MINELRES: SOVA-Center: April: a seasonal outburst of racist violence in Russia

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Tue Apr 25 18:18:39 2006

Original sender: SOVA Center <mail@sova-center.ru>

April: a seasonal outburst of racist violence in Russia

Traditionally, April in Russia is associated with outbursts of racist
violence. Contributing factors include Adolph Hitler's anniversary in
April that Russian skinheads always try to mark by racist attacks, and
simply the fact that it is usually warmer and Nazi-oriented teens spend
more time outside. 

Unfortunately, this April is no exception: out of the 13 killings
committed by racists and neo-Nazi since the beginning of the year, seven
took place in April, and 19 people were beaten and wounded (a total
number of people beaten and wounded in racist attacks are at least 87
since the beginning of the year). These are very conservative estimates,
of course. 

Last week, especially 20 April, was anticipated with concern in Russia.
Police were on stand-by, their numbers reinforced; formally, it was
explained by preparations to the celebrations of Passover and Orthodox
Easter, and only in a few cities (such as St. Petersburg), police
publicly admitted that they were preparing to 20 April. 

In Novosibirsk, on 20 April, a racist attack was prevented thanks to the
head of security staff at the Novosibirsk State University, who noticed
a group of youngsters looking like skinheads stalking a student from
Kazakhstan – the security chief called the police and told his men to
escort the boy to the dormitory, so the skinheads had to retreat. But it
was an extremely rare case of attack being prevented. Unfortunately,
despite the measures taken, casualties could not be avoided. 

In the evening of 19 April, on the campus of the Mechnikov Medical
Academy in St. Petersburg, a student from India was seriously wounded.

On 20 April, in the center of Kostroma, a young Azeri girl was beaten by
skinheads, and on the next day, 21 April, a group of skinheads attacked
and beat four students from China. Fortunately, all the victims
survived, and the attackers were detained by police and now face charges
for incitation of ethnic hatred. 

On 22 April, a young Armenian man was stabbed to death in the Moscow
metro. He was waiting for his friend to go to the Orthodox Easter
service together, when a group of teenagers with shaven heads and
dressed “like skinheads” came out of a train car, attacked and stabbed
him several times with a knife, and immediately disappeared.  

Apparently, the above is only a fraction of racist crimes committed
recently. Most racist attacks which take place on the eve or immediately
following 20 April either become known much later, or never. 

SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, Moscow 

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