 2016 (with subsequent amendments)[325], according to which monuments to Soviet soldiers-liberators are removed from public space as “symbolizing communism” or “propagandizing” this system. Thus, Poland continues to violate its international obligations arising from the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Poland On friendly and good-neighbourly cooperation of May 22, 1992, the intergovernmental agreements On cooperation in the field of culture, science and education of August 25, 1993, and On graves and places of remembrance of victims of war and repression of February 22, 1994.

In 2019, by the decision of the Polish authorities, 3 such monuments were dismantled: in Slavno (West Pomeranian Voivodeship), Sarnice (Greater Poland Voivodeship) and Veljun (Lodz Voivodeship)[326]. There were 4 acts of vandalism regarding the graves of Soviet soldiers: in Nowy Sonch (Lesser Poland Voivodeship) and three times in the town of Yavor (Lower Silesian Voivodeship).

In the first months of 2020, the Monument of gratitude to the Red Army soldiers in Leszno (Greater Poland) was demolished, and there were 7 cases of vandals against the graves of Soviet soldiers: Jelenia Gura (Lower Silesian Voivodeship), Starachowice (Swiętokrzyskie Voivodeship), Gniezno (Greater Poland Voivodeship), Wrocław (Lower Silesian Voivodeship), Chelmza and Brodnica (Kuyavian-Pomeranian Voivodeship), Poznań (Greater Poland Voivodeship).

In April 2020, it became known that in January of this year, in the village of Kunovice (Lubuskie Voivodeship), according to the decision of the Lubuskie voivode, a plaque with the names of the Red Army soldiers was demolished from the monument (a pedestal with a T-34 tank) on the mass grave of 44 soldiers of the 11th Panzer Corps.

At the same time, the Polish authorities do not prevent the holding of official events in memory of the Red Army, but, as a rule, do not participate in them. The theme of the liberation of Poland during World War II by the Red Army is hushed up. Often memorial calendar dates get new names – instead of Liberation day, we can talk, for example, about the anniversary of the end of the Nazi occupation or the return of the city to the Polish state.[327] The events of World War II are interpreted in the spirit of the theory of “equal responsibility of Soviet and German totalitarianism” and “two occupations” at the highest level. Polish Prime Minister M. Morawiecki wrote in an article dated December 29, 2019 in Politico: “Far from being a 'liberator', the Soviet Union helped Nazi Germany and committed its own crimes”.[328] In another statement in December 2019, M. Moravetsky actually accused the USSR of involvement in the Holocaust and the seizure of Europe by Hitlerite Germany: “...Thanks to Stalin, Hitler was able to invade other countries with impunity, drive Jews from all over the continent into ghettos, and prepare for the Holocaust – one of the largest crimes in the history of mankind...”.[329]

On January 23, 2020 the Saeima and the Senate of Poland (the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament) passed resolutions on the events of 75 years ago in Upper Silesia.[330] The resolution of the Saeima, in particular, states: “The Upper Silesian tragedy is a crime committed by Red Army soldiers entering Upper Silesia, in particular the murder of more than 200 residents of Mechowitz”.

In an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio in February 2020, Polish Ambassador to Moscow V. Marciniak explained why the Polish side does not celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Warsaw by the Red Army from Nazi occupation: “The date of January 17 in the history of Warsaw is not the most important and great...”[331] A message from the Polish Embassy in Moscow dated January 21, 2020 regarding this memorable date reads: “In connection with the anniversary of the “liberation of Warsaw” celebrated in the Russian Federation, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland recalls that on January 17, 1945, Soviet troops entered the completely destroyed and deserted capital of Poland”.[332]

Against the background of this policy of the Polish authorities to glorify the Nazi henchmen, there is an increase in the number of extremist and nationalist organizations in the country. According to media reports[333], the Polish security services know about 200 “dangerous neo-Nazis”, and the number of neo-Nazi activists is estimated at about 600-700 people. However, according to the Polish anti-fascist non-governmental organization “Never again” (“Nigdy Więcej”), there are several thousand fans of fascism and Nazism in Poland and more than 10 thousand people who are influenced by this ideology.[334]

As examples of the preventive fight against neo-Nazism, the Polish authorities cite, in particular, decisions to expel foreign neo-Nazis from the territory of Poland and ban them from entering the country. According to media reports, the Polish special services initiated the expulsion of 14 people and 26 people for these reasons from 2016 to 2019. They have entered the list of persons whose stay in Poland is undesirable.[335]

In August 2019 the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) recommended that Poland ban organizations that call for racial discrimination – the National Radical Camp (NRC), the All-Polish Youth (APY), the Falanga, the Stormtroopers, the Niklot Association, the National Social Congress, the Autonomous Nationalists, Pride and Modernity, and the Polish branch of the Blood and Honor organization[336]. This issue was of particular concern to the Committee, so the Polish authorities were asked to report within a year on the measures they were taking to implement this recommendation.

In June 2019, the district Prosecutor's office in Lublin opened an investigation into the publication of a post on the Twitter page of the Lublin NRC brigade dedicated to the birthday of the Belgian fascist, former SS officer L. Degrelle, in which Polish nationalists called him “one of the greatest national revolutionaries”. The authors of the note were accused of promoting fascism[337]. Previously, Polish politicians have also called for the ban of the NRC, in particular, in 2017, the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz[338].

Events of a patriotic nature often have elements of a nationalist and neo-Nazi nature in Poland. Moreover, such events are not only not suppressed by law enforcement, but also enjoy their protection. Since 2011, an annual independence March has been held in Warsaw on November 11 as part of the celebration of Independence Day, as a sign of commitment to Polish national traditions and patriotism, but there are often slogans in the spirit of propaganda of Nazism, racism and anti-Semitism[339].

Every year, on August 1, nationalists organize marches in the Polish capital to mark the anniversary of the Warsaw uprising of 1944.[340] According to media reports, during the demonstration in August 2019 (on the 75th anniversary of the uprising), representatives of the public anti-fascist movement “Citizens of the Republic of Moldova” tried to prevent the March of nationalists, who regularly organize pickets in protest at such actions (in particular, at the independence Marches on November 11). However, city law enforcement agencies pushed the protesters away from the route of the nationalists.

At the same time, there are examples of banning actions that clearly glorify Nazism and its leaders. In August 2019, the district court of Gliwice (Silesian Voivodeship) issued a decree on the dissolution of the organization “Pride and Modernity”, which in April 2017 in the lower Silesian Voivodeship organized an event to celebrate the birthday of A. Hitler with Nazi symbols[341]. The court's decision noted that the glorification of the Nazi leader contradicts the organization's goals, which include the promotion of patriotism and the preservation of Polish national identity. A separate investigation is underway against six members of the organization who participated in this event, none of whom admitted their guilt, claiming that it was of a private nature, and its organizers are not engaged in propaganda of Nazi ideology.

The country has a tendency to spread ideas of racism, racial superiority, and hate crimes. Since 2019, the Polish Prosecutor's office and police have stopped publishing statistical reports on hate crimes. The authorities explain this by the fact that such documents contain information exclusively for internal official use.[342] According to the latest available data from the National Prosecutor's Office, the total number of such cases was 1,708 in 2017. According to statements by representatives of the Ministry of Justice in the media, in the first half of 2018, 890 hate crimes were reported in Poland. More than 31% of them are insults, another 30% are public propaganda of fascism and totalitarianism, more than 20% are violence, and 3% are insults to the feelings of believers.[343]

The report of the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) on Poland published in January 2020 notes that an atmosphere of intolerance, racism and xenophobia persists in Poland. Representatives of national minorities believe that the response of both local and central authorities to statements and acts of violence by extremist groups is insufficient. In their opinion, the attitude of the Polish authorities to a particular ethnic group depends on the relations of Poland with the respective countries.[344]

Attacks on Ukrainians have intensified in Poland, the number of offences against them increased from 37 in 2015 to 190 in 2017.[345] Muslims, Jews and Roma are also the most vulnerable groups in Poland.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has expressed deep concern about the spread of racist hate speech against minority groups, in particular Muslims, Roma, Ukrainians, people of African and Asian descent, Jews and migrants, as well as refugees. Such statements, according to the Committee, are often made by leading public figures, including politicians and representatives of the media. CERD was particularly concerned about the use of hate speech and negative stereotypes in the media when describing minority communities, the prevalence of websites promoting racial hatred, and the use of xenophobic rhetoric in the context of election campaigns.[346]

According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration of Poland,[347] 179 incidents of anti-Semitism were detected in 2018 which is the highest figure for the entire period of such statistics. Of these, 164 were related to various forms of hate speech, including graffiti, inscriptions, posters, articles and leaflets, and 99 were committed on the Internet. According to a survey by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) in 2018 on discrimination and hatred of Jews in the European Union, 32% of respondents of Jewish descent from Poland faced aggressive manifestations of anti-Semitism over the past 12 months, but 79% of them did not reported this to law enforcement agencies.[348]

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) study[349], the index of anti-Semitic sentiment in Poland in 2019 was 48%. Since the last survey was conducted in 2015, the level of anti-Semitism in the country has increased by 11%. The ADL's comparative data on the situation of Jews in Poland and other countries is also significant. For example, Poland has the highest rate of anti-Semitic sentiment among the CEE countries and is second only to Greece (67%) in Europe. At the same time, 74% of Polish participants in this survey believe that Jews talk too much about the Holocaust, and 64% – that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to the country in which they live. 56% of respondents tend to believe that Jews have too much influence in business and in international financial markets.[350]

According to a survey commissioned by CNN[351] on anti-Semitism in Europe, the results of which were published in November 2019, almost half of poles believe that Israel uses the Holocaust to justify its actions. 35% of the survey participants agreed with the statement that anti-Semitism is an increasing problem in Poland. 15% of the polled Poles admitted to having a negative attitude towards Jews (second place after Hungary).[352]

Statistics are confirmed in practice. So, on April 19, 2019, in Pruchnik (Subcarpathian Voivodeship), as part of the Easter festivities, a group of residents beat with sticks and burned an effigy of Judas in the image of an Orthodox Jew. According to media reports, the district Prosecutor's office in Peremyshl, whose jurisdiction is located in Pruchnik, on May 14, 2019 refused to initiate criminal proceedings on this incident.

Manifestations of Islamophobia are also registered in Poland. A survey by the Polish Center for Public Opinion Research (CPOR)[353] conducted in December 2019 shows that the image of a Muslim is not associated with direct contacts with representatives of this religion among poles. Only 14% of respondents confirmed personal acquaintance with them. At the same time, 45% of respondents expressed a negative attitude to followers of Islam, 38% – indifferent and only 17% – positive. In comparison with the data from a similar survey four years ago, the positive perception of Muslims has decreased by 6%.

According to 66% of Poles, Muslims living in Western Europe find it difficult to adapt to local traditions and values. Another 63% of respondents believe that representatives of Islam are mostly intolerant to those traditions and values that are alien to them. A significant part of Polish society (61%) associates Islam with violence, and 50% believe that Muslims justify violence against followers of other religions. At the same time, 38% of respondents believe that a conflict between Islamic and Western culture is inevitable.

In November 2019, employees of the Polish internal security Agency detained an extremist group in Warsaw and Szczecin that was preparing an attack on Muslims with explosives and firearms similar to the terrorist acts committed by A. Breivik in 2011 in Norway and B. Tarrant in 2019 in New Zealand.[354]

Human rights activists point to the existing problems of migrants in Poland. It is noted that a significant number of migrants, including parents with children and unaccompanied migrant children, are held in secure prison-type centers. It causes trauma to children and deprives them of the opportunity to receive full-time education. In addition, border guards do not allow asylum seekers to enter Poland or deny them access to asylum procedures. The refusal of Polish state bodies to accept Muslim refugees was also noted. At the same time, experts point to the continuing cases of hate crimes, the victims of which are migrants. These issues were highlighted in particular by the Human Rights Committee (HR Committee) in October 2016[355], the Committee against Torture (CAT) in July 2019[356], and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in August 2019.[357]

Human rights activists also record the spread of hate speech in the Polish segment of the Internet and the media. According to a study by the Polish CIPO conducted in November 2019, 46% of Poles believe that public insults and incitement to hatred in the country are related to skin color and race, 41% of respondents also indicate their nationality, ethnic origin and religious beliefs as motives. At the same time, 65% of respondents indicated the Internet space as the main place for spreading such rhetoric.[358] According to the Commissioner for Civil Rights (CCR) in Poland, A. Bodnar, it is “virtual crimes” that remain a “black hole” of the Polish legal system. Against the background of inaction of the competent authorities, which in most cases do not respond to such offences, A. Bodnar suggested that the authorities legally allow the filing of a claim to an unknown person, and his identity to be established during the investigation.[359]

In July 2019 CCR noted the radicalization of the language of public discussion in Poland around the situation with migrants, including in the media, the limited access of foreigners to the procedure for granting refugee status, and the activity of neo-fascist movements.[360]

There is an increase in the number of hate speech and hate crimes in Poland. However, information about such offences is rarely brought to the attention of the competent authorities. In 2018, CCR together with the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) attempted to study the extent of hate crimes in Poland that were not reported to the authorities. The study showed that only 5% of victims apply to law enforcement agencies. It was also found that at least one hate crime was committed against 43% of people from Tropical Africa, 18% of Ukrainians and 8% of Muslims in 2016-2017.[361]

Some racially motivated crimes reported to the competent authorities are not registered and are not investigated as such. In many of the cases studied by the CCR Bureau, law enforcement agencies terminated investigations too early, unreasonably refused to initiate them, or took too long to conduct them. According to the Prosecutor's office, 373 hate-related cases were dismissed in 2018 (324 cases in 2017) and 383 cases related to the propaganda of fascism or any other totalitarian regime (325 cases in 2017).[362]

In January 2019 A. Bodnar asked the Prosecutor General to conduct a review of 30 cases related to hate crimes that were under consideration by law enforcement agencies in 2015-2019, in which the actions of the Prosecutor's office or the sentences imposed are questionable from the point of view of objectivity. An example, in particular, is the refusal of the Prosecutor's office to initiate an investigation on the CCR claim, and then the closure of the case against the “Masovian brigade of the National radical camp”, which on its website posted a text under the title “Racial separatism is a response to the policy of “multi-cultists” in the 21st century”. Law enforcement agencies, however, did not find any signs of propaganda of racist ideology in it.[363] Having not received detailed explanations from the Prosecutor General regarding the requested cases, A. Bodnar was forced to re-apply to him with the same request in January 2020.[364]

In addition, in January 2019 A. Bodnar gave the Prime Minister M. Moravetsky a list of 20 recommendations to strengthen the fight against hate crimes.[365] The recommendations were to be addressed by a special interdepartmental group created by the Prime Minister to prevent the promotion of totalitarianism and crimes related to incitement to hatred based on national, ethnic, racial or religious differences or because of the absence of any religion. However, neither the Interior Ministry nor the Prime Minister's office have yet considered the CCR recommendations[366].

However, in Poland there is a legal basis for the implementation of measures in the field of combating and preventing racism. Criminal penalties for acts of racism and xenophobia are provided for in Polish law[367]. In addition, according to the draft amendments to the Criminal Code of June 13, 2019 (Article 53)[368], a more severe penalty is expected to be imposed if the crime was committed with the use of violence motivated by hatred on the basis of the victim's national, ethnic, racial, political or religious affiliation or because of the atheistic views.

However, in recent years, the Polish authorities have made efforts to curtail the anti-discrimination structures of educational components in this area. In 2016, the Council for countering racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (established by the previous liberal government in 2013) was abolished without being replaced by another body with similar powers. The decree of the Polish Ministry of Education on the mandatory introduction of anti-discrimination education in schools has been cancelled. Relevant training manuals for police officers were withdrawn from circulation.[369] The Human Rights Committee, which operated under the Ministry of Internal Affairs and monitored the activity of radical organizations, was also liquidated.

In addition, in 2016, the National Police General Directorate for combating cybercrime was established and coordinators were appointed to combat hate crimes in cyberspace. And in 2018, an interdepartmental group was established to prevent propaganda of fascism and other totalitarian systems and crimes related to incitement to hatred based on national, ethnic, racial or religious differences or because of the absence of any religion. However, according to the Commissioner for Human Rights of Poland A. Bodnar, during its work, the group did not submit proposals that would significantly affect the effectiveness of the fight against this type of crime.

In August 2019, The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination pointed out that the current legislation of Poland prohibiting racial discrimination is not fully implemented, and the analysis of the current situation in the country is complicated by the lack of up-to-date statistical data.[370]

The above-mentioned manifestations of racism and campaigns to whitewash Nazi henchmen who have tainted themselves with numerous crimes, if there are legislative opportunities to prevent these unsightly phenomena, indicate the deliberate actions of the Polish authorities to use racist movements and ideologies in favor of short-term opportunistic political attitudes, which are also to the detriment of the entire Polish people. This logic is also embedded in the craven struggle of Warsaw with monuments to soldiers who died for the liberation of this country from the Nazis.

It is not surprising that in general, in line with the common European logic Poland abstains from voting on the draft resolution of the UN General Assembly “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

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Portugal

The problem of the revival and glorification of Nazism in Portugal is not acute. The country did not take part in the Second World War, there were no military operations on its territory, and officially Lisbon adhered to a policy of neutrality. Nevertheless, Portuguese society has been directly affected by the ideology of Nazism and racial superiority and is familiar with their manifestations through the prism of the dictatorial regime of Salazar-Caetano, which existed in the country since the mid-thirties of the 20th century for almost four decades.

For this reason, no attempt is made at the state level to glorify the Nazis or justify their crimes. The country's leadership does not question the fact that Hitler's Germany unleashed the Second World War.

The authorities do not prevent the holding of commemorative events to celebrate the Victory Day in World War II. An example of this is the assistance provided over the past years by the municipal authorities of Lisbon to implement the "Immortal Regiment" campaign in one of the capital's squares. In May 2019, more than 1,000 citizens of Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Armenia and a number of other countries living in Portugal took part in it. At the same time, unfortunately, the police officers who provided security during the rally failed to prevent separate incidents related to provocations by a group of aggressive Ukrainian activists of the probander type. In 2020, in connection with the coronavirus pandemic, the Immortal Regiment campaign was moved to an online format on the thematic platform of compatriots in the Facebook social network.

Every year, on January 27, the International day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust in Portugal, large-scale and significant actions are held, including in Parliament, universities and schools. On February 14, 2020, the Assembly of the Republic supported the annual resolution, which, despite falsifications thrown in by a number of leading EU structures, once again confirmed the historical truth about the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Soviet Army.

Nevertheless, on December 18, 2019, at the plenary session of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, Portugal, along with the other member states of the Association, abstained from voting on the resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, which was submitted annually by Russia and other co-sponsors.

Racist rhetoric is common among members of numerous associations of Portuguese football fans and the skinhead movement. All such situations in Portugal are carefully monitored and made public in the media, including by the non-profit organization SOS Racismo, which is active in the country.

The far-right “Enough!” Party, which was founded in Portugal in April 2019, has recently gained popularity among a certain part of the electorate. It won the only seat in the country's highest legislative body following the results of the regular parliamentary elections on October 6, 2019. Former leader of this Association (resigned on April 4, 2020), member of the Assembly of the Republic A. Ventura was repeatedly criticized for racist and extremist statements. However, it is noteworthy that in January 2020, he decided to conduct a check in the leadership and among the members of the party (there are about 8 thousand people) for belonging in the past to the neo-Nazi movement and other radical groups and to carry out on a permanent basis the corresponding internal control. The calculation was made to prevent unnecessary associations of the party “Enough!” with representatives of far-right ideologies.

After the April 25, 1974 democratic “carnation revolution”, racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and ideas of national superiority were not widely spread in the state. This is due in part to the fact that Portugal has begun to build special relations with its former colonies, cooperation with which within the framework of the Community of Portuguese-speaking countries (CPSC) is still considered by official Lisbon as one of the priorities of foreign policy. According to the current legislation, permanent residents of these countries have almost the same rights and obligations as their own citizens.

The Portuguese Constitution and Law No. 134/99 of 28 August 1999 prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin. In accordance with the provisions of this act, a Commission on equality and the fight against racial discrimination was established.

Despite the absence of systematic resonant manifestations of neo-Nazism in Portugal, individual cases of intolerance on racial and national grounds, real facts of xenophobia still occur. They are mainly related to abuse of power by law enforcement officers, in particular the Public Security Police.

In February 2020, more than 700 people demonstrated in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra against racism and violence by law enforcement agencies. During the March, there were calls for the authorities to release the results of the investigation into police actions opened by the Ministry of Internal Administration of Portugal. In this context, various examples of law enforcement officers' arbitrariness were mentioned, the most high-profile of which led to the death of a Cape Verdean student in Braganza on December 31, 2019. [371][372]

The episode with the attack of a police officer on a Brazilian citizen during carnival celebrations in the Portuguese capital received wide coverage in the press. In violation of the established rules on the use of force, she was injured in the head with a baton (such actions are classified under Portuguese law as “extreme measures”)[373].

In March 2020, the death of a Ukrainian citizen was reported in the temporary detention center of Lisbon airport. As part of the ongoing investigation on suspicion of murder, 3 inspectors of the service for foreigners and borders of Portugal were sent under house arrest[374].

In addition, cases of abuse of power against refugees and migrants, domestic violence, child abuse and human trafficking are alarming. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) pointed out the prevalence of the latter phenomenon, especially with regard to Roma, Muslims, people of African descent and migrants, at the end of November 2016.[375]

In Portuguese society, there are stereotypical attitudes and prejudices against Africans and people of African descent, the Roma community, migrants and Muslims. Hate speech and racist behavior directed against persons belonging to these minorities are noted, including in the field of sports, the media and the Internet.

Statistics on the number of incidents of hate speech on the Internet are not widely available, but a report by the Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) points to hundreds of messages on Internet forums of the far-right (including texts by representatives of the “National Renewal” Party) aimed at inciting hatred against Roma, people of African descent, and Muslims. Only some media outlets moderate comments before publishing them on their websites and filter out those that contain hate speech[376].

Human rights defenders note that there are no programs directly aimed at solving the problems of people of African descent in the country. In particular, they are concerned that discriminatory and stereotypical illustrations concerning the Roma community and people of African descent may be included in school textbooks[377].

According to Eurobarometer data for 2015, 64% of 1,005 respondents in Portugal believe that there is widespread discrimination based on ethnic origin, 65% on gender identity, 32% on religion, and 30% on gender. 19% said they would feel uncomfortable if Roma representatives were their work colleagues, 12% said the same about Muslims, and 8% about people of African, Jewish or Asian origin[378].

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance pointed to concerns that some police officers are sympathetic to nationalist, far-right and neo-Nazi groups whose members, in turn, work in law enforcement[379].

In addition, according to the ECRI report, the unemployment rate among people of African descent is much higher than among the “white population” (33% in 2015), they are three times more likely to take low-skilled jobs and earn an average of 103 euros less per month. They are often unable to find jobs that match their qualifications, and most of them work in factories, kitchens, and supermarkets, sometimes without entering into employment contracts, which is fraught with the risk of exploitation. Very few of them hold public office[380].

Some people of African descent were resettled as part of social housing programmes that started in the 1990s. However, the implementation of the latter resulted in spatial segregation since the main construction took place far from urban centers. There is a high proportion of migrant students in schools in these areas. At the same time, migrants who arrived after the 1990 census, which formed the basis of resettlement programs, were not included in them and continue to live in areas with poor housing, under constant threat of forced eviction without prior notice, and without access to legal remedies[381].

CERD, as well as the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), have drawn attention to numerous instances of discrimination against the Roma community in Portugal. For example, a large number of Roma live in unsatisfactory conditions, in informal settlements in barracks or tents, often in remote areas with little or no access to basic services such as drinking water and sanitation, electricity, and transport. In addition, many Roma do not have the right to social housing under the Special resettlement program, since applicants were identified based on the census of informal Roma settlements conducted in 1993.[382]

Such living conditions are one of the reasons why the vast majority of Roma children living in these areas drop out of school after the fifth grade at the age of 10-12, and do not receive professional qualifications[383]. The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and CESCR also expressed concern about the low enrolment rates of Roma children in schools[384] [385]. Many Roma children are still enrolled in segregated schools or classes, and many are discriminated against. Traditional activities for Roma families, such as street trading, are becoming increasingly difficult due to stricter legal regulations[386].

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Romania

The Romanian authorities try to pay attention to the issues of countering the spread of neo-Nazi, extremist and anti-Semitic manifestations in society. Local human rights defenders, such as the NGO “Center for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism” and the national Institute for the study of the Holocaust named after E. Wiesel, also work in this area.

In July 2015, Law No. 217 came into force to amend and Supplement Government decree No. 31 of 2002 on the prohibition of organizations and symbols of a fascist, racist or xenophobic nature, as well as propaganda of the cult of persons guilty of crimes against peace and humanity. The document defines the concept of “Holocaust in Romania” (“systematic extermination of Jews and Gypsies with the support of the authorities and state institutions of the Romanian state in the period from 1940 to 1944”) and provides for responsibility for its denial, justification or belittling of its consequences. Legionary movements (“organizations that operated in Romania between 1927 and 1941 under the name of the Archangel Michael Legion, the Iron Guard, and the All for the country party”) and their modern followers are automatically equated with fascist organizations and are subject to prohibition.

In July 2018, Law No. 157 “On Certain Measures to Prevent and Counteract Manifestations of Anti-Semitism” entered into force, providing for a penalty of 3 months to 10 years in prison for promoting anti-Semitic rhetoric and involvement in relevant organizations.

At the same time, since March 2018, the Internet portal “Nationalist Corner” (“Coltul Nationalist”) has been functioning freely, promoting the idea of repealing these legislative acts in order to restore “historical justice”[387]. In addition, the New Right Movement (Noua Dreaptǎ) openly exploits the legacy of the Iron Guard, organizing events aimed at inciting hatred against Roma, and systematically using hate speech against ethnic Hungarians and immigrants.

Stricter legislation has led to the fact that officially registered public organizations that preach the ideas of the “legionary movement” were forced to curtail their public activities or reduce them to a minimum and act within the law.

Meanwhile, a number of far-right organizations continue to conduct propaganda activities “from the underground” with platforms on social networks. They are not numerous and have a very limited circle of followers. These include the registered New Right party and the non-legal Legionary movement, the Archangel Michael Legion.

The most influential, numerous and active nationalist structure is the action 2012 platform, which includes more than 40 NGOs. The organization aggressively promotes to the masses the idea of “Romanianunionist”, advocating for the revision of the borders involving a "return" of Moldova, Ukrainian Bukovina and parts of the Odessa region in the “bosom of the Motherland” Romania.

Regularly organized rallies and marches throughout the country often include ultra-nationalist rhetoric along with revisionist slogans. “Romanianunionist” movements are actively involved in attempts to falsify history, including the desire to place the blame and responsibility for the greatest tragedy of the 20th century – the Second World War – equally on A. Hitler and J. Stalin.

The leaders of these movements tend to whitewash the war crimes of the Romanian henchmen of A. Hitler-dictator I. Antonescu and others, masking their brutal acts as the national liberation struggle of the Romanian people to save historical territories from the “red plague”.

At the same time, it is not only individual nationalist organizations that demonstrate a propensity for historical revisionism. Thus, in Romania, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is condemned at the state level. Once again, its almost decisive role in the outbreak of World War II was mentioned in a statement prepared jointly with Poland and the Baltic States to mark the 80th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty. According to the authors of the document, its preparation was dictated by the desire of these States for historical justice and education of society about the consequences of the crimes of totalitarian regimes[388].

Attention is drawn to the decision of the Romanian judicial authorities to recognize the party “Democratic forum of the Germans of Romania” (hereinafter – DFGR) as the successor to the organization “Group of ethnic Germans of Romania” (“Deutsche Volksgruppe in Rumanien”), previously recognized as a Nazi and for this reason abolished. It opened the way for the DFGR to recover property confiscated on the basis of war crimes charges against former owners. Although this party is a centrist party in its ideology, this precedent could potentially lead to the use of a similar legal mechanism by representatives of radical organizations.

Some recommendations of the final report of the Commission that completed its work in 2004 remain unfulfilled. International Commission for the study of the Holocaust in Romania. Despite the insistent demands of representatives of the Romanian Jewish community, the authorities have not yet taken steps to reverse the decision of the Romanian constitutional court of 1997 on the rehabilitation of war criminals R. Dinulescu and G. Petrescu, who were convicted in the post-war period for preparing and organizing pogroms, mass deportations, and ill-treatment of prisoners of war.

There is a certain rise in nationalist sentiment in the country, including manifestations of xenophobia and intolerance towards the Roma and increasing antagonism with the Hungarian minority. The language of hatred and intolerance, previously used mainly by far-right political movements, is becoming more and more familiar in the general political discourse. Even major political parties do not hesitate to resort to anti-Roma and anti-Hungarian rhetoric to attract votes, however, in the course of election campaigns for local governments. The Committee Against Torture drew attention to statements made by state and public-political figures in Romania against representatives of minorities and Roma in May 2015.[389] The Human Rights Committee also noted with concern the spread of hate speech against religious and national minorities in the country, the unequal treatment of national minorities and the existence of obstacles to their exercise of religious freedom in October 2017.[390]

According to the Council of Europe’s Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM), the response of the Romanian authorities to cases of hate speech and incitement to hatred cannot be considered sufficient. There is no comprehensive and systematic collection of data on the use of hate speech and hate-motivated violence. Such incidents are generally not subject to criminal law or regulations that define the use of hate speech and hate-motivated violence as an aggravating circumstance. According to national data, between 2014 and 2017, only 2 out of 113 cases initiated by the Prosecutor's office under Article 369 of the Romanian Criminal Code (inciting discord) were referred to the courts, as well as 5 out of 77 cases of violations provided for by government decree No. 21/2002 “On the prohibition of organizations and symbols of a fascist, racist and xenophobic nature, as well as propaganda of the cult of persons guilty of crimes against peace and humanity”.[391]

Against this background, the reported manifestations of racism and neo-Nazism are not surprising. In March 2020, vandals doused with paint and painted a street photo exhibition organized by the Russian center for science and culture in Bucharest, dedicated to the liberation of Europe from Nazism by Soviet troops[392]. The mentioned nationalist platform “Action 2012” published a laudatory review on its Facebook page regarding this illegal action, accompanied by anti-Soviet and anti-Russian comments[393].

According to the Center for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism, in December 2019 and April 2020, unknown people painted swastikas and Nazi greetings, including anti-Semitic content, in the Parking lot of the Central Department store in Bucharest “Unirya”.

In April 2019, many Central media outlets in Romania reported that more than 70 tombstones and monuments were destroyed at the Jewish cemetery in Hush (Vaslui County).

According to the newspaper “Adevărul”, during the advertising campaign for cookies “Dita” on the Facebook social network on March 31 and April 2, 2019, the Romanian manufacturer of confectionery “Ro Star” used the image of A. Hitler under the pretext of holding a historical competition.[394]

In addition, there are still geographical and administrative sites in Romania that bear the names of war criminals convicted of crimes against the Roma and Jewish populations. Streets in the villages of Becket (Olt county), December 1 (Ilf county), Ramnicu Sarat (Buzau county), and Măraşesti (Vrancha county) bear the name of the war criminal and Hitler's associate, Marshal I. Antonescu. A street in Cluj – Napoca is named after the commanders of one of the units of the Pro-fascist Legionary movement, R. Jir-Demetrescu (convicted in June 1945 for war crimes). The name of M. Vulcanescu (Deputy Minister of Finance of the Government of I. Antonescu, convicted on October 9, 1946 for war crimes) is given to streets in the cities of Bucharest and Ayud, as well as a Technology College in the Romanian capital. The memory of the Minister of Propaganda of the Government J. Antonescu N. Krajnika (convicted on July 4, 1945 for war crimes) is imprinted in the name of one of the streets of Pitesti. Information about the violation of law No. 217 of 2015 is published by the site “Sekeysky Vestnik”.[395]

Problems remain in the area of inter-ethnic relations. Communities of Ruthenians and Russian-Lynovs point to increased pressure from the central authorities. The most acute situation remains around the sekee (Romanian Hungarians)[396]. The situation in the counties of Transylvania with the predominant Hungarian population remains under special control of Bucharest. At the same time, it is indicated that a number of NGOs in this region maintain close contacts with far-right parties and organizations in Hungary (Jobbik, Hungarian national guard, etc.) and under their influence promote extremist and separatist ideas, including the “injustice” of the Trianon peace Treaty of 1920 and its consequences. The Hungarian nationalist “Youth movement of 64 comitates (counties)” has its cells in Romanian Transylvania.

A wide resonance was caused by the statement of the then-Prime Minister of Romania M. Tudose, who promised during one of the television programs in January 2018 “to hang Hungarians involved in the use of the Széké flag on the same poles”. The National Council for combating discrimination, which is under the control of the Romanian Parliament, issued a warning on this matter.

A case of manifestation of racial intolerance was reported in January 2020 in the commune of Ditreu in Harghit County, populated mainly by Székian Hungarians. Outraged by the fact that two Sri Lankans were employed in a local bakery, residents of the commune organized a rally using racist and xenophobic slogans[397].

Discrimination against Roma is often observed. According to the results of a public opinion survey conducted in December 2017 by the EU Agency for Fundamental Human Rights, more than 40% of representatives of this national minority stated that they experience discrimination. Police officers regularly abuse their official powers in relation to them. In January 2020, the mayor of Targu-Mures, D. Florea, was sharply criticized by human rights organizations for inciting ethnic discord in statements addressed to local Roma[398].

The problems faced by Roma communities in Romania were highlighted by the Human Rights Committee[399] and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women[400], as well as by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI)[401] and the AC FCNM[402].

At the same time, the Romanian authorities are taking measures in the field of education to counteract manifestations of racism. According to the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism, a number of practical measures are being taken in the country to combat discrimination. For example, the National Institute of magistracy provides specialized training in the fight against hate crimes as part of training programs for judges and prosecutors. Practical seminars and conferences are also held on the handling of hate crime cases. Similar training is provided to police officers on a wide range of issues related to combating discrimination, including against minorities[403].

In the field of education, measures to combat neo-Nazism, racism, and racial discrimination are practically limited to the one introduced in 2013 at the initiative of the International Commission for the study of the Holocaust in Romania and an optional special course on the Holocaust in primary, secondary and high schools approved by the Ministry of Education[404].

When the UN General Assembly considers the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, the Romania delegation abstains and follows the consolidated position of the European Union Member States on this issue.

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North Macedonia

In North Macedonia, the differences in assessments of the history of the Second World War, in particular the activities of the occupation forces on its territory, are still persisting, they have a pronounced ethnic character, fitting into the general context of deep contradictions between the titular nation – the Macedonians – and the country's largest national minority – the Albanians.

An “alternative” view of the events of the war years of a large part of the North Macedonian Albanians is associated with their attempts to present their own mass collaboration with the Italian and German invaders as “situational cooperation” in the framework of the “national liberation struggle” against the Slavic environment in order to unite the “original Albanian lands”. Thus, the creation of the “axis” of the protectorate in the Balkans, and later of the puppet state of the Albanian Kingdom (1939-1944), which included most of the territories of modern Kosovo and Metohija, western Macedonia and the southern regions of Montenegro, is considered by them as a long-awaited implementation of the “Great Albanian” project, allegedly completely justifying the complicity with aggressor.

Founded in 1942 in Albania, the anti-communist movement of nationalists “Bali Kombetar” (National Front), which attributed the main threat in the Albanian and Yugoslav partisans, who had the support of the Anti-Hitler Coalition, openly collaborated first with fascist Italy and then with Nazi Germany in the hope to prevent the return to Yugoslavia of the Albanian populated areas seized from it. In its punitive operations against resistance fighters, the organization actively interacted with the Vulnetari collaborationist military units and the 21st SS division “Skanderbeg”, which also consisted of Albanians – mainly Kosovo residents.

The most prominent representatives of the “Bala Kombetar” and Vulnetari from among the Macedonian Albanians are Dzhemail Hasani (Jem Hasa Gostivari) and Achif Krosi Rechani, who served Italians and Germans and led armed attacks against partisans in Gostivar, Debar, Kichevo, Tetovo and other areas. For their contribution to the “settlement of national interests”, they are still revered among local Albanians. So, in 2006, a monument to J. Hasani was installed in his native village of Simnitsa, in 2015 – a monument to A.K. Rechani in Gostivar. In both cases, the events were organized with the support of the mayor of Gostivar (2005-2009, 2013-2017) N. Beyta, who is now the deputy chairman of the largest Albanian party of Northern Macedonia, the Democratic Union for Integration.

This story is in the field of constant attention of Macedonian activists, in particular in Western countries. As in the previous period, in 2019, structures and individual representatives of the Macedonian diaspora abroad continued to send appeals to the authorities of a number of states,[405] including the USA, Germany, Australia and others, with a request to pay attention to the monuments erected in North Macedonia to Nazi collaborators and to facilitate their dismantling.[406] The messages emphasize that in any country of the European Union, the appearance of such objects would be as a matter of fact impossible, since it would immediately be equated to the justification and glorification of Nazi criminals. However, to date, these requests have not had the desired effect.

Through the efforts of propagandists in the Albanian-language media of North Macedonia, the activities of J. Hasani continues to be served in a positive way. The glorification of the collaborator, in particular, is regularly noted by the teacher of the state University of Tetovo V. Dzhemaili, who published in December 2019 another article about J. Hasani as the “personification of Albanian bravery”, “national hero” who fought against “Slavo-communists”[407].

According to the opinion of the representatives of the Jewish community, in particular of Mr. G. Sadikario, the head of the Holocaust Fund of the Jews of Macedonia City, qualification in the Albanian community of such trends like the glorification of Nazism or the glorification of its supporters is rather difficult for the reason that the episodes of collaboration with the Nazis are being strongly masked by the Albanian historiographers who push to the fore the “national liberation” aspect of their activities.

The Balli Kombetar fan group, which supports the football club from Tetovo “Shkendija”, claims to be the “successor of the ideology” of Balli Kombetar. Its participants are distinguished by aggressiveness, propensity to violence, extreme nationalism of the “great Albanian” type, which is expressed in their symbols, collective actions, as well as slogans with separatist overtones like: “the First state is Albania, the second is Kosovo, the third is upcoming”. In response, Macedonian fans also use xenophobic slogans. In June 2019, members of the “Komiti” group, celebrating their victory in the European tournament of the Vardar handball club in Skopje, chanted: “Death to the cursed shiptars”, “Good shiptar is a dead shiptar”, (“shiptars” is a pejorative name for Albanians).[408] [409]

In contrast to the Albanians, who are prone to “historical revisionism”, the Macedonians do not question the results of World War II and maintain objectivity in assessing who was the culprit and who was the victim of Nazi crimes. The anti-fascist Assembly for the people's liberation of Macedonia (ASNOM), which operated in 1941-1945, laid the foundations of modern North Macedonian statehood and was placed on a par with the Ilinden national liberation uprising (1903), this fact was prescribed in the preamble of the fundamental law of the country. During a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in November 2019, the President of North Macedonia S. Pendarovsky confirmed his intention to take part in the celebrations in Moscow on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Victory, and stressed that one of the guiding principles of the North Macedonian state was the fight against fascism.

