For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge; In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer, Bradley Jardine – November 4, 2016) Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path. Once, migrants were forced to strip naked in freezing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Surveys show Russian nationalism is on the rise. This explains a lot about the country’s foreign and domestic politics.” – Washington Post/Richard Arnold

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

… annexing Crimea, Putin managed to steal the thunder of … supremacist Russian nationalists. But as long as waves of migrants … perceived as culturally alien keep coming … storm clouds will still exist and influence Russian politics. The regime will have the unpalatable choice of allowing the growth of radical forces vehemently opposed to democracy, even its ‘managed’ variety, […]

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Russian Nationalists Oppose Moscow’s Plan to Resettle Ukrainian Refugees in Far East

Russia Map

(Paul Goble – Staunton, February 16, 2016) Duma deputies are proposing and the Russian Ministry for Far Eastern Development has come out in support of a plan to resettle as many as 50,000 Ukrainian refugees who had fled their country because of the fighting but have not yet found permanent residences in the Russian Federation. This plan reflects the convergence […]

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Knocking back Russia’s nationalists

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

The conflict in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea has brought the Kremlin and Russia’s ultra-nationalists closer together. Recent prosecutions show that their ideas still have the government worried. (opendemocracy.net – Vyacheslav Koslov – September 15, 2015) Vyacheslav Kozlov is a journalist for daily newspaper Kommersant. He writes on international relations, nationalism, extremism, narco-politics, the Russian opposition and the problems […]

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Russians More Optimistic about Ethnic Problems at Home But Have Little Reason to Be, Experts Say

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 26, 2015) The shares of Russians who say that ethnic conflicts in their country are “likely” or “more likely than not” have declined from 17 and 45 percent respectively in October 2013 to five and 20 percent now, according to the findings of a new Levada Center poll. But Mikhail Remizov […]

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Bershidsky: Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Won’t Get U.S. Money

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 12, 2015) It’s easy to see why Representative John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, would have a problem with the military unit commanded by Ukrainian legislator Andriy Biletsky: Conyers is a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Biletsky is a white supremacist. The House of Representatives has unanimously approved an amendment to […]

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Experts: Putin’s New Ethnic Affairs Agency Aims to Thwart Political Threats

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – April 2, 2015) President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to launch a government agency charged with maintaining interethnic and interfaith harmony in Russia is a bid to prevent foreign powers and internal opposition factions from seeking to exploit a weak spot in Russia’s power structure, analysts told The Moscow Times. Since the collapse of the […]

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NEWSWATCH Der Spiegel: Fortress of Nationalism: Russia Is Losing Its Political Morals

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

[“Fortress of Nationalism: Russia Is Losing Its Political Morals” – Der Spiegel – Christian Neff – March 31, 2015] Der Spiegel addresses the evolution of political values in Russia, amidst the Nemtsov assassination and a gathering of nationalists in St. Petersburg that included far-right elements. The murder of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov reveals that Russia has become morally unhinged. The country […]

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Russians’ Hatreds Easy to Unleash But Difficult to Limit, Reverse or Overcome

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 30, 2015) Many are taking comfort in the notion that just as Russians appear to have reduced their hatred of immigrants when encouraged by the Kremlin to hate Ukrainians instead so too their hatred against the latter could be ended relatively easily if Moscow changed course — and in any case […]

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NEWSWATCH: In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell

Vladimir Putin

[“In 2015, Vladimir Putin may witness his empire’s death knell” – Strobe Talbott – Reuters – Dec. 16, 2014] Strobe Talbott predicts that a third Chechen War could break out in 2015, sounding the death knell for Russia’s current geographic configuration. Indeed, Talbott comments that Russia could break apart by the end this century, and that the policies of Russian President […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia’s Ethnic Tensions Drop Due to Crimea Reunification, President’s Approval: Kremlin

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, October 8 (RIA Novosti) – Interethnic tensions have reduced significantly this year in Russia as a result of the country’s reunification with Crimea and President Vladimir Putin’s high approval ratings, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office, Magomedsalam Magomedov said Wednesday. “The main factors for the significant reduction in interethnic tension was rallying people around such […]

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New TV Show Turns Ethnic Tension Into Comedy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Christopher Brennan – March 11, 2014) Russia’s largest television stations broadcast all over the country, bringing the same faces to Muscovites, Siberians and Caucasus natives alike. However, a new series is taking this a step further, representing Russia’s ethnic diversity in one sitcom family and confronting the controversial topic of race head on. A new […]

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Interfax: Nearly half of Russians believe riots in Ukraine influenced by West – poll

Russian Naval Vessel in Ukrainian Port

(Interfax – February 27, 2014) Most Russians are following the events in Ukraine, and nearly half of them are sure that the recent protests in Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities have been influenced by the West, as is seen from a public opinion poll of 1,603 people the Levada Center sociological service conducted in 130 populated areas of 45 regions […]

