Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Russian authorities blame Internet for inciting ethnic and religious strife

The Office of the Prosecutor General of Russia blames the Internet for the distribution of extremist and racial hostilities in the nation. Deputy Prosecutor General Viktor Grin said in his speech at the Russian State Duma Tuesday that about 500 websites in the Russian zone of the World Wide Web incite international strife.

The official said that such websites contain tips on making explosives, and provide detailed descriptions on how to place the bombs properly for a successful attack. The official added that the criminals, who conducted terrorist attacks with the use of bombs in different cities and towns of Russia, used the information of those websites.

In addition, one may find whole books on the subject of terrorism on the Internet too. Viktor Grin also pointed out that violent computer games propagate hostility against people of other nationalities.

The official said that the Internet activity must be subjected to legal regulations to cease the use of latest technologies in the propaganda of terrorism and racial hatred.

Moscow is the ultimate leader in Russia on the number of hate crimes. Nineteen crimes (with lethal outcomes) have been committed in Russia on the base of the national or religious hostility during the first half of the current year. Seventeen of those crimes have been committed in Moscow. All of those 17 grave crimes have been committed by groups of young men aged between 16-22 years old. The men attacked nationals of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

Two hundred and fifty extremist crimes have been reported in Russia in total during the first six months of this year. Moscow is the leader at this point with 73 hate crimes.

It is worthy of note that local authorities have already denied access to several websites, which the Office of the Prosecutor General considered extremist-oriented. Such measures have been taken in the Novosibirsk region of Russia, for example.

There is a number of websites which contain appeals to change the constitutional organization of the Russian Federation and conduct terrorist acts against Russia. They also contain the materials to justify the humiliation of the national dignity and the incitement of racial and religious strife.

The popularity of the Internet has doubled in Russia during the recent three years. However, more than a half of Russian citizens – 69 percent – do not use the World Wide Web. Twenty percent of Russians used the Internet this year as a source of information only.

The Internet does not take the lead in Russia yet in comparison with other sources of information, opinion polls say. Only eleven percent of the polled said that they use the Internet daily. Nine percent of the polled said that they use the net several times a week, whereas seven percent said that they use it several times a month.