Due to this attitude, the study of the period of opposition of the Macedonian people to the Nazi occupation takes a special place in the educational process. At the same time, with the signing of the Treaty of friendship, good-neighborliness and cooperation with Bulgaria (2017) and the Prespa agreement with Greece (2018), the educational literature used here should be revised to take into account the wishes of neighboring countries. Under the pressure of Sofia and Athens, the established bilateral historical commissions will most likely be used to erase the unsightly facts of collaboration between Bulgarians and Greeks during the Second World War from the textbooks, first of all, the information about the occupation of most of the territory of modern Northern Macedonia by Bulgaria.

There have been no cases of desecration or destruction of monuments to heroes or victims of World War II in Northern Macedonia. The last incident to date with the use of Nazi symbols was registered in 2018 in Bitola, where a swastika was applied to the walls of houses and other urban objects. The attackers could not be identified.

Neither the authorities, nor any political or public organizations of Northern Macedonia prevent the running of events in honor of Victory Day and other memorable dates related to the Great Patriotic War. On the contrary, the necessary assistance is provided in arrangements of the “Immortal Regiment”, the “St. George Ribbon” and the “Wall of Remembrance” actions, festive concerts, and wreath-laying ceremonies actions.

At the same time, it should be noted that the Macedonian delegation annually abstains from voting when the UN General Assembly considers the resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

The Criminal Code of Northern Macedonia has no articles that require penal sanctions for the glorification of Nazism and fascism. In 2018, a bill to criminalize this act was submitted for consideration by the Jewish community, but so far this document has not been finalized.

Ethnic clashes remain a serious problem in North Macedonia. The bulk of them are registered by law enforcement agencies as domestic crimes. According to the report of the Helsinki Committee, in 2019, 159 hate crimes were registered in the country, of which 135 were ethnic in nature – this is a record number for the entire period of data collection (since 2013).

Intense ethnic relations become the reason for the practice of ethnic profiling among law enforcement officials. In accordance with national policy, the principle of recruitment arrangements takes into account the principle of proportional representation of the largest ethnic groups, primarily Macedonians and Albanians. As a result, in a number of municipalities in the divisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs there is a high level of ethnic segregation, insufficient interaction between representatives of different nationalities.

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Slovakia

The authorities of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter referred to as the SR) and the general public are aware of the need to combat manifestations of any modern forms of racism and nationalism, including neo-Nazism. Official Bratislava categorically does not accept the position of several local radical organizations that seek to whitewash the activities of the leaders of the Pro-fascist Slovak state during World War II. Mass commemorative events dedicated to the liberation of the country from the Nazi occupiers are held in the country on a regular basis. Representatives of government and public organizations participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at monuments and graves of Soviet soldiers that are kept in presentable condition.

The attitude of Slovak society to the memory of the Deed of the Red Army, which liberated the countries of Europe from Nazism, was clearly manifested in the perception of the dismantling of the monument to the USSR Marshal, twice Hero of the Soviet Union I. S. Konev, who commanded the 1st Ukrainian Front from May 1944 until the end of the war. This blasphemous action caused a noticeable response in the Slovak media. In an interview with Sputnik news agency, the former Prime Minister of Slovakia, Y. Carnogursky, supported the placement of the dismantled monument in Russia, meanwhile he noticed that the public organization he headed back in December 2019 proposed to purchase a monument from the Prague authorities so that it could be erected in Slovakia.

After the demolition of Prague sculpture in Slovakia by the Charter 2015 and Slavitsa public organizations, a flash mob called “Slovak Challenge” – I am grateful was launched with an appeal to the public to publish on the Internet their photographs taken until May 9 at the burial sites or memorials to the Red Army soldiers in all liberated countries, including Slovakia and the Czech Republic, in order to recall the Deed of the Red Army. The dismantled Prague monument to I. S. Konev was chosen as the emblem of the project. In addition to personal user accounts, social networks are proposed to be used as sites for placement on the websites of organizations-authors of the project, as well as on the pages of social networks.

Against this background, experts draw attention to the desire of a number of officials to abandon in their speeches the reference to the decisive role of the Red Army in liberating the country from the Nazi occupiers, which is already taking on the character of a trend.

There are some cases of vandalism against Soviet memorial facilities. So, in September 2019 and January 2020, local attackers committed an act of vandalism at the memorial of the Soviet army in Kosice: symbolic bas-reliefs depicting a hammer and sickle were torn from the monument.

Educational activities and programs aimed at preventing manifestations of anti-Semitism, racism and extremism, as well as the radicalization of society, are carried out by the Holocaust Museum in Sered established within the framework of the Slovak National Museum.

According to estimates of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Slovakia, Slovak extremist groups of various types number about 2 thousand people. Experts note the high level of their organization, the effective use of legal forms of work – through the creation of public associations (among them are such structures as “Slovak Public”, “New Free Slovakia”, “Slovak Society for the Preservation of Traditions” and “Slovak Youth Union” should be highlighted), active work on social networks to spread extremist ideology and recruit new supporters.

The register of political parties and movements of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Slovakia[410] officially registered only one party that professes extremist ideas with elements of racial hatred and, in particular, actively uses anti-Roma rhetoric – the people's party “Our Slovakia” (NPNS) (also called “Kotlebists” after the leader M. Kotleba). The orientation towards the creation of a national and socially oriented state (national socialism), which is modeled on the Pro-fascist Slovak Republic of the Second World War is among its basic principles. Its leaders, including the President Tiso, who was sentenced to death for committed crimes are revered in the NPNS as outstanding political figures who made an “invaluable contribution” to the formation of national statehood. The party keeps in touch with far-right associations of the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Spain, Italy, Serbia and Croatia.

Law enforcement authorities repeatedly detained the leader of the NPNS, M. Kotleba, for chanting nationalist slogans during mass events, but in no case the charges have been brought against him. In 2014, he was elected for one term as the Chairman of the Bansko-Bystrica region. During the 2016 elections campaign The NPNS passed to the national Council (Parliament) of the SR, having gained about 9% of the vote. In the spring of 2018, in response to the appeal of the Prosecutor General of the SR, J. Ciznar, the Supreme Court of the SR recognized the activities of the NPNS as not being contrary to the law. In the presidential election on March 16, 2019, the leader of the NPNS, M. Kotleba, took the 4th place (10.4% of the vote). During the parliamentary elections of February 29, 2020, the party, having received the support of 8% of the country's population, re-entered the Parliament.

Currently, the Special criminal Court of the SR is considering a claim of the Prosecutor General's office against M. Kotleba for incitement to national and racial hatred, as well as discrimination against certain groups of citizens.

The legal basis for combating neo-Nazism, racism and racial discrimination is the Criminal Code of the SR. The list of crimes of extremist orientation is prescribed in the Article 140A. This list of crimes include, in particular: acts related to the creation, support and promotion of movements the actions of which are directed against fundamental rights and freedoms; production, storage and distribution of extremist materials; denial of the Holocaust, criminal political regimes and crimes against human beings; oppression of certain nationalities and races; incitement to national and racial hatred; apartheid and discrimination against certain groups of citizens (Articles 421 – 424 Of the Criminal Code of the SR). In addition, the criminal's hatred towards the victim, which is explained by the actual or alleged belonging of the victim to a specific race, nation, national or ethnic group, in accordance with the definition of special motives (Article 140), is considered as an aggravating circumstance requiring the application of a more severe punishment. The criticism of the European Commission for Combating Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) within the Council of Europe has been aimed at the lack of criteria for citizenship and language in Slovak criminal law among the characteristics of potential victims of racist behavior and racial discrimination[411]

In addition, the state has an anti-discrimination Law. However, according to ECRI, this act is not properly applied, since the National Human Rights Centre of Slovakia, which is responsible for monitoring its implementation, does not have the necessary independence.[412]

According to the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Slovak Republic, the number of crimes committed in the country under article “Racially Motivated Extremism” in 2019 has significantly decreased. So, in 2019, only 85 crimes were registered (159 in 2018). The average crime detection rate of such criminal cases is about 35%[413] .

The UN human rights Treaty bodies have drawn attention to manifestations of racism and intolerance in Slovakia. The Committee on the Rights of the Child pointed out the increase in hate speech against vulnerable groups such as Roma and Muslims in June 2016.[414] In December 2017, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) expressed concern about the persistence of hate speech in the media and on the Internet, as well as racist political statements directed at ethnic minorities, in particular Roma, Muslims, and non-citizens. The excessive duration of judicial proceedings on cases of racial discrimination was noted. CERD indicated that, despite the measures taken by the authorities to combat extremism, the activities of extremist organizations aimed at incitation of racial discrimination are still going on. However, participation in organizations that incite and encourage racial discrimination is not recognized as a crime in Slovak Criminal Law.[415] The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) noted with concern the general atmosphere of hostility in the country towards people perceived as strangers compared to the majority of the population, in particular ethnic minorities, Roma, Muslims and migrants, and numerous cases of hatred rhetoric against this background. According to CESCR, this atmosphere contributes to the erosion of tolerance in society and leads to violations of the rights of minorities and vulnerable groups.[416]

The situation with Roma remains an acute issue for Slovakia in the field of protecting the rights of national minorities, who are the second largest national minority in the country. According to the last census of 2011, there are officially 109 thousand Roma (2% of the population) in the country. However, according to the materials of the Council of Europe, the real number of Roma population significantly exceeds this figure, amounting to more than 520 thousand (about 9% of the population). The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has noted that Roma settlements are often raided without a search or arrest warrant, and in many cases members of national minorities, including children and the elderly, are being injured. In most of these cases, detections were either not properly conducted or suspended, and the greater part of complaints against law enforcement officials was dismissed.[417] This problem was also pointed out by the Committee on Children Rights in 2016.[418] There is a discriminatory treatment of Roma by medical personnel and their segregation in various departments of hospitals. The most acute criticism is related to the segregation of Roma children in educational institutions. Slovakia is blamed for an excessively high percentage of Roma minors who are enrolled in separate classes or special auxiliary correctional schools. According to statistics, Roma children make up almost 90% of their students.

The Slovak authorities are taking practical steps to counter extremism, xenophobia and the growth of radical sentiments in society. In particular, in 2017, the detection of criminal cases with signs of extremism was entrusted to the office of the Special Prosecutor's office, whose staff was significantly expanded by the government's decision, as well as to the Special Criminal Court. The Ministry of Justice of the SR, in turn, has established an expert Council on Extremism, since the accumulated experience proved that its absence was an obstacle to a thorough detection of the relevant criminal offences. The new expert Council, called the Council for Social and Human Sciences, works in two thematic areas: political extremism and religious extremism.[419]

The activities of far-right associations are kept in the field of view of the country's special services (Slovak Information Service, SIS) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the SR. Since 2012, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Slovakia has a Crime Prevention Department, which has formed a so-called monitoring group for Internet resources in order to detect calls for extremist or terrorist activities. The law enforcement agency has signed a contract with “Altamira” Company to develop a special software product that can analyze content in automatic mode. This IT tool was later improved to recognize manifestations of religious intolerance and calls to extremism in the Internet space of States bordering Slovakia.

In 2017, a national counter-terrorism unit was created, it consists of four branches (Bratislava, West, Center and East), supplementing the center for extremism monitoring. Employees of these bodies also actively monitor extremist organizations throughout the Internet space.

In order to debunk myths and refute false information regarding minorities, the “Anti-Hate” website (www.protinenávisti.sk) was created within the framework of the project of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Slovak Republic “Effective Monitoring, Investigation and Suppression of Violent Extremism in Cyberspace”.

The growing influence of the NPNS, a significant proportion of whose supporters are young people, is prompting the relevant departments to intensify explanatory work among children and youth, including the expansion of the program for teaching the history of World War II in the secondary school program. The state-supported NGO “Slovak Union of anti-fascist fighters” is doing a lot of work in this direction with the support of the National Ministry of Education.

Despite the careful attitude to the memory of the results of the Second World War and to the contribution of the Red Army and the USSR to the defeat of Nazism in general, the Slovak delegation refrains from considering the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors of the UN General Assembly on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, following the consolidated position of the European Union Member States on this issue.

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Slovenia

Manifestations of neo-Nazism in Slovenia are not systematic. Slovenian society reacts negatively to attempts to spread aggressive nationalist ideologies. There have been no instances of neo-Nazi marches or torchlight processions in the history of independent Slovenia. Cases of ideologically motivated attacks on persons of a different nationality, faith or belief are rare.

Meanwhile, there is still a split in society caused by the attitude to the results of the Second World War. The territory of modern Slovenia in 1941 was occupied by Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and Horthist Hungary. Some of the young people were forcibly mobilized by the occupiers, while others joined the partisans. In addition, many hierarchs of the Catholic Church supported the invaders, seeing for themselves the main threat in the spread of communism. For this reason, there are forces in Slovenia that openly sympathize with the “domobranci” and “armed anti-Communist militia” – units formed by the German and Italian occupiers to fight against the Communist partisans, as well as to maintain order in the occupied Slovenian territory during the Second World War.

However, in the history of independent Slovenia, their political followers do not make any obvious attempts to glorify the Nazi collaborators, trying to whitewash their activities in every possible way, to declare all those who died in battles with anti-fascist partisans as victims of revolutionary violence, and some of them – as true fighters for the Catholic faith.

Some electronic and print media of the country publish materials glorifying collaborators as fighters against communist evil, and the topic of identification of communism with fascism and Nazism is raised as well. Since 2009, representatives of the country's right-wing forces have made unsuccessful attempts to pass through parliament a document “in support” of the European Parliament resolution “On European Consciousness and Totalitarianism” of April 2, 2009 (the State Assembly of Slovenia in 2009 “took note of the text of this document”). Most Slovenian European Parliament Deputies (from the fractions of the European People’s Party, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and “Renew Europe”) supported the resolution of the European Parliament “On the importance of preserving historical memory for the future of Europe” of September 2019 and appealed to the State Assembly to accept its position as a guide to action.

Within the framework of the UN General Assembly, the Slovenian delegation, in line with the common position of the EU member states, traditionally abstains in the vote on the resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

Veteran organizations enjoy great authority in Slovenia. The largest of them is the Union of Veteran Associations in Support of the Values ​​of the People's Liberation Struggle in Slovenia 1941-1945 (SOVNOB), which has more than 40 thousand members (of which about 5 thousand are veterans of anti-fascist resistance during the Second World War, the rest are their relatives, descendants and simply not indifferent activists who share anti-fascist views). SOVNOB, together with military-historical and veteran organizations of military personnel, is a member of the Coordination Committee of Veteran and Patriotic Organizations of Slovenia, which plays a significant role in the socio-political life of the country.

Against this background, there were no high-profile cases of prohibited actions against these organizations or their representatives, or successful attempts to bring anti-fascist veterans to justice in Slovenia. Attempts of the right-wing forces to ban the symbols of the Slovenian anti-fascist movement (and, indirectly, the USSR or the Red Army) in the 1990s and in 2005-2008 were unsuccessful. During the period of right-wing rule in 2012-2013, the Slovenian government banned the use of the red star as a symbol of the anti-fascist resistance of Slovenes during World War II at official ceremonies (these restrictions did not apply to Russian/Soviet monuments and events). In the spring of 2013, this ban was lifted.

One of the most common forms of neo-Nazism in modern Europe is the desecration and destruction of World War II monuments. In Slovenia, however, no such cases have been reported in the last decade. Monuments of military history dating back to both the Second and First World War, as well as to earlier periods of history, are maintained in good condition. The Directorate for Disability, Victims of War and Military Violence of the Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Security and Equal Opportunities of Slovenia (as the lead agency), as well as the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage under the Ministry of Culture of Slovenia are responsible for this.[420]

The neo-Nazi groups that exist in Slovenia are marginal in nature and are not associated with any influential political forces. Scattered radical associations, among which experts include followers of the European neo-Nazi organization “Blood and honor” (“Blood and honor”), as well as groups “Here – Slovenia”, “Bounty Hunters”, “Autonomous Nationalists of Slovenia” and others, have refused to run public actions in recent years. They use social networks (primarily Facebook) to promote their ideas and maintain contacts. Shielding themselves with pseudo-patriotic slogans, these organizations oppose migrants, Muslims, Roma, immigrants from the former republics of Yugoslavia, as well as their ideological opponents.

Since 2016, under the auspices of the[421] Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Guardians of the Spoon project has been implemented to increase awareness of Nazi atrocities in Slovenian territory and prevent distortion of history. The project published stories and memoirs of Slovenes who turned out to be prisoners of fascist and Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War.

Since 2017, the international research center of the Second World War in Maribor (MIC) has been operating. It is located in the preserved building of the former Nazi “death camp” for Soviet prisoners of war.

At the same time, the Slovenian authorities are taking practical measures to preserve the historical memory of the Holocaust. Relevant information materials are placed in educational institutions and libraries. This topic is covered in the course of a history study in schools.

Slovenia is a member of the International Holocaust remembrance Alliance. Over the past few years, several monuments to the victims of the tragedy have been opened in the country. The last such event took place in the center of Ljubljana in August 2018, where memorials were unveiled by Slovenian President B. Pahor and State Assembly President M. Tonin.

At the legal and regulatory level, measures to combat manifestations of intolerance and xenophobia are enshrined in the Slovenian Criminal Code. In particular, Article 297 of the Code provides for prosecution for incitement for hatred. The prohibition of any kind of discrimination during sport events is separately highlighted. It is specified both in the Constitution of the country and in the Slovenian law “On Sport Activities”.

However, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has noted that the actual application of criminal law provisions relating to racially motivated offences, in particular offences committed using the Internet, is limited.

Moreover, the CERD expressed concern at the fact that racial motives are listed in the law as an aggravating circumstance only in relation to the crime of murder, and not in relation to other crimes. In its view, the absence of an independent body to investigate allegations of police abuse, including racial profiling, is also a disadvantage of the state system for the prevention and elimination of racial discrimination.[422]

Human rights organizations are constantly concerned about incidents of hate speech, mostly directed against political opponents. The use of hate speech is growing on social networks and other similar resources, including speeches against migrants, Muslims and Roma. In Ljubljana and a number of other cities in Slovenia, you can find extremist graffiti directed against the above categories of persons.

International human rights monitoring mechanisms also drew attention to incidents of hatred in Slovenia. Thus, the Human Rights Committee (HRCtte) pointed out that, despite Slovenia’s legislative measures to prohibit discriminatory speech motivated by racial hatred, racist and xenophobic rhetoric against persons belonging to minorities, as well as migrants, refugees and Roma took place in public speeches by some politicians. In particular, the OSCE/ ODIHR expressed its concern at some participants in the early parliamentary elections held on June 3, 2018, fell back to negative campaigning and rhetoric of intolerance against minorities, migrants, and refugees in their election campaign. The Slovenian Commissioner for Human Rights also pointed to the low level of ethics in public debate.[423]

The Council of Europe's European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has emphasized an increase in the use of hate speech on the Internet and online forums, in particular in relation to migrants, Muslims and Roma. The spletno-oko.si project (Web Eye hotline), a public system of anonymous reports of incitement to hatred and other illegal content distributed on the Internet, registered 16,685 hate messages in 2007-2017, 541 of which have been handed over to the police for possible prosecution.[424]

ECRI also noted a number of incidents of religious intolerance in Slovenia. The Ljubljana construction site of the country's first Islamic Cultural Center and mosque was attacked several times by vandals. Government, NGOs and religious communities made a denunciation, calling for greater religious tolerance and respect for cultural diversity. There were incidents of desecration of Christian shrines. Unknown persons destroyed the Catholic Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Ljubljana.[425]

At the same time, ECRI positively noted the presence of a response to incidents of hostility and incitement to hatred, including against migrants and asylum seekers in Slovenian society. So, in 2017, the municipality of Nova Gorica, in response to the distribution of stickers containing offensive slogans addressed to refugees, issued an order to remove them immediately. In May 2018, about a hundred people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Ljubljana, acting against the use of hate speech by the participants in the pre-term parliamentary elections

One of the most acute human rights problems in Slovenia related to the spread of hatred against ethnic groups in the country, according to international human rights monitoring mechanisms, remains the situation of the Gypsy (Roma) community. According to the latest census (conducted in 2002), 3,246 Gypsies lived in Slovenia. Currently, according to various state, public and non-governmental organizations, there are from 7 to 12 thousand representatives of this ethnic group in the country. In particular, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination noted the lack of more up-to-date data as early as in December 2015.[426]

Experts of the Slovenian and international human rights organizations approve the country's regulatory framework (status and special rights of the Roma are specified in Article 65 of the Slovenian Constitution, the Law on Roma Community in the Republic of Slovenia (2007), the Law on Local Governments (2009), according to which Roma are involved in the governance process at the municipal level, as well as institutional structures (Council of the Roma Community of Slovenia) and the adoption by the Government of Slovenia of a National Programme of Measures for Roma for the period 2017-2021 in May 2017.

However, it is emphasized that Ljubljana has not yet made significant progress to improve the situation with this ethnic group. It is noted that the vast majority of Roma continue to have a low social status and are subject to various forms of discrimination. The issues of legalization of gypsy settlements and their provision with housing and communal conditions also remain unresolved. The Roma population in Slovenia also often faces discrimination in the labor market. According to human rights organizations, the unemployment rate among this ethnic group is on average 95%.

CERD drew attention to the fact that the coverage of Roma children by the educational system is below the national average; Roma access to the labor market and health services is still limited[427]

Certain measures taken by the Slovenian authorities are aimed at improving the situation of members of the Roma community. In 2017, Slovenia adopted the National Program of Measures for Roma for the period 2017-2021, providing for the adoption of comprehensive measures to prevent discrimination against Roma and improve their situation, as well as to increase their social integration. The two main goals of this Programme are to improve the situation of members of the Roma community and to promote their social integration. The program includes eight strategic goals: improvement of the level of education of the Roma community; reduction of the level of unemployment among the Roma; prevention of the marginalization of the Roma and their integration; improvement of the quality of medical care for the Roma; improvement of their housing conditions; encouragement of the establishment and development of activities of the Roma community in the cultural, informational and publishing areas; increase of awareness of the representatives of the Roma community and the general public about the positive value of social integration of the Roma; entrenchment of dialogue and cooperation with local communities in the Roma territories. The implementation of the Program is monitored by the Government Commission for the protection of the Roma community.[428]

The national equality body is the Office of the Advocate of the Principle of Equality. Since 2019, the Advocate has been visiting various regions of Slovenia to hear the views of the parties concerned, which in turn indirectly would contribute to broadening of the public awareness of anti-discrimination throughout the country.[429]

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USA

In the United States in recent years, there has been an increase in the level of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other manifestations of such discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. Human rights organizations emphasize this fact with a great concern. The rapid spread of such a disgracing America phenomenon is hardly correlated with the image of Washington as the “global leader” in the protection of rights and freedoms around the world.

The USA drive for global leadership becomes so obsessive that cynical attempts to rewrite history are made to justify this. It has become typical for American political rhetoric and the media in recent years, to emphasize only the role of the United States in the victory over Nazism and not to talk about the key contribution of the USSR to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

It is an outrageous attempt to distort the results of the defeat of Nazism and erase the decisive contribution of the USSR, which does not stop in Washington even during the solemn days of the 75th anniversary of the Victory. On the eve of May 9, the administration of American President D. Trump on his official page on the Instagram social network posted a video recording Trump laying a wreath at the World War II Memorial, accompanied by the video with the caption “May 8, 1945, the USA and Great Britain defeated Nazism”. This publication is contrary to the statement adopted on April 25, 2020 by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin and US President D. Trump on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the meeting of soldiers of the USSR and the United States on the River Elbe[430]

Moreover, there are precedents of recognition of the contribution of the Soviet Union to the victory over Nazism made by modern American officials. So, at the end of March, US President D. Trump, noting the importance of maintaining a dialogue with Russia, mentioned that the Soviet Union was a partner of the United States in World War II. Hitler's Germany was the enemy.[431] At the same time, US Ambassador to Moscow J. Sullivan said that the Soviet people demonstrated great self-sacrifice during World War II in the fight against Nazi Germany. The triumph over Germany, he said, came at a high price to the allies. “We won as allies, and I hope that we can mark this event as allies”, he said.[432]

In this context, it can be assumed that the attempt made by the White House in May, to downplay the role of the USSR and the Red Army in the Victory over fascism was necessary in order to negate the effect of the adoption of this recent statement by the presidents.

The United States not only tirelessly continue to vote almost alone against the annual resolution of the UN General Assembly “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, but they are constant initiators to put this issue on the vote. Along with Ukraine, they remain the only States in the world that oppose the very concept of the document. According to American representatives, the glorification of Nazism and any other misanthropic ideas is the realization of the right to freedom of expression ("freedom of speech") and public meetings. It is not surprising that extremists continue to feel at ease “under the umbrella” of the first amendment to the US Constitution.

According to the influential American NGO “Southern Poverty Law Center” for 2019, there are about 940 extremists[433] groups operating in the United States. Among them there are the notorious Ku Klux Klan (47 “cells”), neo-Nazis and “skinheads” (59 and 48 “communities”), other adherents of the “ideology of superiority of the white race” (391 organizations), as well as anti-immigrant and Islamophobic movements (20 and 84, respectively). Compared to the 2017 to 2019, there is an increase in the number of such “associations” by 55%.[434] Their representatives are playing an increasingly active role in the “worldwide web”. The fundraising, the recruitment of “recruits”, “brainwashing”, the promotion of hateful ideas and interaction with “like-minded” people from other countries are implemented with the help of the internet. In addition, neo-Nazis use the tactics of distributing leaflets with propaganda materials (in 2019 there were about 3 thousand incidents).[435] Racists set sights on the further radicalization of youth, expanding the circle of their followers.

Neo-Nazi demonstrations and marches in the United States are usually held under the protection of law enforcement agencies, which see their main task only in preventing riots due to clashes between extremists and their opponents.

The installation of a monument to the Nazi henchman Lithuanian A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas in the suburbs of Chicago (on private territory) in May 2019, the local authorities did not denounce it in any way. The American media also kept silent about this egregious event. Severe criticism from the Jewish human rights center, Simon Wiesenthal, involved in Holocaust research, was also ignored.[436]

If criminals are placed in the prisoner's dock, then, as a rule, the reason for this are acts related to violence, and not calls for it. In 2009-2018, at least 427 people were killed by “non-Islamist extremists” in the United States.[437] About 73% of them were killed by right-wing radicals. According to the FBI, in 2018 the highest crime rate was registered in the last 16 years (about 7 thousand hate crimes).[438] 2019 was not an exception in this regard. Moreover, last year entered the top ten “bloodiest” years in the history of such observations in the United States since 1970 (17 attacks, 42 persons were killed).[439] All the murders were motivated by racial hatred and hostility.

So, on April 27, 2019, a woman was killed, and 3 people were injured during an attack on a synagogue in POWAY, California.[440] The attacker was a 19-year-old anti-Semite. According to the perpetrator, the March shooting of people in New Zealand moved him to kill the people.

On July 28, 2019, another attack occurred in Gilroy, California. Three people were killed on the spot. The dead include 6 minors of 6 and 13 years old, 11 persons were injured. Before the suicide, a supporter of the ideas of the “superiority of the white race” (extremist materials were found on him) tried to shoot police officers who arrived at the scene of the incident.[441]

The most brutal was the mass murder in El Paso, California Texas, at the Walmart hypermarket on August 3. As a result of the tragedy, 22 people were killed and 23 were injured.[442] The criminal was also “inspired by the Manifesto” of the New Zealand killer.[443] The perpetrator of the tragedy appeared in the court on February 6, 2020. He faces the death penalty.[444]

On December 10, 2019, 3 people were shot dead in a kosher store in new Jersey by a 47-year-old anti-Semite and his 50-year-old accomplice.[445] The day before, they killed a representative of law enforcement agencies. The reason is the same racial hatred. On December 28, during the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, an attacker used a machete to maim 6 people.

At the same time, law enforcement agencies take measures to prevent such crimes. Thanks to the efforts of law enforcement agencies, 4 people were arrested in 2019 for planning an explosion at a 200-person mosque in Delaware state.[446] In the state of Colorado, an attempt to blow up a synagogue by 27-year-old neo-Nazi R. Holzer was prevented.[447]

The first half of 2020 was also marked by a few headline-making hate crimes.

On February 26, four extremists operating in the cities of Seattle, Tampa, Houston, and Phoenix were arrested on charges of conspiracy to endanger the lives of journalists and NGO activists.[448] The affected persons were Jewish Americans and African Americans. They were sent messages by mail, showing images of Nazi swastikas, weapons, and “Molotov cocktails” (incendiary bottles).

Even the large-scale spread of coronavirus infection does not stop followers of the Nazi ideology. Thus, the authoritative American human rights NGO “Anti-Defamation League” reports on the elimination by FBI agents of the attacker who planned the explosion in the hospital. It is clarified that on March 24, 2020, the American T. Wilson planned a mass murder of the COVID-19 patients in the state of Missouri. His targets included a predominantly African American school, a synagogue, and a mosque.[449]

The Anti-Defamation League is seriously concerned about the activities of such notorious neo-Nazi organizations as “The Base” and “Atomwaffen Division”. The sections of the latter operate in the states of Washington, Virginia, California, Colorado, Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, and Florida.[450] In addition, the structure has expanded its activities to the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada and the Baltic States. It is stated that as of mid-2019, 35 Americans left the United States for Ukraine in order to participate in hostilities.[451]

Recently, incidents of the spread of the ideology of racism among US troops have come to the attention of human rights defenders. According to Military Time, in 2019, more than a third of military personnel (36%) suffered from racism and nationalistic behavior during their service (according to a 2018 study, only 22%). At the same time, more than half of the military of African, Asian and Latin American origin (53%) experienced racism.[452]

The problem is compounded by the lack of a legislative ban on military servicemen for membership in nationalist and racist organizations. Representatives of the US armed forces at congressional hearings in February 2020 admitted that membership in a nationalist group is “not prohibited,” but “active participation” in this group may lead to administrative sanctions.[453] They also admitted that they did not have accurate data on the number of US troops military men who had been penalized under administrative law for racist ideas support.[454] The right to make a decision on conducting an internal investigation remains with the command of the military unit. Thus, the adherents of racist ideology remain in military service. The law obliges the army services to report on the facts of such manifestations on the annual basis, but no measures have been taken in this regard – including the establishment of a specialized body for data collection. In addition, radical structures vigorously involve servicemen with special knowledge who are trained in combat operations and weapons handling.

High-profile crimes committed by American military, who shared the ideology of racism and were members of radical groups, are widely known. For example, in 2017, B. Russell, who served in Florida and was one of the founders of the neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen division, was arrested after explosives were found in his possession during a personal search within the framework of the detection of the murder of two colleagues who lived with him. It was found that he planned to use the explosives to attack civilians and synagogues. In January 2018, he was found guilty of illegal acquisition and possession of explosives.

In 2018, military personnel A. Zwiefelhofer and former military officer K. Lang were charged with the murder of a Florida couple who sold them weapons. Both were adherents of extremist ideology and in 2016 participated in the fighting in Ukraine on the side of nationalist battalions. In 2019, soldier J. Smith, a white supremacist, was charged with spreading information related to explosives and mass destruction. He offered to teach skills in making explosive devices and talked about the murders of anti-fascist activists and attacks on a local news editorial office.[455] He kept in touch with K. Lang, and through him – with the Ukrainian “Right Sector”.[456]

Representatives of the US legislature also drew attention to the involvement of certain US military personnel in the spread of extremist ideas. On October 16, 2019, 40 congressmen asked the State Department to recognize the Azov regiment (a unit of the national guard of Ukraine) as a terrorist organization, accusing it of recruiting American citizens[457].

International human rights monitoring mechanisms and human rights NGOs have drawn attention to the spread of racism, xenophobia, and ethnic and religious intolerance in the United States. The Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism, E. Tendayi Achiume, in a report on the glorification of Nazism, presented at the 41st session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019, with reference to the study “Intelligence Report” conducted by the above-mentioned NGO “Southern Poverty Law Center: The Year in Hate and Extremism-Rage Against Change”, quoted data that in the United States since 2014, the number of misanthropy groups has increased by 30%, and only in 2018 this number increased by 7%.[458] The Special Rapporteur pointed to the involvement of young people into neo-Nazis movement in schools and colleges, as well as through music festivals and so-called cultural events.[459] She noted the highest since the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century tendency of popularity of white supremacists' music in the USA (the “white movement” or “white supremacists”), which effectively promoted the spread of neo-Nazi views.[460]

The Chinese Society for the study of human rights pointed out that in 2018, the number of hate crimes in the United States increased by 17% in comparison with the previous year. Racist offences amounted to 60% of such unlawful acts. In half of the incidents, the victims were African Americans.[461]

The NGO “Human Rights Watch” with reference to the report of the Center for research on extremism at the University of California at San Bernardino dated May 2018, noted a high level of criminality on racial and ethnic grounds in major American cities. [462]

Human rights activists record discriminatory treatment of American citizens of African origin. It is not uncommon when political rhetoric uses racist images related to the trafficking of enslaved Africans, a history of lynching, derogatory assessments, exploitation, and violence against people of African origin.[463]

On August 18, 2017, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), being concerned about the scale of racist manifestations, as a part of the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures, called on U.S. authorities to convict racist hate crimes on clear and unconditional basis, as well as actively assist to the promotion of tolerance and diversity of ethnic groups. The reason for this statement were the racially motivated clashes in August 2017 in Charlottesville (Virginia). It should also be noted that earlier, during consideration of the Combined 7th-9th periodic reports of the United States in August 2014, CERD noted the persistent high level of racial discrimination in the country, including the absence of a legal ban on hate speech and the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies. The Committee also pointed out that ethnic minorities are disproportionately exposed to discrimination in various spheres of public life. An example is the fact that in general, African Americans and members of other ethnic communities are subjected to violence by law enforcement officers.[464]

In 2014, CERD also expressed concern about the practice of law enforcement officers monitoring Muslims and members of ethnic minorities in the absence of any suspicion of wrongdoing. It was recommended that the USA should conduct an impartial investigation of all such incidents.[465]

The UN Human Rights Council working group on people of African origin, with a reference to Washington Post analysis, indicates that 26% of those killed by police in 2015 were African – Americans, 24% in 2016, and 23% in 2017, meanwhile they make up 13% of the total population of the United States. In the first half of 2018, African Americans amounted to 20% of all those killed by the police.[466]

In September 2019, the NGO Human Rights Watch published a case study in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on abusive treatment of law enforcement officers.[467] Human rights activists found that members of ethnic minorities are physically abused by police officers (using stun guns, pepper spray, setting dogs on a person and beating) 2.7 times more often than European Americans.

One of the high-profile incidents of lawless overreach by law enforcement agencies occurred on June 6, 2019 in Los Angeles, when 24-year-old Ryan Twyman was shot and killed by police. Law enforcement officers fired more than 30 bullets at his car, although according to human rights activists, there was no threat to them at that time. Los Angeles has a reputation as one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for African-Americans (on average, city police officers kill one person every five days, but on that day, four people died at the hands of law enforcement authorities.[468]

Human rights organizations note that the current legislation in the state of California does not provide adequate protection of the population from the unjustified use of force by the police. According to the California Department of Justice, in 2017, 172 people were killed by police in the state (whites made up only a third of the total number of victims). In addition to racial imbalances in the use of force by the police, California has the highest level of police murders in the country (37% more than the federal level).

People from the African and Asian regions face discrimination in the legal administration, particularly in the criminal justice system. The Human Rights Committee and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination indicated in March and August 2014 that there were racial differences at different levels of the criminal justice system, as well as uneven sentencing and a high percentage of ethnic minorities in prison.[469] Human rights organization “Human Rights Watch”, in its 2018 Country Report on the state of human rights, also noted that in the United States, African-Americans are 5 times more often imprisoned than the white population. As for drug-related crimes, despite approximately the same level of use of prohibited substances, the number of black Americans serving their time is many times more than the number of white persons. Racial disparities are also evident among juvenile prisoners. In 37 States, the number of African American minors in correctional facilities is much higher than that of other racial groups.[470]

The human rights community has also drawn attention to anti-Semitism in the United States. According to the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism E. Tendayi Achiume, in 2017, crimes motivated by religious hatred accounted for approximately 20% of the total number of hate incidents, with the most frequent affected persons being Jews and Jewish institutions the share of which is approximately 58% of cases. It is noted that statistics confirm the link between the growth of extremist movements in the country and a sharp jump in anti-Semitic criminality. Known extremist structures or individuals inspired by extremist ideology were responsible for 249 anti-Semitic incidents in 2018, representing 13% of the total (the highest level of anti-Semitic crimes committed by individuals with links to extremist groups since 2004).[471]

The “Anti-Defamation League” NGO registered a sharp 60% increase in the number of manifestations of anti-Semitism in the United States in 2017 (1,986 incidents per year). In the period from 2008 to 2017, the number of such incidents amounted to 71% of the deaths related to extremism in the country. 2018 was the third year in terms of anti-Semitic incidents since the organization started to collect such data back in the 1970s.[472][473]

According to human rights activists, the reason for the rise of racist movements was the “failures” of the authorities in the field of immigration policy, as well as the gradual decline in the white population in the United States.[474]

Concerns remain with relevant organizations regarding the course of the US authorities in the field of migration. In their opinion, the tightening of migration policy introduced by the US authorities contradicts Washington's international obligations in the field of human rights. It creates a threat of violation of the most important principle of international law – the ban on the return of asylum seekers to countries where they may become victims of torture or other forms of ill-treatment. Concerns regarding this issue were raised by the HR Committee and CERD.

According to human rights activists, the US authorities have taken unprecedentedly cruel measures to “solve” the migration crisis, including the deployment of a military contingent near the southern border, the purpose of which is to return foreigners to Mexico, where they should wait for the completion of their applications for entry into the US.

Sometimes, migrants are required to be retained in custody for a long period of time. The use of weapons by border guards near the US-Mexico border against migrants, including unarmed ones, has become common. [475]

According to the Chinese Society for the study of human rights, since the beginning of the “zero tolerance” policy in the United States in April 2018, there has been an increase in the number of incidents of cruel and inhuman treatment of migrant minors.[476]

When the US Supreme court allowed the Administration to restrict the right to asylum, the experts from the Office of the United Nations high Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) pointed out to Washington the violation of international law, noting that such a radical change in the US migration policy would negatively affect people trying to escape from violence and persecution.[477]

Human rights organizations have criticized the practice to deny access to asylum for irregular migrants through “threats, intimidation, coercion, excessive use of force and blocking entry points along the US-Mexican border”. US border officials have systematically violated the rights of migrants, not providing decent living conditions in detention centers. It is emphasized that the Administration uses the method of racial profiling, prohibiting the entry to the United States of the citizens of South America.[478]

The Human Rights Committee has also expressed concern about the mandatory nature of deportations of foreigners without taking into account factors such as the seriousness of the crime or act committed, the length of stay in the United States, the health conditions, family communications and the fate of the remaining spouses and children, or the humanitarian situation in the country of destination. The HR Committee also noted the exclusion of millions of undocumented foreigners and their children from the scope of the “Affordable Care Act” and the limited service of undocumented immigrants and immigrants lawfully residing in the United States for less than five years under the Medicare health insurance system and child health insurance systems, which make it difficult for such persons to access appropriate health care.[479]

In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, the topic of hate crimes has become more often used in the US domestic political struggle.

