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Human Rights Defenders on the Events at Biriulevo

14 October 2013 

Source: (info)
Russian human rights defenders react to the dramatic events in the Moscow district of Biriulevo.

Ludmila Alekseeva, head of
Moscow Helsinki Group, described as ‘something out of the Middle Ages’ the nationalistic riots in the Moscow district of West Biriulevo. "It is a disgrace, that such a thing has happened in Moscow, because Moscow is the capital of a multi-ethnic country. Those involved in these disturbances are venting all their discontent against those whose nose is a different shape or who speak in another language,” said Ludmila Alekseeva. 

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Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the Civic Assistance Committee, member of the board of the International Memorial Society: "The migrants are made responsible for everything, although there is no evidence as yet. We are now once again hearing talk about visas for all people from Central Asia, although it is really hard to understand where exactly the person who committed this crime is from. I feel like those Germans felt when they knew that Jewish pogroms were going on, but what could they do? I feel a sense of responsibility, but at the same time I cannot imagine what I could do to stop this…”

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Andrei Blinushov, chair of
Ryazan Memorial, chief editor of the website Human Rights in Russia ( "During this shameful pogrom in Biriulevo at least 20 people were injured, six of whom were hospitalized. And the authorities continue to flirt with the nationalists: there has just been news that ‘in Biriulevo 1,200 migrants have been detained’… I am amazed at journalists and TV editors: they are not talking about pogroms, they talk about a ‘people’s gathering and even ‘real native Russian people’…In fact, they have been making the situation worse and playing with those carrying out the pogroms. It is absolutely appalling. Thirty-three 33 Massaraksh! (as a character in one of the Strugatsky brothers' novels might say)." 

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Aleksandr Verkhovsky, director of the Sova Centre: "I would say that if there were at least a photo-fit of the killer, then most likely they will find him. I don’t think the million roubles reward will be a factor, most likely the police will be able to do this themselves. The promised reward, as it seems to me, comes from a desire to demonstrate that they are treating the killing as a matter of great importance. As far as the promises to bring order to the suburbs, it’s not exactly clear what kind of order is needed? So that there were no more murders there? Today I read that some deputies or other said that they will introduce a law to regulate illegal migration. That may be very good of them, of course, but after all it is simply not known whether the killer was a migrant or a citizen of Russia, so it is hard to understand why precisely now it is necessary to devote any efforts to this. I think that such promises now are just being made in order to make some noise, whether there is any sense in it or not. "

To see photos of the events, click here