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Hate Crimes on the Rise

There’s been a lot coverage recently of these outbreaks of violence from Russian nationalists directed toward migrants and foreigners – a trend that some say is passively tolerated by the state.  Though the loss of jobs caused by the economic crisis appears to worsening the situation, most acknowledge that Russia’s future economic growth is heavily dependent on migrant labor given the demographic situation.

From the New York Times article “Migrant Worker Decapitated in Russia

In 2008, 85 people have been reported killed and 367 injured in attacks
by violent nationalists, said Ms. Kozhevnikova, though she said that
the numbers were likely far higher since many attacks go unrecorded or
are reported months after they occur. Most of the victims tend to be
dark-skinned men from Central Asia or the Caucasus region, though
tourists and foreign students have also been attacked.

From the Washington Post’s “In Russia, A Grisly Message Marks a Rise in Hate Crimes

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has condemned racist violence but also called for new limits on the number of work permits given to migrant laborers — a position critics say is impractical and inflames xenophobic sentiment. Last month, a Kremlin-controlled youth group staged a rally calling on officials to close the borders to migrants so more jobs would be available for Russians during the economic crisis.

A police spokesman said detectives are examining “various theories” in Azizov’s killing and had “no proof of the suggestion that skinheads might have been involved.”

But Rykova said the authorities were denying the obvious. She warned that violence could get worse if the economic crisis intensifies and politicians continue to use xenophobic rhetoric. “We’re sitting on a mine that can blow up at any moment,” she said.