03 August 2007

More Ordinary Brawls?

A week ago, I read about a terrible beating on the Moscow Metro. Two Central Asian men were attacked by eight young men while riding between Tretiakovskaia and Oktiabrskaia stations. According to witnesses, it was an orderly affair, with some of the assailants controlling the car to make sure that authorities were not notified. Afterwards, the compartment was "covered with blood." The attackers were described as resembling football hooligans and not skinheads, which, as SOVA points out, is an unclear distinction. (SOVA has gone ahead and labelled it a skinhead attack, hair-splitters be damned.)

A few days later, the body of Iakov Pak, an ethnic Korean from Uzbekistan, was found, stabbed to death in a car in Petersburg. It was initially reported as a mugging, despite the swastika painted on the hood of the car.

Last night, two Central Asians were attacked at a Moscow bar (about a mile from my apartment) by approximately eight ethnic Russians. They defended themselves with knives, sending four of the attackers to the hospital. Police have labelled the attack "an entirely ordinary brawl." Moscow Times quoted Alexander Brod of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, that it is was too early to determine if it was a racist attack:

"But we will be meeting with police to determine the exact nature" of the incident, Brod said.
At least 35 people have died in more than 120 racist attacks across the country this year, almost twice as many as last year, according to the most recent statistics compiled by Brod's organization. There were around 60 racist attacks in the same period last year, Brod said.

Police are also still trying to determine the exact nature of the neo-Nazi attack on environmentalists in Angarsk, though the event seems to have fallen out of Western media coverage. With one odd exception: Time. There is a fairly good article posted on the murder of Ilya Borodenko here.


elwood el encanto said...

You packin the shivshivuh now? Wouldn't blame you one bit. Funny about the NGoh crackdown, as though any nation dedicates any money to eco-causes.

elwood el encanto said...

That picture is haunting. that's some bullshit about ilya too.

lizzyb said...

knife fight!

McFly said...

The picture is indeed haunting -- the denial factor is pretty chilling too... just how common are these hate crimes, really, if they're officially muggings and brawls and incidents of football hooliganism? I think there's a subtle connection with your later post of the human-canine friendship monument. Your subconscious is telling you to travel everywhere with a dog. A really big one. The dog in the statue pic doesn't look so tough but he's got balls of bronze, right? So he'd never back down. Get a dog like that. Except bigger and meaner and, you know, alive. And carry a knife. And don't go places by yourself. And then we can all feel better about your safety, if not the safety of all the other Asians in Russia.

BusterPh.D.Candidate said...

Awww, I feel all gushy when you guys wory about me! I think carrying a knife is a terrible idea due to the double threat of the militia from one side and the skinheads from the other. And also, what would I do with a knife? Make a quick spicy squid salad for my attackers and lay them out with a hidden habanero?

McFly, your dog idea is better, but it a horrible process trying to get dogs from Russia to the US. And I don't think I could just abandon a companion who spent a year protecting me. That wouldn't be right, would it?

W. Shedd said...

Actually, my wife is Russian and she always carried a knife when there. Her father insisted upon it, and she seems to feel that all good Russians carry a knife.

Let me tell you, she didn't pack any little swiss army knife either. First time she flipped it open to slice an apple, my eyes must have popped out of my head (among other reactions).

McFly said...

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a gripping update on the attack in Angarsk. The article focuses on the arrest of Pavel Rikhvanova, a 19 year-old security guard who has admitted to being present during the attack (in the company of his racist skinhead friends, not the antifa activists). Why does Pavel have the distinction of being the only individual - out of 18 arrested - to have his name released to the press? The prominent environmental activism of his mother, Marina Rikhvanova, might be a factor. Ms. Rikhvanova's current campaign opposing the Kremlin's plans for a nuclear facility in the Baikal region isn't exactly benefitting from the publicity surrounding her son's arrest. The WSJ article, surprisingly enough, touches on the ties between Pavel's employer and the atomic industry, the connections between Russia's police and private security firms, and the possibility that Pavel's involvement in the attack was a set-up to discredit Ms. Rikhvanova. A reprint of the article is available at: http://cia.bzzz.net/killing_in_siberia_injures_russias_green_movement