“Belligerent nationalism, xenophobia, appeals to violence and ethnic hatred have always been and will always be a time bomb under our sovereignty,” Putin told the heads of the Interior Ministry today. This is quite a frank admission on the part of Putin, who has often been accused using nationalism and xenophobia to the Kremlin’s political advantage.
Putin’s statement is rooted in reality. On Tuesday, the SOVA Center released new stats on hate crimes in Russia. Once again they show that racial violence is on the rise. SOVA recorded 67 deaths and 550 injured as a result of racism, xenophobia and nationalism, a 13 percent increase from 2006. The bulk of the victims were students and immigrants laborers from Africa, Asia, Jews, and even antifa activists.
It already appears that 2008 will be just as racially violent. SOVA has already recorded 39 victims of neo-Nazi violence for January. Thirteen of the 39 resulted in death. As SOVA head Galina Kozhevnikova told reporters, “Neo-Nazis are out not to beat up (their victims), but to kill.”
SOVA’s report comes just as police in Yakaterinburg have arrested a gang of eight skinhead youths suspected of committing 37 murders. I look forward to Buster’s promised elaboration on this case on his blog, Moscow Through Brown Eyes. In Moscow, the body of a Kyrgyz man was found dead with more than 30 stab wounds. Stabbings are the hallmark of skinheads.
And the bomb ticks on . . .