Russia: anti-“black” pogrom —again

From Ria Novosti, March 9:

PETROZAVODSK — One man was killed in a brawl between locals and migrants from the Caucasus in northwestern Russia in the early hours of Friday, local police said.

A 19-year-old local man was stabbed in the throat in a fight over a girl following a dance party in the village of Kuitezha in the Republic of Karelia. He died before an ambulance arrived, police said.

The suspects, who fled the scene in a car, were seized within an hour of the killing.

Police said they were taking measures to deter racial violence similar to a wave of protests and rioting that followed a restaurant brawl with Chechens in the Karelian town of Kondopoga last September, in which two local residents were killed and five others injured.

A total of 109 people were detained in the city on suspicion of involvement in rioting and arson attacks following the murders, and 25 rioters were later charged. At the time, the local community accused authorities of failing to protect them or safeguard their interests, and of taking bribes from criminal immigrant groups.

The incident also sparked a wave of nationalist protests elsewhere in the country, prompting the Russian government to pass a restrictive immigration law in late 2006.

Police said the fight in the village was not racially motivated, but given developments in Kondopoga, the local police force was being reinforced to mediate between villagers and Caucasus migrants.

Further details on Kondopoga from the December/January issue of News & Letters, the Chicago-based Marxist-Humanist journal:

In September a pogrom took place in the town of Kondopoga, in the Karelia district. After a fight in a bar between ethnic Russians and immigrants from the Caucasus in which two Russians died, Russian mobs gathered, ordering all “blacks” to leave town within 24 hours. Violent rioting then commenced, in which young neo-Nazis from out of the area also participated. Police waited three days to intervene.

It gets worse. From Reuters via Moscow Times, Feb. 13:

Kondopoga Witnesses Disappear
A Chechen Ingush leader said Monday that police had forced two Azeri witnesses to leave the northwestern town of Kondopoga to prevent them from testifying on a brawl that sparked deadly inter-ethnic riots.

The two men are among the main witnesses in an investigation into a fight that broke out in a restaurant in Kondopoga last September between ethnic Russians and Chechens, triggering mass street disturbances.

See our last post on Russia and the Caucasus.