In the past month or so, the following extremist actions took place in Russia:
• On 31 July, a group of seven Chinese workers woke up at three in the morning as they were being attacked and robbed by a group of young Russians. The leader of the assault explained that he made a mistake: he thought the migrants were Tajiks, whom he hates because he had a hard time as a boy growing up in Tajikistan.Clearly, extremism continues to be a major problem across Russia.
• On 10 August, a group of neo-Nazis boarded a train and proceeded to beat up around ten persons of “non-Slavic appearance.”
• From 10-21 August, a series of shootings took place in Perm, resulting in at least one death. According to investigators, one of the arrested suspects admitted that he was motivated by supremacist theories.
• On 20 August, a Korean student was beaten with a hammer by skinheads in Tula.
• On 25 August, a twenty-three year old Tuvan supermarket employee was stabbed to death in Petersburg.
• On 3 September, fascists stabbed an Armenian to death in Nizhnii-Novgorod, leaving behind a flyer with a swastika and the words “We Declare War.”
• On 4 September, a bomb exploded at a Moscow café during a wake following an Azeri funeral. One man was killed and several more were injured. Police suspect skinheads, though details have yet to be released.
What I don’t understand is why prosecutors have filed a motion in the Basmanny regional court to reprimand television station 2x2 for airing South Park on the grounds that the show may provoke interethnic and religious violence, in addition to corrupting children’s moral and mental development.
I’m no fan of South Park (I just don’t find it funny). But this is an absurd response to the problem of extremism.*
*It does, however, make sense as part of a ruse to put 2x2 out of business, which is what a few commentators are speculating this prosecution is.
In related news of the absurd, members of the art group Voina (War) staged another provocative performance to celebrate Moscow’s City Day this past weekend. As a present to well-known xenophobic and homophobic Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, the artists acted out the piece “Hanging,” in which three migrant workers and two gay activists pretended to be executed. The work was intended as a protest of the treatment of marginal subjects in Russia's capital.