The Moscow Times reports:
Sixty-three football fans aged 13 to 16 were briefly detained last weekend amid drunken clashes that left a dark-skinned man dead and two others injured. No suspects, however, were being held Monday for the violence, which police blamed on drunken rowdiness rather than xenophobia. [LR: The KKK said the same] Sergei Nikolayev, a 43-year-old native of the republic of Buryatia, in eastern Siberia, died Saturday of stab wounds to the torso, police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev said. "Most probably, the fans got drunk and walked down the street chanting loudly," Gildeyev said. "Nikolayev probably asked them to be quiet, which provoked the attack." Two other men -- natives of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan -- were hospitalized with knife and baseball bat injuries. Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin also said the attacks did not appear to be racially motivated. He said investigators had "established a circle of suspects," Interfax reported. [LR: Nope, everybody knows Russia is racially enlightened, no reason to suspect racism just because dark-skinned people get stabbed by mobs of frenzied whites]
The 63 teenagers who were detained were celebrating with beer in Vorontsovsky Park, near the Noviye Cheryomushki metro station, after watching the Spartak Moscow football club beat crosstown rival FK Moscow 3-1 on Saturday afternoon. The teens then proceeded to the nearby Arkhitektora Vlasova Ulitsa, where the deadly attack on Nikolayev took place at around 5 p.m., Gildeyev said. Nikolayev died from his wounds in the ambulance. Shortly afterward, a 37-year-old Uzbek, Gaildjan Gulyashov, was stabbed on the adjacent Nametkina Ulitsa. Gulyashov was hospitalized, and his life was "probably not in danger," Gildeyev said. A little later, on the same street, a Tajik, whom Gildeyev could not immediately identify, was attacked by teens carrying baseball bats. "These people were unfortunately just in the wrong place at the wrong time," Gildeyev said. As for Nikolayev, he said, "This isn't a hate crime. After all, Nikolayev is a Russian citizen."
Galina Kozhevnikova, deputy director of Sova, which tracks hate crimes, called Gildeyev's remarks "simply ridiculous." "How can they instantly reject the hate crime motive when all three victims have dark skin and football fans are known to be from the ultra-right?" Kozhevnikova said."Authorities are under clear instructions to deny the fact that xenophobia exists at all in this country," she added.
The detained fans were all released after police established their identities, Gildeyev said, adding that the matter was now in the hands of the Investigative Committee within the City Prosecutor's Office. Gildeyev said he did not know whether any of the 63 detainees were suspected in the violence. Repeated calls to the Investigative Committee went unanswered Monday. In a separate incident, an Uzbek native in his late 20s was stabbed to death in eastern Moscow on Sunday night, Interfax reported. Police found two knives, a glove and 10,000 rubles in cash at the scene, on Pervomaiskaya Ulitsa. Kozhevnikova said that with the weekend deaths, 52 people have been killed and exactly 400 have been injured in hate crimes this year. Both figures are higher than those for all of 2006.