MINELRES: Bigotry Monitor: Volume 4, Number 34 (summary)
Thu Sep 30 16:44:42 2004
Original sender: UCSJ <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Volume 4, Number 34
Friday, September 24, 2004
A Weekly Human Rights Newsletter on Antisemitism, Xenophobia, and
Religious Persecution in the Former Communist World and Western Europe
EDITOR: CHARLES FENYVESI
(News and Editorial Policy within the sole discretion of the editor)
Published by UCSJ: Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union
The shockwaves of the carnage at the Beslan school siege that ended on
September 3 continue to roll.
1. PUTIN CENTRALIZING POWER RAISES WESTERN CONCERNS. The centralization
of government President Vladimir Putin announced earlier this month will
expand his already considerable executive power at the expense of
democracy and human rights. But his measures that David Ignatius of "The
Washington Post" characterized as "Putin's putsch" are unlikely to help
him win the war on terrorism. ... Western diplomats in Moscow are not
confident about cooperation with the Kremlin, "The Financial Times"
reported and quoted one as saying: "Russia is less and less a partner
with whom we have a common language."
2. CHECHEN LEADER CLAIMS CREDIT FOR BESLAN ATTACK. Chechen rebel
commander Shamil Basaev issued a statement declaring that his fighters
were responsible for the Beslan school siege in North Ossetia, according
to the Chechen rebel web site Kavkaz-Tsentr that posted the statement on
September 17. He blamed the slaughter of more than 300 hostages on
President Putin's order to storm the school and charged Western leaders
with responsibility as well. He also claimed credit for the downing of
two passenger planes and the attacks in the Moscow metro in August.
3. MOSCOW POLICE SWOOP DOWN ON ILLEGAL RESIDENTS. In Operation Migrant,
Moscow police detained more than 16,000 people and deported more than
800 on September 15 and 16, reported RosBusinessConsulting on September
4. YOUNG RUSSIANS ATTACK CAUCASIANS ON MOSCOW SUBWAY. A gang of young
Russians attacked four people from the Caucasus on a Moscow subway car
late Saturday night, September 18, severely injuring them, Interfax
5. CHECHENS IN MOSCOW AFRAID TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES. "With a fresh wave of
anti-Caucasian xenophobia sweeping the country, many Chechens say they
now rarely leave their homes, fearful of even their neighbors," Mark
MacKinnon in Canada's "Globe and Mail" of September 15 reported from
Moscow, detailing a brutal FSB intrusion into the apartment of one
Chechen family. MacKinnon also mentioned that last week in the Ural
mountain city of Yekaterinburg, gangs of youths armed with clubs,
chains, and Molotov cocktails attacked cafés owned by Armenians and
Azeris, killing one person and seriously wounding two others.
6. VLADIVOSTOK SKINHEADS KILL NORTH KOREAN. On September 4, the day
after the Beslan siege ended, five skinheads stabbed a North Korean
construction worker in Vladivostok, according to a September 9 report by
7. POLICE BEAT TO DEATH RUSSIAN ARRESTED WITH EXPLOSIVES. Reuters has
reported a puzzling case of a would-be terrorist who was caught in
Moscow in his car packed with explosives. He told the police that he was
paid $1,000 to drive the car to a major thoroughfare used by President
Putin to travel to and from the Kremlin. Seven hours later the man was
dead. At first, officials listed a heart attack as the cause of death.
But then Interfax revealed that a postmortem established that the man
had been beaten to death and prosecutors started an investigation to
determine whether his captors might be guilty of "exceeding professional
authority" and "causing grievous bodily harm, leading to death."
MURDER LEADS TO PRISON SENTENCE. Two skinheads in Penza were sentenced
to seven years in prison for an April 2003 crime spree, according to the
local newspaper "Reporter" of September 21.
KHABAROVSK POLICE ABUSE JEWS. A prominent Jewish businessman in
Khabarovsk was beaten by antisemitic police, according to the local
newspaper "Amursky Meridian" of August 18, forwarded to UCSJ by
Aleksandr Bekhtold, local monitor for a European Commission funded
project to monitor xenophobia in Russia.
VANDALS TARGET LVIV RUSSIAN CENTER. For the third time this year,
vandals targeted the Russian Cultural Center in Lviv, Ukraine, according
to a September 22 report by the GlavRed news web site. During the night
of September 21, unidentified vandals threw bottles and rocks at the
center's concert hall, shattering four windows. The center's director
asked for a criminal investigation and reminded the police that no
criminal case was launched to look into the previous incidents.
VANDALS ARRESTED; POLICE DENY HATE CRIME. Four youths in Donetsk,
Ukraine have been arrested in connection with the August 22 vandalism of
Jewish tombstones in the cemetery called Don Sea, according to the local
newspaper "Donbass" of September 21. Police deny that the vandals were
motivated by any "political, religious or racial" motive or that they
belong to any extremist group. The police theory is that the crime was
"spontaneous," which the writer of the article dismisses as unlikely. As
the youths are not being charged with a hate crime, the most they face
is a fine.
PUBLIC HEALTH TEXTBOOK SPURS ANTISEMITIC RESPONSES. A public health
textbook designed to educate youths in Kyrgyzstan about AIDS has sparked
several antisemitic reactions because the author is a prominent leader
of the country's small Jewish community, according to a September 20
report by the AEN news agency.
BERLIN BANS ISLAMIC CONFERENCE BACKING TERRORISM. On September 20,
Berlin's city government banned an Islamic conference following
expressions of concern by security officials that it would be a forum
for supporting terrorism, the Associated Press reported.
FAR RIGHT GAINS IN GERMANY CAUSE ALARM. A surge of support for the far
right in elections in two German states, once part of East Germany and
now economically depressed, "alarmed mainstream Germany, " Reuters
reported on September 20.
* * * QUOTE OF THE WEEK, A DARK PREDICTION * * * "Russia is about to
turn itself into a dictatorship," wrote Masha Gessen in an article
titled "Red to Brown" in the current issue of the weekly "New Republic"
dated September 27. "Using as a pretext the fear that has gripped his
country, President Vladimir Putin has announced sweeping political
reforms that will eliminate all direct elections except those for
president, who, through a convoluted process, will effectively appoint
members of parliament."
RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH STRONGER
Minority Faiths Suffer, State Department Says
Carefully, with precision laced with occasional hints of anger, the
State Department has recorded the steady, if slow and gradual decline of
religious freedom in the Russian Federation this past year. "Conditions
deteriorated somewhat for minority religious faiths although government
policy continued to contribute to the generally free practice of
religion for most of the population," said the chapter on Russia in this
year's International Religious Freedom Report released on September 15.
* * * *
Last week no newsletter was published on account of Rosh Hashana. Next
week we take another break, due to the holiday of Sukkot.
* * * *
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