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Experts Warn of Increase in Ethnically Motivated Attacks

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – February 14, 2014) Russia has seen an increase in violence motivated by ethnic hatred and physical attacks on the LGBT community in the past year, experts said Thursday. The topic has taken on a new sense of urgency in light of Russia’s anti-gay propaganda legislation and the ongoing street protests in neighboring […]

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Ethnic Clashes Replacing Political Protests as Dominant Form of Public Activism in Russia, Pain Says

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, February 13, 2014) Ethnic clashes especially in the regions appear to have displaced political protests in Moscow as the dominant form of activism in the Russian Federation, a trend certain to have dangerous consequences given that the authorities are far less concerned about the former than the latter, according to Russia’s leading […]

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Interfax: Anti-Semitism surging in Ukraine – Israeli diplomat

File Photo of Torah Scrolls

MOSCOW. Feb 11 (Interfax) – A senior Israeli diplomat has complained about an alleged upsurge of anti-Semitism in Ukraine. “In the last few years – I mean before this crisis – there was a decline in anti-Semitic sentiments in Ukraine. Now, of course, with the situation being as heated as it is, everything is bubbling over there,” Anna Azari, Foreign […]

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Interfax: Russian bill tightening liability for extremism signed into law

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that toughens liability for extremism-related crimes. The document amends Russia’s Criminal Code and Code of Criminal Procedure, according to the authorities’ legal information website. “In an effort to neutralize the threats to national security posed by the destructive activities of religious organizations on Russian territory, […]

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Russian Parliament Passes Anti-Extremism Bill

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ The Russian State Duma passed a bill imposing tougher penalties for extremism-related crimes Wednesday. The legislation, which the lower chamber of parliament passed in second and third readings, increases the prison sentence for public incitement of extremism from three to four years, and also raises fines for the offence. The penalty for inciting hatred […]

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Kremlin official calls on prosecutors to step up oversight of terrorism and extremism cases

File Photo of Sergei Ivanov, adapted from defense.gov image

MOSCOW. Jan 10 (Interfax) – Prosecutors’ oversight of the course of investigations into terrorist attacks should become more effective, Russian presidential chief-of-staff Sergei Ivanov said. “Oversight of the course of inquiries into criminal offences, primarily crimes linked to terrorism, should be made more effective,” Ivanov said at a Friday session, dedicated to the Day of Russian Prosecutors. Terrorists who seek […]

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Moscow Police Hunt Quran Burners

Russian Mosque File Photo

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ Police in Moscow are investigating a video that shows alleged football fans burning a Quran and attacking Muslims in retribution for recent suicide bombings in Volgograd. The video, uploaded on YouTube on January 5, depicts a group of young men in the dark, burning a Russian translation of the Quran with several lighters. No […]

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Interfax: Attempts to hold nationalist rallies due to terrorist attacks in Volgograd are unacceptable – Federation Council

Large Mother Russia Statue Near Volgograd

MOSCOW. Dec 30 (Interfax) – The attempts to hold any nationalist rallies due to terrorist attacks in Volgograd are unacceptable, the Russian Federation Council said. “Amid the current situation various nationalist movements should not be allowed to earn points with this tragedy, terrorist attacks and people’s grief. Appeals for nationalist gatherings are voiced in Volgograd. Such rallies will play into […]

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Soviet Nationality Issues Live On in Modern Russia

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – D. Garrison Golubock – December 23, 2013) In his famous 1994 essay “The USSR as a Communal Apartment,” Yury Slezkine chronicles the rise of nationalism in the Soviet Union, likening the state to a communal apartment in which each “recognized” ethnicity has their own private room in which to flourish. For the West, the 1990s […]

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Growing xenophobia may spur inter-ethnic tensions – Public Chamber experts

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 20, 2013) A draft report of the Russian Public Chamber, “On the Status of Russia’s Civil Society”, affirms a growth of aggressive xenophobia in the country. “Aggressive xenophobia is a serious challenge to contemporary Russia. Xenophobia reached its peak in 2013, according to a survey of the Levada Center, which said that 70-80 percent of the Russian […]

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Russia’s Memorial regional branch branded “foreign agent”

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – December 12, 2013) Russian human rights activists have said that a St Petersburg court has upheld the Prosecutor’s Office’s claim that the antidiscrimination center Memorial is a “foreign agent”, Russian Interfax news agency reported on 12 December. The antidiscrimination center Memorial is a regional office of Russia’s Memorial human rights organization. The antidiscrimination center operates in St Petersburg […]

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Xenophobia, national intolerance grow in Russia – Federal Migration Service chief

