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Monday, May 01, 2006

Yet More Race Violence in Russia

The Moscow News reports that yet another dark-skinned foreigner has fallen prey to cowardly, bloody race violence in St. Petersburg, supposedly Russia's most enlightened and open-minded of cities.

The paper reveals:

An Indian student was stabbed with a knife in central St. Petersburg district late on Wednesday. The fifth-year student, Anjani Kumar, 23, of the local Mechnikov Medical Academy was returning to his hostel on Wednesday night, when he was attacked by a group of “unidentified” youths, who stabbed him in the neck. According to local agencies, the Indian student has been hospitalized and is reportedly out of danger.The incident comes in the wake of a string of racial attacks by Russian skinheads in different parts of the country to mark Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler’s birthday on Thursday. Although there is a visible police presence in public places frequented by non-whites, many Asian and African expatriates and students have decided to stay at home on Thursday. Police are looking into the incident, which took place only days after a Senegalese university student was murdered in St. Petersburg in what investigators are considering a possible hate crime. The victim was gunned down as he and a group of fellow African students were leaving a night club earlier this month. Lamzar Samba was a fifth-year student at St. Petersburg’s Communications Institute, who belonged to African Unity, a human rights organization that represents the interests of the city’s African community. AP quoted the city’s deputy prosecutor, Andrei Lavrenko, as telling NTV television that a hunting gun decorated with a swastika was found at the crime scene.Racist violence is a mounting problem in Russia. Members of ultranationalist and other groups regularly harass or attack Africans, Asians, and non-Slavic residents from the Caucasus or the formerly Soviet republics of Central Asia. A group calling itself the Party of Freedom welcomed the killing in St. Petersburg, saying on its website, “the cleanup of the city continues.”

Russia's neo-Soviet dictatorship offers none of the law-and-order advantages of centralization but all of the economic and political disadvantages. In fact, it is hard to be sure that the Kremlin does not actually condone this killing. Remember how active Russia was in seeking to protect its "Slavic little brother" when NATO attacked Yugoslavia? Where is all that Russian energy now? Nowhere to be seen.

Is it possible that Russia actually wants to send the message that all foreigners should get out? Oh my, it is indeed. MosNews reports that this year, which is not even half over, has already seen 14 racial killings and 92 injuries in the course of 100 attacks, basically one every other day. La Russophobe has already documented three such incidents and the blog has not even existed for one month yet.

4 comments:

Michael van der Galien said...

I saw a documentary about this very topic not too long ago. It is horrifying what's going on in Russia when talking about racist violence. People get beaten up in the metro. Some of those racist groups even film their 'actions' (in which they attack innocent people from another 'race').

What was really strange, was that the journalist was able to go undercover in such a group... If a journalist is able to do this, why isn't the police?

La Russophobe said...

This issue dovetails rather conveniently with the Kremlin's recent assault on NGOs in Russia. The plain fact is that the presence of foreigners in Russia has always been disconcerting to authorities, because by definition foreigners don't think like Russians and therefore have the potential to upset the Kremlin's applecart. In the neo-Soviet Union, it may well be or become policy to drive them out, and Russia's traditional xenophobia, propagated by this policy, leaves the foreigners with little hope for relief.

Reith said...

It is terrible that these racist attacks take place in Russia. If only Russia could be more like America.

La Russophobe said...

REITH: Ah yes, the good old insane Russophile canard that if something bad happens in America, it's just fine if it happens in Russia.

Just a few little problems with that line of "thinking":

1. Whenever the topic of something good about America comes up, Russophiles always say that doesn't apply to Russia because Russia is a "different country."

2. America's population is growing, Russia's is falling.

3. When race violence happens in America, there is a national sensation and all sorts of dynamic political activity. In Russia there is silence. If someone, like you, says that race violence is just fine because other countries do it, they are castigated as BEING a racist.

4. Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, Congressional Black Caucus, Black Panthers, Malcom X. Care to name their Russian counterparts?

5. Instead of proposing solutions to Russia's problem, you rationalize and justify it with propaganda. In other words, you're part of the problem.