Stop the Wave of Xenophobic Violence

Source: (info), 12/12/10

· Human Rights Defenders · Moscow City & Moscow Region · Racism and Xenophobia

Statement issued by the Civic Constitutional Forum: “...the events that have taken place are the result of the authorities’ constant flirtation with radical nationalist groups...”

On 11 December in Moscow tragic events took place – mass disturbances and pogroms - on the basis of ethnic hatred. The centre of the capital was for several hours practically in the hands of bands of thugs which the police were quite powerless to prevent, where they did not actually connive in what was happening. A number of people were injured. Blood was shed. We express our indignation that the law enforcement authorities had no effective presence in the squares, the streets and the metro stations where the pogroms were taking place and were not able to protect people who became the targets of criminal and racist aggression, when they had known three days before that the mass demonstration would take place.

We express our sincere condolences to those injured during the pogroms.

We also express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of Egor Sviridov who was killed several days earlier. We demand that all those guilty of organizing the pogroms that took place on 11 December, and all those guilty of the murder of Egor Sviridov, be found and punished.

We declare that the events that have taken place are the result of the authorities’ constant flirtation with radical nationalist groups, their use of them for violent actions against civil society activists, the employment over many years of imperialistic rhetoric at the very highest levels of government, and the inability of law enforcement agencies to put a stop to displays of aggressive xenophobia.

Direct responsibility for the tragic events is borne by the highest political leadership of Russia. We demand that the President and the Prime Minister of the Russian government present a report to Russian society on how the authorities allowed nationalistic pogroms to take place.

We demand as a first and obvious step that the Minister of Internal Affairs and the leadership of the Moscow city police be dismissed immediately. The tragedy that has occurred in Moscow is not a lone incident. Similar actions by nationalists took place at the same time in St. Petersburg. There are reports that racist demonstrations are planned in other Russian cities. Urgent action is necessary to prevent the wave of radical xenophobic violence from overwhelming the country.