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 9 (Interfax) – Xenophobia and national intolerance are growing in Russia, Russian Federal Migration Service Chief Konstantin Romodanovsky said. “Unfortunately, more cases of intolerance and xenophobia can be observed, which eventually leads to an escalation of inter-ethnic disputes,” Romodanovsky said at a meeting held by Russian human rights commissioner Vladimir Lukin in Moscow on Monday. Many foreigners are […]

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Regions ‘Quietly Sabotaging’ Moscow’s Nationality Policy, Expert Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 1, 2013) Even as the Russian government takes the first steps to shift responsibility for inter-ethnic peace onto the leaderships of the federal subjects, a Russian expert has warned that “in certain regions,” what is going on with respect to the implementation of nationality policy can only be described as “quiet […]

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MEDIA ANNOUNCEMENT: Putin’s Turn to Traditionalism/Nationalism

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Valdai Club 2013 Meeting, Adapted from Screenshot of Valdai Club Video at youtube.com

Subject: No. 138: Putin’s Turn to Traditionalism/Nationalism Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 From: “Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)” <newslist@isn.ch> RUSSIAN ANALYTICAL DIGEST Newsletter 8 November 2013/No. 138 PUTIN’S TURN TO TRADITIONALISM/NATIONALISM To download this issue please click here: http://www.css.ethz.ch/publications/DetailansichtPubDB_EN?rec_id=2759 Analyses Conservatism as the Kremlin’s New Toolkit: an Ideology at the Lowest Cost, by Marlene Laruelle, Washington. Putting Traditional Values into Practice: […]

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Interfax: State of public security in Russia is unstable, extremism is main source of threat – public security policy

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – The necessary level of public security has not been reached in Russia, says Russia’s public security policy that was approved by the president. “The state of public security in Russia is characterized as unstable. Despite the efforts made by the state and society to combat crime and other illegal encroachments and prevent and contain emergencies, […]

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Interfax: Public Chamber wants certain websites to be checked for xenophobic propaganda

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) – Secretary of the Russian Public Chamber Yevgeny Velikhov has asked head of the federal communications, information technology and mass media oversight service Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov to check several websites suspected of engaging in the propaganda of xenophobia and racial hatred. The websites in question are “Sputnik i Pogrom” and “Pravoviye Novosti”, according to Velikhov’ letter […]

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Zhirinovsky Comments Trigger Outcry Across North Caucasus

Vladimir Zhirinovsky file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Liz Fuller – November 6, 2013) Not for the first time, the chairman of the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) and Russian State Duma deputy speaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky has incurred the wrath of North Caucasus officials by making disparaging remarks about the region. Speaking on a TV talk show late last month,  Zhirinovsky advocated  […]

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Cruelty at Russian hospitals: Illegal migration – red herring

Eurasia Map

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – November 8, 2013) An Uzbek migrant in labor was initially denied entry to a Vladivostok hospital and nearly gave birth on the doorstep. Although the Investigative Committee looked into the incident, they will not be launching a criminal case. And the head of the regional branch of the Federal Migration […]

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My Two Days Working Undercover at Moscow’s Sadovod Market

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eradzh Nidoev – November 7, 2013) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/my-2-days-working-undercover-at-moscows-sadovod-market/489045.html] It’s 6 a.m. and still dark outside. I am standing inside the sprawling Sadovod market on the 14th kilometer of the Moscow Ring Road in southeast Moscow. A sweeper is working one of the deserted rows of shops, trying to put things in order after yesterday’s […]

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Putin Tells Zhirinovsky to ‘Tone it Down’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 7, 2013) President Vladimir Putin has urged Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky to show more restraint in his speeches, most likely in reference to the lawmaker’s recent remarks about the North Caucasus that provoked outrage in the region. Zhirinovsky said during a television show last month that the North Caucasus should be surrounded […]

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Ethnic Affairs Ministry Mulled as Anti-Migrant Sentiment Rises

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – November 6, 2013) A day after hundreds of detentions at numerous nationalist rallies across the country, media reports circulated Tuesday that the government is considering creating an interethnic relations ministry to keep tensions under control. Immigration has dominated the Russian media landscape since thousands took part in a nationalist riot in the […]

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Rally Shows Rise of Nationalist Sentiment

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – November 5, 2013) Thousands of Russians poured into the streets of dozens of towns across the country Monday to voice nationalist sentiments on a holiday that was established by the government in 2005 to celebrate the unity of Russia’s diverse population. Nationalism has been on the rise in Russia since the collapse […]

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Russian Nationalism Never Linked with Liberalism, Moscow Scholar Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 4, 2013) Unlike its counterparts in Europe and other parts of the world and despite the hopes of many inside Russia and beyond, Russian nationalism has never a partner of liberalism, the result of its different origins and evolution, according to Vladimir Malakhov, a senior scholar at the Institute of Philosophy […]

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Grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia – Alekseyev

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Lyudmila Alekseyeva, chairman of the Moscow Helsinki group and Russia’s oldest human rights activist, believes Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has crossed the line of aggressive nationalism. “Let’s put barbed wire around Zhirinovsky, not the Caucasus,” Alekseyeva told a press conference on Thursday. Alekseyeva said grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia, but some people […]

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The mean streets of Russian nationalism; Who are Russia’s real nationalists? And why are they rioting?

