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Violent Mobs Attack Immigrants in Karelia

Published: September 5, 2006 (Issue # 1201)


The northwestern industrial town of Kondopoga was consumed by ethnic violence over the weekend, with angry and often drunken bands of Slavs waging an uncoordinated series of attacks on natives of the Caucasus.

The violence included mobs with Molotov cocktails burning down Caucasian-owned businesses and natives of the Caucasus being forced out of town. An air of fear and uncertainty permeated the town Sunday

The angry mobs, which left the town of 37,000 pockmarked with storefront fires and shattered glass, stemmed from a fight Wednesday evening outside the Chaika restaurant in which two ethnic Russians were killed.

A group of young ethnic Russians, including some ex-convicts, had been drinking in the restaurant that evening, an official at Karelia’s Interior Ministry said.

The men began arguing with the restaurant’s bartender. The argument led to a fight. The bartender, an Azeri, managed to escape but later returned with some friends, all natives of the Caucasus, bearing knives, baseball bats and iron rods. In the ensuing brawl, two ethnic Russians were killed; nine others, including Russians and natives of the Caucasus, were injured.

Police detained several suspects at the site of the brawl, including those suspected of having committed the two murders. That did not stop the Chaika and other Caucasian-owned businesses from being attacked Friday and Saturday; owners subsequently fled Kondopoga.

The angry mobs behind the violence appeared to have been galvanized, in part, by a local web site, Kcity.ru, which posted an appeal to town residents Friday to meet at the town square Saturday afternoon to protest the knifing of the ethnic Russians.

On Saturday, about 2,000 people showed up at the square. Speakers included the leader of the nationalist Movement Against Illegal Migration, Alexander Belov, who demanded the expulsion of natives of the Caucasus lacking residence permits.

Police officers told Interfax that all Caucasus natives had left the town by Saturday.

A Karelian Interior Ministry official confirmed Sunday that hundreds of natives of the Caucasus had been living in the town and that most of them had fled, while some had gone into hiding.

Saturday evening saw further attacks, mostly by young men and teenagers, on the Chaika restaurant and nearby kiosks and markets.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Women’s Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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