Forms and methods of work with convicts of various categories for the purpose of prevention of ideology of extremism and terrorism

Abstract. The article describes the activities of the public organization "Urals Association" Center for Ethno-Confessional Studies, Prevention of Extremism and Counteraction to the Ideology of Terrorism "in Yekaterinburg for work by juveniles at risk and convicted serving sentences in places of deprivation of liberty in the Sverdlovsk Region for the purpose of prevention ideology of extremism and terrorism.

According to the Legal Statistics Portal http:// crimestat.ru, the Russian Federation has seen a gradual decrease in crimes, although their number remains significant: in 2010, 2,628,799 crimes were registered; and in 2018 the number had decreased to 1,991,532. This number includes 112,201 of the most serious crimes; and 200,306 drug trafficking crimes, etc. In addition, in 2018, 1,679 crimes of terrorism and 1,265 crimes of extremism were recorded. The number of extremism and terrorism crimes is smaller compared to crimes of a general criminal nature, but, as you know, these crimes have a high degree of public danger [1].

Modern definitions of extremism explain this phenomenon as a set of destructive pseudo-historical ideas implemented in the form of radical public appeals and practical actions, often of a violent nature and aimed at splitting society and destroying the state.

In Russia, at the legislative level, priority is given to measures aimed at preventing extremist activities, as well as the importance of the interaction of state bodies with the institutions of civil society (confessions, national-cultural associations and other public associations) in activating responsible citizens to help counter extremism.

Thus, the current Strategy for Countering Extremism in the Russian Federation until 2025 [2] conceptually prioritizes the prevention of extremism in relation to criminal law methods.

Article 2 of the Federal Law dated July 25, 2002 No. 114-Фз «On Countering Extremist Ac- tivities» among the basic principles of countering extremist activities indicates the priority of measures aimed at preventing extremist activities, as well as the need for state cooperation with public and religious associations, other organizations, citizens in countering extremist activities [3].

Terrorism is an extreme form of extremism, which is understood as a criminal public use of violence to destabilize state authorities or international organizations or influence their decisionmaking. At the same time, the Federal Law «On Countering Terrorism» is not only about the violence itself, but also about the threat of the use of this violence [4].

Terrorist crimes include not only and not so much terrorist acts themselves, but rather involvement and recruitment into terrorist organizations, participation in them, their financing, distribution of materials of terrorist organizations, etc.

However, according to international and domestic experience in countering terrorism, the use of force can only prevent a specific threat of a terrorist act. To radically reduce the threat of terrorism, it is necessary to destroy the very system of its reproduction, which is based on the ideology of terrorism, its carriers, as well as its distribution channels.

That is, of paramount importance is a preventive work which mainly aims to reduce the level of radicalization of various groups of the population, especially youth, and to prevent their involvement in terrorist activities.

Since persons who commit extremism and terrorism crimes are promptly identified by law enforcement agencies and, after being convicted, are placed in a penitentiary system to serve their sentences, there is a serious risk of spreading of a destructive ideology of a various nature in prisons. Moreover, this can be facilitated by an increase in the number of foreign citizens who fall into prison for general crimes, since they are a risk group, among which ideologists of extremist and terrorist organizations may find supporters, especially when it comes to radical Islamist movements[6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12].

The problem is that the number of migrants in Russia averages about 10 million people. At the same time, according to various estimates, about a quarter of them (about 2 million people in 2018, 2.6 million people in 2017) are illegal migrants. Foreign citizens commit offences, including criminal ones, and end up in detention facilities. The most common offences include drug trafficking, crimes against the person, theft, use of forged documents and other2.

