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Ethnic and Religious Clashes

Ethnic and Religious Clashes "Russian March" in St. Petersburg, November 2014. On the banner are written the words addressed to migrants: "Evict!"

In 2014, monitoring recorded around ten attempts of the so-called Kondopoga political technique – turning a regular incident into an ethnic conflict, when one of the parties involved was a non-Russian, and organising mass unrest on ethnic or religious grounds. Three such attempts took place in January. On January 11, In Perm, user of VK social network posted that his friend was beaten to death by a non-Russian and his girlfriend was raped. The post ended with a call to gather on January 12 and fight non-Russians Police officers were able to curb the growing riot, however two Tajikistan natives received minor injuries. 134 persons were arrested, including 90 minors Perm Regional Police Department published a statement: “Dear residents of the Perm Region, do not succumb to provocations, do not break the law. All vital problems must be solved legally. Do not allow pseudo-patriots and various provocateurs to exploit you for their criminal purposes.”

On January 21, it was reported that the Fund to Combat Russophobia was spreading rumours about Caucasians kidnapping dozens of women in Astrakhan. An investigation conducted by the “Komsomolskaya Pravda” newspaper revealed that the source of this information was some blogger who was unable to name any victims.

On February 21, blogs on behalf of Nadym residents posted complaints about Gypsies who bugged people on the streets and in the shops. However, Nadym administration denied any allegations about the appearance of Roma.

In May, 2014, Murder of Leonid Safyannikov, committed by a foreign national on May 13 caused riots in Pushkin, a Moscow suburb. Football fans and victim’s family and friends gathered on Pushkino railway station on May 15th. After the rally, several football fans took to the streets (several hundred to 2 thousand people, according to various estimates). They stopped several cars driven by market merchants and beat their drivers, destroying their products. Local police was helpless. Hooligans then attempted to raid a motel inhabited by immigrants, throwing stones and bottles at the riot police (OMON). Police managed to suppress hooligans and arrested 57 people on administrative charges. They were later released. Alleged murdered Zhahongir Ahmedov was expelled by Uzbekistan authorities and immediately arrested upon his arrival in Moscow.

Reaction of the authorities on this situation was detention of more than 500 migrants in Pushkino for identity checks, and subsequent deportation of 146 of them Authorities also shut down the market where Leonid Safyannikov was murdered. In mid-September, a local priest in the village of Koltalovo attempted at inciting ethnic hostility by claiming he was attacked by the Chechens. However, it was later found that it was an everyday conflict instigated by the priest himself.

On October 5, an unsanctioned rally was organised in Mineralnye Vody after the September 21 clash, where one of the parties were from North Caucasus. Around 30 people were arrested as a result. Head of the city and the region Konstantin Gamayunov urged citizens to “refuse to take part in unsanctioned rallies and thus prevent radicals from committing acts of provocation”. Mayor Gamayunov added, “Those who incite the mob then hide in the shadows, while you have to pay”.

Another such attempt was made in Tomsk on October 13. Nationalist bloggers accused a “gang from Tuva” of attacking local residents.

In 2015, two attempts to provoke interethnic clashes against the background of domestic conflicts could be noted. The first attempt was reported at the end of July in the village of Druzhezlyubny, near Krasnodar. On July 29, nationalists organised a “people's gathering” in Krasnodar, in which about 70 people took part.

On December 29, a group of young servicemen killed a man near the village of Knyaz-Volkonsky. On the Internet, the incident was actively distorted with false information that the attackers were natives of the Caucasus, comments and threats to beat Caucasians to death were notes. However, the situation did not escalate any further.

In addition, on August 30 a group of radical Islamists staged riots in the Jamig mosque in Beloretsk district of Bashkortostan because of the arrival of a well-known theologian. During the prayer, 25-30 Wahhabis from Chelyabinsk, Magnitogorsk, Dagestan broke into the mosque and began to scatter leaflets, screaming, insulting believers.


* This is an inconclusive figure, because at least in one case the number of victims is unknown.

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