Racism has been a historical issue in Russia. Stalin murdered near as many Jews as Hitler, and even before the Communists took control, anti-minority sentiment caused any number of pogroms. Even under communism, it was extremely rare to see a USSR athlete in the Olympics or International competitions who wasn’t white, despite the fact that the USSR was a very diverse nation.
Racism in Russia took a decidedly neo-Nazi slant before the fall of communism when Russian special forces troops, every bit as proud and patriotic as their American counterparts, first were bogged down in Angola, and later in Afghanistan getting their heads handed to them by the locals. After the fall of communism, these groups began to form para-military uber-nationalist organizations on the lines of the Hitler era SS and Skinheads. These gangs have wreaked violence all over the country – typically attacking Asian and other minority students and people in and around the major cities. Some of these groups – are now apparently attacking the government…
Moscow City Judge Eduard Chuvashov, famous for presiding over a series of high-profile murder cases blamed on skinhead groups, was shot dead in his apartment building earlier this week. His death is only the latest in a wave of ultranationalist and neo-Nazi violence that has been steadily growing in Russia over the past decade. The hate crime watchdog Sova estimates that 71 people were murdered and more than 300 were wounded in such crimes in Russia last year alone.
The surge in Russian nationalism has been endorsed in no small part by a variety of government representatives. At the same time, Russian rights activists and oppositionists have been repeatedly targeted by ultranationalist groups, and accuse the government for turning a blind eye. The editorial team at Gazeta.ru points out that with Chuvashov’s murder, they’re going to have to either start make some changes or start watching their backs.
Attempts by the Russian authorities to use nationalist organizations to further their own goals, in particular the battle against the democratic opposition that exists outside of the political system, are dangerous to the authorities themselves. Read the rest of this entry »