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Moscow Ethnic Riots
December 21, 2010 15:17

The murder of a young soccer fan Egor Sviridov by a group of men from the Caucasus in Moscow on December, 6 caused some race riots. Is it time to say there is a problem of ethnic hatred in Russia?

The retaliatory aggression has been manifested on Saturday, December, 11. Thousands of people took part in protest actions, demanding to investigate the murder of Egor Sviridov, killed by a group of eight people from the Caucasus, a region between the Black and Caspian Seas. According to "The New Yorker" magazine, these people can be compared with Italian-Americans, stereotyped as "dark-haired, swarthy, passionate southerners with a taste of organized crime". That's why Russians call them "black". With the Soviet Union collapse many Caucasians (as well as ethnic Russians, Ukrainian and others) started migrating to Moscow, the center of commerce and opportunity. There were rumours that Caucasians had bribed the police to release the murderers from jail. On December, 11, a response riot brought together seven thousand guys — hooligans, nationalists and run-of-the-mill hoodlums to protest the murder of Sviridov. The crowd was screaming "Russia for Russians!" and throwing bottles, garbage and heavy objects at the police. Several brave policemen tried to shelter some swarthy-looking men from the wrath of the neo-fascists. The riots moved underground where the nationalists continued attacking persons with Non-Slavic appearance.

The city was discouraged with these events. Some strange rumors appeared in the Internet during the whole week, reporting about new pogroms. The mass slaughters had been expected to take place near Kievskiy railway station on December, 15. That day police detained about 800 people. The foreign journalists columnists were surprised to see on the riots many teenages and almost kids from Caucasus. As it is said in "The New Yorker", "many of the Russians who gathered were girls decked out in their cutes pink pants and Uggs". "If I weren't for the special forces and the teens' shouts of "Russia for Russians!" it could have been a Justin Bieber concert", reports "The New Yorker" journalist. According to the magazine, it was hard to take the protest seriously, especially when the kids, shouting "Moscow for Muscovites!" turned out to be from outside the city. Anyway the arrested people were carrying bladed weapons, traumatic and air pistols, gas pistols and smoke grenades.

Clashes between nationalists and migrants from the Caucasus were expected to repeat again on December, 18 and 19. And again many posts appeared on the Internet promoting the new riots.

"The New Yorker" journalist reports, that Oleg Kashin, a journalist who covered youth movements for the Russian daily Kommersant, told him, "There nationalistic organizations are shot through with police and are well-controlled by the FSB".

According to "The Guardian", "Russia has a growing racism problem, with nationalist feelings increasingly stoked by the government since the collapse of the Soviet Union left an ideological vacuum". The international press is beginning to wondwer why tensions have finally boiled over. According to "The Guardian", there is a theory that the unrest was stoked by the government of V. Putin to prove the need for his authoritarian rule. According to TMCNET, "many Russian observers in the past have noted links between nationalist groups and some part of officialdom, saying that hard–liners within the government may be supporting the nationalists to justify tight Kremlin controls and fend off efforts to open up Russia's political system." It is important to note, that there are also some suggestions that kid's murder and the retaliatory ethnic riots has complicated reasons. Of course this agression has been building for years, but the main reason for this "explosion" is the World Cup 2018, according to some people suggestions. It's obviously that the venue of the championship doesn't suit somebody. Such manifestations of extremism can easily affect the committee's decision to move the World Cup to a different location. We have 8 years left and one thing is clear — they will not be the easy ones.

Ksenia Dzha

Tags: Soviet Union racism in Russia Moscow   

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