Despite the rather difficult situation with the spread of misanthropic ideas in the United States and the vague prospects for solving the problem, ordinary citizens in general respect the decisive role of the Soviet Union in the Victory over the Nazis. They understand what terrible losses our country has suffered. Gradually, the awareness of the need for changes aimed at a more active and uncompromising fight against the “legacy of the brown plague” is coming to the people's minds.

There are precedents for the detection of Nazi criminals by the American authorities on the territory of the United States. So, in March 2020, a court of Memphis, Tennessee, decided to expel Friedrich Karl Berger, a former guard at “The Neuengamme” concentration camp, from the USA to Germany.[480]

Acts of vandalism (desecration) at the national memorial cemeteries of the United States have not been registered.

Commemorative events are organized by Russian compatriots. So, in April 2020, a plane with a 30-meter St. George Ribbon flew for several hours over Chicago and Lake Michigan. This was the start of the campaign “St. George Ribbon”, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War and World War II. The primary initiator was the society “Russian Youth of America”.[481]

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Ukraine

Ukraine has the entire spectrum of manifestations of the policy adopted at the state level to whitewash and glorify Nazism, Nazi collaborators of World War II, recognized as criminals by the decision of the Nuremberg Tribunal; falsifying policy in matters of its history, systematic measures of the country's authorities to delete from the history of the Ukrainian people the memorable date of May 9 – The Victory Day of the USSR over German Nazism. Distorted interpretations of historical events are aimed at growth of a nationalistic mood among the General population.

In line with the spirit to completely whitewash the crimes of collaborators, Ukraine and the United States remain the only UN Member States that oppose the annual UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, introduced by Russia together with a wide range of co-sponsors from all regions of the world. These two States are arguing against the very concept of the document. According to American representatives, the glorification of Nazism and any other misanthropic ideas is the realization of the right to freedom of expression (“freedom of speech”) and public meetings. At the same time, on October 16, 201940 congressional representatives in the USA addressed the State Department with a demand to recognize the “Azov” regiment (a unit of the National guard of Ukraine) as a terrorist organization, accusing it of neo-Nazism.[482] Representatives of Ukraine generally indicate that cooperation with the Nazis could be justified if its purpose were the national liberation movement. With this in mind, Kiev’s consistent policy of Nazi henchmen glorifications is not surprising.

Official Kiev continues its policy of Nazi collaborators and members of Ukrainian nationalist formations glorification who are passed off as members of the “National Liberation” movement in the period of 1940-1950 and “Fighters against Communism for the Freedom of the Motherland”. Special attention is paid to the adoption of a wide range of measures to support them.

In April 2015, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a “decommunization package” of legal acts.

In particular, this law “On the Denunciation of the Communist and National Socialist (Nazi) Totalitarian Regimes in Ukraine and the Ban on Propaganda of their Symbols”, “On Access to the Archives of Repressive Bodies of the Communist Totalitarian Regime of 1917-1991”, “On Perpetuating the Victory over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945” and “On the Legal Status and Commemoration of the Fighters for Independence of Ukraine in the 20th century”. In accordance with these documents, Soviet symbols are prohibited, the Communist regime is denunciated, the archives of the Soviet secret services are being disclosed, Ukrainian military[483] nationalist forces during World War II, – the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) and their leaders – the leader of OUN S. Bandera and the commander of the battalion “Nachtigall” and UPA R. Shukhevych are recognized as fighters for independence.

In addition, a criminal liability is introduced for negative assessment of the activities of these structures, as well as for the production, distribution and public use of symbols of the “Communist totalitarian regime”.

“Decommunization” means, first of all, renaming of localities, streets, and take-down of memorials and images associated with the Soviet past.

According to the Ukrainian Institute of national memory (UINP), which compiled lists of facilities subject to elimination or renaming, since 2015, 52 thousand streets, about a thousand localities, 26 districts have been renamed in the[484] country, and 2.5 thousand monuments of the socialist era have been dismantled.

In line with the provisions of the law “On the Legal Status and Honoring the Memory of Fighters for Independence of Ukraine in the 20th century”, the Lviv Regional Council on January 30, 2018, decided to use the flag of the OUN-UPA on a par with the national flag of Ukraine. Similar decisions were made by the Volyn Regional Council, city councils in Ternopil, Kiev and a number of other cities.[485]

In December 2018, the law on amendments to the law “On the Status of War Veterans, Guarantees of their Social Protection” (No. 2640-VIII) was adopted, which essentially equated collaborators as “participants in the struggle for independence of Ukraine in the 20th century” and veterans who fought on the side of the Anti-Hitler Coalition.[486]

Ukrainian officials accept public statements in support of Nazi figures. For example, former speaker of the Verkhovna Rada A. Parubiy in September 2018, in a live broadcast on the local TV channel “ICTV”, called Hitler “the greatest person who practiced direct democracy”.[487]

The activities of the Consul of Ukraine in Hamburg V. Marushchynets, who actively published posts of xenophobic and racist content on social media, justifying Nazism and anti-Semitism, received a wide response in the media. He also published photos against the background of the Bandera flag and a photo with a cake in the form of a book by A. Hitler “Mein Kampf”, which was presented to him by colleagues on his 60th birthday. In May 2018, V. Marusinec was dismissed from the service, however, at the beginning of November 2019 the media published the information that the Ukrainian courts have recognized its dismissal to be illegal.[488]

The incident involving the former Prime Minister of Ukraine A. Goncharuk in October 2019 in a concert dedicated to the Day of Defender of Ukraine in a performance of the band “Perun's Axe”, which glorified A. Hitler, R. Hess and the SS troops and used Nazi symbols, received a noticeable resonance due to which in 2018 a criminal case was initiated against the music band. The audience of this event was Ukrainian neo-Nazis, and A. Medvedko, who was detained on suspicion of the murder of writer and journalist Oles Buzina, was involved in the concert's organization, and then, under pressure from neo-Nazis, he was released from prison together with the second probable participant D. Polishchuk. A. Goncharuk greeted the gathered “veterans” of the ATO from the stage. Later, he confirmed in Facebook his participation in the neo-Nazi Sabbath and explained it as a desire to “congratulate veterans and talk about painful issues”.[489]

In July 2018, the leadership of the Parliament organized a thematic exhibition on the occasion of the “77th anniversary of the Act on the restoration of the Ukrainian state”, proclaimed on June 30, 1941 and secured the creation of a protectorate dependent on the Nazis in Galicia, as well as laid down the guidelines of this entity to cooperate with Nazi Germany. The exhibition was dedicated to the activities of OUN leaders Bandera and Ya. Stetsko, commander of the “Nachtigall” and UPA battalion R. Shukhevych in the initial period of the Great Patriotic war.[490]

In February 2019, after the indignation of the nationalist forces about the incident during the dispersal by law enforcement agencies of the nationalists’ action on Kontraktova Square in Kiev, during which the policeman shouted “Lie down, Bandera!”, The leadership of the National Police launched a flash mob “I am Bandera supporter” on social media pages. The head of the national Police S. Knyazev and the head of the patrol police Department E. Zhukov published this phrase on their Facebook pages.

In March 2019, the chief of the General staff of the AFU, V. Muzhenko, approved the new stripes of the army brigades. The red-and-black Chevron with the image of a skull and the inscription “Ukraine or Death” is approved for military personnel of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade named after the Black Zaporozhets of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. These chevrons have a visual resemblance to the insignia of the SS tank division “Dead Head”.[491]

 The Concern that in Ukraine during public discussions, including speeches of public and political figures, in the media, in particular on the Internet, and during rallies, racist hate speech and statements of a discriminatory nature directed mainly against minorities were expressed with ever increasing frequency was expressed in August 2016 by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)[492]

The Ukrainian Institute of National Memory (UINP), headed by former Director V. Vyatrovich, put on stream the fabrication of historical fakes, including justification of the members of collaborationist structures. The Institute is honoring OUN and UPA militants on an ongoing basis.

So, at the beginning of 2017 The Institute announced its propaganda project “UPA: Response of the Unconquered People”, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the foundation of this formation. The leadership of the UINP described it as an anti-Nazi structure, despite the fact that more than 70% of the UPA's officer staff consisted of former Nazi henchmen-soldiers of collaborationist units, and its command was a part of the Nazi auxiliary police Schutzmannschaft (Rifle team) until 1943. According to the UINP report for 2018, within the framework of the project “UPA: Response of the Unconquered People”, events (photo exhibitions, lectures, seminars) were held in educational institutions, military units, and state institutions, the actions were aimed at popularization of the activities of UPA militants. The UINP also released a Board game that glorified members of the Bandera bandit groups for propaganda purposes.[493] In July 2019, The Ministry of Education of Ukraine recommended this game for use in schools.[494]

The Institute reconstructs “Rebel Awards”, which are awarded to “participants of the “Ukrainian Liberation Movement”, as well as to relatives of deceased “liberators”. For example, in December 2017, employees of the German auxiliary police (Hilfspolizei) who took part in mass shootings of Jews were posthumously awarded the “OUN-UPA Battle Crosses of the Knights” in Lutsk on the initiative of the UINP. On February 1, 2019, in the Lviv region, a 92-year-old member of the UPA was awarded the order “For Merit to the Ukrainian People”. [495] [496]

The UINP also organized an exhibition in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine “Ukrainian Army: 1917-1921”, dedicated to a number of events that are interpreted in the spirit of official Ukrainian historiography (similar, rather, to mythology) as the struggle of the people for political self-determination and the establishment of the statehood.

In 2020, on the eve of May 9, the new Director of the UINP A. Drobovich recorded a video dedicated to the Day of remembrance and reconciliation, celebrated on May 8, and the 75th [497]anniversary of the Victory over Nazism. In this video, in addition to the attempts traditionally made by the current Ukrainian authorities to present Ukrainian collaborators as fighters against Nazism, although the facts of their cooperation are undeniably confirmed, the director of the UINP actually equalized the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation and the Victory Day over Nazism in World War II and said that they “do not symbolize a triumph of the winners over the vanquished”.[498]

In accordance with the official interpretation of history, the educational literature is also “corrected”. The facts proving the collaboration of Ukrainian nationalists are emasculated. For example, the Ministry of Education and Science demanded to withdraw the circulation of history textbooks for grades 10-11, which contained information about the cooperation of the commander of the UPA R. Shukhevych, as well as the Roland and Nachtigall battalions with the army of Nazi Germany during World War II.

The results of a sociological survey conducted by the Foundation “Democratic Initiatives” show that such a policy is beginning to influence a significant part of Ukrainians. According to its results, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (52%) celebrate the Victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War on May 9. Meanwhile, 56% of respondents agree that both Nazi Germany and the USSR are responsible for unleashing of the bloodiest conflict in the history of mankind. Attention is drawn to the fact that only 32.2% of respondents chose the answer that the war was World War II, and not the Great Patriotic War, and the Anti-Hitler Coalition won it. Almost 40% of respondents support the status quo, where both Victory Day and Remembrance and Reconciliation Day are considered as public holidays.[499]

Moreover, the Ukrainian authorities actually involve right-wing and ultra-nationalist groups and organizations in “patriotic work” with young people, providing state support to certain groups. Children's summer camps and festivals dedicated to Ukrainian Nazi collaborators and war criminals are being organized. As a rule, this is done with the financial support of the Ukrainian state through the Ministry of Youth and Sports, together with local administrations. So, in 2018, the organizations of “Svoboda” and “S14” received grants from the state in the amount of more than one million hryvnias for the implementation of projects of “Patriotic Education of Youth”. In 2019, a state funding was allocated for the “Cornet” youth military-Patriotic camp, named after the collaborator T. Borovets, and several other similar projects. In the summer of 2019, the Banderstat festival was held in Lutsk, the festival in honor of the ideologist of Ukrainian nationalism D. Dontsov was held in Melitopol, and the “Paths of Taras Borovets” festival was held in Olevsk.

In December 2019, The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted the law “On Recognition of the “Plast” Movement and Features of State Support for the “Plast” and Scout Movement”. In fact, this document lays the Foundation for taking the association under the state wing, something like the infamous “Hitler Youth” movement, where young people are subjected to targeted indoctrination. To understand what such processing can lead to, it is enough to remember that almost the entire command of the UPA (S. Bandera, R. Shukhevych, V. Kuk, etc.) passed through the “Plast” movement[500] at one time.

Also in December 2019, The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine again allocated funding to a number of “military-patriotic youth and educational” projects in 2020 in the amount of 20 million UAH, including 2 million UAH provided to scout organization “Plast” that openly declares the continuity of the structure of the Bandera organization (770 thousands UAH of which were allocated to provide financial support to the military-Patriotic camps of this structure, 450 thousand UAH, for the organization of a Ukraine nationwide game, 500 thousand UAH, for the celebration of Cultural Identity festival. i.e. Day of the Plast member); 440 thousands UAH, for the festival of the Ukrainian spirit Banderstadt that supposedly has an “ideological and patriotic nature”; 350 thousand UAH, to nationalist Youth Congress for the promotion of the ideas of Ukrainian nationalism in the framework of “Camp 2020”, the Central event of which should be battlefield games “Gurby-Antonovtsy” dedicated to the fight of the UPA troops against the NKVD in the Ternopil region; 485 thousand UAH, for the organization of military-patriotic game “Jura” (conducted from 2015 at the national level); 250 thousand UAH, to the Union of Ukrainian youth (stands for rehabilitation of Petliura, Stepan Bandera, R. Shukhevych) for the organization of the conference of the World Ukrainian Movement, the arrangement of historical events (180 thousand UAH) and the organization of children's camps “Zahrada” (95 thousand UAH), the participants of which visit memorial places of the UPA; 300 thousand UAH, for the military-historical festival “Under the Cover of Trident” in the town of Boryas (Kyiv region); 560 thousand UAH, to the Ukrainian reserve army for the organization of sports-patriotic camps “Unizh Smithy” and “Rebel Heart” for children of combatants in the South-East of the Ukraine; 250 thousand UAH, to the Ukrainian Association of military and historical organizations to conduct the competition on the facilities of one of the military units.

In addition, in January 2020, the same Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Ukraine announced the results of the competition for children's and youth projects, which would also obtain funds from the state in 2020.[501] The nationalists will get 8 million hryvnias (UAH) (more than 20 million rubles). This is almost half of all funds allocated by the Ministry for сhildren's and youth organizations.[502] Thus, the “Plast” organization will receive 2.7 million hryvnias (UAH) for arrangements of summer camps and thematic forums. 400 thousand UAH will be spent for the Youth nationalist Congress for the cycles of the curriculum “Course of Free People” and “Course of the Young Bandera Supporter”. 200 thousand UAH is allocated to the National Alliance for the all-Ukrainian field game “Victory” (held since 2006). 120 thousand UAH will be received by the “Educational Assembly “affiliated with the radical group” S14 for the action “We are Proud of Ukrainians”. 200 thousand UAH will be allocated to the structure of the “Falcon of Freedom”, which is the youth wing of the “Freedom” All-Ukrainian Association, for the “Patriot Games” in the Ternopil region. The state will also finance the all-Ukrainian campaign “True History of Ukraine” held by “Ukrainian People's Youth” association, and the festival of social advertising. At the same time, many of these organizations or their affiliated structures just receive state money for their activities under the article of National Patriotic Education, as well as directly from the state and local budgets.[503]

Kiev's activity in organization of financial support for national radicals at the state expense did not go unnoticed. In July 2019, the Ukrainian government was accused of secret financing of the far-right extremist groups under the guise of educational programs. According to the Bellingcat group, the government allocated funds under the “National-Patriotic Education” Program for young people. It was mentioned in the survey that such grants were used to increase the influence of nationalists and attract new supporters.[504]

In March 2020, it became known that the acting Minister of Education of Ukraine L. Mandziy in 2018, holding at that time the position of the head of the Department of Education of the Lviv Regional Administration, became one of the organizers of the drawing competition among schoolchildren on the theme of the SS division “Galicia” and Ukrainian volunteers in its ranks. The competition task was to draw “an SS man or a meeting between Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler and the division's personnel”. The award ceremony was scheduled for April 28, 2020, along with a ceremonial parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Waffen-SS division. An exhibition of weapons was also organized in addition to the drawing contest and the ceremonial parade. After public outrage, L. Mandziy in comments to journalists tried to disown the event, saying that the Department of Education “only informed schools about the competition”.[505]

Against the background of the rehabilitation of the Nazis and their accomplices, attempts are made to blacken the soldiers of the Soviet Army, even to the extent of holding them responsible for crimes committed by the Hitlerites. For example, the object of such fabrications is the tragedy that occurred in March 1943 in the village of Koryukovka, Chernihiv region, where the Nazis almost completely destroyed the local population as a result of a punitive action. In publications of the Ukrainian media dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the massacre, the incident was presented as the fact that civilians were killed due to the fault of partisans who allegedly provoked the Nazis to atrocities.

During a visit to Poland in January 2020, Vladimir Zelensky said about the responsibility of the Soviet Union for the outbreak of the Second World War, and then Minister of Foreign Affairs [506] V. Pristayko in February 2020 declared and stated that Ukraine would[507] not celebrate May 9.

On the basis of resolutions of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, anniversaries of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators are regularly included in the calendar of memorable dates. So, in January 2019, the birthday of the leader of the nationalist organization OUN S. Bandera was celebrated at the state level on the basis of the resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine dated December 18, 2018 “On the celebration of memorable dates and anniversaries in 2019”. 2019 was declared the Year of S. Bandera and the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists. “Bandera Readings” are regularly held: this forum was held for the 6th time on February 1, 2019 in the building of the Kiev City Council. The 7th readings were held in 2020 under the patronage of the mayor of Kiev.[508] Similar events are held in Western Ukraine on April 28 in honor of the SS division “Galicia” on a regular basis[509].

On December 3 2019, the following anniversaries of Nazi collaborators were included into the Calendar of Commemorative Dates and Anniversaries according to the Resolution of Verkhovna Rada No. 2364: anniversary of V. Kubiyovich (an active supporter of cooperation with the Germans, initiator of the formation of the SS division “Galicia”), I. Poltavets-Ostryanitsa (head of the UNACOR – Ukrainian national Cossack Rukh, which included auxiliary police units that took part in the mass murders of Jews in Volhynia, Zhytomyr, Vinnytsia, Bila Tserkva), V. Levkovich (member of the Ukrainian auxiliary police in Dubno, then – commander of the military district “bug” in the UPA, convicted in 1947, by the Military Tribunal of the troops of the Interior Ministry of the Kiev region), U. Samchuk (activist of the OUN, the chief editor of Pro-Nazi “Volyn” newspaper in Rivne that published anti-Semitic articles calling for the extermination of the Jews), V. Sidorov (member of the OUN and the UPA, commander of the “sotnia” unit in the Nachtigall Battalion, took part in punitive operations; after the war, up to its liquidation in 1949 was actively involved in underground activities, he held the position of Deputy Chief Commander of the UPA), A. Miller (the head of the Provod (of the Board) of OUN, head of the Ukrainian National Rada in Kiev during the war, the organizer of units of the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police, the organizer of the mass murder of Jews), K. Osmak (member of the OUN (a wing of Stepan Bandera), one of the leaders of the Ukrainian National Rada in Kiev, under the leadership of A. Miller), A. Vishnevsky (one of the organizers of the SS division “Galicia”), I. Ya. Starukha (a member of Provod (of the Board) of the OUN, the organizer of Jewish outrages), V. Galasy (one of the leaders of the OUN, who led an underground network of OUN in Western Ukraine, the organizer of the outrages in Ternopil Region and mass murders of the Poles), as well as nationalists, in particular, M. Zheleznyak (head of “Koliicshchina” rebellion movement involved in the massacre of Jews in Uman in the XVIII century). However, sometimes, these individuals are referred to just as public figures (such as “historian and geographer” V. Kubiyovich, “political and military figure “Ya. Starukh”, writer, publicist, journalist “U. Samchuk”) without reference to their connection with the nationalists. As part of the commemorations, the government should set up an organizing Committee for the commemoration, approve the plan and funding, and the Ministry of Education should conduct lessons and educational hours. It is also planned to issue commemorative coins and postage stamps in honor of the “heroes”.

In connection with this Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada, the Israeli Ambassador to Ukraine, J. Lyon, protested on December 6, 2019, noting that “glorification of those who voluntarily decided to cooperate with the Nazi regime – no matter for what reason – is an offence to the memory of the six million Jews who were destroyed by the Nazis”.[510]

Afterwards on the 27th of February, 2020, The Kiev city Council, at the suggestion of the Deputy from “Svoboda” Association Yu. Sirotyuk, adopted a resolution on the celebration of memorable dates and anniversaries in Kiev in honor of those collaborators. Among them there are such persons like V. Kubiyovych, I. Poltavets-Ostryanitsa, V. Levkovich, U. Samchuk, V. Sidorov, Y. Lipe, V. Galas, A. Miller. This decision of the Kiev City Council to celebrate the dates of figures associated with Nazism in Ukraine was suspended by the Administrative Court on the suit of lawyer and public figure A. Portnov.[511] [512] This decision was supported by the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine, the corresponding statement was issued: “The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine strongly supports this decision of the District Court of the capital of Ukraine and urges the Kiev authorities to further study the biographies of individuals whose anniversaries are proposed to be celebrated on the territory of Kiev according to the Decision of the Kiev City Council, dated February 27, 2020”.[513]       

It is a glaring fact of mockery of the memory of those who died at the hands of Ukrainian collaborators that the Ukrainian authorities continue to erect monuments and install memorial signs in honor of the OUN-UPA fighters, as well as render homage to former Nazis who have survived to this day. So, in August 2016, a pedestal for S. Bandera and R. Shukhevych was installed in Cherkasy.[514]

On January 21, 2018, the solemn opening of the memorial plaque to S. Petlura on the street named after him took place in Kiev. It is noteworthy that at the same time, Ukrainian President P. Poroshenko was on a visit to Israel, during which he visited The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Complex.[515]

In June 2018, radicals from the “National Corps” organization installed a memorial sign to UPA soldiers on the territory of the monument of Glory in Lviv, and local authorities of Zhitomir decided to install a monument to S. Bandera in the city center.[516] [517]

In 2018, a monument to anti-Semite collaborator A. Melnik was unveiled in Ivano-Frankivsk at the intersection of Andrey Melnik and Andrey Sakharov streets.

In February 2019, a memorial plaque in honor of the captain of the SS division “Galicia” A. Goncharenko was installed in an urban-type settlement Varva (Chernihiv region).

On February 24, 2019, solemn activities with the participation of local authorities, were held in memory of a member of the UPA Perehinec in the Volyn region.

On March 18, 2019, local authorities of an urban-type settlement Bogorodchany (Ivano-Frankivsk region) have opened a monument to members of the SS battalion “Nachtigall” O. Khymentz and I. Shimansky, who took part in the murder of Jews during the Great Patriotic War.

On March 25, 2019 activists of the children's scout organization “Plast” of Chernivtsi, honored the memory of the Founder and commander of the Bukovina Kuren (formation in the structure of the OUN) P. Voynovsky, who collaborated with the Nazis and took part in the Jewish outrages in Bukovina and mass murder of Jews in Babi Yar, Vinnytsia, Zhitomir.

On April 2, 2019, local authorities of Truskavets (Lviv Region), erected a monument in honor of the OUN member R. Riznyak, who headed the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police in Truskavets and took a personal part in the extermination of the city's Jewish population in 1941.

On May 5, 2019, municipal authorities of Nizhny Berezov rural settlement (Ivano-Frankivsk Region) erected a monument to N. Arsenich, who headed the OUN security service and was a participant and organizer of the Jewish outrages in the summer of 1941 in Western Ukraine and was a participant of the Volyn massacre.

On May 22, 2019, a wall painting with a portrait of S. Petlyura was opened at Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya street at the initiative of the Kiev City Council. A similar wall painting was installed on July 31 in Kamianets-Podilskyi.

On May 23, 2019, another monument to R. Shukhevych was unveiled near the city gymnasium No. 2 in Ivano-Frankivsk, this event was met with an outcry of the ambassadors of Poland and Israel, who appealed to the mayor of the city with the words of denunciation regarding the [518] perpetuation of the memory of criminals.

In June 2019, the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Ukrainian Liberation Council, being portrayed as the Supreme body of the liberation struggle of Ukraine against both the USSR and Nazi Germany, was celebrated at the state level.

On July 29, 2019, a solemn reburial of the remains of members of the SS division “Galicia” with military honors, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the division's defeat in the battle for the town of Brody was held in Zolochiv district of the Lviv Region with the state support.

In July 2019, a presentation of the novel by M. Butchenko “Petlyura. Struggle” was held in Kiev, in which this figure is presented as a hero.

On August 21, 2019, in the city of Sambir (Lviv Region), in the Jewish cemetery on the site of the demolished monument to the victims of the Holocaust, in the presence of the Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, a monument was opened in honor of the OUN-UPA.

On August 28, 2019, in Ternopol, at the initiative of local authorities, youth sports competitions “Shukhevych Cup” were organized, dedicated to the UPA commander R. Shukhevych[519]

On January 29, 2020, a solemn burial ceremony of the former punisher, member of the SS division “Galicia” M. Mumik was organized in Ivano-Frankivsk on the Walk of Fame with participation of regional officials and the clergy. Many participants of the ceremony were dressed in Nazi uniforms. Head of the regional Council of Ivano-Frankivsk region A. Sych declared that the country needed “such Patriotic and Ukrainian-centric soldiers, carriers of the spirit of history and identity”.

In April 2020, in Kalush (Ivano-Frankivsk region), a solemn ceremony was held to present the award to Vasily Nakonechny, a veteran of SS division “Galicia”, established by the “Brotherhood of soldiers of the SS division “Galicia””. Such “Military insignia” are awarded to all former SS members who are still alive today. At the time of the award, the 95-year-old SS unit member reflexively raised his hand in a Nazi salute. Earlier, in May 2018, he was awarded the title of “Honorary Citizen of Kalush” by the decision of the Kalush City Council.[520]

In April 2020, an exhibition of stamps and postcards dedicated to the SS division “Galicia” took place at the Lviv General Post Office.[521]

At the same time, monuments to soldiers of the Soviet Army and victims of the tragic events of World War II, including those related to the Holocaust, are regularly attacked by right-wing and nationalist groups.[522] As a rule, such incidents are recorded by Ukrainian law enforcement officers and entered in the unified register of pre-trial investigations, but participants of these blasphemous actions are not brought to justice.

In March 2017, Odessa activists of the right-wing organization “Sokol” (Falcon) applied Nazi symbols to an obelisk in memory of participants in the battle for Odessa and a memorial stone in honor of Soviet Marshal G. K. Zhukov (the Nazi symbol “Wolf Hook” was depicted, which was the emblem of the 2nd SS Tank division).[523]

In June and November 2017, in Kiev, in the Eternal Glory Park, radicals poured cement over the Eternal flame.[524]

In April 2018, unknown persons desecrated the monument to the Lady in Sorrows and the monument to the victims of Nazism in the Poltava region. The memorial's flagstones were inscribed with the words “Heil Hitler” with a Nazi swastika.[525] At the same time, a monument to General N. F. Vatutin was desecrated in Kiev.[526]

In May 2018, offensive inscriptions were placed on the monument to Soviet soldiers in Dnepropetrovsk.

In June and July 2018, Lviv members of the extremist organization “S14” desecrated the grave of Soviet intelligence officer N. Kuznetsov and a Monument to the Fallen soldiers of the Red Army.[527]

In January 2019, the authorities demolished the Glory Monument in Lviv.[528]

On June 2, 2019, activists of the “National Corps” demolished the bust (portrait sculpture) of Marshal G. K. Zhukov in Kharkiv.

On June 4, 2019, a memorial plaque to G. K. Zhukov was broken.

In July 2019, the monument to N. F. Vatutin in Poltava was desecrated.

On September 5, 2019, the hammer and sickle signs on the Field of Mars in Lviv were damaged.

On September 15, 2019 unknown persons placed offensive inscriptions on the memorial of the victims of the Holocaust in the Mykolaiv region.

In November 2019, vandals poured red paint on the monument to G. K. Zhukov in Kharkiv.[529]

In February 2020, in Odessa, nationalists dismantled a memorial plaque with a bas-relief of Marshal G. K. Zhukov from the wall of the student dormitory of the Odessa Mechnikov National University, where the Headquarters of the Odessa military district was located in the post-war years, G. K. Zhukov was the head of the Headquarters in 1946-1948. Meanwhile, it was the last bas-relief of the Soviet commander in the city.[530]

On May 19-20, 2020, unknown people poured red paint over the monument to G. K. Zhukov in Kharkiv for 2 nights in a row[531].

Nationalists in Ukraine carry out their mass actions with impunity. Every year on January 1 (the birthday of the leader of the OUN S. Bandera), October 14 (date of creation of the UPA) radical nationalist groups of “Svoboda”, “S14”, “Right Sector”, OUN, etc. hold torchlight processions in a number of cities of the country.[532] In connection with the regular torchlight processions in honor of S. Bandera on January 1, 2020 in Kiev, Lviv, Odessa, and Dnepropetrovsk, the Press secretary of the President of Ukraine V. Zelensky said that these events correspond to one of the priority policy directions – “the revival and preservation of national memory”.

In addition, various events dedicated to the events of the Great Patriotic War are held. For example, on the anniversary of the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union on June 22, 2019, a neo-Nazi music festival “Fortress Europe” was held in Kiev, where participants chanted Nazi slogans. On June 30, 2019, in Lviv, the “United Forces of Nationalists” (as part of the “National corps”, “Svoboda” and “Right Sector”) organized a Parade dedicated to the “Millennium of the Ukrainian Power”. The date of the Parade coincided with the anniversary of the adoption in this city in 1941 of the “Act of Proclamation of Ukrainian State" by Bandera supporters and the beginning of large-scale outrage in the city, also organized by Bandera henchmen.[533]

At the same time, legislative bans on symbols of the Red Army and the USSR are being introduced in Ukraine, veterans and activists of anti-fascist movements are being prevented from organization of commemorative events to celebrate Victory Day, and the authorities are prosecuting NGOs fighting the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and racism.

Nationalists and right-wing radicals annually disrupt events to celebrate the Victory Day in the Great Patriotic War and other memorable dates. The Ukrainian authorities, as a rule, do not prevent illegal actions of intruders.

For example, in May 2017 in Kiev, the leader of the OUN nationalist organization N. Kokhanivsky announced on his page in the social network an event called “Mortal Regiment”, which was supposed to prevent the organization of the “Immortal Regiment” campaign in Kiev.[534] In April 2018, nationalists attacked citizens who came to lay floral tributes to the monument to General N. Vatutin in Kiev.[535] In November 2018 Lviv city Council decided to stop the financing of the local Council of veterans of the Great Patriotic War.[536] In 2018 and 2019, on Victory Day in Kiev, nationalists dressed with Nazi symbols attacked the organizer of commemorative events, Director of the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection E. Berezhnaya. Meanwhile, law enforcement officers did not react to the actions of the radicals but detained the victim instead.[537]

In 2020, despite restrictions imposed by the authorities due to the spread of coronavirus infection, Ukrainian nationalists also took a number of blasphemous actions on Victory Day. In Odessa, nationalists disrupted the car rally, arranged fights and interfered with the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Victory. The radicals also marched, holding portraits of Nazi collaborators of the OUN-UPA and other similar organizations and symbols of the Nazi SS division “Galicia”.[538] Lviv young neo-Nazis staged an act on the Hill of Glory, showing Nazi symbols and switching on an audio recording stylized as a message from the German occupiers, at the time of laying flowers to the graves of fallen soldiers. The Ukrainian authorities did not react to such actions of citizens.[539]

In addition, nationalists carry out blasphemous actions, timed to coincide with the dates of tragic events. In particular, every year radicals hold actions on the day of the tragedy in the Odessa House of Trade Unions. In 2018, in Odessa, radicals attacked participants of an event in memory of the victims of the tragedy.[540] On the day of the fifth anniversary of this tragedy, on May 2, 2019, nationalists organized a “Parade of Ukrainian Order” in the city center. The day after, flowers and memorial plaques were burned on Kulikovo field, which citizens brought in memory of the victims. A former Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, member of “Svoboda” Association Irina Farion speaking on a talk show “The great lions”, stated that she endorsed the actions of the Ukrainian radicals in Odessa on May 2, 2014 and considered it necessary “to tell children how to drive the separatists, in particular in the Trade Unions, and how these separatists themselves, on their own would set themselves on fire”.[541]

Against this background, it is not surprising that attacks on members of national minorities have become a frequent phenomenon. According to the human rights Monitoring mission in Ukraine (HRMMU), 14 incidents of violence and intimidation against members of national minorities were reported from August 16 to November 15, 2018. At the same time, the instigators of half of the incidents were members of right-wing radical groups, who, as emphasized by human rights defenders, acted with impunity. In this regard, it is emphasized that “an atmosphere of insecurity is being created in the country”.[542]

In Ukraine, the number of xenophobic manifestations and hate crimes has increased. Against the background of a mass campaign to glorify Ukrainian radical nationalists, participants and organizers of the destruction of the Jewish population of Ukraine during World War II, there is a significant increase in manifestations of anti-Semitism.

Since 2014, human rights activists have registered more than 500 acts of vandalism against monuments and memorials in honor of soldiers who liberated the territory of Ukraine from the Nazis during the Great Patriotic War, as well as the desecration of synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and memorials to victims of the Holocaust.[543]

On October 17, 2019, the monument to the victims of the Holocaust was damaged and the memorial in Yavoriv, Lviv region, was desecrated.[544]

On November 25, 2019, the monument to the Jewish writer Sholom Aleichem in Kiev was pictured with swastikas.[545]

On January 1, 2020, radical nationalist organizations held torchlight processions in different cities of Ukraine in the Nazi style, accompanied by xenophobic slogans. In a number of municipalities, including Kiev, these actions were carried out with the support of local authorities.[546]

On January 10, 2020, a group of 30 people attacked a group of pilgrims near the grave of Rabbi Nachman in Uman, Cherkasy region.[547]

On January 18, 2020, a memorial symbol in the memory of 15 thousand local Jews killed in the course of the Holocaust in Krivoy Rog was desecrated[548].

On February 11, 2020, the head of the Jewish community in the city of Kolomyia, Yakov Zalitsker, received a letter from the national police Department of the Ivano-Frankivsk region demanding to provide the Department with a complete list of all residents of this nationality, including students, their addresses and contact information. This was allegedly necessary as part of the fight against organized criminality.[549]

Nationalist and neo-Nazi organizations spread their ideology on the Internet. This, in particular, is indicated by the report of the NGO “Human Rights Watch” published on the information portal of the Kharkiv human rights group, which notes the impunity of local radicals who spread ideas of superiority of Ukrainians over other Nations.[550]

Numerous cases of propaganda of inter-ethnic and racial intolerance are registered on the Internet. In addition, there are specific information resources (http://buntokratia.com, http://catars.is, http://acrains.com), where Ukrainian right-wing and nationalist organizations publish racist and anti-Semitic publications.[551]

According to the report of the United Jewish community published in February 2019 on the Internet portal “JewishNews”, official statistics of anti-Semitism does not correspond to the real state of affairs.[552] It is also noteworthy that the document establishes a direct correlation between the growth of anti-Semitism incidents and the state's policy of Nazi henchmen glorification.

Ultra nationalist groups, such as the Right sector, the National corps, and Svoboda, legally operate in Ukraine. These associations were represented in the country's Parliament by its leaders – D. Yarosh, A. Biletsky and A. Ilenko. Moreover, some nationalists enter the Executive authorities. One such striking example is the appointment on February 8, 2017 of former neo-Nazi activist and militant “Azov” Vadym Troyan as Deputy Interior Minister of Ukraine.[553]

The “Svoboda” nationalists also have an impressive number of members in local government. Leader of the extremist organization “S14” E. Karas is a member of the Council of public monitoring of the National anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine.[554]

In 2018, The Kiev City Council signed an agreement with S14, according to which this radical organization would establish a “City Guard” to patrol the streets, which should consist mainly of members of “S14” and the youth wing of “Svoboda”. The structure is financed by municipal funds. Three such patrols are registered in Kiev, and other 21 – in the other cities of the country.

Human rights organizations in Ukraine observe the increase of the dynamics of the acts of xenophobia and aggression against foreigners in law enforcement agencies. The practice of detaining, arresting, and documents check based on race and ethnicity remains widespread.

The representatives of international human rights structures and mechanisms separately record attacks of local nationalists on Roma settlements and the dead reaction of Ukrainian Justice to such actions. For example, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted with concern the persistence of discrimination, stereotypes and prejudices against Roma in Ukraine, including those that lead to physical attacks and killings of members of this community. The Committee expressed concern about incidents of racial and xenophobic discrimination faced by refugees and asylum-seekers in Ukraine.[555]

In the West of Ukraine, in Kiev and other cities, attacks on Roma settlements are constantly occurring. On April 20, 2018, on Bald mountain in Kiev, radicals from “S14” group destroyed a camp of Roma. It is justified that in response to complaints from affected persons, the law enforcement officers recommended them to leave the occupied territory. The criminal case was initiated only at the suit of human rights organizations.

On April 23-24, 2018, radicals set fire to several houses in Rusanovsky Gardens in the Dnepropetrovsk district of Kiev, where Roma families lived. In May 2018, Roma camps were burned in Ternopil (Bolshaya Berezovitsa) and Lviv (Rudnoye) regions. In June 2018, Kiev nationalists destroyed Roma camps in Goloseevsky Park and in the forest near the Akademgorodok subway station, radicals also attacked Roma near the Southern Railway station.

In June 2018, in the Lviv region, underage neo-Nazis from the group “Rational and angry youth” committed an armed attack on a Roma settlement, which resulted in the death of one person.[556] According to media reports, her YouTube page until June 24, 2018 was called Lemberg Jugend (similar to Hitler-Jugend). In addition, it is declared that this structure has its own account in Telegram, which contains several dozen quotes of Hitler (now, all publications on the channel have been deleted).

