The Russian Federation has experienced an upsurge in hate violence during the past decade, and currently the country has arguably the highest number of violent hate crime murders in Europe. The government’s inability to cope with racially motivated attacks—which claimed as many as many as 470 lives since 2004 and peaked in 2008/2009—manifests itself through vivid reminders of the neo-Nazi movement’s potential as a viable threat to public stability and an aggressive opponent to the Russian government.
As recently as December 2010, the uneasy atmosphere in Russia’s interethnic relations erupted in extreme violence, when ultranationalist groups were able to quickly mobilize thousands of supporters to spread xenophobic rhetoric and rally in downtown areas. The police were, once again, late in responding to the riots. President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin reacted with strong condemnation of both the attacks and the unrest, yet their calls did not lead to arrests or concrete improvements, thereby further reinforcing impunity.