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan, Natalia Antonova – October 31, 2013) In the past, Maria, a sales manager, never attended the nationalist Russian March, an annual rally commemorating Russia’s Day of National Unity. This time, less than a month after taking part in a violent nationalist protest in southern Moscow’s Biryulyovo district, is different. “I’m ready to go,” […]

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Interfax: Patriarch Kirill: Biryulyovo events demonstrate government unwillingness to solve excessive migration problem

Patriarch Kirill file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – The latest events in Moscow’s Biryulyovo district show that only the forces seeking to destroy Russia will gain from further disregard of the opinion of the Russian majority, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. “The latest clashes in the Moscow Biryulyovo district demonstrated that a deaf ear turned by the authorities to the […]

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Citizen Or Foreign Migrant? In Moscow, The Line Is Often Blurred

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, October 30, 2013) The two men have a lot in common. Both are in their 20s and moved to Moscow in search of a better life. Both face discrimination with employment, encounter harassment from police, and have struggled to find places to live. Neither has many Russian friends. But there is one important difference […]

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Putin Makes Local Governors Responsible for Ethnic Relations

Migrant Workers file photo

UFA, October 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin signed a law Tuesday giving local authorities more responsibility for handling relations between ethnic communities in a sign the government is growing nervous at evidence of a surge in nationalist-tinged discontent. Speaking at the Interethnic Relations Council in the Urals town of Ufa, Putin lashed out at local governments for what […]

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Understanding the specifics of Russian xenophobia

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – October 22, 2013) The author is a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Migration policies and xenophobia in Russia are at the forefront of political discussion in the wake of the riots in Biryulyovo. Riots in Moscow’s West Biryulyovo have […]

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Life in Biryulevo after the murder and riots

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 22, 2013) Russia may have to review its immigration policy in the wake of mass protests and rioting in Moscow. Last week, the southern Moscow district of Biryulevo was gripped by mass protests; the protesters demanded changes to Russian immigration policy. An RBTH correspondent looks at why the […]

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Fear and loathing in the Moscow suburbs

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(opendemocracy.net – Daniil Kislov – October 17, 2013) Daniil Kislov is a poet, journalist and essayist from Uzbekistan. He currently lives in Moscow. He is the main editor of the online news portal Fergana News. An ethnic Russian is killed at a Moscow street market, supposedly by a migrant from the Caucasus; the ensuing riot by nationalist extremists leaves one […]

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Presumption of innocence violated in Biryulyovo murder suspect’s case – Azeri Foreign Ministry

Map of Azerbaijan and South Caucasus Environs Including Portions of Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Iran, Caspian Sea

(Interfax – BAKU, October 17, 2013) Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Moscow has lodged a protest with the Russian Foreign Ministry over what it called violations of the rights of Azeri native Orkhan Zeynalov, who is suspected of killing ethnic Russian man Yegor Shcherbakov in the Biryulyovo district in southern Moscow. “The brutal detention and brutal treatment of Orkhan Zeynalov, whom they […]

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Ethnic Tensions Still High In Moscow In Wake Of Suspected Killer’s Arrest

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg and Arifa Kazimova – October 16, 2013) Footage detailing the heavy-handed arrest of an Azerbaijani native suspected of killing a Russian man in Moscow has escalated mounting ethnic tensions between the two nations. Russian police detained Orkhan Zeynalov on October 15 on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 25-year-old ethnic Russian man, Yegor Shcherbakov, in […]

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Regions join anti-immigrants riots in Biryulyovo aftermath

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 16, 2013) The conflict that started in the capital has spread to other major cities. In the Russian regions, people have started taking to the streets in support of residents of the Moscow district of Biryulovo, who staged riots in response to the murder of a young man […]

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Russia Again Caught Between Disintegration and Dictatorship, Editor Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 17, 2013) The Russian Federation finds itself in a Zugswang, a German term for a situation in which any move leads to a loss, according to the editor of “Kulturolog.” And in its case, the situation is especially dire because the country increasingly finds itself forced to choose between disintegration and […]

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Three Disturbing New Russian Legal Initiatives

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, October 16, 2013) The Kremlin’s moves against the principles of the Russian Constitution and basic human rights are currently coming at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to keep up with its assault on what remains of democracy in that country. This week alone featured three initiatives that are particularly […]

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