On March 9, 2020, the former Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine V. Kriklyj together with members of the organization “S14”, the “City Guard” structure and the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the Party “Servant of the People” R. Grishchuk organized a joint inspection on the railway station in Kiev under the pretext of fighting against “Gypsy Gangs”. After the “inspection”, the posters “You can be Robbed by Gypsies”, with a translation into English were placed at the station by nationalists. Meanwhile the English text sounds quite harmless: “Beware of Pickpockets”.[557]

On April 21, 2020, the mayor of Ivano-Frankivsk, the “Freedom” Party member R. Martsinko during the network meeting, instructed law enforcement officers to forcibly evacuate Roma people in Transcarpathia region.[558]

Kiev is making attempts to tighten media censorship with the use of radical's pressure tactic on journalists. As a response to this situation, top managers of a number of popular media outlets, regional journalists, as well as representatives of public organizations addressed the President, the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada, the Prosecutor General, and the Prime Minister regarding the critical level of threat to freedom of expression in the country.[559]

The HRMMU points out that the situation is worsened by violence against journalists, as well as the lack of accountability for previous attacks. Examples include the severe beating of investigative journalist Vadim Komarov in Cherkasy, who was in a coma for a month and a half and died on June 20, 2019, and the lack of any progress in the investigation of the murders of journalists Pavel Sheremet and Oles Buzina.[560] The mission noted, in particular, that the three-year trial for the murder of O. Buzina was constantly under pressure from right-wing radical groups. As a result, the proceedings on the case, which was considered by different courts, were actually stopped, and the process essentially returned to the beginning after the judge presiding over the case recused himself from the case in
May 2019.[561]

Special consideration is paid to the draft law “On Mass Media”, which is currently being developed, it should replace 5 media laws: “On Television and Radio Broadcasting”, “On the Press”, “On Information Agencies”, ”On the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting” and “On the Procedure for Covering the Activities of State Authorities and Local Self-Government Bodies in Ukraine by the Mass Media”. The project shall regulate the activities of not only the media, but also any information providers. Some provisions of this draft law significantly complicate the work of journalists, as well as strengthen the control of state bodies over media representatives. Moreover, even grant organizations that are traditionally loyal to the government paid attention to this.[562]

The interference of the Ukrainian special services in the work of the media and the activities of public organizations that speak from alternative points of view to the official position has been noted. A common means of pressure from the authorities is to initiate criminal cases against objectionable journalists. Moreover, journalists revealing the illegal activities of national radicals were subjected to persecution. So, several criminal cases were initiated against the editor-in-chief of the largest Internet media in Ukraine “Strana.UA”, I. Guzhva, an independent minded person. Because of this pressure, the journalist had to leave Ukraine in January 2018 and ask for asylum in Austria. The seventh criminal action against the “Strana.ru” media outlet was commenced in August 2018. The reason for it was “disclosure of pre-trial investigation data” in the investigation made by the journalist V. Ivashkina regarding the Odessa incident, when a nationalist put a knife into a person.[563]

Human rights activists also note that NCA officials repeatedly gave guidance to journalists on how to treat some high-profile news in Ukraine. There is an information that the Ukrainian Executive authorities are also preparing digests on such matters. The monthly thematic digests of the presidential administration of Ukraine for journalists and bloggers with the “correct” reflection of the current situation and its necessary coverage of the public may be given as an example of such activities.[564]

Right-wing “activists” repeatedly block TV channels that are not welcomed by the authorities.

In addition, with the actual connivance of the authorities, the attacks and other acts of aggression of nationalists on the offices of media outlets that speak from positions that are alternative to the official point of view are very often. On May 9, 2018, the building of the “Inter” TV channel was blocked by radicals from the “National Corps”. The reason was the broadcast of a concert in honor of Victory Day. On December 3, 2018, a group of people in camouflage uniforms blocked the building of the NASH TV channel. On July 9, 2019, NewsOne TV channel was forced to cancel the “Need to Talk” teleconference with Russia due to the pressure and threats of physical violence against journalists. On July 13, 2019, the building of TV channel “112” was fired from a grenade launcher. The day before, the channel received threats of attack from nationalists in connection with the announcement of the representation of a film critical of the Kiev authorities by American producer O. Stone.

In May 2020, a well-known Ukrainian journalist, D. Gordon, provoked the rage of nationalists after interview with the Deputy of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, N. Poklonskaya, and the former Defense Minister of the proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), I. Girkin (Strelkov). A rally was staged at the editorial office of the “Gordon” media outlet, the entrance to the office was bombarded with eggs. The journalist said that the interviews were done as part of his cooperation with the NCA, but the security Service of Ukraine disavowed this statement.[565]

Human rights activists point out that journalists are often subjected to persecution by Ukrainian nationalists precisely for press coverage of their violent actions. In March 2018, Berdyansk journalist Vladimir Demina was beaten at a rally of ATO veterans. On December 25, 2018 after the publication of Strana.UA “Investigation of the activities of the “S14” group”, the head of this group attacked the Editor-in-Chief of the media outlet I. Guzhva. In January 2018, S14 activists attacked the editorial office of a Church newspaper in Kiev. On July 18, 2018, a conflict occurred between journalist Igor Burdygu and representatives of “S14” at the Goloseevsky district court in Kiev. The journalist was in the court on an editorial assignment. After the trial, the journalist was surrounded by representatives of “S14”, and its leader Evgeny Karas slapped the journalist in the face. In September 2018, the leader of the Ukrainian radical group “Brotherhood” D. Korchinsky threatened to kill a journalist of the “NewsOne” TV channel, who had previously been beaten by nationalists (threats were published on his Facebook page). On September 17, 2018, radicals beat “NewsOne” TV channel journalist Daria Bilera, who was covering clashes between nationalists and police outside the General Prosecutor's office. The police officials presented at the scene were inactive. Another “NewsOne” TV Channel journalist, Anastasia Pshenichnaya, was attacked by nationalists in October 2018 during her report outside the Prosecutor General's office. The police first detained the attackers, but the “S14” activists began to resist and recaptured their "colleagues “from the police officials”.[566]

Human rights activists have registered dozens of incidents of intolerance and/or aggression against persons belonging to minorities or holding alternative political views. They are particularly concerned about the illegal actions of members of radical nationalist organizations (“S14”, “Right Sector”, “Traditions and Order”, “National Corps”, “National squads”, OUN, etc.). Their violent actions remain almost unnoticed by law enforcement agencies. The right-wing radicals themselves do not hide that they closely coordinate their activities with the NCA and the Interior Ministry.

In August 2016, CERD noted with concern that incidents on racial grounds and hate crimes, including physical attacks on individuals due to their ethnic origin, are happening in the country (in particular, the Committee noted with concern cases of denied access to Africans and Indians due to their skin color in some public places in Uzhgorod, such as a local Water Park). In addition, CERD experts expressed concern that appropriate and effective investigations of racially motivated crimes are not always conducted in Ukraine, and that the perpetrators are not brought to justice. The Committee also noted the low number of hate crime cases commenced in national courts. In addition, CERD indicated that right-wing organizations such as the “Right Sector”, the “Azov Civil Corps” and the “Social-National Assembly” encourage incitement to racial hatred and the promotion of racist ideology. The Committee also noted that such organizations were responsible for racially motivated violence against members of minority groups, which often went unpunished. It was noted that the opportunities for national minorities to have access to justice for protection against discrimination were extremely limited.[567]

Moreover, the Committee's experts remain concerned about this issue. The clarifications provided by Ukraine on the implementation of CERD's concluding observations were insufficient for the Committee, and in a follow-up letter dated 18 December 2017, it called on the Ukrainian authorities to ensure full and effective implementation of the legal provisions on resistance to organizations that promote racism and racial hatred, and to provide detailed information in the next CERD report on progress in investigation and prosecution of such structures[568].

The HRMMU has also registered multiple attacks of right-wing radicals on journalists. For example, the incidents of journalists massacre by far-right in Kharkiv on June 7, 2019, in Kiev on Independence square on July 2, 2019, as well as an attack on July 30, 2019 on participants of a press conference on the topic of counting votes in the last election, as a result of which three journalists were beaten, one of them was hospitalized, are specified in the Report for the period May 16 – August 15, 2019.[569]

Similar events also came into the view of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM). So, on January 19, 2020 the Mission pointed out that a group of 25 people, which staged a memorial event on the anniversary of the killings of journalists in Kiev on Mikhaylovskaya Square, in the presence of a large number of law enforcement officers was attacked by radical young people, bombarding the eggs into the participants.[570] Also the SMM mentioned in its reports the crowded strike pickets of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine organized by national radicals from “Svoboda”, “Demsokira” and “Natskorpus” on February 20 and March 17, demanding to tighten the policy of the authorities in the Donets Basin.[571]

In 2018, the Ukrainian Institute of Mass Media (IMI) registered 235 cases of violations of freedom of expression (281 in 2017). 173 of above-mentioned incidents were related to attacks on media workers, 96 – to discouragement of their professional activities, 33 – to threats and intimidation, and 31 – to massacre. The police opened 258 criminal cases, including 176 for “Obstruction of Professional Activity”, 72 for “Threat to Life”, 9 for “Intentional Destruction or Damage to Property” and 1 for “Infringement on Life”.

At the same time, other public organizations indicate that IMI underestimates the data. The “Strana.UA” portal quotes the opinion of the head of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU) Serhiy Tomilenko. Due to the fact that IMI illusory reflects the situation related to the pressure on the media, the national police even introduced its own alternative “Index of Physical Security” – a monitoring of attacks on journalists. In 2017, The NUJU registered 90 cases of violation. Over the same period, according to the NUJU, IMI mentioned only 29 cases.[572]

In 2019, The office of the United Nations high Commissioner for human rights published a report “Civil Space and Fundamental Freedoms on the Eve of Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Elections in Ukraine in 2019-2020”. According to monitoring data, there is a “trend of violent attacks and acts of intimidation” against media employees, civil society activists and political leaders, as well as lawyers.

The infamous “Peacemaker” web-site, which acts in the spirit of nationalist propaganda, publishes illegally collected personal data of individuals, whom the resource authors consider as “separatists” or “enemies of Ukraine”, including reporters, politicians and cultural figures who speak with an alternative official point of view, and even Russian diplomats. Currently, this Internet resource is actively used by Ukrainian special services, as well as radical nationalist structures to exert psychological pressure on individuals whom they accuse of “separatism and betrayal of the Motherland”. A number of journalists claimed that their Bank accounts were frozen because they were included in the list. The most egregious case was the publication of personal data, including the address of residence, of the journalist O. Buzina, after which he was killed. In addition, the resource's information is used by Ukrainian courts at all stages of judicial proceedings as an evidence. International human rights organizations, human rights activists, and journalists strongly criticize the “Peacemaker”. Thus, the Ukrainian human rights NGO “Uspishna VARTA” noted that it found 101 court decisions on criminal proceedings, where the materials of the website “Peacemaker” were specified as an evidence of the reasons for judgement.[573]

In early November 2019, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine held a hearing on the topic of security of media employees. In particular, it was noted that about 60 journalists were killed in the country from 1993 to 2019. In 2019, more than 200 illegal actions were registered against journalists (including threats, insults, illegal interference with professional activities, use of force, damage of equipment and means of communications). 92% of such crimes remain unsolved or stay unpunished. Only 1 out of 12 cases reaches the court, and the punishment of offenders is often reduced to symbolic fines. It was also noted that journalists are afraid to publish “sensitive” materials that may not be welcomed by the persons involved in them and provoke aggression and persecution on their part.

The authorities also do not abandon the practice to deport the foreign reporters. In 2018, a number of Russian journalists were banned from entering Ukraine, including RT correspondent P. Slier and TV presenter, a member of the Union of Journalists of Russia E. Primakov, who were on their way to Kiev to participate in the OSCE conference “Strengthening Media Freedom and Pluralism in Ukraine During Conflicts In and Around the Country”.

In 2019, The Security Service of Ukraine banned the entry into the country for a year for Austrian journalist K. Verschutz, who worked for more than 4 years as a Chief of the Office of the ORF channel in Kiev. He was also included in the database of “Kremlin agents”.[574] K. Vrshuts covered the conflict in the Donbass and did a series of reports from the Crimea. After a rather strident reaction of the Austrian Foreign Ministry to this ban, which was called “an unacceptable act of censorship in Europe”, as well as the journalist's lawsuit to the courts with the support of a well-known lawyer, A. Portnova, the entry ban was lifted. [575]

The situation with the status of Russian compatriots in Ukraine remains difficult. Compatriots face violations of their rights and freedoms, including the right to life, inviolability of the person and home. Activists are subjected to intimidation and pressure from law enforcement agencies and special services.

In December 2018, NCA officers searched the premises of members of the Russian-speaking community in Poltava. Pushkin’s medal was withdrawn from the coordinator of the All-Ukrainian Coordinating Council of Organizations of Russian Compatriots (VKSORS) S. Provatorov (also heads the association “Russian Commonwealth”).

Also, investigative measures were taken against historian Yu. Pogoda (famous researcher of the Northern War period), and poet and publicist V. Shestakov (head of the Russian community of the Poltava region). Criminal proceedings have been instituted against them under Art. 110 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (“Encroachment on the territorial integrity”).

In May 2019 NCA conducted a search at the head of the Transcarpathian regional society “Rus” V. Saltykov. Mobile communication devices and personal computer equipment were seized.

Authorities do not stop persecuting the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), secretly encouraging right-wing radicals to do so. Throughout 2018, there were cases of forceful seizures of temples, arsons, damage to church property, physical violence and intimidation of clergy and flocks.

For the redistribution of church property, including the forcible transfer of rights to use it from the UOC to the newly created Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), changes were made to the current legislation. On December 20, 2018, the Verkhovna Rada adopted a law forcing the UOC to change its name to “ROC in Ukraine”. On January 17, 2019, a law was approved, it defined a simplified procedure for religious communities to change their religious affiliation.

The human rights community in the most negative way characterizes the state of affairs with the transfer of churches and religious communities from the UOC to the PCU, in which Ukrainian right-wing radicals often play an active role. In 2019, in the Kiev and Rivne regions, HRMMU observers registered 9 incidents of violence by supporters of the PCU. At the same time, non-religious entities, including local authorities and members of nationalist groups, took an active part in de facto forced transitions. According to available data, there are currently more than 220 such re-registrations.

Illegal Church seizures came to the view of the OSCE SMM, For example, in early 2020. The mission found that the congregation of the Church in the rural settlement of Mikhalcha, Chernivtsi region, even despite the quarantine measures taken in the region due the spread of coronavirus infection, continue to carry out round-the-clock watch around the church, this watch attendance started in 2019, the congregation is going to maintain it until the dispute over the establishment of ownership of this religious facility would be resolved in court.[576]

An integral part of official Kiev's policy is a discrimination against a significant part of the population on the basis of language, including gross violations of the rights of the Russian-speaking community.

In October 2018, the law “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine regarding the Language of Audiovisual (Electronic) Mass Media” (adopted in October 2017) entered into full force, according to which the share of Ukrainian – language programs and films on national channels should be at least 75%, and in the airwaves of regional and local TV companies – at least 50%.

Human rights activists note that this measure may be ineffective: instead of the expected Ukrainization of the media sphere the application of the Act may lead to changes in consumption patterns of the information products in favor of online resources and the reduction of market of traditional media (press and television), which will have to bear high financial costs for the production of content in the Ukrainian language and because of this will incur losses. This will strengthen the trend observed in recent years in Ukraine to reduce the number of Ukrainian – language newspapers and, more broadly, to reduce the number of officially registered publications. So, from 2014 to 2018, the number of Ukrainian-language newspapers decreased by 13.5%, and the circulation decreased by 23.8%. In general, the total number of publications over the same period by 2018 decreased by 20% (from 2169 to 1736), the number of circulations – by 33% (from 2.7 to 1.8 billion). In 2019, the media with reference to the State Committee of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting reported that in the first half of 2019, 3143 printed publications were published in the country with a total circulation of 607.2 million copies. The vast majority of printed media were published in the Ukrainian language – 1 321, Ukrainian and Russian – 533, Russian – 497, English – 67. The total circulation of publications in Russian (267,167.4 thousand copies) exceeds the total circulation of printed media in Ukrainian (208,927.6 thousand copies).[577]

Given that media consumption is determined not by the language, but by the quality of the media product, this will lead to a reduction in the production of quality content and, consequently, to a narrowing of the audience. Meanwhile, according to a study by the Human rights platform “Uspishna VARTA”, Russian-language products significantly raised the viewing ratings of TV channels which have such a component in their broadcasting. For example, on May 9, 2019, “Inter” TV channel, which broadcast a concert for the Victory Day, became the leader of the Ukrainian TV air (in the category of mass Ukrainian audience over 18 years old). The channel's share was 14.5%. In total, the program was watched by 12.2 million viewers in the country.[578]

In September 2017, the law “On Education” was adopted, it provides that starting from 2020, education in Ukrainian educational institutions would be conducted only in the state language. Education in minority languages will be permitted in pre-school and primary schools. This legislation infringes on the language rights of millions of Ukrainian citizens – Russians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Greeks, Poles, Romanians and native speakers of other languages.

A number of international human rights organizations have made remarks on this law. In December 2017, the expert opinion of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe was published, it confirmed the existence of discriminatory provisions in the mentioned law. Critical assessments in this regard were also given in the PACE resolution “Protection and development of regional and minority languages in Europe” of January 23, 2018. In December 2018, The OSCE high Commissioner for national minorities, L. Zannier, stressed that Ukraine “should remain a space for all nationalities with different languages, which they should have the right to use”. According to him, this issue was repeatedly raised by him during meetings with the Ukrainian leadership.

In April 2019, the law “On Ensuring the Application of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language” was adopted, which establishes the use of the Ukrainian language in all spheres of public life, except for private communication and religious rites. At the same time, the document provided for favorable treatment of indigenous languages, as well as the languages of the EU States. Thus, the Russian language, which is used by the majority of the country's population in everyday life, is subject to double discrimination.

On March 13, 2020, V. Zelensky signed the law “On Comprehensive General Secondary Education”, in which the Russian[579] language was already subjected to multiple discrimination – in relation to the Ukrainian language, the languages of indigenous peoples and EU countries. During its preparation, the recommendations of the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe to the laws “On education” (2017) and “On ensuring the application of the Ukrainian language as the state language” (2019) were ignored. It is known that, the Venice Commission pointed out in its opinion the discriminatory nature of these laws with regard to the Russian language as the most used language in Ukraine, recommended that the laws should be amended, and when drafting the law on secondary education, it would be necessary to consult with representatives of the nationalities living in the country to ensure their language rights. Kiev once again failed to fulfill any of these requirements.

When the law “On Comprehensive General Secondary Education” entered into force, children of Ukrainian-speaking citizens and representatives of indigenous peoples, which include Crimean Tatars, Karaites and Krymchaks, would continue to obtain education in their native language throughout the entire period of study. Children of national minorities who speak the languages of EU countries will be able to study in their native language for the first four years, after which the learning time in Ukrainian will gradually increase from 20 to 60% by the ninth grade. For Russian-speaking children teaching in Ukrainian should be from 80 to 100% starting from the fifth grade.

This policy infringes not only on the rights of ethnic Russians, but also on the rights of numerous Russian-speaking representatives of other nationalities, including Belarusians, Armenians, Jews, Greeks and Ukrainians.

This activity of ultra-right movements in Ukraine has become a legal result of the rapid legitimization of radical nationalists and their entry into the structures of state power, the implementation of sweeping purges and punitive operations against those who were labeled with “anti-Ukrainian activities”.

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Finland

Finland has traditionally positioned itself as a champion of the protection of human rights and the promotion of democratic values, it denunciates all forms of xenophobia and racial intolerance.

In general, Finland has a fairly balanced attitude to issues related to the history of the Second World War. Finns are not inclined to speculate on the events of the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 and transfer it to the current Russian-Finnish relations. The public discussion devoted to the mournful pages of that period is quite neutral and anti-Russian sentiment is almost not visible in it.

According to state historiography, Finland's participation in the war in 1941-1944 is regarded as a kind of “separate war”. Involvement in the war on the side of Germany is positioned at the official level as a “forced necessity” due to the international political situation of the time.

Cautious attitude of authorities in Finland to the historical past vividly illustrates the situation common in recent years in the Finnish media regarding the participation of Finnish military personnel in the ranks of the SS and of the involvement of Finnish volunteers who fought during the Second World War in the division “Waffen SS”, to the destruction of the civilian population, including Jews. The reason for the increased attention to this topic was a study published in 2017 by the historian A. Svanstrom, who found references to mass murder of Jews in letters from the Finnish military, and an appeal of the Israeli organization “Simon Wiesenthal Center” to the President of Finland S. Niinista with a request to conduct an additional research on this issue.

In February 2019, the report “Finnish SS volunteers and atrocities against the Jewish population, civilians and prisoners of war in Ukraine and the Caucasus in 1941-1943” (under the leadership of L. Westerlund) was published (in English, later a document appeared in Finnish containing new materials and additions), prepared as a result of an independent investigation with the participation of the National Archive under the instructions of the Government of Finland. The implication of the Finnish military in the mass murder of Jews has been estimated in the report as “very likely”, but there was no evidence for any specific cases (including the possible implication of the few survivors of the 1,400 Finnish SS volunteers).

Descendants of the Finnish SS members appealed to the leadership of the National Archive to refute the findings of the study. The National Archives responded with several articles and an open letter of General Director Yu. Nuorteva. It was stressed that the conclusions of the report were not intended to legally denunciate any person – they reflected the real facts discovered by researchers in the course of archival materials study, primarily the diaries of the volunteers themselves. The conclusion that they were “very likely” involved in the execution by firing squad of Soviet prisoners of war and the destruction of the civilian population in the occupied territories was supported by the entries in these diaries, from which it became clear that many Finns had been well aware of the crimes of the Germans who served alongside with them, and most likely took part in it themselves. The prevailing view in Finnish historiography that Finnish volunteers participated exclusively in combat operations and had nothing to do with punitive operations needs to be seriously revised. It was also noted that in the eyes of the international community, Finnish SS volunteers are no different from the ideological supporters of Nazism who joined the SS from other European countries The Finnish SS did not fight so much for Finland's interests as for their own nationalistic, racist and anti-Semitic beliefs.

There were no attempts to bring to justice veterans who served in the Red Army or fought on the side of the Anti-Hitler Coalition, as well as attempts to obstruct the activities of veterans' organizations and NGOs fighting against neo-Nazism and the glorification of Nazism. Moreover, the preservation and maintenance of military burial sites is one of the important areas of bilateral Russian-Finnish cooperation. The respectful attitude of Finns to the memory of Soviet soldiers buried in Finnish soil shall be noted as well.

Thanks to the joint Russian and Finnish war memorial work, new facts and information about military graves are being discovered. Thus, during a teleconference between the Russian Historical Society and the National Archives of Finland on April 29, 2020, Konstantin Mogilevsky, Executive Director of the History of the Motherland Foundation and a member of the Presidium of the Russian Historical Society, announced the publication of a Russian translation of the above-mentioned report of the National Archives of Finland on the participation of Finnish volunteers in the SS troops.

Another example of cooperation in the historical sphere is the interaction of the North Ossetian State University named after K. L. Khetagurov with the National Finnish Archive for the study of the actions of Finnish SS volunteers during the war in North Ossetia in order to confirm the described events and find out its details. In 2019, several expeditions which had to collect all possible material were arranged. Its participants managed to find a witness of the events of shooting of the five civilians of the rural settlement of Toldzgun (North Ossetia) and two captured Red Army soldiers – 95-year-old veteran of the Irafsky district Khadziret Khamitsayev. The obtained evidence and documents made it possible to prove the fact of war crimes committed by Finnish volunteers as a part of the SS division “Viking” in the territory of the Irafsky district of North Ossetia. Data on the crimes of Finnish volunteers from the Nazi SS division “Viking” during the Great Patriotic War was published by the National Archives of Helsinki.[580]

Although official Helsinki declares its support for efforts to promote the fight against neo-Nazism, in practice it continues to sail in the wake of EU guidelines in this area and traditionally abstains from voting on the annual resolution of the UN General Assembly “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

The political leadership of the country consistently promotes the thesis on the need to consolidate the efforts of the world community to combat all forms of intolerance on multilateral platforms, confirming the mood for a further active role in resistance to discrimination at the global level. However, Finland still has unresolved problems. Thus, along with some European States, the country has been vulnerable to increased activity of far-right movements. Thus, the neo-Nazi organization “Northern Resistance Movement”[581] (Pohjoismainen Vastarintaliike, PVL, SDS; in Finland, its activists operate under the guidance of the “Forward to freedom” group), despite the court decision to ban its activities in the country, continued to collect public meetings and parades using, among other things, Nazi paraphernalia, as well as distribute propaganda materials inciting hatred and hostility on the grounds of racial and national intolerance.[582]

“Odin's Warriors” organization, which has close ties to the Finnish branch of the SDS, stands out among other major Finnish far-right groups.

In addition, the Finnish media periodically publish materials about incidents involving individual members of the right – wing opposition party “True Finns” (currently, according to public opinion polls, the party is among the leaders in the support rating of Finnish society – 17.9%) One of the most headline-making cases that occurred in the spring of 2019, is associated with “retweet” of the youth branch of this organization (it gets state subsidies, the amount of which in 2019 was more than 100 thousand euros) a photo of a dark-skinned family with a child, taken from the website of the European Parliament, the caption to which contained openly racist appeal to “vote for “True Finns” to the future of Finland would not be like that”.[583]

At the beginning of 2020, the second Deputy head, T. Yalonen, was excluded from the “True Finns” Youth Branch. The reason for this was his speech at the Ethnic Future conference in Tallinn, during which he openly acknowledged himself as an “ethnonationalist, traditionalist and fascist”.[584] The leadership of the “True Finns” party – at least officially-denunciate racism, xenophobia and discrimination in any form, speaking in support of the effective integration of migrants into Finnish society.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, noted with concern the appearance of Nazi swastikas in public places in Finland in recent years.[585]

The problem of growing anti-Semitic sentiments in Finnish society has recently become particularly acute. In particular, the Embassy of Israel in Finland only for 2018-2019 became an object of manifestation of hateful sentiments for 15 times, offensive inscriptions, Nazi swastikas, portraits of A. Hitler have been appearing on the Embassy's residence. In February 2018, SDS activists staged an unauthorized rally at the entrance to the Embassy building. The most serious attack, which resulted in real material damage to the Embassy building, occurred in July 2019: radicals smashed the glass doors at the entrance to the Embassy building and pasted anti-Semitic leaflets with images of swastikas and A. Hitler on the Embassy's sign plate. In this regard, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel issued an official statement of denunciation of the act of vandalism. With reference to the Israeli edition “Ynet”, it is noted that the Israeli Ambassador to Finland, Dov Segev-Steinberg, has repeatedly raised this issue in a dialogue with local authorities, but in practice no real action was taken by the Finnish side.[586]

In January 2020, on the eve of the Holocaust Memorial Day, an act of vandalism was committed in Turku in one of the two synagogues in Finland: the walls, entrance door and steps of the religious center were spilled with paint.[587] At the same time, members of the neo-Nazi group “Forward to Freedom” organized a picket in Tampere, during which they read a Manifesto denying the events of the Holocaust, and publicly burned the flag of Israel.[588] President of Finland S. Niinisto acknowledged that the growth of anti-Semitic and racist sentiments in the country was a serious concern.

The spread of hate speech in Finland has come to the attention of international human rights monitoring mechanisms. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted with concern the increasing number of racially motivated hate crimes in 2017, with a relatively small number of hate crimes being prosecuted. There has been an increase in hostility towards people perceived as “outsiders”, including representatives of Roma, Muslims, Somalis, as well as people who speak Russian and Swedish. In 2015-2016, the Finnish law enforcement authorities have registered in respect of asylum seekers with the violent attacks and arsons. With regard to the General situation of racial discrimination and its fight against it in Finland, CERD stated that there was insufficient official data to provide a complete picture of the extent to which various groups of the population, including Roma, Russian and Estonian speakers, Somali citizens, and Sami, enjoyed economic and social rights.[589]

The Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) has also expressed concern that non-Finnish speakers were increasingly turned out to be the target of hate speech. However, representatives of minorities still believe that the police response to alleged hate crimes is not effective and prompt enough.[590]

Surveys conducted in 2016 showed that 71% of Swedish-speaking respondents believe that the General attitude towards those who speak a different language has become more negative. Residents of the (monolingual Swedish) Aland Islands answered the same question in the manner of representatives of the Swedish-speaking population of mainland Finland. There are also reports of derogatory statements by right-wing politicians about the Swedish language, the special status of the Aland Islands, or the mandatory teaching of Swedish.

The Government's 2017 report on the application of language legislation highlights a number of shortcomings in the practical implementation of legal norms for the realization of the rights of the Swedish-speaking population. They are related to the deterioration of the language climate in state bodies, and the lack of access to health and social services in Swedish, especially for older people. AC FCNM has drawn a consideration to the chronic shortage of Swedish-speaking staff in medical and social institutions. The allowance paid to employees of such services for their knowledge of Swedish is minimal (approximately 20-30 euros).

The Russian-speaking community in Finland is represented by various groups of immigrants from the former Soviet Union. If in 2013 the population of community was estimated at about 66 thousand people, then, according to organizations of Russian-speaking compatriots in Finland, in recent years it has increased to about 77 thousand people as a result of ongoing labor migration. Russian speakers continue to face negative attitudes based on their language or origin. In a survey conducted by the Finnish broadcaster Yle in 2015, a third of respondents reported that they had faced negative treatment because of the Russian-speaking population. Organizations of Russian-speaking residents of Finland have noted a growing cautious attitude towards the Russian-speaking population in some media and speeches of some public figures in connection with the reunification of Crimea with Russia and the armed conflict in South-Eastern Ukraine. Representatives of the Russian-speaking minority also point to the lack of reaction from the state to anti-Russian statements. The ECRI in its latest report, strongly recommended the authorities to take measures to combat discrimination and prejudice against Russian speakers, in particular in the area of employment.[591]

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance noted that in 2015, a total of 160 cases were initiated for inciting hatred on the Internet, 127 cases were initiated in 2016 and 282 in 2017. With reference to information of the Prosecutor's office, the data is provided that 23 investigations were launched concerning statements aimed at hate speech on the Internet in 2015, 24 investigations – in 2016 and 91 in 2017. At the same time, in 2015 and 2016, the courts considered 18 cases concerning the use of hate speech or incitement to hostility per year, while in 2017 this number increased to 63.[592]

In the 2019, report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Human Rights (FRA) quotes the results of a study conducted in Finland on the prevalence and forms of ethnic profiling in the cities of Turku and Helsinki between 2015 and 2017. 145 of the 185 respondents, were representatives of ethnic minorities, they described their experiences with ethnic profiling. The other interviewees were 26 police officers and 14 other officials. The majority of ethnic minority respondents reported that the stops and searches were unpleasant, annoying or humiliating. Ethnic profiling has a particularly negative impact on trust in the authorities and a sense of belonging to Finland.

The growth of inter-ethnic intolerance and polarization in the country is largely attributed to the influx of migrants. Some politicians, in an effort to attract voters, speculate on fears related to the consequences of immigration, preconceptions about the participation of foreigners in criminal activities, and their perception as a threat to national identity.

There has been an increase in anti-migrant, racist and xenophobic rhetoric among Finnish politicians, despite the signing of the Charter of European political parties for a society free of racism by all parties represented in the country's Parliament in 2015.

In 2016, a member of Parliament declared that “all terrorists are Muslims” and demanded “the expulsion of all Muslims from the country”. It is reported that candidates of migrant origin faced racist comments and threats during the 2017 local government election campaign. Some extremist organizations, especially neo-Nazi organizations, such as the Finnish branch of the SDS, systematically use hate speech aimed at incitement of ethnic hatred.[593]

Accordingly, human rights activists are concerned about the situation with migrants in Finland. International human rights organizations have repeatedly noted that the changes introduced in the country in the procedure of application for asylum had significant negative consequences for asylum seekers. In June 2019, The NGO “Amnesty International” has prepared a statement to the Finnish Minister of Internal Affairs, M. Ohisalo, in which it accused the country's leaders in gross violations of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. It is stated, in particular, that Finns continue to forcibly return them to countries where there is a real threat to the life and security of these categories of persons (in particular, to Afghanistan), and the relevant decisions are made by the migration authorities in a hurry – without due consideration. Family reunification for most refugees is significantly difficult due to legal and practical obstacles, including “exaggerated” income requirements.[594]

Finnish authorities continue to detain unaccompanied migrant children and migrant families with children. Meanwhile, there are no maximum terms for detaining families with children. In addition, the Finnish authorities introduced a “new form of deprivation of liberty” for asylum seekers and migrants – a so called “supervised residence”: in accordance with the new requirements, asylum seekers were required to check in at the refugee reception center up to four times a day. However, the possibility of provision of the necessary legal protection in Finland is significantly limited.

Issues related to the situation of migrants and refugees in Finland have been raised by UN Human Rights Treaty bodies. The Committee against Torture (CAT) expressed concern in its concluding observations in November 2016 about the reduced legal guarantees for asylum-seekers and the increased risk of their forced return to countries of origin due to changes in legislation and law enforcement practices, as well as the fact that foreign victims of trafficking are often very quickly removed from the country without any assistance. CAT noted with concern the demolition of the category of “humanitarian protection” in the national protection system and restrictions on the provision of legal assistance to asylum-seekers.[595]

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) also pointed out in April 2017 that in 2015 there had been a number of legislative changes that weakened the protection of asylum seekers, refugees and other migrants in vulnerable situations. The Committee also criticized the following: a number of legislative changes that weakened the protection of asylum-seekers, refugees and other migrants in vulnerable situations; the practice of holding of asylum-seekers in a custody was still persisting; and undocumented persons faced difficulties in obtaining affordable and appropriate medical care. In addition, the selective approach of the Finnish competent authorities in granting asylum applications for various groups of persons was noted.[596]

However, even legal migrants, as well as members of ethnic minorities, face discrimination. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) drew attention to persistent discrimination against migrants and members of minorities, such as Russian speakers, Roma and Somalis, in the areas of employment, education, health and housing. It also expressed concern about the lack of specific measures to solve the problem of structural discrimination against minorities.[597]

The specific problems of violation of the rights of asylum-seeking children include the fact that their rights and interests are often not taken into account, while access to necessary legal assistance is also limited. CESCR noted that migrant children, as well as Roma children, face discrimination and intimidation in the educational system; a large number of such children are enrolled in specialized institutions, meanwhile the student drop-out rate in these institutions is very high.[598]

According to the Second EU minorities and discrimination survey (EU MIDIS II), 45% of people of African origin living in Finland were discriminated against because of their color, ethnic origin or religion, and 14% were physically assaulted because of their immigrant background. Verbal abuse in public places, including public transport, is most often aimed at people who look different or have a skin color that differs from the general population, such as Somalis and Roma. There have been incidents of attacks on the Muslim women who wear headscarves in public places.[599]

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France

The issue of the glorification of Nazism, the spread of neo-Nazism and its various manifestations is not one of the most acute problem in the social and political life of France.

Right-wing and neo-Nazi groups and organizations are rare in France, they are marginal and few in number. As a rule, they are closely monitored by the security services and dismissed by the authorities. Thus, in 2019, by order of French President Emmanuel Macron, three little-known far-right groups were outlawed for regular calling for racial hatred, discrimination and violence:

- “Social Bastion” (hereinafter – SB). It was established in 2017 in Lyon and was considered as the successor of the Group Union Défense, a student far-right organization active in the 1970s and 1980s in France and known for its violent actions. SB activists were inspired in their activities by the ideas of the Italian nationalist movement “CasaPound” regarding the upcoming disappearance of European peoples due to the influx of migrants from Africa and Asia. The fight against “ultra-liberal capitalism” allegedly embodied by E. Macron and assistance to the disadvantaged, but exclusively to the French ones, were also put at the forefront. In 2019, members of the security Council took an active part in the “Yellow Vests” protest actions.

- “Blood and Honor France” (Blood and Honor Hexagone). The French “branch” of the British neo-Nazi skinhead organization, which uses the slogan of the Nazi youth organization Hitler youth (Hitlerjugend) in its name. Its members are fans of rock bands that celebrate the superiority of the white race;

- “Combat 18” (Combat 18). The numbers 1 and 8 in the name of the organization, refer to the first and eighth letters of the Latin alphabet – “A” and “H”, which are capital letters in the name of Adolf Hitler. This structure, amounting to not more than a dozen people in France, was considered to be the “fighting wing” of the organization “Blood and Honor” and preached ideas of racial superiority, anti-Semitism and hatred of Muslims.

 Monuments to Soviet soldiers and citizens of the USSR, who died on French soil during the Second World War, as well as their burial places, are carefully treated on the territory of France. The main monuments are the main Soviet military necropolis in Noyer-Saint-Martin, monuments to Soviet members of the Resistance movement in the Paris cemetery of Pere-Lachaise and the monument to Normandie-Niemen air regiment in Le Bourget. The French Central and local authorities not only do not prevent the organization of commemorative events on the occasion of the Victory Day in the great Patriotic war, but also often initiate them. The city administrations of Paris and other cities agree without delay on the international memorial campaign “Immortal Regiment” held in the country since 2015, and provide the necessary technical assistance, including assistance in terms of security.

There are no special regulations in French law aimed at combating neo-Nazism. French law imposes a separate responsibility on the media for spread of information containing extremist, including anti-Semitic, racist statements, as well as Holocaust denial. 

Special attention is paid to the prohibition of Nazi symbols. According to Article R645-1 of the French Criminal Code, except the situations when it is necessary for the production of a cinema, production of a play or the organization of an exhibition of an appropriate historical orientation, the wearing or display in public places of uniforms, insignia or symbols resembling those used either by members of an organization defined as criminal in accordance with Article 9 of the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal (London, 8 August 1945), or by a person found guilty of one or more crimes against humanity, is a class five breach of the law. That is, the most serious of minor violations of the law.

The penalty for this violation is confiscation of the items with which it was committed, a fine of 1,500 euros, community service for a period of 20 to 120 hours, confiscation of weapons owned or in the possession of the public disturber, and a ban for a period of at least three years on the possession or carrying of weapons that require a special permit. In case of recurrence, a fine of up to 3000 euros should be paid.

However, from the point of view of legislation, the reproduction of gestures used by the Nazis (including the famous greeting gesture) is not a breach of the law.

The relative mitigation of regulation in comparison to neighboring Germany leads to the fact that the territory of the French Republic, in particular, the Grand Est region, often becomes a place of meetings of neo-Nazis from neighboring States. Banned organizations rent premises and hold various events following strict secrecy: from rock concerts of far-right music groups to the celebration of the Fuhrer's birthday. Since all of them are masqueraded as private parties, these activities are not covered by the media or social networks, these events formally do not violate public order, as a result the local authorities become deprived of effective tools to influence violators and can only recommend the landlords to pay more attention to the choice of contractual partners.

The French authorities are seriously concerned about the steady spread of racism and xenophobia in French society. According to the French Interior Ministry, in 2019, the total number of various types of acts of a racist and xenophobic nature has more than doubled over the year and exceeded 1.1 thousand cases (mostly threats).[600]

Manifestations of religious xenophobia have become more frequent. France maintains a leading position in Europe in terms of the number of anti-Semitic actions, with more than 680 actions reported in 2019 (an increase of almost 30% compared to 2018). The most high-profile actions are usually related to the desecration of graves in Jewish cemeteries with swastikas or acts of vandalism against cultural and religious institutions of the Jewish community. In order to strengthen the fight against anti-Semitism, a national division for hate crimes resistance was established in 2019 under the General Directorate of the National Gendarmerie of the French Interior Ministry. Its main task is to combat anti-Semitism and coordinate investigations of anti-Semitic acts throughout the country.

Meanwhile, it is worth noting that the threat of anti-Semitism in the country comes not only from neo-Nazis or radical Muslims, but also at the domestic level from ordinary citizens who are inclined to blame Jews for all the flaws of capitalism and globalization. Anti-Semitic slogans and manifestations often took place during the “Yellow Vests” demonstrations that took place during 2019.

The coronavirus outbreak also affected the enhancement of Jews' stigmatization. In the spread of the new disease, many people saw confirmation of the already popular conspiracy theories. There are more and more anti-Semitic cartoons on social networks that draw parallels between two pandemics – the coronavirus today and the plague in the Middle Ages. So, on one of them, Annez Buzin, who held the post of Minister of Solidarity and Health of France until February 16, 2020, currently being a candidate for mayor of Paris, was depicted as a person poisoning water in a well. Mr. Buzin's husband, Yves Levy, former Director General of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research, and Jerome Salomon, Head of the country's General Directorate of Health, were also attacked. The National Anti-Semitism Bureau has filed a number of complaints with the Prosecutor's office.

