Thursday, October 05, 2006

Russian Government "Legitimizing Xenophobia and Discrimination"

By June of this year, the Sova Information and Analysis Centre in Moscow estimated that 18 people had been killed and over 100 injured as a result of racially motivated crimes in the Russian Federation, many of which involved nationalist-organized attacks on foreigners.

In September, Russian nationalist race riots directed against Caucasus migrants in the Karelian locality of Kondopoga led to widespread destruction of property and businesses.

Now the Moscow Times writes about the effects of the Russian government’s anti-Georgian policy, which targets ethnic Georgians and makes them liable to arrest and officially authorized harassment.

Georgians working at marketplaces and construction sites have been subjected to increased harassment by police in the past few days, national newspapers reported.

Those reports were backed up by a Georgian florist near Belorussky Station. The florist, who would only give her first name, Nino, said she had heard from friends and relatives who work at open-air markets of police harassment. She added that she expected police to raid vendors’ stalls near Belorussky in the near future.

And two Georgian women selling tea and coffee at Timiryazevsky market said they had heard of other raids and detentions of Georgians working at the Cherkizovsky and Lianozovsky markets. The women, who would only give their first names, Marina and Yekaterina, for fear of being deported, added that they had not been harassed themselves.

Also on Wednesday, the Georgian professional arm wrestler Georgy Kvichiani was killed by skinheads in Moscow, Georgian media reported. The reports remain unconfirmed.

“The state is legitimizing xenophobia and discrimination,” said Galina Kozhevnikova, deputy head of the Sova Center, which monitors hate crimes. Kozhevnikova predicted an eruption in the number of assaults on natives of the Caucasus.

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