The «Comprehensive Plan for Countering the Ideology of Terrorism in the Russian Federation for 2019 - 2023», approved by the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin on December 28, 2018 [5], pays much attention to preventive work in prisons. In particular:

  • Implementation of socio-economic measures stipulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation in respect of persons serving their sentences for terrorist crimes aimed at their resocialization.
  • Information campaigns with persons serving sentences in the penitentiary system to explain the criminal nature and social danger of terrorism with the involvement of representatives of religious and public organizations, psychologists.
  • Involving persons serving sentences for terrorist crimes, including non-custodial offenses, in preventive measures provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation in the form of individual preventive conversations involving representatives of religious and public organizations, psychologists, explaining to persons their moral and legal responsibility towards society, the state, social and legal consequences of terrorist activities.

The spread of the terrorism ideology among convicts is a serious problem since a great many convicts are opposed to the state system; many have the skills for handling weapons; and the promise of protection «in prison camp» and forgiveness of all sins by Islamist terrorist groups may be an attractive incentive to join such organizations.

The Comprehensive Plan for Countering the Ideology of Terrorism in the Russian Federation indicates public organizations for some reason. One of these organizations is the Ural Association Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies, Prevention of Extremism and Countering the Ideology of Terrorism - a non-profit organization established in Yekaterinburg in January 2017. The public organization unites veterans of antiterrorist divisions, scientists and other specialists with a wealth of theoretical and practical experience in anti-extremist and anti-terrorist work.

The purpose of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... is to assist state authorities at various levels in the study of ethno-confessional processes, harmonization of inter-ethnic and inter-religious relations, countering the ideology of extremism and terrorism, and patriotic education of citizens. As well as facilitating to strengthen peace and harmony between representatives of various nations and followers of various faiths.

The main forms of activity are:

  • Conducting analytical and scientific research in the field of inter-ethnic and inter-confession relations, migration processes.
  • Organizing and holding lectures, round tables and conferences on ethno-confessional topics, anti-extremist and anti-terrorist, patriotic orientation.
  • Assistance and support to law enforcement agencies and veterans of divisions involved in the fight against terrorism.

These activities are carried out both with the help of experts from the Sverdlovsk region, and with the involvement of the best specialists from various regions of the Russian Federation. The Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... developed 10 awareness-raising programs aimed at various categories of the population.

In particular, the workers of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... pay serious attention to the prevention of the extremism and terrorism ideology in detention facilities.

Our public organization has the concept of «working with those who have taken a false step». It comes down to the idea that each person may get in a difficult life situation: in particular, children from dysfunctional families or those who have no parents and are raised in orphanages. Initially, they fall into the risk zone and if they do not find understanding or support, they may choose the wrong path and got involved in illegal activities. They can also be involved in various kinds of extremist and terrorist organizations. To prevent this, we hold meetings with children from fostering institution who have lost their parents or left without their care, as well as children who need help and protection of the state. Such a meeting, for instance, was held in the Nevyansk district of the Sverdlovsk region in February 2018. Meetings are also held with adolescents who are under preventive control in the juvenile affairs offices. Such a meeting, for instance, was held at the police office No. 14 of Yekaterinburg. Over the past two years, regular educational work has been carried out with a group of «difficult teenagers» from some schools in Nizhny Tagil, the second largest city of the Sverdlovsk region. The first meeting with them was held in May 2018. The President of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies..., a member of the International Veterans Association of Counter-Terrorism Special Forces «ALFA», Sergey Aleksandrovich Pavlenko, and a colonel of the internal service in reserve, the former head of Medical and Correctional Institution No. 51 of Nizhny Tagil Yuri Evgen'evich Kasimov talked with students about life, its difficulties and joys. During the conversation, it was revealed that the guys potter away, do not play sports, have learning and behavior problems, they are aware of the events occurring in the criminal circles of the city, they know criminal authorities, but they are not aware of the history of the country and its heroes. Sergey Pavlenko told the children about his childhood in Nizhny Tagil, that many of his friends of youth had chosen the wrong path, and as a result, their life ended very dramatically. «I made a decision to serve in special forces when I was a kid, I took a lot of sports, and in the end my dream came true, the main thing is to set a goal and pursue it». Then they talked a lot about the Russian army, about various types of troops, the latest weapons and training of military servicemen. «There, in the army, in the special forces, we had and have a real fraternity, which is still preserved», said Sergey Aleksandrovich, «we always came and come to each other’s help in difficult times, support the families of the dead soldiers, commemorate them, and what you are being told about the «thieving fraternity» is a myth. I have devoted many years of my life to the fight against crime and terror, and I am aware of the structure of the criminal world, they have their own laws, they use young people for their own selfish interests».

