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Experts Warn of Rise in Ethnic Violence

The number of murders motivated by ethnic hatred has risen but the overall number of attacks has dropped.

Published: February 19, 2014 (Issue # 1798)



  • Experts reported that anti-migrant and anti-LGBT government policies have contributed to a rise in violent attacks.
    Photo: Ivan Sekretarev / AP

Russia has seen an increase in violence motivated by ethnic hatred and physical attacks on the LGBT community in the past year, experts said on Feb. 13.

The topic has taken on a new sense of urgency in light of Russias anti-gay propaganda legislation and the ongoing street protests in neighboring Ukraine, protests which are now in their third month and took a violent turn in recent weeks as nationalists began to dominate. Observers have expressed concerns that the nationalist sentiment in Kiev could bleed over into Russia.

Judging from conclusions presented in a report by analysts from the Sova Center, a think tank monitoring racism, the publics anti-migrant sentiment will probably not lead to large-scale protests.

Although the potential support of the ultranationalist movement grew considerably, the movement itself took a step back to existing in the form of half-legal radical cells, the report said.

In such a course of development, ultranationalists will hardly be able to attract a really considerable number of new supporters from xenophobically oriented Russians, the report said.

Murder cases motivated by ethnic hatred rose from 19 in 2012 to 21 last year, but the overall number of attacks provoked by racial intolerance dropped from 210 to 199 in the same period, according to statistics contained in the report, which was paid for with a presidential grant.

The trends seen in 2013 developed against the backdrop of a falling number of prison sentences for ethnic violence and a surge in convictions for hate speech on the Internet, Vera Alperovich and Natalya Yudina, the co-authors of Sovas 2013 report on xenophobia and radical nationalism, told some 30 journalists at a news conference on Feb. 13.

The rise in attacks stems from anti-migrant and anti-LGBT policies enacted by the countrys leadership, they said.

In 2013, we saw an outburst of street activity, Alperovich said.

The majority of it was due to an artificially created situation the fact that authorities started playing the nationalist card, she said, referring to raids by police on markets across the country last summer and fall, as well as President Vladimir Putins idea in late 2012 to introduce passports for migrants from CIS and Central Asia.

The number of people injured in attacks fell from 191 in 2012 to 178 last year.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although thesand sculptures at the Peter and Paul Fortress are more centrally located and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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