Every year, the French authorities record tens of thousands of incidents of racial, ethnic or religious hatred in the French segment of the Internet. In this regard, the French Parliament is currently considering a draft law “On Combating the Spread of Hatred on the Internet”. According to this law, the operators of Internet platforms must remove illegal content containing calls or insults on racial or religious grounds from search engines, social networks and websites within 24 hours.

The country is witnessing an increase in manifestations of aggression against representatives of the Christian community. The number of anti-Christian actions remained consistently high and exceeded 1 thousand. Attacks on coaches with Christian pilgrims and the desecration of church buildings and property became more frequent.

There has also been an increase in the number of hostile acts against Muslims – more than 150 acts. In October 2019, a resident of Bayonne (Department of the Atlantic Pyrenees), attempted to set fire to a city mosque and severely wounded two of its visitors on the basis of Islamophobia and right-wing radical views.

Acts of discrimination based on ethnicity and race are becoming more frequent. According to the results of a sociological study published in January 2020, it turned out that French private companies often take into account the ethnic origin of a candidate upon entry into employment, giving priority to “native French” candidates. Racism in stadiums is still a bothering issue. In April 2019, the French Premier League football match between the “Dijon” and “Amiens” teams was suspended due to racist insults from the stands of the colored “Amiens” captain P. Guano.

About 16,000 Roma live in France, who, due to widespread prejudices and stereotypes against them, are systematically attacked by local residents and experience various forms of discrimination by the authorities. They often have limited access to public services, including education, medical care, social security.

 Cases of deaths as a result of the use of weapons by police and gendarmes are actual for France.

Until 2018, there were no official statistics on murders committed by law enforcement officials in France. However, this issue has been periodically raised at the NGO level. According to human rights activists, since the beginning of 1990 there has been a generally positive dynamics in the relevant statistics. Comparison and analysis of data collected by human rights activists and experts (only documented facts of actions by law enforcement officers) provides the following results. The typical profile of the victim is a man of African or Arab descent, 25-30 years old, living in a disadvantaged area of ​​one of the major cities. Typical circumstances of the murder are – during the arrest / attempted flight or during pre-trial detention (as a result of restraint measures applied).

 A number of right-wing conservative parties and associations, which are often deliberately represented as far-right movements by their political opponents, are operating at the French domestic political arena. However, the ideas of Nazism, neo-Nazism and racial superiority are not a part of their ideology, which is usually aimed at protection of the traditional secular and religious values of French society, struggle against illegal immigration, and resistance to destructive neo-liberal tendencies. As a rule, such parties speak from the positions of Euroscepticism, anti-globalism, they also try to strengthen national sovereignty and reduce dependence on the United States. The growing popularity of such parties is owed to the increase in the number of migrants from Arab and African countries and the problem of their socio-cultural integration into French society.

 The right-wing conservative parties include, in particular, such organizations like the “National Rally” (Rassemblement National), with its leader M. Le Pen, “Get up, France!” (Debout la France!), led by N. DuPont-Aignan, “Party of France” (Parti de la France) under the chairmanship of C. Lang, “Movement for France” (Mouvement pour la France) under the leadership of F. de Villiers and others. The number of right-wing conservatives in the French Parliament is very small (9 out of 577 deputies), which does not allow them to create their own group and influence the nature of political debate.

It is noteworthy that the intolerance of the French authorities to the manifestations of neo-Nazism inside the country contrasts with the ambiguous position of Paris on this issue in other European countries. For many years, the French have turned a blind eye to the connivance of neo-Nazi manifestations and historical revisionism in a number of Eastern European states. The leadership and official representatives of the French Foreign Ministry avoid direct questions asked by journalists about the attitude of official Paris to the parades of former Waffen-SS legionnaires in the Baltic. They do not pay attention to the outrages of the “Right Sector” and other national radical associations in Ukraine, and prefer not to remember the crimes of Ukrainian collaborators during the Second World War.

The French Foreign Ministry's comments on the reasons why Paris regularly abstains from voting in the UN General Assembly on the draft resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, submitted annually by Russia and a group of co-sponsors were significant in this regard.[601]

According to the French Foreign Ministry, the text of the resolution in no way contributes to the promotion of the fight against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Such an important topic is allegedly diverted from its goal in favor of a “simplistic approach” aimed at splitting the Europeans “by including all opponents of the Soviet Armed Forces in the Nazi regime”. At the same time, it was stressed that “France continues to pay tribute to all victims of Nazi ideology before, during and after World War II”. The participation of the top French leadership in commemorative events in France, Israel and Poland, dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp was mentioned as an evidence of this.

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Federal Republic of Germany

In accordance with the Basic law (The Constitution) of Germany, official Berlin implements a policy aimed at preventing the glorification of Nazism and neo-Nazism. This line is closely intertwined with the rejection of the Nazi past and its denunciation, carried out within the framework of legislative activities and the work of Executive authorities at all levels. The efforts of law enforcement and justice bodies are also focused on suppressing attempts to create and operate neo-Nazi parties and movements, and the spread of hateful ideology.

Given the country's historical past, the attempts to glorify Nazi criminals and their accomplices, to deny the war crimes of the Nazis and their allies are categorically unacceptable in Germany. In accordance with the Federal Code of Germany, the criminal offences are: incitement to ethnic hatred (§ 130 p. 1-2), public denial, justification or understatement of the gravity of the crimes of National Socialism (§ 130 p. 3), public approval or glorification of Nazi oppressive rule in general (§ 130 p. 4), the dissemination of propaganda materials (§ 86) and the use of symbols (§ 86a) of anti-constitutional organizations, including Nazi and neo-Nazi organizations (this also includes verbal voicing of Nazi slogans and the use of appropriate gestures).

 Germany's historic responsibility for the crimes of the Nazi regime is recognized at the state level. The Federal Republic of Germany takes an active part in the investigation of crimes committed by the Nazis and the prosecution of perpetrators. To this end, in 1958, the Center for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes was established in Ludwigsburg. Nowadays it does not stop its activities.
 So, in early 2020, the specified department sent a request to the Russian Federation in connection with crimes committed in 1942 against orphans in the Yeysk orphanage. Of particular interest to the German side are the evidences of the involvement of G. Oberlander, who worked as a “translator” in the Nazi unit.[602]

In an article of May 7, 2020, compiled for the “Spiegel” magazine jointly with the director of the Institute of Contemporary History Andreas Wirsching on the occasion of the Day of the Liberation of Europe from National Socialism, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas pointed out the role of Germany in the events of World War II, entrusting on the country all responsibility for its beginning. According to the authors of the article, “[n] the attempts made in recent months to rewrite history dishonestly require clarification from us, which, in the face of solid historical facts, is essentially unnecessary: ​​Germany single-handedly unleashed World War II by attacking Poland. And only Germany is responsible for the crime against humanity – the Holocaust”. It is also noted that attempts to blame other states only exploit history and split the Europe. The authors note that it is “the German past that shows the danger of revisionism, which replaces rational thinking with myths”.[603]

Despite the measures taken within the country to counter the manifestations of racism and xenophobia, as well as the official denunciation of Nazism and the importance of preserving the memory of this period, the delegation of Germany, as well as representatives of other European Union member states, abstains from voting during annual consideration of the UN General Assembly resolution on “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”.

There are no cases of obstruction to the celebration of the Victory in World War II and other memorable dates of the war related to the liberation of Europe, as well as obstruction of the activities of veteran associations and NGOs fighting against neo-Nazism and the glorification of Nazism. Every year, dozens of military memorial events are held in the country aimed at preservation of the memory of the victims of National Socialism, such events are organized on the initiative or with the assistance of official authorities. The facts of the dismantling of monuments in honor of the fighters against Nazism during the Second World War, the illegal exhumation or transfer of their remains in recent years have not been identified.

At the same time, the representative office of the Ministry of Defense of Russia at the Russian Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany to perpetuate the memory of those killed during the defense of the Motherland registered 13 episodes of vandalism at Russian (Soviet) military graves and memorials in Germany in 2019. For the I quarter of 2020, two episodes were reported: on January 27, unknown people depicted a street mural on a monument by a military burial in the city of Havelberg, on March 6, three bronze plates at a military burial place in Oschersleben were stolen by unknown people, two plates and one concrete gravestone were damaged (both settlements are in the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt).

In this regard, it should be noted that the intergovernmental agreement concluded between the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Germany on the care of military graves, signed in 1992, according to which the German side should maintain Russian (Soviet) military graves in Germany in a proper manner, has been performed by FRG in line with expectations. All episodes of desecration of monuments to fighters against Nazism and its victims, as a rule, are followed by the prompt reaction of local authorities, including elimination of the consequences of vandalism, investigation and search for those responsible.

At the same time, in a number of incidents, the local authorities, as a rule, referring to a lack of funds, do not take appropriate efforts to timely repair and improve Soviet military burial grounds and memorials, as a result of which some of them are in ramshackle condition. In some cases, attempts were made to “reconstruct” the monument with a radical change in its appearance and the elimination of Soviet symbols, etc.

At the same time, a noticeable change in the perception of the events of World War II and the role of Germany in it starts to appear in German society. Along with the change of generations, a change in perception is a consequence of the policy of “cultural memory”, aimed at dilution of the sense of national responsibility for the monstrous crimes of the ancestors of modern Germans. This, in particular, is evidenced by the data of a sociological study on the attitude of modern Germans to Nazism, conducted by the German Center for Political Development and Consulting “Policy Matters” on the order of the weekly news publication Zeit. According to the study, 53% of Germans, “wholly and completely” or “to a greater extent” advocate the need to draw a final line under Germany's Nazi past. This slogan is supported by 80% of the supporters of the “Alternative for Germany” Party, 66% by the CDU, 52% by the FDP, 48% by the SPD, 46% by the “Green” Party and 45% by the left wing.

58% of respondents believe that the responsibility of Germans for Nazism, dictatorship, war and crime is not more than the responsibility of other peoples. 55% of respondents are sure that the main masses were not involved in the outbreak of war and the Holocaust, but some criminals are guilty of this.

64% of Germans are sure that their ancestors are not guilty of the atrocities of the Nazis. 30% believe that their older relatives opposed Nazism. The fact of support for the Nazi regime was recognized only by 3% of Germans.

43% of respondents agreed with the thesis that in the long history of Germany, too much attention is paid to the 12-year period of the Nazis in power in public discourse. 59% believe that this issue occupies a disproportionately large place in the media. 56% of the survey participants consider the Nazism reminder an obstacle to the development of a healthy national identity. 68% emphasized that Germany had a good understanding of its historical past and could serve as an example for other countries. Most notably is that 22% of Germans expressed the opinion that Nazism also had “positives”.

Although 74% of respondents did not dispute the need to ensure that the history of Nazism and the Holocaust should not be forgotten, and indicated the importance of preserving memory and remembrance, these declarations did not combine with the personal position of the survey participants. So, 39% of them have never visited memorials at the site of former Nazi concentration camps. 35% did it only once in a lifetime.

One of the recent manifestations of this trend was the statement of A. Gauland, a functionary of the “Alternative for Germany” Party, dated May 13, 2020, in which he opposed the initiative to legally establish May 8 as a public holiday in Germany with reference to the “contradictory nature” of this date for German citizens, which was for many a “day of defeat and loss of part of the country”. Earlier, in September 2020, this politician stated that “Germans should be proud of the achievements of German soldiers in the First and Second World Wars”.

This massive shift in social development is caused both by the arrival of new generations not directly burdened with the legacy of Nazism, and by a concomitant factor – the cultivation of the idea of ​​“German own suffering” by the German people inspired by the authorities and aimed at the systematic transfer of Germans from the category of “criminal people” to the category of “victims”. One recent example of this approach is demonstration on the German television channel ARD of the documentary "Children of War" on May 4, 2020, which broadcasts the events of the spring of 1945 through the perception of still living eyewitnesses who were then children and adolescents, whose main keynote now is the awakening of compassion.

Partly due to the spread of such sentiments in German society, despite the current state policy aimed at preventing any attempts to resuscitate the Nazi ideology and theory of racial superiority in modern conditions, the country has a relatively small, but numerically stable and active stratum of the population, standing against this prevailing attitude.

According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz or BfV, internal security and counterintelligence service), as of January 1, 2019, there were about 24.1 thousand right-wing extremists in Germany. 5.5 thousand of them were members of officially registered far-right parties, 6.6 thousand were members of other right-wing extremist structures, the rest were qualified as carriers of the corresponding ideology without reference to specific parties, organizations and movements. Over half of right-wing extremists – 12.7 thousand – are estimated to be violent[604]

The largest political organization of the ultra-right wing in Germany is the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), which has existed since 1964, and today has about 4 thousand members. It has regional branches in all federal states, it is represented in a number of municipal assemblies (in landtags – land parliaments – and has no mandates in the Bundestag). Other right-wing extremist parties – “Right Wing", “Third Way”, and others – are rather small (numbering 500-600 members), but they are actively involved in organization of mass events with the appropriate slogans and conduct aggressive nationalist propaganda on the Internet.[605]

In Germany, there is a legal possibility to ban political parties that threaten the constitutional system of the country. Such a ban can only be imposed by the Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) subject to a number of strict criteria. Since the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany, this measure has been applied in practice against the right-wing extremist party only once: in 1952 the Socialist Imperial Party (the successor of Hitler’s NSDAP) was banned. Both prohibition procedures for the NPT, initiated in 2001 and 2013, were unsuccessful. In its decision of January 17, 2017 on this issue, the FCC recognized the unconstitutional nature of the party, but refused the ban, referring to its lack of “real opportunities for the successful implementation of its unconstitutional goals”. This decision was the trigger for the development of legislative changes to exclude parties recognized by the FCC as unconstitutional from the state funding system, even in the absence of a formal ban. The relevant amendments to the Basic Law of Germany, the Law on Parties and other relevant laws were adopted in July 2017.

In addition to political parties, German right-wing circles operate within other organizations and movements registered as a legal entity or existing on an informal basis. These include, in particular, the “Movement for Identity”, “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West” (PEGIDA), the “Civil Movement for Chemnitz”, the “free partnerships” of neo-Nazis, the self-proclaimed “civil defense units”, etc. As a general trend, the BFF points to a decrease in the influence of “traditional” ultra-right parties and organizations in favor of informal, unstable structures without a single leadership, including structures on the Internet, which makes it difficult for law enforcement to monitor it.[606] In particular, “Group C.” exposed in February 2020 (the participants planned terrorist acts against Muslims and political figures), as well as the neo-Nazi association “Struggle 18” banned in Germany by a decision of the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs in January 2020, acted according to this principle.[607] [608]

Germany has a criminal law ban on public voicing of ideas based on the theory of racial superiority. In this regard, activists of ultra-right parties and movements, usually refraining from direct statements that may become the basis for possible sanctions, use veiled half-hints, “Aesopian language” and the corresponding “cultural code”, manifested, in particular, in the wearing of certain brands of clothing.

Figures from the right-wing conservative party Alternative for Germany (ADG), including deputies of the Landtag and Bundestag, repeatedly made statements with xenophobic, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic implications, as well as phrases containing signs of historical revisionism.

On March 12, 2020, it was officially announced that the wing of the national-conservative wing “The Wing” in the ADG (about 7 thousand people out of 35 thousand party members) was officially placed under the supervision of the BFF as a right-wing extremist group[609]. Despite the subsequent decision of the "Wing" to dissolve itself, its leaders B. Hoeck and A. Kalbits (officially qualified by the BFF as right-wing extremists) signaled their intention to continue their earlier policy in their party activities.[610]

The fundamental law of the Federal Republic of Germany prohibits associations whose goals or actual activities contradict the criminal law or are directed against the constitutional system of the Federal Republic of Germany or against the “idea of ​​mutual understanding between peoples”. The prohibition is imposed by the land Ministry of Internal Affairs or the land Ministry of Justice if the organizational structure and activities of the association do not go beyond the borders of one federal state, or the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany (represented by the Minister) if the association is of a supra-regional nature. At the same time, all associations affiliated with the prohibited one, or their front organizations, automatically fall under the ban. Violation of the prohibition imposed on the activities of the association entails criminal liability (§ 85 of the German Criminal Code).

The "Reich Citizens" are closely adjacent to the ultra-right forces – revisionists who do not recognize the legitimacy of the FRG and its authorities and consider themselves to be citizens of the German Empire in its pre-war borders. Their number is constantly growing and as of the beginning of 2020 is estimated at about 19 thousand people. There is a growing radicalization of this environment, an increase in its willingness to engage in open conflicts with the authorities. On March 19, 2020, one of the largest organizations of the “Reich citizens” – “United German Peoples and Tribes” was banned by a decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, the participants of this unit (about 120 people) distributed propaganda materials of a racist and anti-Semitic nature.[611]

Every year, dozens of mass events of the right-extremist and xenophobic orientation are held in the country, gathering from several dozen to several hundred people.[612] The largest of them include, in particular, the ultra-right performances on the anniversary of the bombing of Dresden by British and American aircrafts on February 13-15, 1945. About 1,000 people took part in the next such march with revisionist slogans on February 15, 2020, including persons who specially arrived from other European countries.[613]

On March 18, 2019, a mourning march was held in Chemnitz, in memory of the deceased neo-Nazi, the famous figure of the right-wing radical group of fans of the football club of this city T. Haller, about 1,000 people participated in the action. Participants demonstrated symbols with an extremist right-wing overtones and voiced threats against journalists accompanying the event.[614]

On May 1, 2019, the right-wing extremist march organized by the “Third Way” party took place in Plauen (Saxony), the participants (about 500 people) carried torches and shouted the slogan “National Socialism – Now!”[615]

On October 3, 2019, on the Day of German Unity (the national holiday of Germany), a demonstration took place in Berlin under the slogan “We are for Germany”, about 1,700 people took part in the action, including persons from the right-wing radical group of football fans “Brotherhood Germany”. During the procession, slogans of an anti-Semitic and Islamophobic nature, threats against the journalists present and opponents of the event, insults against the police have been voiced.[616]

On December 28, 2019, in the city of Bad Schlema (Saxony), an anti-migrant rally was organized by the NPD with the participation of more than 2,000 people, which was caused by an incident with a local resident who was stabbed during a clash between migrants. Among the participants were supporters of the Third Way party and the Civil Movement for Chemnitz.[617]

Strengthening of the cohesion of the radicals and the unobtrusive recruitment of young people is facilitated by concerts and “song evenings” of ultra-right rock groups propagating neo-Nazi and revanchist ideas with the lyrics of their songs and stage behavior. Dozens of such events are held annually throughout the country.[618] One of the most notable examples in recent years – already the third festival of “right rock” held in Ostrits (Saxony) on June 22-23, 2019 under the motto “Shield and Sword”, organized by deputy chairman of the NDPG T. Heise. The number of spectators, according to police estimates, amounted to 500-600 people.[619] The far-right martial arts festivals serve the same purpose of mobilization and consolidation of like-minded people.[620]

Against this background, in November 2019, the financial department of Berlin decided to deprive the German NGO “Union of Victims of the Nazi Regime – the Union of Anti-Fascists”, formed by former prisoners of concentration camps, of socially useful status. The reason for the decision was that the “Union of Anti-Fascists” repeatedly appeared in the annual reports of the Bavarian Land Office for the protection of the constitution as “under the influence of left-wing extremists”.

The Internet plays a significant role in the spread of extremist ideology in Germany. The law enforcement authorities are not able to fully control this sphere, among other things due to the increasing role of social networks as a means of extremist propaganda. It is known that there are a number of Facebook groups inaccessible to third-party users the German members of which exchange information of extremist content and incite each other to commit crimes. Some of them have several thousand members.[621] Similar views are quite common on image boards (“4chan”, “8chan”, etc.). Extremists also actively use the encrypted communication capabilities provided by WhatsApp and Telegram messengers. Social networks are actively used by the far-right to mobilize participants in their mass events. As a relatively new trend, there is an increase in the activity of this contingent on platforms for gamers (“Steam”, “Discord”, etc.).[622] Sociological surveys record a consistently high level of hate speech in the German Internet segment against[623] people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities.

In addition, there have been repeated episodes of the identification of right-wing extremists in the law enforcement and security structures of Germany, a number of them have captured the headlines in the media. Investigation regarding a group of police officers in connection with threats against a lawyer of Turkish origin is going on. Also, the investigation regarding the Northern Cross group, which included former and current police officers of the special forces of the Federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, was not completed. The participants of this association kept weapons and ammunition, and also kept “lists of enemies” for subsequent liquidation. Human rights activists cite the following data from the Federal Counterintelligence Service of the Federal Republic of Germany: since 2008, more than 200 incidents with a right-wing background have been registered in the army ranks.

In 2019-2020 a series of high-profile crimes with a right-wing extremist background that resulted in human casualties occurred in Germany: the murder of chairman of the administration of the Kassel district V. Lubcke (June 2, 2019), an anti-Semitic attack in Galle (October 9, 2019, two persons dead), racist terrorist attack in Hanau (February 19, 2020, nine persons dead). Right-wing extremism is currently estimated by official authorities as one of the most serious threats to the country's internal security.[624]

In general, according to preliminary statistics of the Federal Criminal Police Office of the Federal Republic of Germany (a correction is expected to increase with the receipt of previously unaccounted data), in 2019 20,856 crimes with a right – wing extremist background were registered in the country, 917 of them involved[625] violence. Over the same period, 1,748 crimes were registered in relation to asylum seekers and their places of residence (with 229 people injured), 871 Islamophobic tort (33 wounded), 1,839 anti-Semitic crimes, 72 of them with violence (35 wounded)[626] [627] [628] It should be noted that the growth of the number of hate crimes committed in Germany, as a rule, by neo-Nazis, was also pointed out by the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism T. Achiume.[629]

At the same time, this statistic does not include numerous cases of aggression against representatives of national minorities who are not qualified as criminal offences (for example, hunt and abuse in educational institutions), as well as cases of violence about which victims do not report to the police.[630]

Human rights activists are particularly concerned about the growing problem of anti-Semitism in the country. The World Jewish Congress conducted a public opinion poll aimed at identification of attitude towards anti-Semitism in German society, which revealed a high level of latent anti-Semitism and conflicting sentiments among respondents. According to the survey, 27% of Germans show anti-Semitic views in one form or another. 12% say that “Jews are responsible for most wars in the world”. 22% believe that “Jews are hated for their own behavior”. 41% say that “Jews talk too much about the Holocaust”. Meanwhile, the share of carriers of anti-Semitic sentiments in the group of people designated as “elite” one (which means people with higher education and an annual income of at least 100 thousand euros) is 18%. Most of the respondents admit that there is a noticeable increase in anti-Semitism in Germany. 60% agree that Jews are at increased risk of becoming victims of violence or abuse. 44% express concern about the level of violence against Jews and Jewish institutions (despite the fact that the survey was conducted before the tragic events in Galle). At the same time, only less than a third of the survey participants expressed their readiness to participate in public mass actions against anti-Semitism.

At the same time, in addition to “traditional” anti-Semitism with right-wing extremist motivation (the police classifies up to 90% of the relevant crimes into this category), “new” anti-Semitism on the part of the Muslim population, including migrants who have arrived in recent years from the crisis regions of the Middle East and North Africa, is increasingly making becomes worth noting.[631]

An increase in the number of conflicts on inter-ethnic and inter-religious grounds in German schools, in particular, the stepped-up acts of aggression on anti-Semitic grounds by immigrants from Muslim families, stimulate a discussion about educational measures to counter these trends. Among the voiced proposals – mandatory visits of schoolchildren to memorial complexes on the site of former Nazi concentration camps.[632] Various initiatives are being developed in this area, including the “Cohesion through Participation” program, and specialized structures – the Federal Agency for Civic Education and the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance – are operating in this field.[633]

Crimes of National Socialism, including the Holocaust, occupy one of the most important places in the history teaching programs in schools and universities in Germany. Due to the fact that the issues of education in Germany belong to the competence of the federal states, the preparation of these programs is carried out at the regional level. At the same time, the Federal Center for Political Education subordinate to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany is preparing general guidelines for covering the events of the Nazi period in history lessons, aimed at clarifying the dangers of hateful xenophobic ideology, as well as contemporary organizations and movements that carry it.

Human rights activists and representatives of migrant associations point to the widespread use of “domestic” racism in Germany, which is expressed in discrimination against people of foreign origin in the health sector, in the search for housing, etc., as well as “institutional” racism in administration and government structures, including the practice of “racial profiling”.[634] Migrant access to the labor market is hindered. In addition, as the German Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) points out, there are frequent cases of their exploitation and degrading treatment by employers.[635]

Following Germany’s third round of the Universal Periodic Review under the UN Human Rights Council in May 2018, Berlin was told that there was insufficient protection of migrants from intolerance and violence, as well as increasing incidence of xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia[636]

A significant number of migrant minors do not attend school. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) expressed concern that the three-tier education system in Germany, with its early selection for training at separate levels, disadvantages students for whom German is not a mother tongue, leading to the dominance of students from minorities, including people of African descent, Muslims and Roma, in lower-education schools and in schools located in marginal areas. In Committee's opinion, this leads to segregation of these groups, reduces their chances of gaining access to higher education and opportunities for future employment.[637]

The discrimination against legal migrants in the workplace, the high unemployment rate among people in this category, especially Muslim women, was pointed out with concern by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in May 2015.[638]

The report of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on People of African Descent, prepared following a visit to Germany in February 2017, expressed deep concern about the situation with ensuring the rights of this category of people in Germany. Examples of discrimination against access to education, the labor market and health are given.[639]

In the conditions of Russophobic rhetoric imposed in the media of the Federal Republic of Germany, representatives of organizations of Russian compatriots also specify an increase in the number of cases of harassment against them in everyday life, schools, work collectives, discrimination in hiring or career enhancement. The facts of the seizure by the guardianship and trusteeship of the Federal Republic of Germany of children from Russian and Russian-speaking families are creating anxiety.

As in many countries of the world, the outbreak of a new coronavirus infection in Germany has led to an increase in xenophobia against people of Asian descent. So, in Munich, a German citizen of Chinese descent was attacked by her neighbor. A man sprayed her with a disinfectant, called her a coronavirus, and threatened to cut off her head. Law enforcement authorities are now establishing the existence of a motive for racial hatred in his actions.[640]

In Berlin in February 2020, two women attacked a Chinese citizen. They insulted the girl and spat at her, then began to pull out her hair and beat her. The victim suffered a head injury and was sent to hospital for inpatient treatment.[641] In the same month, a Chinese woman who had not visited China for three months was denied medical care, arguing that she could infect other patients with a coronavirus infection.[642]

According to a survey conducted by “Ipsos MORI” company in early February 2020, 28% of respondents would like to avoid meeting people of Chinese origin in order to protect themselves from the risk of infection.[643]

German right-wing radical groups, including those of a neo-Nazi nature, have been actively participating in the campaign against quarantine and restrictive measures in connection with the spread of coronavirus (the so-called “hygienic” demonstrations) that has been launched in a number of major cities of Germany since the end of March 2020. Their slogans include well – known “conspiracy theories”, including anti-Semitic ones. At the same time, the German media is spreading speculation about the “Russian” trace in the mobilization of German citizens.

German legislation does not contain provisions aimed directly at combating ethnic and racial profiling in law enforcement agencies. Nevertheless, the courts on the claims of victims repeatedly made decisions on the unlawful nature of this practice. Thus, the Higher Administrative Court of Koblenz in its decision of April 21, 2016, pointed out that the control measures taken by members of the Federal Police against a colored family traveling by train, violate the constitutional principle of the prohibition of racial discrimination.[644]

In accordance with the Federal Code of Germany, the criminal offences are: incitement to ethnic hatred (§ 130 p. 1-2), public denial, justification or understatement of the gravity of the crimes of National Socialism (§ 130 p. 3), public approval or glorification of Nazi oppressive rule in general (§ 130 p. 4), the dissemination of propaganda materials (§ 86) and the use of symbols (§ 86a) of anti-constitutional organizations, including Nazi and neo-Nazi organizations (this also includes verbal voicing of Nazi slogans and the use of appropriate gestures).

Section 46 of the German Federal Criminal Code states that in determining the penalty, the court must take into account the motives and goals of the offender. Since August 1, 2015, an amendment has been in force to supplement this principle with the wording “... especially racist, xenophobic or other hateful”. Thus, in German Criminal Law these motives are qualified as an aggravating circumstance. The mentioned amendment was adopted on the recommendation of the Bundestag commission of inquiry, which was created to clarify all the circumstances of the case of the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi group that committed 10 racial hatred killings in 2000-2007. At the same time, a clause was added to the official instructions for police officers, according to which, when recording and removing evidence of violent crimes, circumstances that include a racist, xenophobic, or other misanthropic motive must be recorded. This creates the conditions for more effective detection of crimes motivated by racism and xenophobia and their classification as such kind of crimes, rather than as domestic ones.

In the criminal police statistics published annually, crimes of a racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-gypsy, Islamophobic, and Christianophobic nature are singled out as separate categories. The HRC Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism pointed to a separate category in the statistics of crimes related to discrimination.[645]

In October 2017, the Law “On Improving Law Enforcement on Social Networks” came into force, according to which the operators of these networks should remove the offensive statements of users upon receipt of complaints about them. The new rules are aimed, among other things, at suppression of hate speech directed at representatives of national and religious minorities. In collaboration with civil society organizations and Internet companies, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, a task force has been set up to combat hate speech on the Internet.[646]

Awareness campaigns are organized by sports federations to combat racism during sporting events. One of the largest federations – the German Football Union – issues recommendations to football clubs to combat manifestations of racism in stadiums, and also presents them with an annual Y. Hirsch award for initiatives aimed at promoting tolerance in sports. Since 2011, the program “Sports and Politics – Together Against Right-Wing Extremism” has been carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, it is aimed, among other things, at education of the leadership of sports clubs on these issues and training of their staff accordingly.

Under the auspices of the Ministry of the Interior, as well as the Ministry of Family, Seniors, Women and Youth of Germany, programs are being implemented to disseminate the principles of non-discrimination, equality, a culture of tolerance and respect for ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. The relevant priorities are set out in the document adopted in June 2017. “National Action Plan against Racism”.[647] The leading role is currently played by the program “Live in Democracy! Against Right-Wing Extremism, Violence and Misogynistic Ideology”, which focuses on preventing the radicalization of young people, promoting tolerance in education and in the workplace, combating hate speech on the Internet, preventive work with prisoners, etc. In 2019, 115 million euros were allocated for this purpose.[648] There are targeted assistance programs of the province level for members of right-wing extremist groups, who want to get out of this environment.

Assistance to the adoption of the above principles is one of the central tasks of the work to improve the political literacy of the population, carried out by the Federal Targeted Program and other similar centers of federal lands. Among the events implemented are various kinds of seminars, round tables, exhibitions, festivals, film screenings, educational trips, continuing education courses for journalists and law enforcement officials, etc.[649]

An important role in promotion of tolerance and combating right-wing extremism is played by numerous non-governmental organizations that come up with their own initiatives in this area and organize events that encourage inter-ethnic and inter-religious interaction. Political funds under the largest parties of the Federal Republic of Germany are highly active in this field, they receive substantial budget funding for this purpose.

The efforts of civil society are supported by the Union for Democracy and Tolerance against Extremism and Violence, which operates under the federal target program. In particular, it promotes the dissemination of “best practices” in this field, that is, the useful experience of local initiatives that can be used across the country. The Union annually gives prizes for the best projects to support tolerance, inter-ethnic and interfaith dialogue.[650]

Since 1998, there has been a “Forum against Racism” in Germany – a platform for the exchange of information and opinions on this issue between representatives of Federal Ministries and Departments and specialized NGOs (about 90 in total).

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Croatia

The Constitution of the Republic of Croatia (RC) defines Croatia as a sovereign democratic state based on anti-fascism. Zagreb has ratified all major international instruments aimed at prevention of all forms of racism, racial discrimination and related intolerance.

The existing internal legal acts constitute the legal basis for arrangements of counteraction to manifestations of racism, racial intolerance, and xenophobia. Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia guarantees equal rights of citizens under the law, regardless of race, color, gender, language, faith, political or other views, national or ethnic origin or other characteristics.

The Constitution also defines two institutions that guarantee the observance of these human rights: The constitutional court of the Republic of Croatia and the Commissioner for human rights, who is also the Commissioner of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament) for the protection of human rights and, according to the provisions of the anti-discrimination Law, the Central anti-discrimination authority.

The Republic of Croatia has a number of laws containing anti-discrimination provisions. In particular, the Law on Electronic Media (Article 15) prohibits the inclusion in programs of materials containing appeals or encouragement of intolerance based on nationality, race or religion, ideas of anti-Semitism, xenophobia, fascist, Nazi or totalitarian regimes, and the dissemination of information that violates human rights and encourages violence. Referring to this law, on November 26, 2018, the Council on Electronic Media of the Republic of Croatia temporarily suspended the right to broadcast a number of television channels due to the hate speech contained in their programs.

 The Anti-Discrimination Plan for 2017-2022, aimed at development and application of measures to protect against discrimination and to ensure the promotion and education in the field of the importance of human rights protection at the national level. In 2020, a Protocol was adopted on the actions of civil officials in the event of hate crimes detection. A new Law on the Election of Representatives of National Minorities was adopted in 2019.

The constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities, as well as the National Strategy for Solving the Issues of the Roma Population for 2013-2020 are in effect, covering the protection of the rights of national minorities. The Operational Program for National Minorities 2017-2020 remains in force.
 The first stage of the project “Meeting the Conditions for Effective National Policy” (funded by Euro Funds) is being implemented since 2019.

The Protocol on the actions of the relevant services and authorities in the event of detection of hate crimes adopted in 2011 contains definitions of the qualification of such offences; the measure of responsibility for their commitment (criminal or administrative) is determined on a case-to-case basis.[651] However, a number of human rights NGOs point out that there is a tendency to classify them as administrative offences in Croatia (rather than crimes)[652]. Moreover, due to the lack of public confidence in law enforcement, the percentage of appeals to the police or to the Commissioner for Human Rights is very low.[653] Refresher courses are held on the basis of the Law Academy in the framework of the HELP – Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals program and the “Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights and European Court of Human Rights” program.[654]

The Croatian Ministry of Internal Affairs arranges human rights programs for its employees. Since 2017, the CEPOL European Police College has been conducting trainings at the Police Academy in the discipline of “Hate Crimes” (the latter took place on January 27-28, 2020). At the same time, the Commissioner for Human Rights of Croatia L. Vidović noted the need to improve the quality of training and retraining of government officials and law enforcement officials in the fight against Nazism, racism and the protection of human rights.[655]

The project “Network of cities and civil society for combating racism and discrimination” has been operating in the framework of the European Coalition against Racism (ECCAR) in Croatia since 2017. The network includes 6 cities (Dubrovnik, Knin, Rijeka, Samobor, Sisak and Varazdin). The goal of the project is to implement measures to combat discrimination at the municipal level.

All manifestations of Nazism and neo-fascism are generally condemned in Croatia. However, sympathies for the leaders of the collaborationist Independent State of Croatia (hereinafter – ISC) during the Second World War and the Ustasha movement, which was at the head of this state, regularly appear in the speeches of individual representatives of the Croatian Catholic Church, politicians and journalists.[656] Law enforcement authorities selectively apply measures of responsibility to initiators or performers of unlawful acts of manifestation of neo-fascism.[657]

In 2003, the initiative of a number of parliamentarians to introduce a new article on the glorification of fascist, nationalist and other totalitarian ideologies or the promotion of racism and xenophobia into the RC Criminal Code ended in failure. Although the amendment was adopted by the Croatian Parliament and entered into force, it was rejected by the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia on 27 November 2003 (formally due to a procedural error).[658]

At the same time, certain attempts are made to equalize the Ustasha and supporters of socialism. In 2018, the Council for the Study of the Consequences of the Rule of Undemocratic Regimes under the government of the Republic of Croatia in its conclusion, in fact, equated the Ustasha regime in the ISC to the socialist system of the former Yugoslavia.[659] The draft law on the prohibition of symbols of totalitarian regimes is also being developed, which is supposed to include provisions prohibiting the use of the red star (as a symbol of communism) in Croatia.

The activities of organizations related to supporters of Nazism are recorded on the territory of the country. Since February 1992, the Croatian Liberation Movement party has been registered, it is still operating in the Republic of Croatia, the party was originally founded in Argentina in 1956 by A. Pavelich, the former military dictator of the ISC.[660]

Nationalist rhetoric and attempts to justify Croatian collaborators are present in electronic and print media. In April 2019, A. Pavelic was called “a fighter against the Belgrade violence” in the daily cultural and information program “Calendar” on the Central channel of local television HRT.[661] The growing number of revisionist materials on social networks is highlighted by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the framework of the Council of Europe. It is noted that in 2015, dozens of cases were reported involving photos of people dressed in Ustasha uniforms posted on Facebook.[662]

The thematic Internet portals of the corresponding orientation are operating in Croatia without any prohibitions: www.poglavnik.wordpress.com (dedicated to the life and legacy of A. Pavelich), www.otporas.com (dedicated to the Ustasha movement), www.domobranzd.com (dedicated to the memory of the armed forces of the ISC), “Hrvatski Tjednik” and “Hrvatski Domobran” magazines are published with the financial support of relevant state structures (the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Veterans' Affairs), these magazines periodically publish articles with attempts to whitewash the Ustasha movement. Controversial historical essays and pseudo-research aimed at creating a negative image of the Yugoslav partisans and attributing non-existent crimes to them regularly appear on open access.[663] [664]

The state Register of protected cultural facilities lists 75 monuments dedicated to the Second World War (including 3 monuments to Soviet soldiers). In 2019 The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia allocated about 620 thousand Kuna (equivalent to 6.2 million rubles) for the monuments repair work. An additional 2.7 million Kuna (27 million rubles) was paid for the restoration and maintenance of the memorial Museum of the former Yasenovac concentration camp.

The situation with the preservation and restoration of monuments to participants of anti-fascist and partisan movements in the country remains very difficult. Only in the period from 1991 to 2000, 2964 episodes of monument's destruction or desecration were reported.[665]

Official statistics on the acts of vandalism of such monuments in the period after 2001 is not publicly available. However, this negative trend persists.

In 2019, a number of episodes of desecration of anti-fascist monuments in Dalmatia were registered (in Split, Cetinska Krajina district, Vodice settlement, Bukovica, Zrmanja).

In 2019, the head of the administration of the Grachac settlement prepared a decision to demolish the monument “In memory of 1826 victims of fascist terror and 816 dead partisans”. Due to the protests of local residents, dismantling works were suspended.[666]

On March 27, 2019, the Dudik memorial complex was desecrated in the suburb of Vukovar.[667] In May 2019, vandals painted a monument to the people's hero of Yugoslavia, the leader of the Kordun people's uprising, and former mayor of Zagreb V. Holevec in the Croatian capital, with swastikas and nationalist abbreviations.[668]

The Croatian authorities are also making some efforts to maintain anti-fascist monuments. So, in 2019, the administration of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County allocated 250 thousand Kuna (about 2.5 million rubles) for the restoration of the monument “Partisan” in Kastav.

