27 March 2008

Violence, Wages and Weather: Moscow by the Numbers

The human rights organization SOVA has released its report on ethnic violence in Russia for the winter of 2007-2008 in Russian and in English.

The overall rate of reported ethnic violence, according to the authors, has not dramatically changed since last year. However, the number of fatalities has increased with the growing frequency of knife attacks, especially in Moscow. Due to this escalation of fatal attacks, SOVA officials speculate that lesser crimes may be markedly under-reported for this period.

In related news, last month Moscow police initiated a program to stop suspicious-looking teenagers so that officials can take their fingerprints and a mugshot. The city hopes to build a database of suspected extremists as a means to limit fringe groups.

Since Moscow already has an established reputation for profiling migrants on the subway and in the streets, it's nice to see that civil rights violations are now reaching out to a previously underserved population.

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Completely unrelated story: “What’s a fair wage (dostoinaia zarplata) for a Muscovite?” asks Kommersant.





More interesting than the various sums mentioned are the rationales and questions about what a Muscovite is (“You mean a native Muscovite, or non-native,” “I don’t know, ask a Muscovite,” and “By Muscovite, you mean someone who has a place to live?”). I also liked the semi-philosophical, cigarette-smoking woman’s answer.

I imagine this is a great clip to play for language instructors trying to teach students about numbers in Russian.

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Unrelated to either of the two topics above, Moscow broke its high-temperature record yesterday at a sweltering 12.4 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s hard to complain about this nice global warming-induced weather after slogging through winter, but it would be nice if it didn’t come at the expense of flooding Bangladesh, huh?

(Quick note to Nicki Bennett who wrote the colorful Bangladesh climate migration piece: I think you may have been infected by Nicholas Kristof’s habits of describing poorer nations. Specifically, I don’t think this condescending tidbit was really necessary: “I’m sure my rickshaw-wallah is not exactly thinking about climate change or politics as he reaches for a grimy piece of cloth to wipe his sweaty brow at the end of my journey.” I'm just saying.)

4 comments:

kg said...

On a totally unrelated note, here's something that might be of interest:
http://www.nlobooks.ru/rus/news/index_tplid4_recid123.html

kg said...

Also, the sums those people mention are totally astronomical! Esp if one does have a place to live w/out paying rent! What has happened to this city?!

BusterPh.D.Candidate said...

kg, yeah, my roomate tried to get me to go to see Viktor Markovich yesterday afternoon, but I was busy playing with liquid plumber, a wrench and a plunger trying to get our drains to clear instead.

Did you go?

As for Moscow and money, let's not even start.

kg said...

Viktor Markovich ended up being moved to morning, and I saw only one talk - the one on Hegel given by Plotnikov. It was pretty neat. I can't go today, though, and I don't think there's anything I really wanted to hear tomorrow, but I should check.