Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Racism and Xenophobia in Russia

From RFE/RL:
More than 20 million migrants enter Russia each year, according to Russia's Federal Migration Service. Some come in search of work, others are drawn by Russia's affordable and still prestigious higher education. But the tide of racism and xenophobia unleashed by the collapse of the Soviet Union has made life in Russian cities a nightmare for dark-skinned immigrants and foreign students. Attacks on foreigners have become particularly common in St. Petersburg -- the nongovernmental association Sova estimates that 14 people have already been injured and two killed in racially motivated attacks this year in the city. The latest victim, a Senegalese student, was shot dead last week with a hunting rifle decorated with a Nazi swastika.
RFE/RL presents an account of how, "in a rare show of solidarity, several hundred Russians and foreign students took to the street on April 11 to denounce escalating violence against dark-skinned foreigners in St. Petersburg." There is also analysis of the growing problem, and some interviews with human rights activists and foreign students.

Neeka's Backlog has a link to photos of yesterday's rally.

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