Soviet military graves and monuments to Red Army soldiers who died during the liberation of Yugoslavia during World War II are located in 11 cities and towns in Croatia (14 memorials in total). The largest of them are the Victory memorial in Batina and the memorial in Ilok. Local authorities and relevant state authorities provide appropriate administrative assistance to the Russian diplomatic mission to maintain the monuments in a decent condition, promptly inform about the identified facts of vandalism against our monuments and carry out their restoration at their own expense. So, in 2006 and 2007, a monument in the suburb of Vukovar Borovo-Naselje and in 2008, a memorial in Ilok were desecrated.

In 2018, the remains of a Soviet soldier were discovered on the territory of the Baranja-Syrmia County. The Croatian side has taken on all the expenses related to the exhumation and burial of the remains in the mass grave of the Victory memorial in Batina.

In 2019, Croatian local authorities reported that a mass grave, presumably of Soviet soldiers, (with the remains of about 200 people) was discovered in the area of Cakovec. At the moment, preparatory work and necessary approvals are underway for possible identification and further reburial.

The facts of taking measures by the Croatian authorities to represent the collaborationist Ustasha regime and its figures as participants in the national movement are noted. The Croatian Ministry of Veterans Affairs is the title sponsor of commemorative memorials in honor of “victims of war and post-war times”. This primarily refers to Croatian nationalists and collaborators. Since 1998, 81 such a monument has been erected at the expense of the state budget of the RC.

Thus, in 2019, with the financial support of the municipal authorities of Valpovo town, a memorial was erected in honor of “all Croatian soldiers who gave their lives for the Independent state of Croatia”. On the building of the administration of the town of Zadar there is a memorial plaque in the form of the borders of the ISC, which shows the coat of arms of the collaborationist state and the words from the Ustasha Croatian verse of World War II “to the Croatian knights, Ustasha sons” (“no persecution, accusations, torment or betrayal could take away your life's dream of an Independent state of Croatia”).[669]

Some representatives of the Catholic Church in Croatia continue to express sympathy for local nationalist movements. Noteworthy in this regard are the speeches of Bishop V. Kosic (town of Sisak), who claims that collaborators are “fighters for freedom and independence”. On January 17, 2019, the premises of the Catholic Church in Zagreb hosted a presentation of the book by J. Pecarić “Detection of a fraud about the Jasenovac Camp”, dedicated to the denial of the involvement of the Ustashas in the deaths of prisoners of the largest concentration camp. On March 13, 2019, the presentation of the book was held in the central Catholic church of Sisak.[670] [671]

In the framework of the policy of “censure of all totalitarian regimes”, the Croatian leadership officially supports the events held in memory of the “victims of the Yugoslav regime and the Tito's partisans”[672] Commemorative events in Bleiburg Field (Austria) – the site of the execution by Croatian collaborators of Yugoslav partisans in 1945, are held under the high patronage of the Croatian Sabor (Parliament).[673]

The commemorative event is always attended by top officials of the Republic of Croatia and representatives of the Croatian Catholic Church.[674] The Central memorial is dedicated to “the Croatian army, shot in May 1945”. In 2019, official Zagreb strongly condemned the decision of the Catholic Church of Carinthia (Austria) to revoke the permission to hold another Church service on the Bleiburg field. On March 14, 2019, The Croatian Foreign Ministry accused the Austrian media of “misinterpreting the commemorative events in Bleiburg, and called the march of the Black Legion, the use of symbols and greetings of the Ustasha during the official part of the event, the glorification of A. Pavelich and his minions, as “isolated episodes””.[675] In the view of the clearly negative attitude of the Austrian side to the meetings taking place on the Bleiburg field, senior officials of the Republic of Croatia decided not to participate in the event in 2019. However, the Bleiburg memorial was visited by the Chairman of the Croatian Sabor, G. Jandrokovic, and some Ministers of the Republic of Croatia in advance.

On August 25, 2019, on the European Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes, the Chairman of the Government of the Republic of Croatia A. Plenkovich, together with the Minister of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia D. Bozhinovich and the Minister of Veterans Affairs T. Medved, laid wreaths at the monument in honor of the defeated Ustasha army, which was installed in 1994 in the central cemetery of Zagreb. The monument depicts soldiers dressed in Ustasha uniforms, the coat of arms of the ISC and the inscription “to the Croatian victims on the Bleiburg field and on the way of the cross in 1945”.

The problem of using the greeting “Za dom spremni” (“For the Motherland Ready!”, ZDS, the exclamation of the Ustasha of World War II, an analog of the German “Sieg Heil”) remains urgent.

The constitutional court of the Republic of Croatia, in its decision U-II-6111/2013 of 10 October 2017, recognized that the ISC and everything related to it was illegal and contradicted the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia. Earlier, the constitutional court of the Republic of Croatia by Decision U-III-2588/2016 of November 8, 2016 defined the Ustasha slogan of the times of the ISC “Za dom spremni” as a symbol of racist rhetoric and declared it unconstitutional. On August 14, 2019, the High Arbitration Court of the Republic of Croatia confirmed the illegality of the exclamation, due to the fact that it provoked hatred based on religion, race and nationality.

Despite the above-mentioned and a number of other court decisions on the illegality of this greeting due to its direct connection with the ISC and the protests of human rights organizations, the Croatian authorities do not take practical measures to ban it completely.[676] In addition, under the pretext that this slogan is not prohibited by law, legal entities that use it in their statutory documents or emblems are officially registered.[677]

This exclamation is chanted at mass events, in particular at concerts of the popular modern Croatian artist [678] M. Perkovich, who uses racist slogans and Pro-fascist appeals. Meanwhile preventive measures are applied to the artist selectively.[679] Souvenirs with the abbreviation “ZDS” and nationalist symbols are on open sale.[680]

 Manifestations of neo-Nazism during sports events are reported in RC. On April 29, 2019, during a football match at the capital's “Maksimir” Stadium, fans of the Zagreb club Dynamo chanted nationalist slogans and sang songs in support of the ISC. It is noteworthy that the game was not stopped, and no sanctions were imposed by the law enforcement agencies. In February 2019, during a football match in the town of Polud, the fans stretched out a banner with the pro-Ustasha inscription “Max's Butchers” (Vekoslav “Max” Luburic headed the network of concentration camps of the ISC, including the Jasenovac concentration camp).[681]

In general, there is an increase in manifestations of intolerance based on nationality in the Republic of Croatia. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Croatia, 51 hate crimes were registered in 2019 (33 cases in 2018).[682] According to the Commissioner for human rights in Croatia in 2019, the majority of crimes on national grounds (about 10% of all registered offences) were committed against the Serbian minority and the Roma.[683]

In recent years, the international human rights community has also pointed to the unsatisfactory state of affairs in enforcement of the rights of national minorities. Such assessments, in particular, are contained in the fifth report of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on Croatia, dated May 15, 2018. ECRI pointed to the increasing role of the media in spreading hate speech and incitement of ethnic hatred. National minorities, mainly Serbs and Roma, are portrayed in a negative and stereotypical way in regional print media.[684]

Human Rights Committee in March 2015 expressed concern about racist attacks against members of ethnic minority groups, in particular Roma and Serbs, and noted that proper investigations were not being conducted and the perpetrators were not being brought to justice.[685]

According to the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which operates within the framework of the Council of Europe, some politicians continue to use rhetoric aimed at inciting and reinforcing ethnic hatred, for example, calling some minority groups as “aggressors”.[686]

Similar concerns were expressed by the international human rights NGO “Amnesty International”.

The problems faced by the representatives of the Serbian population are also the result of the armed conflict of 1991-1995. According to a number of Croatian NGOs, there is a noticeable amount of anti-Serbian graffiti on public buildings and private homes in the Republic of Croatia.[687] Nationalist materials aimed exclusively at the Serbian minority appear in the media. For example, On January 7, 2019 the son of one of the deputies of the Parliament of the Republic of Croatia, I. Jakic, “congratulated” the Serbs on the Orthodox Christmas on his Facebook page with a picture of Ustasha military holding the severed head of a Serb.[688]

On August 21, 2019 masked hooligans destroyed the cafe owned by a Croatian citizen of Serbian nationality in the settlement of Uzdolje. Visitors who were inside the cafe at the time of the attack (including 1 child) were also injured.[689] The police announced the arrest of 16 suspected persons.

On February 9, 2019, players of the Serbian water polo team were attacked by aggressive Croats in Split.[690]

Discrimination against the Roma minority continues to be manifested in employment, services and access to education. On June 1, 2019, mass rallies took place in the city of Cakovec, in which more than 1 thousand protesters took part against state support of the gypsy community living in the city.[691] The participants called the Gypsies “thieves and criminals” and demanded that the local authorities "should protect the peaceful population of the town of Cakovec from them".[692]

Representatives of the Serbian national minority and Jewish societies in Croatia have repeatedly expressed their disapproval of the position of state authorities on the issue of increase of revanchist sentiments in Croatian society and the use of pro-fascist and Ustasha symbols. From 2016 to 2019 Serbian and Gypsy national minorities, as well as Jewish communities, did not participate in commemorative events in honor of the liberation of the Jasenovac concentration camp organized by the authorities, and carried out separate independent actions as a sign of protest.

The central memorial in memory of the Holocaust in Croatia is the monument “Flower” in the framework of the museum and memorial complex Jasenovac. Holocaust study is a part of the Compulsory History course for middle school students. Also, the Ministry of Education and Science of the RC included a visit to the museum and memorial complex Jasenovac in the list of compulsory study trips for schools.

On February 20-21, 2019, the international conference “Fascism and Anti-Fascism in Europe today” was held in Zagreb. The event was organized by the Union of anti-fascists of Croatia with the assistance of the International Federation of anti-fascists and the International Federation of war veterans. After the conference, a corresponding Declaration was adopted.

In line with the common position of the EU member states, the Croatian delegation abstains from voting in the UN General Assembly on the annual resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”, submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors.

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Montenegro

The memory of those who died for the liberation of Montenegro is treated with due respect. The population remembers that it was in Montenegro on July 13, 1941, that an uprising broke out against the Nazi invaders, which then developed into a national liberation war in Yugoslavia. Two veteran organizations are operating in the country (the Union of Veterans and Antifascists of Montenegro – SUBNOR, the Union of Veterans of the Former Yugoslavia – SOBNOR), they are working to preserve the historical truth about the Second World War.

About 40 state-protected memorial sites (including fraternal partisan graves) are dedicated to the People's Liberation War of 1941-1945, as well as to national heroes and outstanding personalities of Montenegro who made a significant contribution to the fight against the Nazi invaders.

Due to the fact that there were no military operations involving Soviet Army units on the territory of this country during World War II, there are no registered Soviet military graves and memorials in Montenegro. 

The national law “On Memorial Facilities” regulates the construction, protection and maintenance of monuments, as well as the prosecution of offences in this area. According to Article 10 of the mentioned Act, it is not permitted to erect memorial facilities for an action that symbolizes cooperation with the invaders, their allies or collaborators; a person who collaborated with the invaders, their allies or collaborators; a person who promoted fascist, chauvinist or Nazi ideas and ideology; a person convicted of a criminal crime against humanity or other amenities protected by international law, or declared as a war criminal.

In accordance with Article 43 of the mentioned law, criminal liability in the form of imprisonment for up to three years is provided for damage, destruction, unauthorized changes, modification, relocation or demolition of a memorial facility, installation or assistance in the installation of a monument that is not authorized for construction. In other cases of violations established by this law, administrative liability is established in the form of a monetary fine of three to three hundred of the amounts of minimum wages.

Due to the mentality of the Montenegrin people, an integral part of which since the mid of the 20th century is an open hostility to fascist and Nazi ideology; cases of desecration of monuments to fighters against Nazism are extremely rare. Certain incidents related to the damage to such facilities (the most common is the infliction of graffiti by young people, including fascist symbols) are unequivocally criticized by socio-political circles, civil society organizations and anti-fascist veterans.

There is no evidence of the construction of monuments to the Nazis and their accomplices on the territory of Montenegro, the holding of public demonstrations of neo-Nazis, as well as the announcement of members of Nazi organizations and collaborators as participants of national liberation movements.

At the same time, it is noteworthy that, despite the resistance of local veteran organizations and opposition socio-political circles, a bilateral intergovernmental agreement was signed between Montenegro and Germany in August 2011 on the places of burial of victims of the hostilities. In accordance with the document, the Government of Montenegro and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany undertook mutual obligations free of charge and for an unlimited period of time to allocate land plots for the burial of military personnel who died during the hostilities. In November 2016, the Montenegrin side fulfilled its obligations by opening a memorial cemetery near the administrative center of the country of Podgorica, where the remains of 64 German soldiers who died during the Second World War were buried (the memorial is located on the territory of the Golubovci Military Airfield and, accordingly, is under the “jurisdiction” of the Montenegrin Ministry of Defense).

There are no cases of glorification of any form of neo-Nazism, the spread of Nazi ideology, including on the Internet, the prosecution of anti-fascist veterans, the imposition of a ban on Soviet symbols, the obstruction of the activities of veteran organizations in organizing and conducting commemorative events on the occasion of Victory Day celebration in Montenegro.

The Montenegrin public was outraged by reports of a project to turn the fortress on the island of Mamula, which was a concentration camp during World War II, into a luxury beach resort. Despite the fact that local residents, the public and descendants of concentration camp prisoners spoke out against such an initiative (disputes on this issue have been ongoing since 2013), in 2016 the authorities entered into a 49-year lease agreement with the Swiss company Orascom Development Holding AG. The fortress on the island of Mamula in Montenegro was turned into a concentration camp in May 1942 by the Italian occupation authorities. In total, more than 1.5 thousand people were imprisoned in the camp, mainly immigrants from Boka, Herzegovina and southern Dalmatia. The camp in Mamula ceased to operate in 1943, when the island was liberated by the Yugoslav partisans.[693]

Recently, due to the unconditional adherence of Podgorica to the policy of Washington and Brussels, Montenegro has seen an increasingly noticeable tilt towards support of the position of Western countries in relation to the history of the Second World War. In particular, the Montenegrin leadership is increasingly refusing to participate in Russian events on the occasion of Victory Day, preferring European alternatives. So, in 2015, the President of Montenegro refused to visit a parade in Moscow on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Great Victory, and in August 2017, the Montenegrin Defense Minister took part in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Rebel Army in Kiev. In May 2017, veterans of Montenegro's SUBNOR refused to participate in the Moscow City Council Veterans' Delegation Program, including the joint laying of wreaths at the monument to fallen wrestlers in Podgorica, under a plausible pretext.

Montenegro, as part of its “Euro-candidate solidarity”, has refrained from supporting the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” introduced by Russia and other co-sponsors.

 No one ethnic group of Montenegro represents the majority of the population. Montenegro recognizes the Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Roma and Serbian national minorities, each represented by a national minority Council that promotes their interests. A sound legal framework has been created in the country to combat discrimination, including recently revised legal acts ensuring the exercise of minority language rights, and the institution of the Ombudsman.[694]

The main source of legal regulation in the field of combating manifestations of discrimination is the Law “On the Prohibition of Discrimination”, according to which any form of discrimination on any grounds is prohibited (Article 2), including ethnicity (Article 17), personal beliefs or confession (Article 17a).

Article 79 of the Constitution guarantees the right to education in the native language in state institutions. The Law on General Education grants the right to include the study of the history and culture of national minorities in the General curriculum. For these purposes, 20% of the “open content” curriculum is provided. However, the Ministry of Education practically does not trace the content of these 20%. With regard to teaching in minority languages, instruction in the Albanian language is provided in areas where Albanians make up the majority of the local population, and in the city of Podgorica. Despite the presence of bilingual schools teaching in the Albanian and Montenegrin languages, students do not receive the same number of teaching hours in each language. Depending on their ethnic origin, some students choose the Albanian language as the language of instruction, while others choose Montenegrin. This creates two separate streams of monolingual education, although students with the Montenegrin language of instruction can choose the Albanian language as an optional discipline, and for students in the Albanian language Montenegrin is a compulsory discipline.[695]

The Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) noted a significant improvement in the situation of Roma, especially displaced persons. The Konik refugee camp is officially closed, permanent housing is being built in its place, although several families have not yet been relocated. Problems remain with the provision of medical care in Konik since the medical center was closed there. Despite the efforts of the authorities, the social situation in the Konik area, in particular in the area of ​​reproductive health and drug abuse, is of certain concern.[696]

The problem of statelessness is acute for the Roma, especially those who came from Kosovo as refugees.

In terms of access to education, 104 Roma children attended pre-school institutions in Montenegro in 2016-2017, which was 0.55% of the total number of children in pre-school institutions. In 2017-2018, their number increased to 190. Initiatives, including motions of community mediators, are being implemented to further increase of this index.[697]

 Low attendance at pre-school, primary and secondary education institutions was noted compared with the rest of the population, as well as chronic school dropouts and school skipping among the gypsy communities. Many children, especially Roma, are begging and living on the streets, becoming victims of various forms of exploitation, including human trafficking, economic and sexual exploitation.[698]

However, according to AC FCNM, the number of Roma children dropping out of school is slowly decreasing. They are provided with free textbooks and scholarships for secondary and higher education. However, the number of Roma children who drop out of school is still higher than the national average. Those of them who live in Bijela Gora and Ulcinj are not included in the existing education system.

The situation with the employment of representatives of the Roma community is also disappointing. According to the 2016-2020 Strategy for the social integration of Roma and Egyptians, in 2015, 95% of Roma were considered as “persons without a profession or qualification”, and 83% of them were unemployed.[699]

The country's health protection problems also have a negative impact on the life of the Roma minority. Among them, the practice of gender-selective abortions still goes on. Marriages between children and forced marriages remain common in Roma communities. The authorities make only limited efforts to identify such cases and do not prosecute or punish those responsible for such crimes.[700] Meanwhile, the legal minimum age for marriage is 16 years.

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) noted with concern in July 2017, that violence against women, including gender-based homicide, is socially acceptable among this group.

The Committee also pointed out a disproportionately high unemployment rate among Montenegrin women, especially among women belonging to minority groups. All these factors make Roma women and girls, as well as refugees and asylum-seekers and internally displaced persons, particularly vulnerable to become victims of human trafficking.[701]

The AC FCNM pointed out that in a number of regions of the country (Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, Tivat, Bijelo Polje, Rosae and Plav), there are still problems related to poor living conditions and the provision of adequate housing for displaced Roma, who often settle in illegal settlements without basic sanitation conditions[702].

In its report on Montenegro, prepared as a part of the fifth monitoring cycle, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), functioning within the Council of Europe, noted with regret about the lack of reliable data on the use of hate speech in the country. Data on hate crimes, including hate speech and violence, are collected by the Prosecutor's office of Montenegro and the Supreme court, but this information does not reach international human rights bodies, in particular the OSCE/ ODIHR.[703]

The police structures are also involved in the registration of relevant incidents, however, law enforcement approaches to data classification are differing, and hate offences are not always allocated as a separate group.[704]

In August 2018, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) highlighted that hate speeches of politicians and public figures against certain ethnic or ethno-religious groups, especially during election campaigns, were taking place in the country.

The language of hostility is covering the mass media, including the Internet. In February 2020, the Montenegrin electronic media Agency suspended the retransmissions of “Good Morning, Serbia”, “After Lunch”, “New Morning” and “Cyrillic” of the Serbian TV channels “Pink M” and “TV Happy” programs for three months. The agency’s statement stated that such a decision was dictated by the use of derogatory, offensive expressions in the programs that generated strong negative emotions, expressed hostility or a desire for discrimination, and humiliated Montenegrins, denying their ethnicity.[705]

Hate speech is a criminal offence, however, the authorities do not conduct appropriate monitoring of social networks, since no agency has such authority.[706] Episodes of racist violence during sporting events have been reported. Roma become targets of racist violence.

 The Montenegrin authorities collect data on the so-called “ethnic distance” and on public opinion regarding certain minorities in cooperation with international organizations and partners. These data are a testimony to intolerance towards Roma, as well as to representatives of the small Jewish community. In 2010-2017 the social distance between almost all national groups has increased. Chronic negative attitudes and prejudices against Roma are widespread in Montenegro, that is why the Roma regularly face many difficulties in the areas of employment, housing, health care, education and birth registration.[707]

According to human rights activists, there are small but positive changes in the fight against racism. Compared to 2017, in 2018 there was a decrease in number of episodes of discrimination based on gender, national origin, political views, and membership in various social groups. About 70% of citizens still believe that this problem is relevant for Montenegrin society. As in previous years, persons with disabilities, Roma people, and women were exposed to a high level of risk and faced various types of violations of their rights. As a rule, discrimination against these categories of people in the sphere of employment was the most common.

Disagreements between religious communities are becoming more acute. The adoption of the Law on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Legal Status of Religious Communities at the end of December 2019 caused a wave of protests from the opposition and believers. The controversial provisions of the act relate to the obligation on religious organizations to confirm their ownership of buildings and churches until 1918. Its implementation is fraught with the seizure of a significant part of the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) in favor of the state.

According to opponents of the law, its true goal is to strengthen the position of the “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” (an unrecognized schismatic structure) by weakening the SOC, which remains the largest religious association in Montenegro.

 The specified legal act was called by the SOC as discriminatory, and the possible consequences of its adoption were compared to the civil war.[708]  

Earlier the SOC tried to hold a service on the site of the ruins of a state-owned medieval Church in the Svac settlement. The Serbian Orthodox Church claims to own this land, but local Albanian protesters prevented the metropolitan from holding the service. The authorities of Ulcinj claim that this place has been closed since 2015 for restoration works.

There are other examples when Ministers of the “Montenegrin Orthodox Church” and the Serbian Orthodox Church tried to hold a service on October 1 and 8, 2017 in buildings of religious worship in Cetinje and Podgorica, which are claimed by both churches. As a result, the police intervened into the incident, and in both cases the Montenegrin Orthodox Church held a service outside the mentioned buildings, while the Serbian Orthodox Church did it inside.[709]

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Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, the need to preserve the memory of the Second World War and its results is recognized at the state level, which would make it impossible in theory to attempt to glorify the Nazi movement, former members of the SS and its components.

Nevertheless, a number of facts are noteworthy, these facts are a testimony of certain negative changes in the public consciousness of the country's population regarding the role of the Red Army in saving Europe, among other things the Czech Republic, from the horrors of national socialism. This situation around the Soviet memorials has been especially vividly demonstrated this fact in recent years.

 The approach of local Czech authorities to the activities of individual veteran organizations and anti-fascist NGOs, which are increasingly accused of a “pro-Russian” position, is characterized by the high degree of politicization. This is manifested, in particular, in the reduction of their funding, as well as the boycotting of their activities by representatives of Republican municipal structures.

Since the “velvet revolution” of 1989, attempts have been made to promote the concept of equal responsibility of totalitarian regimes for the outbreak of World War II in the local socio-political space. One of the goals of the campaign is to equate the symbols of the USSR and the Red Army with the fascist swastika and its subsequent ban. This initiative has not yet had a serious response at the public and official levels.

Monuments to anti-fascists and Nazi victims, including victims of the Holocaust, in the Czech Republic are protected by the “CR Law on Military Graves and Memorials” of 2004. The graves of Red Army soldiers are also subject to the Russian-Czech intergovernmental agreement on the mutual maintenance of war graves of 1999.

However, acts of vandalism against Soviet memorials are already becoming a trend and they are not limited to the capital alone, as it was earlier. Recent examples include the desecration of monuments in Ostrava and Brno at the end of October 2019. So, on October 23, the Memorial installed in 1946 in the Komensky Gardens in Ostrava was doused with paint. Also at the place of honorary burial of the fallen Red Army soldiers, the vandals made inscriptions referring to the beginning of the uprising against the communist regime: “Budapest 1956” and the Hungarian word “kitartás”, translated as “withstand”. The deputy head of the municipality of the central part of the city, D. Vitos, and the mayor, T. Matsura, criticized the offenders, calling this act as a blasphemy against the soldiers who died during the liberation of Ostrava.[710]

On October 24, 2019, in Brno, in the urban district of Kralovo Pole, a memorial to 328 fallen Red Army soldiers was poured with red paint.[711] Responsibility for both actions was assumed by one of the most active organizations of the Czech neo-Nazi movement – the National and Social Front. The corresponding message appeared on his page on Facebook, where photos from the scene were also presented.[712]

The largest number of acts of vandalism against memorials to Soviet soldiers occurs in the Czech capital, Prague. In March 2019, the monument to Soviet soldiers near Prague Castle was damaged for the sixth time. On the night of April 2, 2019, tombstones on the graves of Soviet soldiers in the Central Olshansky cemetery were desecrated.[713] Repeatedly, including in April and December 2019, unknown persons desecrated the monument on the Interbrigade Square devoted to the Marshal of the Soviet Union, twice Hero of the Soviet Union, Ivan Stepanovich Konev, under whose command in 1945 the Soviet troops liberated Prague from the Nazis.[714] [715]

In fact, Prague city officials are working together with the vandals, thereby fueling their “enthusiasm”. The first step to dying out the role of the Soviet Union in the Victory over Nazism in general and in the liberation of Prague from the Nazis in particular was the dismantling in 2017 of a memorial plaque on the main square of the Old Town Hall in honor of the liberation of the city by troops of the First Ukrainian Front. According to the assurances of the former mayor of Prague A. Krnacova, it was planned to return to its original place after the reconstruction.[716] However, in August 2019, the new mayor Z. Hrib officially announced the refusal of the city authorities to keep the plaque on the town hall building.[717]

Then the campaign on the blackening of the personality of Marshal I. S. Konev began, the leadership of the urban area of ​​Prague-6, where the statue was located, took an active participation in it. In August 2018, the authorities placed “explanatory tablets” in front of the monument, which, among other things, included information on the participation of I. Konev in the preparation of the entry of troops of the Warsaw Pact countries into Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968.[718] Such speculation on national feelings due to the presentation of undocumented data can hardly be considered otherwise than an attempt at historical revisionism.

The apotheosis of this cynical campaign was the decision taken by the Prague-6 district administration in September 2019 to dismantle the monument to I. Konev (in order to erect another monument to some “liberators of Prague” in its place), which was implemented on April 3, 2020. At the same time, public appeals for the preservation of historically significant sights as well as condemnation by the country's president M. Zeman were ignored.[719] In early April 2020, the blasphemous decision was implemented. The state of emergency, introduced in connection with the spread of a new coronavirus infection, and restrictions on free movement around the city, according to the head of Prague-6, O. Kolar, were deliberately used by the authorities for monument dismantling without public protests. The intention was announced in the future to place a monument in the still not created Museum of the 20th Century Memory, the exposition of which will be devoted to totalitarian regimes.[720]

In addition to the open struggle with the monuments to the soldiers of the Red Army who died in the battles for the liberation of the country, in the Czech Republic there are examples of a tolerant attitude to the manifestations of Nazism and Nazi themes, the whitewashing of the Third Reich military personnel. For example, the May Day procession of neo-Nazis has been organized for several years in Brno, it is held under the protection of the police (in 2019, the Czech radical group Nationalist and Social Front initiated it).

In October 2011, in the settlement of Korenov (Liberec Territory), members of one of the historical societies restored a monument (in the form of a granite “Iron Cross”) to Czechs who fought in the ranks of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS. The Nazi memorial, which was destroyed in 1945, was inaugurated on October 28, on the anniversary of the Czechoslovak Republic. This initiative did not meet any resistance from the local authorities. Although the image of the swastika was not re-applied, and in tourist guides the cross was designated as Maltese, its true designation does not raise any questions. It is also noteworthy that the memorial is kept in exemplary order.[721] In response to periodic criticism of the Czech public regarding this memorial (for example, in 2019, Czech judicial expert on Nazism J. Uglirš drew attention to this issue), local authorities voiced promises to establish “explanatory signs” that have not yet been implemented.

The head of Reporyje, the urban district of Prague, P. Novotny, initiated the glorification of Nazi accomplices, proposing to erect a monument to the soldiers who fought on the side of the collaborationist Russian liberation army led by General A. Vlasov. At the beginning of May 2020, a commemorative plate was already installed on the site of the future monument, on which there is an inscription that “300 soldiers of the Russian Liberation Army died for the liberation of Prague”.[722] At the same time, the decision to whitewash those whose acts, in accordance with the Charter of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, are qualified and involved in Nazi war crimes and crimes against humanity, P. Novotny called as “the internal affairs of a sovereign region”.[723]

The initiative to install such a memorial was discussed at an international conference held on November 14-16, 2019 in the Czech capital dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Prague manifesto headed by the Committee for the Liberation of the Peoples of Russia led by A. Vlasov.[724] This event was organized for the second time by the Prague Russian Society and the editors of the Russian Word magazine.

The destruction of monuments to the Red Army is not a part of Czech state policy – so far it is mainly about vandalism. However, the current situation is a direct result of Russophobic rhetoric progressing in the country, the formation of a negative image of Russia created by the Czech media.[725]

It should be noted that in general, the inhabitants and municipal authorities of the Czech Republic demonstrate a careful and respectful attitude to the monuments to Soviet soldiers and victims of Nazism. An example is the policy of the Moravian-Silesian Region, where, as of 2015, there were a total of 1,237 war memorials. The region provides annual financial subsidies to provide care for them. On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, 550,000 [726]crowns were allocated for this purpose.

An alarming phenomenon is the growing interest in Czech society in Nazi symbols and literature. For example, Prague stores offer customers rubber masks depicting Adolf Hitler. The sale of Nazi symbols is not a crime in the Czech Republic if its purpose is only to make a profit.[727] The Czech publishing house “Our Army” has mugs and T-shirts with a portrait of the Fuhrer in the assortment of its online store. Earlier it has also published “Mein Kampf”.[728] Another publishing house, “Guidemedia”, publishes in the Czech Republic the books “Poisonous Mushroom” and “Peace Work of Adolf Hitler”, which contain open propaganda of anti-Semitism.[729]

Along with this, the curriculum of recent history in local secondary schools is openly criticized by the Czech special services on the grounds that it is “tailored to Soviet patterns”. Demands are publicly put forward to make appropriate adjustments to the educational process, changes in approaches to teaching the history of the Second World War in secondary schools in the Czech Republic. Basically, they can be summarized to the whitening of the position of the Western allies of Czechoslovakia in anticipation of the war and the suppression of the role of the Soviet Union in the liberation of Europe from Nazism.

As for the resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” annually introduced by Russia and other co-sponsors, the Czech representatives follow the common position of the European Union member states and abstain from the voting held within the framework of the UN General Assembly.

As for the neo-Nazi movement, it is believed that in the Czech Republic it is underdeveloped and is represented mainly by disparate and small groups. However, their members regularly remind the public of their existence, as, for example, during the above mentioned annual neo-Nazi march in Brno.[730]

 The far-right nationalist organization Workers' Party of Social Justice (hereinafter referred to as the WPSJ) played a key role among extremists for a long time. Its Chairman, T. Vandas previously headed the Workers' Party, whose activities were declared contrary to Czech law by the Supreme Administrative Court on February 17, 2010. After its dissolution, the WPSJ inherited its ideology. Today, the party has only about 600 members. Its program contains anti-Roma and anti-migrant provisions. Currently, the WPSJ is not represented in either the country's Parliament or the European Parliament.

In 2013, the right-wing organization “Czech Lions” announced itself. It includes former activists of the WPSJ, intending to focus on the fight against “multiculturalism”.

There is also a few smaller radical organizations.

According to the report of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Czech Republic on extremism for the last six months of 2019, cases of incitement to hostility and hatred increased in the Czech Republic during this period. Not only representatives of national, ethnic or religious minorities, but also human rights NGO’s members and journalists specializing in racism are targeted. In addition, some neo-Nazi activists have resumed their activities. Moreover, if the WPSJ is currently experiencing a period of decline, the national and social front has become the most active entity of the neo-Nazi movement, which organized a meeting of right-wing extremists in Horzice at the end of August 2019.

In 2019, the police registered 170 extremist crimes, this is slightly less than in the previous year. Moreover, most often, in 61 cases, support and encouragement of a movement aimed at suppressing human rights and freedoms, expression of sympathy for such a movement or denial, approval and justification of genocide were reported. This is followed by incitement to hatred against a group of individuals (41 cases) and violence against a group of individuals and individual persons (27 cases).

The largest number of extremist crimes was reported in Prague, it amounted to 43 episodes, that is 8 episodes fewer than in 2018. The Prague region is followed by the region of Ust-nad-Labem, where 24 crimes have been registered. The largest number of criminal cases were also initiated in the city of Prague and the region of Ust-nad-Labem.

 In 2019, 157 events involving politically motivated extremists were also organized. 128 of them were associated with the left-wing extremist spectrum and 29 with right-wing extremists.[731]

Hate speech in the Czech Republic is the focus of attention of the UN human rights Treaty bodies. Thus, the Committee against Torture (CAT) in May 2018 and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in August 2019 expressed concern about the extent to which racist and hateful ideas, prejudices and stereotypes, and hate speech were disseminated to the general population, mainly through the Internet and social networks. CERD noted, among other things, that such rhetoric is used by Czech politicians and public figures, including members of parliament, city mayors and members of the government. Not the least role in the dissemination of racist stereotypes and prejudices against minority groups is played by the media. It often comes to the point that journalists trying to independently and impartially cover migration issues are faced with threats and pressure from radicals.[732]

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) also noted that it was in the Czech Republic in 2017 that “abhorrent incidents” on the basis of racial hatred and xenophobia were registered, especially against migrants and ethnic minorities. For example, in Brno, Ostrava and other large Czech cities, large-scale actions are held to “combat the dominance of Roma and migrants”. Such demonstrations are quite regular, they often end in riots, clashes with the police, followed by numerous detentions of protesters.

A wide response was caused by the completion of court procedures on the resonant history of 2014, when the owner (of Ukrainian origin) of the Brioni Hotel in Ostrava refused to accommodate citizens of the Russian Federation due to the reunification of Crimea with Russia. Later, the hotel management as a condition for accommodation began to require Russian customers to sign a statement condemning the “annexation” of the peninsula. This case was considered in the Czech Courts, as a result, the Czech Supreme Court ruled that the accommodation renouncement was unlawful. However, on April 17, 2019 The Czech Constitutional Court, to which the owner of the hotel appealed, issued a decision repealing the decision of the country's Supreme Court, stressing that entrepreneurs should not be politically neutral. This verdict does not comply with the international legal obligations of the Czech Republic, including the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, as well as on civil and political rights of 1966. Czech experts criticized this decision, talking about its incorrectness from a legal point of view. It is noteworthy that the President of the Constitutional Сourt of the Czech Republic, P. Ryсhetsky, who also had criticized the verdict adopted by his colleagues, recommended that the case should be submitted to the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

At the national level, issues of counteracting manifestations of neo-Nazism, racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are regulated by the Constitution of the Czech Republic, the Criminal Code of the Czech Republic, and the Law of the Czech Republic “On the Rights of Representatives of National Minorities”. Dissemination of ideas of racial superiority, incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all types of committed acts of violence based on these motives are criminalized in the Czech Republic. In addition, the Law of the Czech Republic “On Political Parties and Political Movements” of 1991 provides for the suppression of the provision of support (including financial support) to radical parties and organizations.

With regard to the manifestations of xenophobia in the country, the Roma issue deserves a special mention. Representatives of this national minority (the largest in the Czech Republic), as a rule, do not have a permanent job, live mainly on social benefits, in many regions of the country live in “closed” quarters (there are more than 600 such “ghettos”, located mainly in the Ustecky Region of the Czech Republic), characterized by poverty and high crime rates. The appearance of the Roma "ghettos" is associated with the discriminatory attitude towards the Roma by the Czech national majority. According to opinion polls, 75% of the Czech population has a negative attitude towards the Roma, 55% do not want to live near them.

The authorities are systematically taking measures to correct the situation. So, there is the Council of the Government of the Czech Republic on issues of the Roma minority, which is preparing government subsidy plans aimed at financing human rights programs, it is engaged in the introduction of inclusive education, housing for Roma, the settlement of social tension in certain regions of the Czech Republic.

In February 2015, the Czech government adopted the “Strategy for the Integration of the Gypsy Nationality until 2020”, which defined the main areas of efforts: security, housing, social support, education, employment and benefits. This document also includes measures to popularize Gypsy culture, including expansion of the study of Gypsy language in universities, provision of support to Gypsy festivals and museums, etc. So, in Prague with the support of the city magistrate (city hall), the Czech Ministry of Culture and the International Union of Gypsies, the largest in Europe international festival of gypsy culture “Khamoro” is held annually.

Certain progress in the process of perpetuating the memory of those killed during the Second World War in the Nazi concentration camp for the Roma population in the village of Lety (Strakonice district, South Bohemian region), on the site of which there was a private pig farm, can be considered as one of the significant achievements of the Czech authorities in solving the Roma problem. The farm transfer moved from the “Dead End” in March 2018 (the territory of the farm was purchased at the public expense from the owner for 17.7 million euros). This issue is under the personal control of the Czech President M. Zeman. Currently, a project is being prepared to demolish the pig farm for the subsequent creation of a Museum of Romani culture and a Center for the study of the Roma genocide.

Widespread discrimination against Roma in the country was noted with concern by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) following its consideration of the Czech Republic's 2nd periodic report in May 2014, the Committee against Torture following its consideration of the Czech Republic's 6th periodic report in May 2018, and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in its concluding observations on the combined 12th and 13th periodic reports of the Czech Republic in August 2019.[733] [734] [735] The CERD pointed to discrimination against the Roma population in the housing market, often resulting in a large number of Roma living in socially isolated areas, often in so-called dormitories, without legal guarantees of residence and under the threat of forced eviction. A smaller number of Roma are covered by the state health insurance system compared to other ethnic groups, and they have limited access to health services. The unemployment rate is disproportionately high among the Roma.

Roma children are often educated in schools based on incorrect diagnoses for children with intellectual disabilities or mild mental disorders. In addition, segregated schools are widespread in the country, the vast majority of students in which are gypsies.

The Czech government's initiative to count the Roma population has received considerable criticism from human rights organizations. The scandal was caused by the proposed census methods that resemble the “practice of the Third Reich”: it was supposed to classify as Gypsies all persons who were “considered as such by the majority of their neighbors, based on real or perceived anthropological, social or cultural indicators” (for example, by the shape of the face or other anthropological features). As a result, after vague excuses, the government was forced to “hush up” this story and send the document for thorough revision.

Another specific issue that has been repeatedly highlighted by the UN human rights Treaty bodies is the forced sterilization of Roma. In May 2014, CESCR expressed concern about the disproportionately high representation of Roma children in “special institutions”.[736] In May 2018, HRCtte and in August 2019[737] CERD noted with concern that, despite[738] previous recommendations, no effective compensation mechanism has been established for Roma victims of forced sterilization. The only way to get reimbursement for them is a lawsuit. However, HRCtte noted that such cases were subject to a three-year Statute of limitations, which had already expired in many cases.

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Switzerland

In general, despite comments from a number of regional and universal international monitoring mechanisms in the field of human rights, as well as human rights NGOs, the situation in Switzerland as a whole does not cause serious concern to experts, but a number of disturbing trends are registered.