The former head of the Medical and Correctional Institution No. 51 of Nizhny Tagil Yuri Kasimov addressed the guys: «Guys, believe me, prison is not a good place, it’s not a resort or a sanatorium, you don’t need to romanticize the criminal world, it’s not so beautiful as they say. Young or middle-aged people get to detention facilities, that is, they spend the best years of their lives serving sentences for their crimes, and when they are released they cannot get a normal job. Over the years spent in prison «a person breaks contact with former friends, children who have not seen their fathers grow up, many become sick, do we need to aim for this?» The meeting had an impact on teenagers and similar meetings are held regularly. At least once every two months, various meetings are arranged for the children: meetings with veterans who show them elements of close-handed fight, trips to theater and other cultural institutions, work on future career guidance, etc. Some positive changes have already been notable: the interest towards the subculture of AUE (Convict’s/Prisoner’s Practice) passes away, their behavior has changed for the better, their academic performance and interest in learning has increased.

Preventive work with juvenile offenders is carried out. Despite the truth of folk saying «there is no fence against ill fortune», and there are some teenagers who have chosen the wrong way, it is also important to convey to them that there are crimes whose public danger is not comparable to the terrorism crimes. On November 18, 2017, a meeting was held in the Kirovgrad juvenile correctional facility to discuss this. Boarder were told about the tragedy in the city of Beslan in September 2004, were showed video clips, the purpose of which is to protect children from the impact of extremist and terrorist organizations.

Separately, preventive work is carried out with adult convicts:

The most extensive anti-terrorism project Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... was the photo exhibition «Eternal memory to you, Beslan!» The exposition was based on photographic materials provided to the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... by the museum of the school-gymnasium No. 1 named after the heroes of the Russian special forces in the city of Beslan, as well as freely available on the Internet. In August, our organization launched an initiative to use this photo exhibition and a video based on it in events dedicated to the Day of Solidarity in the Fight against Terrorism. Our initiative was supported by the Ministry of General and Professional Education of the Sverdlovsk region, the Department of Youth Policy of the Sverdlovsk region, several universities of Yekaterinburg, the administration of 12 municipalities of the Sverdlovsk region and Main Department of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Sverdlovsk region. The photo exhibition got wide media coverage. Thus, thousands of residents of the Sverdlovsk region could see the photo exhibition designed to form a rejection of the terrorism ideology.

A separate category is convicts who practice Islam. Under certain circumstances, convicts who practice Islam, serving sentences in the colonies of the Sverdlovsk region, have not had the opportunity to meet with Islamic imams since 2016.

To help address this issue, in May 2017, correctional institutions of the Sverdlovsk region (CI-2, CI-10 in Yekaterinburg, CI-13 in Nizhny Tagil, CI-46 in Nevyansk) at the invitation of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... and the Main Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia in the Sverdlovsk region were visited by a member of the PMC of the Kemerovo region, the first deputy chairman of the Central Regional Institution Central Muslim Spiritual Board of Russia of the Kemerovo region, the imam khatib of the Munir Cathedral Mosque Rubin Munirov to conduct conversations with convicts professing the Islamic faith on spiritual and moral topics, and on the prevention of extremist and terrorist attitudes. During conversations with convicts, the imam focused on the inadmissibility of violence, theologically argued the need to comply with internal regulations in detention facilities, answered questions of concern from convicted Muslims. More than 150 convicts took part in the meetings with the imam.

To systematize the work with convicts professing Islam, the Regional Muslim Spiritual Administration of the Sverdlovsk region under the jurisdiction of the Central Muslim Spiritual Administration of Russia signed a cooperation agreement with the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... and the Main Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia for the Sverdlovsk region.

