29 Nov 2018 15:31

Around 70% of extremist crimes committed online in 2018 - Russian prosecutors

MOSCOW. Nov 29 (Interfax) - The rate of extremist crimes committed online in Russian has dropped for the first time in eight years, Russian Prosecutor General's Office spokesman Alexander Kurennoi said on Thursday.

"There was 100% growth in such crimes (Article 282 of the Russian Criminal Code, on incitement of hatred or enmity, or abasement of human dignity) between 2011 and 2017, but a 10% decline was seen in 2018 for the first time in years. About 70%, two-thirds, are related to information posted on the Internet," Kurennoi said on the agency's online video channel.

"Almost 95% of such criminal cases are related to information posted on the social network VKontakte. The crimes mostly result from calls to action, incitement of inter-ethnic enmity, or "propaganda regarding ethnic or racial superiority," he said.

The large number of crimes is rooted in online anonymity, which gives people a feeling of impunity, Kurennoi said.

However, law enforcement agencies have learned how to find suspected extremists, Kurennoi said. "It is not always easy to find out where a person who posts particular information is. But we manage to do so despite the anonymity," he said.

The agency recorded six extremist murders in 2017, only two committed were committed that year, Kurennoi said. Two crimes were committed against Russian servicemen in a conflict zone abroad, and "the rest were crimes from previous years uncovered and recorded in 2017," he said.

There were two crimes committed in "real life" this year; the rest were perpetrated online, Kurennoi said. "Courts found 301 people of such crimes guilty in the first half of this year. Twenty-nine of them were guys younger than 18," he said. A total of 481 persons, including 50 minors, were convicted in 2017, he said.

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