There is no specialized legislation aimed at combating racism and Nazism in Switzerland. The legal basis for combating racism is Article 8, paragraph 2, of the Constitution (prohibition of discrimination based on origin, race, sex, age, language, social status, religious and political beliefs or disability) and Article 261 bis of the Swiss Criminal Code. Calls for racial, ethnic or religious discrimination, public dissemination of such ideology, organization, assistance and participation in relevant propaganda actions, public insults and manifestations of discrimination, denial of genocide and other crimes against humanity, refusal to provide public services on the basis of race are punishable by up to 3 years' imprisonment or a monetary fine.

Extremist, Nazi and racist symbols are not banned in the country (also often in antique stores openly sold Nazi elements of uniforms, signs, etc.), and the punishment for racist attacks is very mild. As early as in 2009, there was a cross-party consensus in the Swiss Federal Parliament on the need to tighten the legal framework to deal more effectively with various extremist manifestations, but this initiative has not yet been implemented and no changes have been made to the legislation.

To date, there is one officially registered right-wing extremist party in the country – the Party of Nationally Oriented Swiss («Partei National Orientierter Schweizer») (PNOS, www.pnos.ch) established in 2000. It has more than 700 members, has branches in 12 of 26 cantons and has links with the ultra-right of the National Democratic Party of Germany, as well as other European ultra-right and anti-Semitic groups. In 2017, PNOS absorbed another radical political structure – the Swiss Direct Democracy Party. Since 2019, the Party is headed by F. Gerber (Florian Gerber). In recent years, PNOS representatives have not participated in elections and are not represented in government bodies, whether at the Federal or regional levels.

Quite nationalistic ideas bordering on radicalism are generated and promoted by the right wing of the largest party in the Swiss Confederation – the Swiss people's party. As a rule, such initiatives are directed against migrants and are associated with restriction of their access to the country and tightening the migration policy of the state as a whole. Concern over reports of racist and xenophobic rhetoric among politicians and the media, as well as the increased intensity of hate speech and acts of violence against Muslims, Jews and Roma, was expressed in July 2017 by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD)[739]

According to the Swiss Federal Intelligence Service (FRS), there are currently between 300 and 400 extremists on the territory of the country who are ready to resort to violence. The number of less aggressive, but at the same time active supporters of right-wing radical ideas is estimated at about 1.5 thousand people. All of them belong to numerous groups based in various regions of the Confederation: such as “Blood & Honor”, “Combat 18”, “Resistance Helvetique”, “Nationale Aktionsfront”, “Nationale Offensive”, “Avalon-Gemeinschaft”, “Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des abendlandes”, “Legion Werwolf Schweiz”, “Association des amies de Robert brasillach”, “Waldstatterbund”, “Volksbund Wasserschloss”, “Helvetische Jugend”, “Kameradschaft Innerschweiz”, “Geneve Non-Conforme”, and others.

The right-wing extremist newspaper Express Zeitung is published in Switzerland (www.expresszeitung.com). The number of its subscribers is more than 7 thousand people. The newspaper is owned by two Swiss citizens: Ruben Buchwalder and Andre Barmettler. The editorial staff is already represented by German citizens, among whom there is a fairly well-known proponent of “alternative facts” and conspiracy theories, Gerhard Wishnewski. The newspaper is printed in Zurich in a printing house owned by Tamedia, one of the largest Swiss media groups.

The annual reports of the Federal Police Office and the Federal Reserve of Switzerland characterize Swiss nationalist organizations as marginal, while at the same time they pose the threat of direct violence as being very real. The annual “Threat Assessment for Switzerland” published in May 2019 by the Federal Council (Government) of Switzerland notes that extremist groups have a fairly large stockpile of weapons, their representatives are engaged in martial arts and have a stable relationship with structures of a similar orientation in neighboring countries.

Loopholes in Criminal Law contribute to the activation of radicals. As a result, such organizations operate freely in Switzerland, sell Nazi artifacts and works, and hold neo-Nazi marches and concerts.[740]

The newspaper “Tages Antsiger” in a publication dated March 4, 2020 highlights that in the last few months in certain large cities of Switzerland (Zurich, Bern, Geneva, Lausanne) there has been a certain intensification of right-wing extremist propaganda. Stickers with text confirming the superiority of the white race (for example, “Look around, all the buildings are constructed by white people”) and a QR code, which scans the Internet page of the extremist media group “Red Ice” appeared in public places.

A certain resonance in the media was caused by the largest meeting of neo-Nazis in the settlement of Galgenen (canton of Schwyz) on November 30, 2019 – an event called the People's Forum, organized by the National Action Front. The “forum” was attended by more than a hundred supporters of radical ideas, including the famous German neo-Nazi Frank Kraemer and representative of another Swiss extremist group “Avalon Community” Adrian Segessenmann. According to journalists, the authorities were aware of the upcoming meeting and even stopped the car of F. Kremer on the Swiss-German border, but did not prevent him from entering the territory of the Confederation, as well as holding the “forum” itself.

Another resonant case was revealed in the summer of 2019, the connection between the head of the Swiss company “Roviva Roth & Cie” Peter Patrick Roth with a Russian-born neo-Nazi Denis Nikitin (Kapustin) and the Swiss citizen’s cooperation with “White Rex”, a brand that makes clothes with extremist and Nazi symbols. As it turned out, back in 2017 P. Roth founded the firm “Fightex AG”, which is still engaged in the supply of such products in Western Europe. Meanwhile, its Director is another Swiss right-wing radical, the Chairman of PNOS F. Gerberas. After the scandal, P. Roth was forced to leave the Board of Directors in his company “Roviva Roth & Cie” in September 2019.

Racism is also registered during carnivals. For example, racist materials were distributed at the Basel Carnival and the Zug Carnival in 2019, and during the latter, a march of a group of people dressed in Ku Klux Klan costumes also took place.

The Swiss authorities also state that currently about 90% of all extremist manifestations occur on social networks and the Internet.

The expert community associated with resistance to the spread of extremist, racist and neo-Nazi ideology is united in the opinion that Switzerland remains one of the few European countries whose legislation allows open discrimination on national or religious grounds. The need to improve Swiss legislation in order to prevent infringement of the rights of national minorities was also highlighted in the recommendations of the Council of Europe's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (AC FCNM) of December 2018.[741]

This is one of the main reasons for the reported manifestations of anti-Semitism. According to the Union of Israeli communities of Switzerland, in 2019, 38 “live” and 485 internet anti-Semitic manifestations were registered in the Confederation. In turn, more than 90% of anti-Semitic actions in the network are registered on Facebook and Twitter.

The HRC Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism drew attention to the relatively high level of anti-Semitism and acts of violence against Jews (in particular, among the French-speaking population of Switzerland). She also pointed to the activation of right-wing extremist groups, which, in her opinion, pose a serious threat to Jewish communities. [742]

AC FCNM also noted repeated cases of violence and increased hostility in society towards the Jewish community, broadcast, including on social networks. For example, in 2017, there were 189 incidents directed against Jews, including six of them – physical attacks, hanging banners on bridges calling for the death of Jews.[743]

In addition, negative sentiments against Muslims are constantly growing, they are accompanied by acts of vandalism in cemeteries, offensive graffiti in mosques. 

There is a widespread practice of racial profiling among law enforcement agencies in Switzerland, police officers are guided by biased criteria based, in particular, on the appearance, color, and ethnic or national identity of certain individuals in the course of operational activities. In particular, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination drew attention to this, highlighting the frequent cases of ill-treatment by the police, especially against asylum-seekers and migrants.[744]

Switzerland abstains from voting in the UN General Assembly on the annual resolution submitted by Russia and other co-sponsors “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. As an explanation of its position, the Swiss party refers to the inadmissibility to restrict the use of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association.

The Swiss authorities prefer to avoid mentioning that more than 2 thousand citizens of the Confederation fought on the side of Nazi Germany during the Second World War (1.2 thousand of them were called up from German territory, about 800 people – as volunteers). At the same time, a negative response was caused by the publication in the media in early 2019 that 49 people in the Confederation continue to receive pensions from Germany for military service in the ranks of the Third Reich.

At the same time, the cantonal and municipal authorities of Switzerland are providing organizational support for Russian compatriots to hold memorial events at the monument to Soviet soldiers located in Basel.

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Sweden

In recent years, there are alarming trends in Sweden in the protection of human rights related to the consequences of large-scale migration and socio-economic challenges that pose risks to the national welfare system.

Cases of discrimination, violence, threats, harassment, hunt on the Internet against certain national and religious groups, and desecration of religious institutions have become more frequent. The activity of aggressive right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi movements continues to increase. The increasing number of their actions, most of which are directed against migrants, national minorities, left-wing politicians, activists and journalists, is registered by the Swedish State Security Service.

The glorification of Nazism in Sweden manifests itself in the form of neo-Nazi public actions.

The main source and the main guide of right-wing extremist ideology in Swedish society is the far-right organization “Northern resistance movement” (Sweden. Nordiska Motståndsrörelsen, SDS) (also known as “Northern Resistance Movement”) which has about 250 active members (according to the estimates of the anti-fascist center “Expo” – several hundred). SDS operates in Sweden on legal grounds and has “independent” supporters. In particular, open sympathies for neo-Nazis and even membership in this organization in the past are attributed to representatives of the country's main anti-migrant parliamentary party, the Swedish Democrats (SD).

SDS traces its history back to the “Swedish Resistance Movement” (SDS), created in 1997 as a result of the merger of a number of right-wing extremist structures operating in the second half of the 20th century. SDS became widely known in December 2013 after a brutal attack by its members on an anti-fascist demonstration in the Stockholm suburb of Karrtorp. In 2015, SDS changed its name to SDS, combining four northern European branches – Swedish, Norwegian, Danish and Finnish. Sweden remains the SDS center, its headquarters is located here (the city of Grangesberg, Dalarna province) and the majority of its members live in this country. Since the same year, the organization has been headed by S. Lindberg. There is information that the SDS has its own publishing house, Nationellt motstånd (“National Resistance”), which publishes propaganda literature, and the newspaper Nationellt Motstånd (“National Resistance”).

The SDS chose the Teivaz rune (or Tora rune) as its symbol, which was used by Nazi structures, including the Hitler youth organization.

As part of its political program, the SDS describes itself as a “right-wing extremist paramilitary Nazi organization” that promotes anti-Semitic views, puts forward anti-Muslim and anti-Roma initiatives, voices calls for “purges” in the ranks of politicians and journalists, and introduces the death penalty. Public actions of the SDS, however, do not enjoy open support among the General population.

More than half of the organization's members were previously convicted (some of them repeatedly) of criminal offences (including murder and attempted murder, violence, theft, incitement to hatred against certain groups of the population, vandalism against religious institutions, and violations of anti-drug legislation). Recently, there have been statements by law enforcement authorities about the merging of the neo-Nazi community with organized crime.

In addition, in 2017-2018, other neo-Nazi movements were also active in the country. Right-wing radicals are consolidated by the online platforms Mutgift (a former information resource of the nationalist “Party of Swedes”), Det Fria Svarje, Ingrid OK Carlqvist, the Swedish nationalist youth movement, and the “Civil Guard: Soldiers of Odin”.

In addition, there is also an intensification of contacts of the Swedish extreme right with the international neo-Nazi community. The country has a branch of the American ultra-right structure “Alt Right” – the “Northern European Alternative Right Sector”. Regular “exchanges of experience” between Swedish neo-Nazis and their like-minded people in the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and other countries are well known.

Neo-Nazis actively initiate campaigns aimed at incitement of ethnic and religious hatred (on average they annually hold about 3,000 actions in the country, these actions are often held back-to-back with ceremonies in memory of the victims of the Holocaust, May Day demonstrations, pacifist and anti-fascist rallies).

So, for example, on May 1, 2019, the neo-Nazi march of the Northern Resistance Movement organization took place in Ludvik (Dalarna province, North-West Sweden). About a hundred people took part in the action. Women in hijabs and clown costumes with the placards “Nazis, away!” made a stand against[745], Women politicians were among them.

In most cases, it is usually about individual statements or actions of individuals who preach an ultra-right ideology. Many of them were brought to justice. On November 5, 2019, a lawsuit was filed against two students from the Skara commune (Västra Götaland county, South-West Sweden) after their statements insulting Jews and welcoming Hitler. On November 27, 2019, a trial was held in Malmö against SDS member T. Malvo on charges of anti-Semitism, racial hatred and the[746] glorification of Hitler (received a suspended sentence and a fine).[747] On March 9, 2020, another member of the SDS, A. Jonsson, was sentenced to 6 months in prison for numerous anti-Semitic appeals and honoring Hitler.[748]

On April 9, 2020, a criminal case was opened against a 60-year-old woman who repeatedly expressed hatred against migrants and welcomed Hitler.[749]

The work of the Swedish law enforcement system, which shows signs of racial profiling, is reprehensible. Repeated cases of compilation of registers of citizens on national, ethnic, gender grounds are noted (despite the fact that such registration is prohibited by law in the country). Concern over the frequent profiling of outwardly visible minorities by the police, in particular with regard to people of African descent, Muslims and Roma, was expressed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in May 2018.[750] In January 2019, Kalla Fakta, a Swedish TV4 program engaged in journalistic investigations, announced that over the previous few months, about 100 cases of groundless police detentions of non-Swedish citizens had been registered.

In addition to clearly neo-Nazi actions in Sweden, the level of unlawful hate speech is also rather high. 6-7 thousand cases of hate crimes are reported anually. About 70% of them have xenophobic and racist overtones. Most of the risks come from right-wing extremists driven by neo-Nazi and anti-migrant sentiments, as well as radical Islamists. Moreover, as it is stated by the practice of investigation, the offender faces real punishment for this type of offences only in 3-5% of cases. In addition to this, there is a distrust of many vulnerable groups of the population, primarily the Jewish and Muslim communities, in law enforcement agencies. It is highlighted that victims of aggression often prefer not to report such incidents to the police.

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, estimates that the results of law enforcement responses to hate crimes are not fully satisfactory, and the number of hate crime cases initiated remains low. According to ECRI, the number of registered cases of defamation and the expression of racially motivated prejudices remains at the same level (643 in 2011 and 635 in 2015). However, the number of cases related to threats increased by 20% (1,650 in 2011 and 1,972 in 2015), agitation against certain groups increased by 39% (396 in 2011 and 552 in 2015), and infliction of damage/graffiti increased by 138% (296 in 2011 and 703 in 2015).[751]

The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), in its report for 2019, noted that surveys of police officers and persons subjected to ethnic profiling revealed that 24% of all respondents of African descent were stopped by the police. Among them, 4 out of 10 (41%) described such incidents as racial profiling. Men of African descent are stopped by the police (22%) three times more often than women (7%)[752]

Meanwhile, Sweden has no legislative ban on the activities of racist organizations under the pretext of the need for absolute respect for fundamental freedoms. Despite calls from most Swedish political parties, efforts to introduce such a ban have been delayed. So, in 2017, the government announced the start of a ban on the use of Nazi symbols (including the SDS emblem – the Torah runes), but actual results have not yet been achieved.

Attention to the current alarming situation in Sweden in the field of hate manifestations was drawn by international human rights monitoring mechanisms. Concern over the existence of racist and extremist organizations in Sweden and their public demonstrations was expressed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in May 2018, especially emphasizing that the creation of organizations promoting and inciting racial hatred is permitted by the state.[753]

The Committee against Torture in November 2014, the Human Rights Committee in March 2016 and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in May 2018 noted the existence of hateful racist remarks in Sweden against Swedish African citizens, Jews, Muslims and Roma, in particular during election campaigns, as well as in the media and the Internet and the persistence of racial violence in the country[754]. Discrimination, the spread of hate speech and violence against ethnic and religious minorities in Sweden, especially people of African descent and Muslims, was pointed out in June 2016 by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.[755]

ECRI in its report on Sweden also highlighted an increase in racist and xenophobic hate speech targeted at migrants, Muslims, people of African descent and Gypsies.[756]

In addition to the aforementioned problems, CERD noted in 2018 a significant difference between the number of reported cases of hate speech and hate crimes and the number of their investigations and criminal prosecutions of offenders. According to the Committee, the most frequent victims of racially motivated hate crimes are ethnic minorities, especially those from Africa. The Committee called on the Swedish authorities to effectively identify, register and investigate cases of racist hate speech, incitement to racial hatred and racially motivated violence and to bring those responsible to justice. Stockholm was also recommended to publicly condemn and distance itself from racist hate speech and xenophobic statements of government officials and politicians, including publications in the electronic media. CERD called on the Swedish authorities to spread the example of national focal points and special groups for combating hate crimes throughout the country (as of 2018, such centers were operating in only three districts of the capital).[757]

The Swedish Jewish community is in a vulnerable position. Its representatives complain that they often face manifestations of aggression, and also criticize the Swedish authorities for not paying enough attention to the problem of anti-Semitism. In 2018 AHRO included Sweden in the top three European countries (along with Great Britain and Germany) with the most acute situation for Jews, specifying that 82% of representatives of this nationality in the country described anti-Semitism as a “serious problem” (for comparison, in 2013 only 60% of respondents chose this answer).[758]

ECRI pointed out the increase in the number of anti-Semitic statements in the country. According to its data, the number of cases initiated in connection with anti-Semitic propaganda has doubled: from 54 in 2011 to 102 in 2015, and threats against Jews from 77 to 127 in the same period. However, according to ECRI estimates, these figures can be significantly higher, as representatives of the Jewish community do not always contact the police, doubting the effectiveness of law enforcement.[759] In Umeå (Northeast Sweden), repeated cases of vandalism and threats against the local Jewish association (Judisk Föreningen) forced the organization to suspend its activities in March 2017 and close its community center. In 2016 and 2017 meetings at schools with survivors of the Holocaust were repeatedly frustrated by the SDS in several Swedish cities, the SDS publicly denied the Holocaust and incited to new anti-Semitic acts, incitement of hatred and quarrels during such events. At the same time, the police refused to take preventive security measures. In 2018, in connection with the unilateral decision of US President D. Trump on the status of Jerusalem, a wave of anti-Semitic speeches and demonstrations swept across Sweden.

At the end of 2018, the Umea Jewish community was dissolved due to ongoing threats. In early 2019, the media published publications on the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Stockholm Carolina University Hospital. In the summer of 2019, due to numerous demonstrations of left-wing anti-Semitic forces, a tennis match in the framework of the Davis Cup between the national teams of Sweden and Israel in Skane was rescheduled.

The discrimination is felt by the constantly growing Muslim community in the country. Latent Islamophobia is widespread in the media and various spheres of public life. Swedish Muslims often face unemployment problems, violations of basic rights in services, social services in the labor market, they avoid the open expression of their beliefs.

Muslims, especially women wearing hijabs, often become victims of hostility and abuse in everyday life. The number of episodes of Islamophobic threats / attacks doubled from 2011 to the 2015 (123 and 247 cases respectively), the number of cases of Islamophobic defamation increased from 38 to 68 cases, damage / graffiti - from 16 to 76 cases (375%), and the number of cases of propaganda against Muslims – from 45 to 102 (127%).

At the end of 2014, three mosques were set on fire in Eskilstuna, Eslev and Uppsala within two weeks. In 2016, mosques were also set on fire; the police did not make any arrests. In 2015, after the beginning of the migration crisis in Europe, there were more than a dozen arson attacks on reception centers for asylum seekers, as well as accommodation facilities for unaccompanied minor migrants.

Of particular concern is the situation in the country's third largest city – Malmö (southern Sweden), where a significant proportion of Muslim refugees have taken refuge, and which is also the third largest city in the country with Jewish population. Due to these circumstances, right-wing extremist movements are traditionally strong in the city.

The Human Rights Committee drew attention to the problems of discrimination based on religion in March 2016, noting a large number of episodes of religious intolerance, including physical violence against persons belonging to religious minorities, in particular Muslims and Jews, and attacks on their places of worship, and the fact that law enforcement agencies did not register all such cases.[760]

There are historical prerequisites for the activity of right-wing radical movements in Sweden. The country, formally adhering to the neutral status during the Second World War and having agreed to significant concessions to Germany (in the form of providing resource support and territory for transit of Hitler's troops to the Eastern front), managed to avoid the hardships of war and the horrors of Nazism.

This circumstance subsequently contributed to the dissemination of a biased interpretation of the events of those years in society, including dissemination under suggestion of biased authors of scientific papers, journalistic publications, school books, and the “Living History Forum”, which operates on state funds.

In Sweden, the concept of “occupation” is quite established in relation to the fact of the entry of Soviet troops into the Baltic States and countries of Eastern Europe, the expansionist character of the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940 is emphasized, Nazism and communism are identified as “totalitarian regimes”. At the same time, the decisive contribution of the Soviet Union to the Victory over Nazism is deliberately diminished, while the role of the allies led by the United States is magnified.

Double standards are also being applied to Nazi collaborators. The Swedish authorities did not initiate any investigative actions against 270 Swedes who fought in the Waffen-SS, many of whom, according to recent studies, were involved in the Holocaust. Swedish law does not allow to prosecute WWII criminals who have found refuge in the country, including those of Swedish origin.

Local anti-fascist circles periodically come out with revealing publications on this issue, recalling that no investigative actions had been initiated in Sweden against A. Hitler's henchmen. In March 2019, a wide resonance was caused by the publication of information that 15 Swedish citizens still were receiving “Hitler's pensions” from Germany as invalids of World War II.

In this regard, the government is already urging to quickly rectify this situation, taking advantage of the experience of neighboring Finland, which published in 2019 a report on the crimes of Finnish members of the Waffen-SS.

A very ambiguous position is taken by the Swedish leadership regarding the condemnation of the glorification of Nazism in the Baltic countries. Official Stockholm publicly repented for the extradition to the USSR a group of Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in 1945. It also blindly looks at the radical statements about the falsification of World War II by the current authorities of these states. Acts of the glorification of Nazism, acts of vandalism and the dismantling of the monuments of Soviet soldiers-liberators in a number of European countries (primarily in Poland, the Baltic states, Ukraine, the Czech Republic) also remain without attention from the Swedish political establishment.

Similar laissez-faire approaches are applied regarding the neo-Nazi manifestations in Ukraine, in 2014-2016. More than 30 Swedish ultra-right fighters freely traveled to participate in the nationalist battalions “Azov” and “Aydar” as a part of the so-called Anti-Terrorist Operation in the Donbass.

Evidence of the politicized nature of Stockholm’s approaches to the fight against neo-Nazism is also the fact that Sweden annually abstains from voting when adopting the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” in fact, positioning itself as a consistent opponent of this initiative.

At the same time, the Swedish municipal authorities faithfully monitor the state of Soviet military graves located in Sweden. For example, thanks to the efforts of local activists, the surveys were conducted to ascertain the fate of the Soviet military internee in the Bühring camp (Södermanland province).

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Estonia

In the Republic of Estonia (ER), the glorification of Estonian Nazi collaborators continues with the support of Estonian Nazi collaborators. The Estonian authorities impose a distorted interpretation of the joint history of Russia and Estonia, based on nationalist ideology and Russophobia. The Soviet period, which is presented by modern Estonian historiography as the “occupation of 1940-1991”, and the events of the Great Patriotic War on the territory of the country, are subjected to the greatest extent of falsifications. On this basis, the myth is built about the “freedom fighters” who fought against the “Soviet aggressors” in the uniform of the Wehrmacht, parts of the Waffen-SS and security and punitive units, camouflaging the glorification of Nazi criminals and their accomplices.

An interpretation of history representing the military personnel of the 20th division of the Waffen-SS (Estonian Legion), members of security and punitive units and anti-Soviet gangs as the fighters against the “Soviet occupation”, is officially introduced. At the same time, information about the involvement of Estonian collaborators in the massacres of civilians in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine is hushed up. The fact that Hitler's henchmen, who are presented as “freedom fighters” in the Estonian national historiography, are being held up as an example for young people.

 The Estonian authorities are attempting to falsify history at the highest level, in order to smear the Soviet Union and the actions of the Red Army that liberated Europe, and to obscure their own unsightly pages of the history linked with cooperation with the Nazis. Another attempt was made on May 7, 2020, when presidents of Lithuania (G. Nauseda), Latvia (E. Levits) and Estonia (K. Kaljulaid) adopted a joint statement on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. In a document published on the official web-sites of the heads of the Baltic countries, they presented their own picture of events that had no real basis and estimated the essence of the victory of the USSR in World War II not as liberation, but as “occupation and annexation” of the Baltic states, supposedly “because the one totalitarian regime (Nazi) was replaced by another (communist)”.

In line with such a policy to whitewash Estonian collaborators and justify their crimes, Estonia abstains every year from voting on the resolution introduced by Russia, together with a number of co-sponsors, of the UN General Assembly resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” (the last time it was adopted on December 18, 2019). The glorification of the Nazi movement and the justification of former members of the SS organization, including Waffen-SS units recognized as criminal by the Nuremberg Tribunal, as well as the cowardly struggle of individual countries against monuments and memorials in honor of fighters against Nazism and fascism are criticized in the document.

The justification of Nazi collaborators is openly encouraged by the “Motherland” Party and Conservative People's Party of Estonia (EKRE) that became part of the ruling coalition in April 2019. EKRE unites active inspirers of whitewashing and entrenchment of Estonian Nazi minions, incitement of ethnic and interracial hatred. A number of its activists spoke positively about the “effectiveness” of the Hitler regime, etc. In particular, the praise of Hitler's leaders and the shouting of Nazi greetings by the head of the foreign policy Department of the EKRE and the youth party wing “Blue Awakening” R. Kaalep received wide publicity in March 2019. The sympathy of the EKRE for the Nazi regime is evidenced by the annual torchlight processions in the center of Tallinn, copying similar actions of the German Nazis.

Monuments to direct participants of Nazi formations are being created on the territory of ER. A blasphemous “contribution” to the glorification of Nazism in Estonia was the opening of a memorial plaque in the honor of SS-Standartenfuhrer and the last commander of the 20th Waffen-SS division A. Rebane on June 22, 2018 in the village of Mustla in Viljandi County (his home village). The memorial plaque has an inscription saying that it is dedicated to the “Estonian freedom fighter, holder of the Knight's Cross with Oak Leaves”. The Russian Embassy sent a protest note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, in which this event was estimated as another attempt to glorify war criminals and their accomplices, the note also contained a denouncement of the glorification of the Waffen-SS military personnel recognized by the Nuremberg Tribunal as a criminal organization, and a demand to dismantle this plaque. In response, the Estonian Foreign Ministry limited itself to a brief reply stating that it was a “private initiative” and “the state has nothing to do with it”. In turn, the press service of the Government of the Republic of Estonia said about this story that during the Second World War, Estonian soldiers, they say, “had to fight in different uniforms, and their memory should be protected with dignity”.

In September 2018, activists of the EKRE, the NGO “Union of Fighters for Freedom of Estonia”, and the NGO “Sakala” restored a model of the monument to the “Estonian defenders” in the town of Lihula. The monument is a granite slab depicting a soldier in the Waffen-SS uniform with German weapons in the hands.[761] The top leaders of the EKRE were present at the rally held within the framework of this action, which brought together hundreds of participants: EKRE chairman M. Helme, his deputies J. Madison and H. Põlluaas (involved in the Russian stop list), former Waffen-SS servicemen and their followers from the “patriotic” organizations and neo-Nazi groups.

Episodes of exaltation of Nazi accomplices in Estonia and the facts of desecration of Soviet memorials were actively covered by civil society organizations, the information resources of Russian compatriots, and the Estonian News Agency “Sputnik”, the business of which was closed on January 1, 2020, under pressure from the authorities, significantly reduced the possibility of inculpation of these shameful phenomena.

The rallies of former SS members and their modern admirers continue on the Sinimäe Heights, Ida-Viru County. In July 2019, in addition to the former members of the 20th Waffen-SS division and their modern Estonian and foreign fans (in particular, from Latvia and Finland), the deputies of the Estonian Parliament from the EKRE and “Motherland” parties, representatives of The Estonian Ministry of Defense and the Kaitseliit (Defense Union) paramilitary organization, as well as members of neo-Nazi groups participated in the rally.[762] A wreath from the Estonian Ministry of Defense with the inscription “From the Estonian people” was laid at the monument to the SS members, a rally was held. Some protesters openly displayed Waffen-SS symbols. The event was coordinated by the NGO “Club of friends of the Estonian Legion” (website www.eestileegion.com).

In the summer of 2019, a fair was held on the territory of the military agitation Museum in Valga (used also for NATO events), where souvenirs with Nazi symbols and propaganda materials of the Third Reich, elements of uniforms and insignia of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS formation, books in English and Estonian about the Waffen-SS and its participants, memoirs of former SS members, as well as shells and ammunition obtained by “seekers” on the battlefields were openly sold.[763] There were a significant number of participants from Latvia at the fair, it is worth to note that Estonian and Latvian participants were communicating in Russian between each other. There is information that such fairs and sales of Nazi products are held at the museum almost every month.[764]

Events devoted to the memory of Estonian SS members are also held with the straight participation of representatives of Estonian state authorities. In August 2019, a hike along the route of the “Erna” Abwehr reconnaissance and sabotage group took place for the 20th time. The final point of the campaign was Kautla settlement, where a decisive battle took place on July 31, 1941 between the saboteurs of “Erna” and the NKVD fighters. The organizer of event, which was attended by representatives of the Estonian Ministries of Defense and the Ministries of Education and Science, was the Estonian Scout Association. It is important that the campaign was carried out with the financial support of the state, as well as several sponsors, among which the automobile corporation Nissan was named. At the same time, participation in the event itself is on the paid basis, this fact[765] confirms the sentiments of its participants. The participation of 26 teams from 4 to 6 people, including NATO troops, was announced in the 20th Hiking Campaign.

On February 24, 2020, the youth organization of the Conservative People's Party “Blue Awakening” held another torchlight procession in the center of Tallinn, it was dedicated to the 102nd anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of the Republic of Estonia (held since 2014). The rally led by M. Helme gathered hundreds of participants, including members of the local neo-Nazi groups “Odin Warriors” and the “Friends of the Estonian Legion Club”, during which the symbols of the Waffen-SS and Nazi Germany were openly demonstrated, nationalistic and xenophobic slogans were chanted.

There is information that photos of Nazi criminals on the websites of the Russian online campaign “Immortal Regiment” in May 2020 were posted, in particular, from the territory of Estonia. The Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case on these facts under article “Rehabilitation of Nazism” by identification of the IP-addresses, from which the photos of the Nazis were downloaded.

Members of Nazi formations in modern Estonia are regularly rewarded with state awards. So, SS members were among those to whom the Minister of Justice R. Aeg awarded the “Oak Wreath of Liberty” on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Withdrawal of Russian Troop in August 2019. “Even the harshest words cannot describe the inhumane horrors that our people had to endure,” he said at the ceremony. “All those who fought for Estonian freedom deserve awards: “Forest Brothers”, Finnish guys, military veterans, members of underground associations and dissidents.” It is characteristic that none of those in 1941-1944 who defended and liberated Estonia from Nazi occupation was on the list of awarded.[766]

A stable trend in the country is the distribution of books and publications that positively cover the period of the German occupation of Estonia, glorify Nazi collaborators and at the same time denigrate Estonia’s presence in the USSR. Materials of this kind are regularly published by the magazine “Culture and Life”. In August 2019, several bookstores in the country sold a reissue in Estonian of A. Hitler’s book “Mine Kampf”.

The most active organizations in Estonia, which advocate neo-Nazism and justify racism, are the “Union of Estonian Freedom Fighters” (includes former SS members), the already mentioned “Club of Friends of the Estonian Legion”, “Young Eagles”, and “Institute of Historical Memory”. In addition, the Finnish neo-Nazi organization Resistance of the Northern Countries, which was banned in September 2018, transferred its activities to Estonia, where its activists registered the National Unity NGO.

Active anti-migrant activities are carried out by the Estonian branch of the Finnish nationalist, racist organization “Warriors of Odin”, established in 2016. Its activists maintain contact in closed groups on the Facebook social network and take part in mass events dedicated to the glorification of Nazi collaborators. Recruitment of new supporters is openly conducted through the group’s web-site www.soldiersofodin.ee.

Human rights activists point out that a fairly significant part of the population of Estonia deliberately and willingly took a course towards the popularization of Nazism, imposed by the authorities. This attitude to a large extent explains the fact that the open glorification of Nazi accomplices entails an increase in manifestations of anti-Semitism in the country, as well as episodes of desecration of monuments to Soviet soldiers. So, in March 2019, in the center of Tallinn, neo-Nazi supporters publicly insulted Estonian Rabbi S. Kota, hinting to him about the fate of Holocaust victims.

In June 2019, occurred the incident of the desecration of Jewish graves, it was the first incident in 100 years, including the period of Nazi occupation: vandals destroyed several tombstones in the Tallinn Jewish cemetery.

Also in 2019, cases of desecration of the graves of soldiers of the Red Army were registered on Saaremaa island: in June, the memorial located in the town of Kuressaare was poured with paint, in August the gravestones in the settlement of Tehumardi, were doused with machine oil. Those responsible for these acts of vandalism were not brought to justice.

Moreover, in addition to vandals, the monuments to Soviet soldiers are being attacked by the Estonian authorities, which are trying to demolish them. In June 2019, the authorities of Taebla settlement of the Lääne-Nigula parish dismantled the memorial from the grave of Soviet soldiers, allegedly “due to the fact that the monument was hampering the reconstruction of a nearby school”. The monument has so far been removed to the territory of the educational institution, there is no access to it. According to the Estonian Armed Forces Museum, the remains of 11 people were exhumed in this place. However, it is specified in the archival information data that 26 people had been buried there. Local authorities justify their actions by references to the legislation on the protection of military burial grounds, allowing the reburial of the remains if they are buried in an “inappropriate place”, which has a fairly broad interpretation.

At the same time, the Estonian authorities prevent the activities of anti-fascist associations. Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on contemporary forms of racism E. Tendayi Achiume, with reference to information from the Estonian center for human rights information, gives data that anti-fascist activists from Finland and Latvia were prohibited to enter Estonia to participate in protests against the glorification of SS veterans. The center also pointed out that the Estonian police stopped a car with two Estonian citizens who were planning to denounce the destruction of the Roma community during World War II at the annual meeting in honor of veterans of the Estonian Waffen-SS Legion.[767]

In Estonia, there is an increase in xenophobia, especially in the Estonian-speaking environment. Anti-migrant sentiments are encouraged by activists from the EKRE. In February 2019, a member of this party, who ran in the parliamentary elections in Tartu, in his campaign video called for voting “for the white”. The video was removed due to numerous complaints about racial overtones.

The party channel of the EKRE -the Estonian-language portal “Uued Uudised” (“New news”) produces publications containing hostility to the inhabitants of the African and Asian region, and inflates the threat of displacement by “non-native peoples”.

As a result, public insults and attacks on immigrants from South-East Asia, the Middle East and Africa became more frequent. The incident that occurred in Tallinn in May 2019 received wide response: a man in a T-shirt with the KNPE logo attacked a native of Pakistan with a cry of “Go home, it's Estonia!” Manifestations of inter-generic and inter-ethnic hatred are increasingly found on users' pages on social networks.

A relatively new phenomenon in Estonia is the radicalization of the Internet, which affects primarily young people. In January 2020, The Estonian Security Police came to a 13-year-old resident of the country, one of the leaders of the international network of neo-Nazi groups “Feuerkrieg Division”. The teenager actively used the Internet to recruit new supporters, spread anti-Semitic and neo-Nazi campaigns, and discuss the preparation of possible terrorist attacks. At the same time, he was not brought to criminal responsibility due to minor status.

The Human Rights Committee (HRCtte) expressed concern about the spread of hatred in Estonia in March 2019. The Committee was most worried that the current legal framework did not provide comprehensive protection against hate speech and hate crimes, in particular due to the relatively lenient sentences and strict requirements for punishment imposition for crimes of incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination in accordance with Section 151 of the Estonian Criminal Code, which requires a “threat to the life, health or property” of the victim. However, other acts, such as public denial, endorsement or justification of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes, or racist or inciting the discrimination propaganda of hatred, are not prohibited by law. Against this background, the Committee noted the frequent episodes of hate speech, including such actions of politicians and opinion-makers, as well as hate crimes.[768]

Estonian authorities that promote the glorification of Nazi collaborators use unfair concept against minority communities.

Despite the fact that the Russian-speaking community has about 370 thousand people (which makes up almost one third of the population – about 28%), the privileged position of the Estonian ethnic group, its language and culture is fixed at the constitutional level in Estonia, a policy of restricting the political, social, economic and cultural rights of the non-titular population is openly implemented.

It is significant that Tallinn has so far not acceded to several key international treaties regulating the rights of national minorities. The legal acts ratified by it, above all the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, are executed incorrectly or not executed at all. The state human rights institutions operating in the country are ineffective and are not able to solve the problems of the non-titular population, being rather a tool for justifying the ethnocratic policy of the authorities.

The most egregious manifestation of discrimination on linguistic and national grounds is the persistence of the phenomenon of “non-citizens” on a mass scale in order to ensure the “ethnic purity” of the Estonian passport. In 1992, the residents of the country (mostly Russians) who did not have citizenship of the pre-war ER (1918-1940) or who were not descendants of its citizens were declared as “non-citizens”. This deprivation in rights is justified by the fact that the Russian population, they say, was “imported” to the country during the “Soviet occupation” and therefore could not claim equal status with the indigenous population. Meanwhile Estonia had grossly violated the norms and principles of the Treaty on the Foundations of Interstate Relations of January 12, 1991 between the RSFSR and the ER, in particular, the provisions of Art. 3, which states that “the Parties will provide the opportunity to obtain citizenship of their countries to all the permanent residents of the respective territories in accordance with his / her freely expressed desire”. There is also no clear explanation of why civilians born in Estonia after 1991 are deprived of their civil rights.

Estonia is one of the top ten countries in the world with the largest number of “non-citizens”. As of January 1, 2020, there were more than about 71 thousand people (about 6% of the population) belonging to “non-citizen” category.

Despite the regular criticism of international organizations, including the UN human rights structures, the OSCE and the European Parliament, as well as human rights NGO’s, the Estonian authorities, following the course laid down in 1991 to build a mono-ethnic and mono-national state, refuse to grant full civil status to this category of residents of the country.

Reproduction of “non-citizens” stopped only since January 1, 2016 after the entry into force of legislative amendments allowing to grant citizenship to children of “grey passport holders” born on the territory of the country. As an additional “indulgence” since 2019, “non-citizens” have been given the opportunity to study in Estonian language courses at the expense of the state budget for the subsequent passing of the citizenship exam.

The amendments that came into force in February this year were even more Jesuit. The amendments granted the right to simplified acquisition of Estonian citizenship without examinations, (after submission of a certificate of statelessness) to minors, if one of their parents or grandparents had a “gray passport” and lived permanently in Estonia when the country gained independence on August 20,1991, and the other one was a citizen of a foreign state. The problem is that 1,393 of 1,523 children under the age of 18, who live in Estonia and meet the conditions of the new law, have Russian citizenship and according to the requirements of Russian legislation will not be able to give up the citizenship until adulthood (the declared category of citizens has no right to have a dual citizenship), so at the moment, only 130 children will be able to take advantage of the simplified acquisition of Estonian citizenship. According to the opinion of the Estonian Chancellor of Justice, U. Madise, the bill is misleading and discriminates against children, since more than 90% of representatives of the relevant category would not be able to exercise their right to titular citizenship before the age of 18.

