Nationalists Assault Migrants
Published: August 8, 2013 (Issue # 1772)
The police have launched a criminal investigation into the so-called “Russian clean-ups,” raids against migrant vendors conducted by local nationalists accompanied by threats, physical assaults and the destruction of property. In the first several days of the raids that started on July 26, the police assisted the activists by detaining vendors without proper licenses and seizing their goods. On July 31, police prevented a raid and detained approximately 20 activists.
On the same day, a criminal investigation into the raids was launched. On Aug. 1, the police raided marketplaces near five metro stations detaining eight vendors for trading at unsanctioned sites and operating unregistered and unlicensed businesses.
The “Russian clean-up” campaign’s leader Dmitry Yevtushenko, also known by his alias “Besheny” (Mad), was charged with “aggravated assault,” an offense punishable by up to seven years in prison. On Aug. 1, the Vyborgsky District Court placed him under house arrest for two months. The police said an internal probe into the actions of the police officers maintaining public order during the raids was ongoing.
Reports say that Nikolai Bondarik, the chair of the Russian Party, was also one of the leaders of the raids, but so far no charges have been brought against him.
In a video posted on the Nevsky Express web site on July 27 entitled “Blonde with a Baseball Bat,” several dozen nationalists — both male and female — are seen walking around the square near Prospekt Prosveshcheniya metro in northern St. Petersburg and harassing migrant street vendors selling produce.
Some of the nationalists in the video are seen carrying baseball bats, explaining to policemen at the site that it is not forbidden to have sports equipment. Several activists wear T-shirts with stylized swastika symbols, as well as slogans such as “I Am Russian,” “God is With Us,” and “It’s Time for Aliens to Go Home; Slavs Are the Masters Here,” while some disguise their faces with surgical masks.
They show police officers detaining and loading the seized goods into vehicles, deliberately overturning some of the boxes to let fruit fall on the ground. “The wind is strong today,” they comment while doing so.
In the video, some vendors hide behind kiosks, leaving their stands unattended. The attackers then announce that the fruit is free and offer it to passers-by. The video shows some middle-aged women putting grapes into their bags. The nationalists ask the vendors why they did not stay home and suggest that they should leave the city soon. “Why are you still in Russia?” they ask. “Finish up your business.”
Pages: