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Thursday, 25 March 2010

Top Migration Agency Official Denies Racism is a Problem in Russia

'No grounds for concern' over racist attacks in Russia - migration service Interfax states
Moscow, 20 March: The Federal Migration Service (FMS) does not agree with the opinion that the level of xenophobia and attacks because of ethnic intolerance have taken on menacing proportions.

"To say that in Russia foreign citizens are being victimized en masse is stupid. There are isolated incidents. There are no grounds for concern," the deputy head of the international and public relations directorate of the FMS, Konstantin Poltoranin, told Interfax today.
He reported that crimes due to aggressive xenophobia are committed in some Russian regions.

"Such attacks are an echo of various ill-conceived populist statements which some of our politicians and officials make," Poltoranin said.
According to him, xenophobic crimes harm the image of the country and are interpreted negatively in neighbouring countries. Poltoranin also said that a new subdivision will be created in the FMS
which will work on issues of increasing tolerance.
"The decision has been taking on creating a directorate in the FMS which will work on issues of tolerance and the integration of foreign citizens. This directorate will cooperate closely with Russian state
structures and will work with ethnic diasporas and public organizations, including human rights activists," Poltoranin said.
Director of the Moscow Human Rights Bureau Aleksandr Brod told Interfax today that from January to mid-March, 31 xenophobic attacks were recorded in Russia; as a result 10 people were killed and 28 were
Citing the results of monitoring, Brod reported that most aggressive xenophobic attacks this year have been recorded in Moscow and Moscow Region, Altay Territory, Vladivostok, Nizhniy Novgorod and KaliningradRegions and St Petersburg.
In Russia this year, Kyrgyz nationals, Koreans, Russians, Uzbeks and people from Africa have most often been the target of attacks by radical nationalists.
Rights activists have said that activists of radical nationalist organizations who attack people from the Caucasus and Central Asia, representatives of youth subcultures and sexual minorities, number tens of thousands in Russia.
At the end of January 2010 the Sova centre, which also monitors xenophobia, distributed a report which noted that the number of xenophobic attacks in the Russian Federation has begun to decrease in
recent years.
"The year 2009 was the first in more than the six-year history of our monitoring when the number of incidents connected with racist and neo-Nazi violence has substantially decreased, although its level remains frighteningly high," it says in the Sova report.
It notes that in 2008 and 2009 the law-enforcement agencies eliminated the largest and most aggressive ultra-right-wing groups in Moscow Region.