In March 2019, The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) expressed concern about the large number of persons with undetermined citizenship, which represented 5.5% of the total population as of January 1, 2019. The vast majority of such persons are citizens of the former Soviet Union, who were unable to obtain Estonian citizenship after 1991 due to insufficient knowledge of the Estonian language. The Committee criticized Tallinn for the fact, that the 2015 amendments to the Citizenship Law were quite limited – the amendments did not apply to children of stateless persons aged 15 to 18 years as of January 1, 2016, to children born to stateless parents who had no legal residence in Estonia for the previous five years, and to stateless children whose parents were Estonian citizens but could not transfer their citizenship to a child.[769] Thus, the relevant amendments do not contribute to a quick and effective solution of the problem of “non-citizens”.

It should be noted that earlier in January 2017, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) drew attention to the fact that the amendments to the Citizenship Law did not apply to children with undetermined citizenship between the ages of 15 and 18, and strongly recommended that the Estonian authorities would ensure their accelerated naturalization.[770]

In April 2019 The HR Committee expressed concern about the limited scope of amendments to the Citizenship Law that excluded certain categories of children of “non-citizens”; the strict requirements for state language skills required for naturalization; and the adverse effects of “undetermined citizenship” status on the ability of stateless persons to participate in political life, and recommended that measures should be taken to eliminate these gaps.[771]

In July 2019, The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in a report on the results of the Estonian parliamentary elections in March, noted the need to “increase the level of naturalization of persons with undetermined citizenship in order to grant them full voting rights”.

During the visit to Estonia on 11-15 June 2018, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. D. Mijatovic expressed regret that the authorities were not in the position to mitigate the conditions of naturalization for persons over 65 years of age. Many Russian-speaking elderly people are still unable to obtain Estonian citizenship due to their inability to learn Estonian.[772]

The mentioned comments and recommendations were once again ignored by the Estonian side.

Serious infringement of the rights of national minorities, especially Russian speakers, to obtain education in their native language remains an acute problem. Estonian authorities continue to ignore the “Hague Recommendations on the Rights of National Minorities to Education”, prepared on the initiative of the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities M. Van der Stoel in October 1996 and containing references to fundamental international documents in this area: UN Declaration on the Rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities (Art. 4); UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education (Art. 5); document of the Copenhagen meeting of the Conference on the Human Dimension of the CSCE (Paragraph 34); Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (Art. 14).

Russian is almost completely excluded from Estonian universities. So, at Tallinn University you can study in Russian only in the specialty “Russian Philology” (bachelor's degree) and in magistracy in the specialty “Slavic Languages ​​and Cultures” (education in Russian is still available at some private universities, in particular, in the Business School “Minor” and at the Estonian Academy of Art).

The course on the Estonianization of secondary school education is gaining momentum rapidly (grades 10-12). According to the law, no more than 40% of subjects can be taught in Russian at the gymnasium level.

Refraining for domestic political reasons from further legislative steps to de-Russification, the Estonian authorities are pursuing the tactic of integration of Russian-speaking and Estonian gymnasiums under the pretext of “integration and optimization”. As a result, completely Estonian-language educational institutions are being created without considering the opinions and interests of Russian students and their parents. A vivid example of this approach was the unification in 2019 of two Russian-language and one Estonian-language gymnasium in Kohtla-Järve (more than 75% of the population of the city are Russians) into a new state gymnasium with the Estonian language of instruction. Since the beginning of the school year, more than 10% of Russian-speaking students have left the gymnasium in Kohtla-Järve. The Estonian Ministry of Education called the reason for this a poor knowledge of the state language by students. The statements of the new gymnasium Director H. Agur about the lack of readiness of the departed students for “Estonian school culture” received a wide negative response in the Russian community. At the same time, during discussion of the establishment of a joint educational institution in the spring of 2019, the Minister of Education, M. Reps and H. Agur assured Russian-speaking parents that they would provide all the conditions and necessary language support for the transition of Russian-speaking students to study in Estonian. Similar steps are planned in Narva, where the Russian population is also predominant-despite the fact that the effectiveness of such “optimization” is not confirmed.

In Russian basic schools (grades 1-9), it is still possible to teach up to 100% of the program in Russian. However, the implementation of the Estonian-language component is also increasing. There is a growing number of educational institutions participating in “language immersion” programs, which provide for the teaching of a number of subjects in the state language with a gradual increase in the Estonian language.

The termination of training and professional development of Russian-speaking teachers since the 1990s has had an extremely negative impact on the sphere of Russian-language school education.

As a result, over the past 11 years, the number of Russian-language educational institutions in the country has decreased from 96 to 76.

While the directorate of Russian-speaking secondary schools is being actively forced by the municipal authorities to switch to the Estonian language of tuition (and disloyal persons are forced to resignation), a campaign is being launched in the media to inspire the public with the idea of ​​the “appropriateness of a unified educational system” as from the point of view of the state language support and a guarantee of integration of national minorities into society, so in financial terms. As an example, the management of Sinimäe Primary School announced plans to completely switch to Estonian from Grade 1 “at the request of Russian parents”, despite the fact that 80% of students are Russian – speaking children (although in fact, Estonian parents raise objections to mixed class education).

The linguistic discrimination of non-Estonians is reinforced by the activities of the language Inspectorate, a separate Supervisory and Punitive body, that is not subject to parliamentary or public control. Its functions are limited exclusively to identification of insufficient knowledge or use of the Estonian language and then imposition of sanctions and fines on individuals and legal entities that are disproportionate to violations. At the same time, the authorities ignore the comments of international structures, in particular the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), which operates within the Council of Europe, regarding the repressive nature of this Agency's activities. So, in late February – early March 2020, even the European Parliament Deputy from the ER, Y. Toom, expressed indignation that even after the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic in the country and until the introduction of the emergency, repressions against Russian doctors who according to regulatory authorities, did not have enough skills in Estonian did not stop at all. According to the results of inspections during this crisis period of the medical institutions employees in the north-west of the country (where the majority of the population are Russian-speaking) for the state language skills, one person was dismissed, one was fined, another one received a warning, 15 people got an order to improve their knowledge of the language, 9 persons shall pass the exam.

Such a violent policy of Estonianization, however, did not solve the problem of integration and communication between the titular and the Russian communities, did not contribute to increase of the knowledge of state language among graduates of Russian educational institutions (about 40% could not pass the state language exam for category B1). During all the years of independence, an effective system of teaching Estonian as a non-native language has not been established in the country (32% of the population does not use the state language as a native language). According to the results of the national audit office of Estonia in 2019, the system of teaching the state language was insufficient (the number of people wishing to learn the Estonian language in 10 times exceeded the number of allocated seats), disintegrated and did not have a single focal point, suffered from underfunding and lack of qualified teachers, there was no control over the payouts. Such assessments of the Estonian state institution only confirm the fact that the essence of the problem is not that Russian-speaking residents do not want to learn the language (of which they are constantly accused), but in the absence of a competent systematic approach to the organization of the educational process as a whole.

International control procedures in the field of human rights kept the issue of discrimination in Estonia on the basis of proficiency in the state language on the front barrier. In August 2014, The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted with concern that, although the Equal Treatment Act prohibits discrimination against an employee or potential employee on grounds such as citizenship and ethnic origin, different treatment based on knowledge of the Estonian language is not considered as discrimination if such treatment is permitted by the Civil Service Act or the Languages Act. In this regard, the Committee noted with concern the differences between employment and income levels between the Estonian and non-Estonian population, depending on their language skills. The Committee also noted the consistently high number of persons with undetermined citizenship.[773]

In January 2017, the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) expressed concern about the language policy of secondary schools, which often prevents Russian-speaking students from learning basic subjects taught exclusively in Estonian. It also pointed to general discrimination in access to education against children belonging to ethnic minorities, as well as children with disabilities[774].

In 2019, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights expressed concern about the lack of flexibility in application of the 60% quota for teaching in Estonian in Russian-language gymnasiums. According to CESCR experts, this often becomes an obstacle for Russian-speaking students of Russian-language schools to master basic subjects taught only in Estonian, and, in the case of vocational schools, leads to a shortage of qualified teachers who can teach specialized subjects in order to adequately reflect this percentage and the specifics of the school. The situation is aggravated by the punitive approach of the Estonian authorities to ensure compliance with the Language Act, including through the mandate and functions of the language inspection.[775]

In March 2019, The HR Committee expressed concern about the impact of language policies and practices that continue to hinder the full enjoyment of the rights of the Russian-speaking population on an equal basis with the rest of the country's population. The Committee also supported the opinion of CESCR regarding the inflexibility of application of the quota for teaching in Estonian.[776]

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has criticized the Estonian authorities for incessant discrimination against non-Estonian speakers, who, due to their lack of proficiency in the state language, face systemic discrimination in all areas of public life. This is evidenced by the high level of unemployment and poverty among the non-Estonian-speaking population.[777]

In October 2019, CoE Commissioner for Human Rights D. Miyatovic published a comment on her website sharply criticizing Tallinn’s language policy, in particular in terms of restricting access to public service for minorities by introducing unreasonably strict knowledge of the state language, as well as insufficient consideration of the rights of the non-titular population in the development of language laws. According to the Commissioner, “language policy should not be aimed at deepening integration contradictions, but at reconciling and drawing together different ethnic groups”, and “instead of coercive measures, including sanctions, fines, strict language quotas and inspections, the authorities should stimulate the development of state language by providing additional opportunities for its study, increasing the accessibility and quality of education.”

In September 2019, the Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on National Minorities F. de Varennes, noted that “there is a steady trend in Europe towards eradication of education in minority languages,” he mentioned that he had expressed his concerns to the Baltic countries about their situation with the Russian language.

The problem of unequal representation of titular and non-titular communities in local government bodies, especially in Tallinn, remains acute. In particular, CERD drew attention to the low level of participation of non-titular nationalities in public and political life in Estonia.[778] If we proceed from the principle of proportional representation, then in the Estonian capital, which has about 350 thousand voters, one Deputy of the City Assembly (with a total of 79 seats) should be elected from about 4,430 eligible citizens. However, according to the requirements of the Law on Local Elections it turns out that to elect one Deputy, the “Russian” district needs about 6 thousand votes, while the “Estonian” district needs 2 thousand votes only.

Estonian authorities, having formally enshrined in the Constitution (Article 52) the right to use a second language in local governments, where the state language is not native to the majority of the population, in fact, legally have limited the possibility to exercise this right for areas of compact residence of the Russian-speaking minority in the north-east of the country. Thus, in accordance with the Law on Language of 2011 (Part 3 of Article 5), only citizens of the Republic of Estonia are classified as representatives of the national minority (that is, “non-citizens” are not taken into account, as well as permanent residents of Russia). Thus, in the city of Narva (more than 90% of the population are Russians), when applying the restrictive criterion for citizenship, there are only 47% of non-titular residents, which makes it impossible to introduce Russian as the language of official office work.

This issue is also in the focus of attention of the UN Human Rights Treaty bodies. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was concerned about the excessively high threshold for speakers of minority languages to use their language when communicating with local authorities in the areas of traditional residence of persons belonging to the minority language group. The Committee also expressed concern about the excessive requirements for the use of traditional local names, street names and other public topographical names in the minority language in the areas of traditional residence of people belonging to that linguistic minority [779]

Estonia, which ratified the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in the late 1990s, evades the implementation of the provisions of Art. 11, expressly binding to recognize the patronymics of national minorities, and refuses to enter this data in national identity documents issued to Russian residents. The Estonian authorities also ignore the concerns of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in this regard. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in particular, noted in February 2019 that the obstacles of the Estonian authorities to the use of middle names by national minorities in official personal documents limit their ability to exercise their right to protect their cultural identity.[780]

Tallinn is increasingly abusing the right to block entry to the country of “undesirable” third-country citizens. The Schengen visas of such persons are canceled without any justification, and the claims of affected persons as a rule are left standing by the Estonian Courts (the last case was with the Deputy K. F. Zatulin). This practice was tightened after the adoption of amendments to the Law on Exit and Entry Requirements in autumn 2017 regarding the “significant changes in the modern environment and security requirements”, which gave the Estonian authorities legal tools to block the entry of persons in respect of whom “there was an information that they intended to come to Estonia for criminal purposes, primarily referring to their possible connection with foreign intelligence services” (except, of course, the special services of NATO and EU countries).

So, in recent years, the Estonian Ministry of the Interior denied entry into the country of the correspondent of “Izvestia” A. Zakharov, journalists of TV channel “Russia-1” P. Kostrikov and P. E. Erofeeva, four activists of the Russian public organization “Young Guard of United Russia”, Deputy of State Duma of the Russian Federation K. F. Zatulin.

In the Republic of Estonia, which is regularly nominated for first place in world ratings of freedom of speech, the authorities are waging a tough battle against all dissidents, undesirable representatives of civil society and the media, a variety of methods of pressure on politicians, public figures, human rights activists and journalists, representing a different point of view from the official one, as well as defending the rights of the Russian-speaking community are in common practice. Such methods as political repression, intimidation and harassment, ideological influence, censorship, and the inclusion of certain “persons involved” in the annually published reports of the security services are used, these methods present these persons with “black spot”.

One of the actively used ways is the criminal and administrative prosecution under the false pretext for the consistent discrediting and intimidation (related to the Director of the Civil Society “The Tallinn Pushkin Institute” A. B. Krasnoglazov, head of human rights of “Kitezh” Civil Society and “Russian School of Estonia” M. Y. Rusakov, member of the coordination Council of Russian compatriots of Estonia, the owner of the Internet portal “Baltic” and “Baltijos” A. G. Kornilov). The Estonian State Security Police is increasing psychological pressure on youth activists from among their compatriots, who cooperate with the Russian Embassy.

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Appendices

 

List of Appendices:

  1. The text of the UN General Assembly 74/136 Resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”
  2. The List of Co-Sponsors of the UN General Assembly 74/136 Resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”
  3. Voting results at the adoption of the draft Resolution of the UN General Assembly “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” on December 18, 2019.
  4. Excerpts from the messages of the leadership of the United States and Great Britain to J. V. Stalin in the period 1941-1945.

 

Appendix 1

Seventy-fourth session

Agenda item 68 (a)

 

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 18 December 2019

[on the report of the Third Committee (A/74/397)]

 

74/136. Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

 

The General Assembly,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[781] the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,[782] the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination[783] and other relevant human rights instruments

Recalling the provisions of Commission on Human Rights resolutions 2004/16 of 16 April 2004[784] and 2005/5 of 14 April 2005[785] and relevant Human Rights Council resolutions, in particular resolutions 7/34 of 28 March 2008,[786] 18/15 of 29 September 2011[787] and 21/33 of 28 September 2012,[788] as well as General Assembly resolutions 60/143 of 16 December 2005, 61/147 of 19 December 2006, 62/142 of 18 December 2007, 63/162 of 18 December 2008, 64/147 of 18 December 2009, 65/199 of 21 December 2010, 66/143 of 19 December 2011, 67/154 of 20 December 2012, 68/150 of 18 December 2013, 69/160 of 18 December 2014, 70/139 of 17 December 2015, 71/179 of 19 December 2016, 72/156 of 19 December 2017 and 73/157 of 17 December 2018 on this issue, and its resolutions 61/149 of 19 December 2006, 62/220 of 22 December 2007, 63/242 of 24 December 2008, 64/148 of 18 December 2009, 65/240 of 24 December 2010, 66/144 of 19 December 2011, 67/155 of 20 December 2012, 68/151 of 18 December 2013, 69/162 of 18 December 2014, 70/140 of 17 December 2015, 71/181 of 19 December 2016, 72/157 of 19 December 2017 and 73/262 of 22 December 2018, entitled “A global call for concrete action for the total elimination of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and the comprehensive implementation of and follow-up to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action”,

Acknowledging other important initiatives of the General Assembly aimed at raising awareness about the suffering of victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance and forms of discrimination, including in the historical perspective, in particular regarding commemoration of the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade,

Recalling the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal, and the Judgment of the Tribunal which recognized as criminal, inter alia, the SS organization and its integral parts, including the Waffen SS, through its officially accepted members implicated in or with knowledge of the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity connected with the Second World War, as well as other relevant provisions of the Charter and the Judgment,

Mindful of the horrors of the Second World War, and stressing in this regard that the victory over Nazism in the Second World War contributed to the establishment of the conditions for the creation of the United Nations, designed to prevent future wars and save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,

Noting that neo-Nazism is more than just the glorification of a past movement, it is a contemporary phenomenon with strong vested interests in racial inequality and an investment in gaining broad support for its false claims of racial superiority,

Recalling the relevant provisions of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance on 8 September 2001,[789] in particular Paragraph 2 of the Declaration and Paragraphs 84 to 86 of the Programme of Action, as well as the relevant provisions of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference of 24 April 2009,[790] in particular Paragraphs 11, 13 and 54,

Alarmed at the spread in many parts of the world of various extremist political parties, movements, ideologies and groups of a racist or xenophobic character, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, and at the fact that this trend has resulted in the implementation of discriminatory measures and policies at the local or national level,

Noting with concern that, even where neo-Nazis do not formally participate in government, the presence therein of extreme right-wing ideologues can have the effect of injecting into governance and political discourse the same ideologies that make neo-Nazism so dangerous,

Alarmed at music lyrics and video games that advocate racial hatred and incite discrimination, hostility or violence,

Concerned by the use of Internet platforms by groups that advocate hatred to plan, fundraise and circulate information about public events aimed at promoting racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, such as rallies, demonstrations and acts of violence,

Seriously concerned that neo-Nazi groups, as well as other groups and individuals espousing ideologies of hatred, have increasingly targeted susceptible individuals, mainly children and youth, by means of specifically tailored websites with the aim of their indoctrination and recruitment,

Deeply concerned by all recent manifestations of violence and terrorism incited by violent nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Christianophobia, Afrophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance, including during sports events,

Recognizing with deep concern the continued alarming increase in instances of discrimination, intolerance and extremist violence motivated by antisemitism, Islamophobia and Christianophobia and prejudices against persons of other ethnic origins, religions and beliefs,

Underlining the existing lack of uniformity of norms regarding protected speech and expression and prohibited racial discrimination and advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence,

Noting with concern, in this regard, that the variation in national standards prohibiting hate speech may provide safe havens for neo-Nazi, violent nationalist, xenophobic or racist speech owing to the fact that many neo-Nazi and relevant extremist groups of a racist or xenophobic character operate transnationally by relying on Internet service providers or social media platforms,

Stressing that the purpose of addressing hate speech is not to limit or prohibit freedom of speech, but to prevent incitement to discrimination, hostility and violence, which shall be prohibited by law,

Expressing its concern about the use of digital technologies by neo-Nazis and other extremist and hate groups to disseminate their ideology, while recognizing that digital technologies are of great importance for the enjoyment of human rights and for combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,

Recalling that, in 2020, the international community will celebrate the seventy- fifth anniversary of victory over Nazism in the Second World War, and looking forward in this regard to the initiative to hold a special solemn meeting at the seventy-fourth session of the General Assembly,

1. Reaffirms the relevant provisions of the Durban Declaration and of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, in which States condemned the persistence and resurgence of neo-Nazism, neo-Fascism and violent nationalist ideologies based on racial and national prejudice and stated that those phenomena could never be justified in any instance or in any circumstances;

2. Recalls the provisions of the Durban Declaration and of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, in which States recognized the positive contribution that the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, in particular by the media and new technologies, including the Internet, and full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information can make to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

3. Takes note with appreciation of the report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, prepared in accordance with the request contained in its resolution 73/157;[791]

4. Expresses its appreciation to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and her Office for their efforts to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including the maintenance by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of the database on practical means to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

5. Expresses deep concern about the glorification, in any form, of the Nazi movement, neo-Nazism and former members of the Waffen SS organization, including by erecting monuments and memorials, holding public demonstrations in the name of the glorification of the Nazi past, the Nazi movement and neo-Nazism, declaring or attempting to declare such members and those who fought against the Anti-Hitler Coalition, collaborated with the Nazi movement and committed war crimes and crimes against humanity participants in national liberation movements, as well as by the renaming of streets glorifying them;

6. Calls for the universal ratification and effective implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and urges those States parties that have not yet done so to consider making the declaration under its Article 14, thus providing the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination with the competence to receive and consider communications from individuals or groups of individuals within their jurisdiction claiming to be victims of a violation by a state party of any of the rights set forth in the Convention;

7. Urges States to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination by all appropriate means, including legislation as required by circumstances, while ensuring that the definition of racial discrimination set out therein complies with Article 1 of the Convention;

8. Encourages those States that have made reservations to Article 4 of the Convention to give serious consideration to withdrawing such reservations as a matter of priority, as stressed by the Special Rapporteur;

9. Acknowledges that discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity or religion in all its forms and manifestations, including neo-Nazism, Islamophobia, Christianophobia and antisemitism, is a threat to societies as a whole, not just to those racial and ethnic groups that are their direct target;

10. Recalls that any legislative or constitutional measures adopted with a view to countering extremist political parties, movements, ideologies and groups of a racist or xenophobic character, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups and similar extremist ideological movements, should be in conformity with the relevant international human rights obligations, in particular Articles 4 and 5 of the Convention and Articles 19 to 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

11. Encourages States parties to the Convention to take appropriate measures to ensure that their legislation is in accordance with their obligations under the Convention, including those under article 4;

12. Emphasizes once more the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur that “any commemorative celebration of the Nazi regime, its allies and related organizations, whether official or unofficial, should be prohibited” by states,[792] also emphasizes that such manifestations do injustice to the memory of the countless victims of the Second World War and negatively influence children and young people, and stresses in this regard that it is important that States take measures, in accordance with international human rights law, to counteract any celebration of the Nazi SS organization and all its integral parts, including the Waffen SS, and that failure by states to effectively address such practices is incompatible with the obligations of states members of the United Nations under its Charter;

13. Expresses deep concern about increased frequency of attempts and activities intended to desecrate or demolish monuments erected in remembrance of those who fought against Nazism during the Second World War, as well as to unlawfully exhume or remove the remains of such persons, and in this regard urges States to fully comply with their relevant obligations, inter alia, under Article 34 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 1949;[793]

14. Firmly condemns incidents that glorify and promote Nazism, such as acts involving pro-Nazi graffiti and paintings, including on monuments dedicated to victims of the Second World War;

15. Expresses alarm over the use by neo-Nazi groups, as well as other groups and individuals espousing ideologies of hatred, of information technologies, the Internet and social media to recruit new members, especially targeting children and young people, and to disseminate and to amplify their hate-filled messages, while recognizing that the Internet can also be used to counteract these groups and their activities;

16. Notes with concern the significant number of racist incidents worldwide, including the rise of skinhead groups, which have been responsible for many of these incidents, as well as the resurgence of racist and xenophobic violence targeting, inter alia, persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, or on any other grounds, including arson attacks on houses and vandalization of and violence in schools and places of worship and cemeteries;

17. Reaffirms that such acts may, in certain circumstances, be qualified as falling within the scope of the Convention, that they may not be justifiable as exercises of freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of association and freedom of expression and that they will often fall within the scope of Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and may be subject to certain restrictions, as set out in Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the Covenant;

18. Encourages States to take appropriate concrete measures, including legislative and educational ones, in accordance with their international human rights obligations, in order to prevent revisionism in respect of the Second World War and the denial of the crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during the Second World War;

19. Calls upon States to take active measures to ensure that education systems develop the necessary content to provide accurate accounts of history, as well as promote tolerance and other international human rights principles;

20. Takes note of the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur that education that seeks to undercut the racist effects of nationalist populism should include accurate and representative accounts of national history that give voice to racial and ethnic diversity and that expose the untruths of those who attempt to write ethnic groups out of national histories and identities in order to sustain ethnonationalist myths of racially or ethnically “pure” nations;[794]

21. Condemns without reservation any denial of or attempt to deny the Holocaust, as well as any manifestation of religious intolerance, incitement, harassment or violence against persons or communities, on the basis of ethnic origin or religious belief;

22. Affirms its deep commitment to the duty of remembrance, and welcomes the call of the Special Rapporteur for the active preservation of those Holocaust sites that served as Nazi death camps, concentration and forced labour camps and prisons, as well as his encouragement to States to take measures, including legislative, law enforcement and educational measures, to put an end to all forms of Holocaust denial;[795]

23. Takes note of the conclusions of the Special Rapporteur that revisionism and attempts to falsify history may, in certain circumstances, fall under the prohibition of hate speech under Article 4 (a) of the Convention, which States are required to declare as offences punishable by law,[796] and that neo-Nazi recruitment attempting to mainstream extreme ideologies or racial, ethnic or religious hatred and intolerance may fall under Article 4 (b) of the Convention;

24. Calls upon States to continue to take all appropriate measures aimed at preventing and countering hate speech, including on the Internet, and incitement to violence against persons in vulnerable situations, including the organization of meetings and violent protests, fundraising and engagement in other activities;

25. Expresses deep concern about attempts at commercial advertising aimed at exploiting the sufferings of the victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Second World War by the Nazi regime;

26. Stresses the need to respect the memory and that the practices described above do injustice to the memory of the countless victims of crimes against humanity committed in the Second World War, in particular those committed by the SS organization and by those who fought against the Anti-Hitler Coalition and collaborated with the Nazi movement, and may negatively influence children and young people, and that failure by states to effectively address such practices is incompatible with the obligations of states members of the United Nations under its Charter, including those related to the purposes and principles of the Organization;

27. Also stresses that all such practices may fuel contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, antisemitism, Islamophobia, Christianophobia, xenophobia and related intolerance and contribute to the spread and multiplication of various extremist political parties, movements and groups of a racist or xenophobic character, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, and in this regard calls for increased vigilance;

28. Expresses concern that the human rights and democratic challenges posed by extremist political parties, movements and groups are universal and no country is immune to them;

29. Emphasizes the need to take appropriate measures necessary to counter the practices described above, and calls upon states and all other stakeholders to take more effective measures in accordance with international human rights law to prevent, counter and combat those phenomena and extremist movements of a racist or xenophobic character, which pose a real threat to democratic values, and to increase their vigilance and be proactive in strengthening their efforts to recognize and effectively address those challenges;

30. Underlines the importance of data and statistics on racist and xenophobic crimes for identifying the types of offences committed, the profiles of victims and of perpetrators and whether the latter are affiliated with extremist movements or groups, thus enhancing better understanding of the phenomenon and identifying effective measures to address such racist and xenophobic crimes, and recalls in this regard the commitments made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development[797] on data, monitoring and accountability, including collecting data disaggregated by characteristics relevant in national contexts;

31. Encourages States to adopt further measures to support training for the police and other law enforcement bodies on the ideologies of extremist political parties, movements and groups whose advocacy constitutes incitement to racist and xenophobic violence, to strengthen their capacity to address racist and xenophobic crimes, to fulfil their responsibility for bringing to justice the perpetrators of such crimes and to combat impunity;

32. Expresses deep concern about the increased number of seats occupied by representatives of extremist parties of a racist or xenophobic character in a number of national and local parliaments, and emphasizes in this regard the need for all democratic political parties to base their programmes and activities on respect for human rights and freedoms, democracy, the rule of law and good governance and to condemn all messages disseminating ideas that are based on racial superiority or hatred and that have the objective of fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

33. Takes note of the concern of the Special Rapporteur regarding the resurgence of neo-Nazism in contemporary times and growing support for and acceptance of neo-Nazism and related ideology in an increasing number of countries;[798]

34. Notes with appreciation, in this regard, the call of the Special Rapporteur upon political leaders and parties to strongly condemn incitement to racial discrimination or xenophobia, to promote tolerance and respect and to refrain from forming coalitions with extremist parties of a racist or xenophobic character;[799]

35. Welcomes the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur to continue to take steps through national legislation, in accordance with international human rights law, aimed at preventing hate speech and incitement to violence, to withdraw support – financial and otherwise – from political parties and other organizations that engage in neo-Nazi or other hate speech and to take steps to dismantle responsible organizations where such hate speech aims, or can reasonably be expected, to incite violence;[800]

36. Encourages states to improve diversity within law enforcement agencies, and urges them to take all appropriate measures to facilitate the filing of complaints about and to impose appropriate sanctions against those within the public service found to have committed racially motivated violence or to have used hate speech;

37. Expresses deep concern about the increase in reported cases of racist, antisemitic, Islamophobic, Arabophobic, Afrophobic and xenophobic manifestations during sports events, including those committed by extremist groups of a racist or xenophobic character, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, and calls upon States, international organizations, sports federations and other relevant stakeholders to strengthen measures to address such incidents, while also welcoming the steps that many states, sports federations and clubs have taken to eliminate racism at sporting events, including through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which require human understanding, tolerance, inclusion, fair play and solidarity;

38. Recalls the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur to introduce into national criminal law a provision according to which committing an offence with racist or xenophobic motivations or aims constitutes an aggravating circumstance, allowing for enhanced penalties,[801] and encourages those states whose legislation does not contain such provisions to consider that recommendation;

39. Notes measures taken by States to prevent discrimination against, in particular but not limited to, persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities, people of African descent, Roma, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and to ensure their integration into society, urges States to ensure the full and effective implementation of legal, policy and institutional measures protecting these individuals and groups, including women and girls, and recommends that States effectively guarantee to everyone, without discrimination of any kind, their human rights, including those related to safety and security, access to justice, adequate reparation and appropriate information about their rights, and pursue prosecution and adequate punishment, as appropriate, of those responsible for racist and xenophobic crimes against them, including the possibility of seeking reparation or satisfaction for damages suffered as a result of such crimes;

40. Underlines that the roots of extremism are multifaceted and must be addressed through adequate measures such as education, awareness-raising and the promotion of dialogue, and in this regard recommends the increase of measures to raise awareness among young people of the dangers of the ideologies and activities of extremist political parties, movements and groups;

41. Reaffirms, in this regard, the particular importance of all forms of education, including human rights education, as a complement to legislative measures, and calls upon states to continue to invest in education, in both conventional and non-conventional curricula, inter alia, in order to transform attitudes and counteract ideas of racial hierarchies and superiority, and counter their negative influence, and to promote the values of non-discrimination, equality and respect for all, as outlined by the Special Rapporteur;

42. Recognizes the paramount role of education in promoting human rights and combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, especially in promoting the principles of tolerance, inclusion and respect for ethnic, religious and cultural diversity and preventing the spread of extremist racist and xenophobic movements and ideas;

43. Strongly condemns the use of educational material and rhetoric in educational settings, which promulgate racism, discrimination, hatred and violence on the basis of ethnic origin, nationality, religion or belief;

44. Emphasizes the recommendation of the Special Rapporteur presented at the sixty-fourth session of the General Assembly, in which he emphasized the importance of history classes in teaching the dramatic events and human suffering which arose out of the adoption of ideologies such as Nazism and Fascism;[802]

45. Stresses the importance of other positive measures and initiatives aimed at bringing communities together and providing them with space for genuine dialogue, such as round tables, working groups and seminars, including training seminars for state agents and media professionals, as well as awareness-raising activities, especially those initiated by civil society representatives, which require continued state support;

46. Underlines the positive role that relevant United Nations entities and programmes, in particular the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, can play in the aforementioned areas;

47. Reaffirms article 4 of the Convention, according to which states parties condemn all propaganda and all organizations which are based on ideas or theories of superiority of one race or group of persons of one colour or ethnic origin, or which attempt to justify or promote racial hatred and discrimination in any form, and undertake to adopt immediate and positive measures designed to eradicate all incitement to, or acts of, such discrimination and, to this end, with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in Article 5 of the Convention, inter alia:

(a) Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, and incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts against any race or group of persons of another colour or ethnic origin, and also the provision of any assistance to racist activities, including the financing thereof;

(b) Shall declare illegal and prohibit organizations, and also organized and all other propaganda activities, which promote and incite racial discrimination, and shall recognize participation in such organizations or activities as an offence punishable by law;

(c) Shall not permit public authorities or public institutions, national or local, to promote or incite racial discrimination;

48. Also reaffirms that, as underlined in Paragraph 13 of the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence should be prohibited by law, that all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, or incitement to racial discrimination, as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts, shall be declared offences punishable by law, in accordance with the international obligations of states, and that these prohibitions are consistent with freedom of opinion and expression;

49. Notes the launch by the Secretary-General of the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, which can play its part in addressing hate speech around the world while upholding freedom of opinion and expression, in collaboration with Governments, civil society, the private sector and other partners;

50. Recognizes the positive role that the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, as well as full respect for the freedom to seek, receive and impart information, including through the Internet, can play in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

51. Calls upon states to strengthen freedom of expression, which can play a crucial role in promoting democracy and combating racist and xenophobic ideologies based on racial superiority;

52. Expresses concern about the increased use of digital technologies to promote and disseminate racism, racial hatred, xenophobia, racial discrimination and related intolerance, and in this regard calls upon states parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to counter the dissemination of the above-mentioned ideas while respecting their obligations under Articles 19 and 20 of the Covenant, which guarantee the right to freedom of expression and outline the grounds on which the exercise of this right can be legitimately restricted;

53. Recognizes the need to promote the use of new information and communications technologies, including the Internet, to contribute to the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

54. Also recognizes the positive role that the media can play in combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, promoting a culture of tolerance and inclusion and representing the diversity of a multicultural society;

55. Encourages States, civil society and other relevant stakeholders to use all opportunities, including those provided by the Internet and social media, to counter, in accordance with international human rights law, the dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred and to promote the values of equality, non-discrimination, diversity and democracy;

56. Encourages national human rights institutions, where they exist, to develop appropriate programmes to promote tolerance, inclusion and respect for all and to collect relevant information in this regard;

57. Notes the importance of strengthening cooperation at the regional and international levels with the aim of countering all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, in particular regarding issues raised in the present resolution;

58. Stresses the importance of cooperating closely with civil society and international and regional human rights mechanisms in order to counter effectively all manifestations of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, as well as extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, and other similar extremist ideological movements that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

59. Recalls the request of the Commission on Human Rights, in its resolution 2005/5, that the Special Rapporteur continue to reflect on this issue, make relevant recommendations in future reports and seek and take into account in this regard the views of Governments and non-governmental organizations;

60. Invites states to consider including in their reports for the universal periodic review and their reports to relevant treaty bodies information on the steps taken to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, including with the aim of implementing the provisions of the present resolution;

61. Requests the Special Rapporteur to prepare, for submission to the General Assembly at its seventy-fifth session and to the Human Rights Council at its forty-fourth session, reports on the implementation of the present resolution, and encourages the Special Rapporteur to pay specific attention to Paragraphs 5, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 24, 25, 42 and 44 above, based on the views collected in accordance with the request of the Commission, as recalled in Paragraph 59 above;

62. Expresses its appreciation to those Governments and non-governmental organizations that have submitted information to the Special Rapporteur in the course of the preparation of her report to the General Assembly;

63. Encourages States and non-governmental organizations to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur, including by providing information on developments with regard to the issues raised in the present resolution in order to contribute to the preparation of future reports to the General Assembly;

64. Stresses that such information is important for the sharing of experiences and best practices in the fight against extremist political parties, movements and groups, including neo-Nazis and skinhead groups, and other extremist ideological movements that incite racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance;

65. Encourages Governments to invest more resources in building and sharing knowledge on successful positive measures to prevent and counter racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that go beyond sanctioning violations once they have occurred, including the provision of remedies to victims of relevant violations;

66. Encourages Governments, non-governmental organizations and relevant actors to disseminate, as widely as possible, information regarding the contents of and the principles outlined in the present resolution, including through the media, but not limited to it;

67. Decides to remain seized of the issue.

 

50th Plenary Meeting

December 18, 2019

 

Appendix 2

List of Co-Sponsors of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly Resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” 

(Excluding Russia)

  1. Azerbaijan
  2. Algeria
  3. Angola
  4. Antigua and Barbuda
  5. Bangladesh
  6. Belarus
  7. Benin
  8. Bolivia
  9. Brazil
  10.  Burkina Faso
  11.  Burundi
  12. Venezuela
  13. Vietnam
  14.  Haiti
  15.  Guyana
  16.  Gambia
  17.  Ghana
  18.  Guinea
  19.  Zimbabwe
  20.  India
  21.  Jordan
  22.  Kazakhstan
  23.  Cambodia
  24.  Cameroon
  25.  Kyrgyzstan
  26.  China
  27.  Congo
  28.  DPRK
  29.  Comoros
  30.  Cat-d'Ivoire
  31.  Cuba
  32.  Laos
  33.  Lebanon
  34.  Mauritania
  35.  Mali
  36.  Morocco
  37.  Myanmar
  38.  Namibia
  39.  Nigeria
  40.  Nicaragua
  41.  Pakistan
  42.  Seychelles
  43.  Senegal
  44.  Serbia
  45.  Syria
  46.  Sudan
  47.  Suriname
  48.  Sierra Leone
  49.  Tajikistan
  50.  Togo
  51.  Tunisia
  52.  Turkmenistan
  53.  Uganda
  54.  Uzbekistan
  55.  Philippines
  56.  CAR
  57.  Equatorial Guinea
  58.  Eritrea
  59.  Ethiopia
  60.  Republic of South Africa
  61.  Jamaica

 

Appendix 3

Voting results on the draft resolution “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” at the Plenary Meeting of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly

December 18, 2019

Affirmative votes (Y): 133

Dissenting votes (N): 2

Abstained (A): 52

A

Afghanistan

-

Dominica

A

Liechtenstein

A

Samoa

A

Albania

Y

Dominican Republic

A

Lithuania

A

San Marino

Y

Algeria

Y

Ecuador

A

Luxembourg

Y

Sao Tome and Principe

A

Andorra

Y

Egypt

Y

Madagascar

Y

Saudi Arabia

Y

Angola

Y

El Salvador

Y

Malawi

Y

Senegal

Y

Antigua and Barbuda

Y

Equatorial Guinea

Y

Malaysia

Y

Serbia

Y

Argentina

Y

Eritrea

Y

Maldives

Y

Seychelles

Y

Armenia

A

Estonia

Y

Mali

Y

Sierra Leone

A

Australia

Y

Eswatini

A

Malta

Y

Singapore

A

Austria

Y

Ethiopia

-

Marshall Islands

A

Slovakia

Y

Azerbaijan

Y

Fiji

Y

Mauritania

A

Slovenia

Y

Bahamas

A

Finland

Y

Mauritius

-

Solomon Islands

Y

Bahrain

A

France

Y

Mexico

Y

Somalia

Y

Bangladesh

Y

Gabon

-

Micronesia (Federated States of)

Y

South Africa

Y

Barbados

Y

Gambia

A

Monaco

-

South Sudan

Y

Belarus

A

Georgia

Y

Mongolia

A

Spain

A

Belgium

A

Germany

A

Montenegro

Y

Sri Lanka

Y

Belize

Y

Ghana

Y

Morocco

Y

Sudan

Y

Benin

A

Greece

Y

Mozambique

Y

Suriname

Y

Bhutan

Y

Grenada

Y

Myanmar

A

Sweden

Y

Bolivia

Y

Guatemala

Y

Namibia

A

Switzerland

Y

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Y

Guinea

Y

Nauru

Y

Syrian Arab Republic

Y

Botswana

Y

Guinea-Bissau

Y

Nepal

Y

Tajikistan

Y

Brazil

Y

Guyana

A

Netherlands