As part of the implementation of these Agreements, on February 26, 2018, a methodical seminar was held for imams of the Sverdlovsk region to train them to work with convicts professing Islam with the participation of the administration of the regional governor and the Main Directorate of the Federal Penitentiary Service.

The next day, a methodical seminar was held with the participation of the imam akhoond of the Sverdlovsk region Radifullah Gindullin and the imam khatib of the Munir Mosque Rubin Munirov with the deputy heads of the colonies of the Sverdlovsk region. The meeting was attended by more than 50 employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia.

Within these seminars, Rubin Munirov also visited the colony of Ivdel, located 500 km from Ekaterinburg. More than 100 convicts from 4 colonies took part in the meetings with the imam.

The Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... is looking for new forms of work with convicts. Thus, on April 27-28, 2018, the head of the Museum of the School No. 1 named after the Heroes of the Special Forces of Russia Nadezhda Il'inichna Guriyeva and her daughter Irina, who were hostages at the school in 2004, visited the Sverdlovsk region at the invitation of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... to hold meetings on the anti-terrorist topic with the public, with students of higher educational institutions of Yekaterinburg, journalists, as well as convicts from the detention facilities and employees of institutions of the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia. A meeting with more than 200 convicts took place in the Correctional Colony No. 10 of Yekaterinburg (strict regimen). The story of this heroic woman, who lost two children during the terrorist attack, stabbed convicts to the heart and had a strong educational effect. On September 3, 2018 on the Day of Solidarity in the Fight against Terrorism, the President of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... S. Pavlenko visited Correctional Colony No. 2 of Yekaterinburg for a meeting with convicts. The meeting was attended by 600 people. He was speaking about the grief caused by terrorism on the example of Beslan and other terrorist acts committed in recent years in the Russian Federation. This performance was videotaped and shown in other colonies of the Sverdlovsk region.

Experts of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... regularly hold seminars for employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service to inform them about the activities of various extremist and terrorist ideologies, forms and methods of disseminating their views, in particular, in detention facilities. So, in February - March 2019, with the participation of experts of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan and experts of the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... several meetings were held with the heads of correctional institutions and personnel to give lectures on countering the ideology of radical subcultures and countering the spread of ideas of religious extremism in subordinate institutions.

These are just some of the most interesting examples of systematic work carried out by the Center for Ethnic and Confessional Studies... together with the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service for the Sverdlovsk region aimed at preventing the ideology of terrorism, which was presented in Novosibirsk at an expanded meeting of the Scientific Council of the CIS Anti-Terrorism Center in April 2018 and obtained a positive assessment of experts of this international organization as a good model that can be applied in other countries and regions.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Legal Statistics Portal [Electronic resource]. Access mode: URL: http:// crimestat.ru (access date: April 04, 2019).
  2. The Strategy for Countering Extremism in the Russian Federation until 2025 (approved by the President of the Russian Federation on November 28, 2014 No. Пр-2753) [Electronic resource]. Access mode: URL: http://www.consultant.ru/ document/cons_doc_LAW_194160/ (access date: April 04, 2019).
  3. Federal Law «On Countering Extremist Activities» No. 114-Фз dated June 25, 2002 [Electronic resource]. Access mode: URL: http://www.consultant.ru/ document/cons_doc_LAW_37867/ (access date: April 04, 2019).
  4. Federal Law «On Countering Terrorism» No. 35-Фз dated March 06, 2006 [Electronic resource]. Access mode: – URL: http://www.consultant.ru/document/ cons_doc_LAW_58840/ (access date: April 04, 2019).
  5. Comprehensive Plan for Countering the Ideology of Terrorism in the Russian Federation for 2019 - 2023, approved by the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin on December 28, 2018 URL: https://admkrai.krasnodar.ru/content/1324/ show/464321/ [Access date: April 04, 2019].
Year: 2019
City: Almaty