At least ten hurt in xenophobic attacks in Russia in January - rights defenders

Ten people were injured and one died in Russia this January in xenophobic attacks, the Sova human rights center told Interfax on Friday.

Ten people were injured and one died in Russia this January in xenophobic attacks, the Sova human rights center told Interfax on Friday.

"No less than ten people were hurt in racist and neo-Nazi attacks in January. One, a citizen of Tajikistan, was killed in Moscow," the xenophobia monitoring center said.

At least four acts of vandalism motivated by hatred or neo-Nazi ideology were perpetrated in Russia in January, Sova reported.

Moscow and St. Petersburg topped the list of Russian regions in hate crimes in 2013, the center reported earlier.

"According to tentative estimates, 20 died and at least 173 were injured in such attacks in 32 regions of Russia in 2013," the activists said.

"The levels of violence were the highest in Moscow (eight dead and 53 injured) and St. Petersburg (three dead and 32 injured). There were many casualties in the Lipetsk region (four dead and nine injured), the Chelyabinsk and Moscow regions (eight injured in each) and the Sverdlovsk region (two dead and four injured)," Sova said.

People with origins in Central Asia (13 dead and 39 injured) and the Caucasus (three dead and 26 injured) were the main targets of ultra-right-wing forces last year, it noted.

Casualties grew significantly amongst religious groups and the LGBT community in 2013, Sova continued. Meanwhile, the number of attacks against youth sub-cultures and left-wing movement members, which were a major target for attacks in 2012, declined last year.

Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky admitted on December 9, 2013, the problem of xenophobia and ethnic intolerance in Russia.

"Unfortunately, more cases of intolerance and xenophobia can be observed, which eventually leads to an escalation of inter-ethnic disputes," he said.

Many foreigners are the ones to blame for the negative attitude of locals, Romodanovsky said.

"This category behaves in Russia the way they are used to behaving in their homeland. Certainly, this causes justified irritation of our citizens. This fact cannot but cause negative reactions from the local population," Romodanovsky said.

"Such moods of our citizens are skillfully used by radicals in order to incite national hatred, fear of migrants and sometimes racism," Romodanovsky said.

He also said in a lecture delivered at the Moscow State University on December 6 that migrants who settled down in central areas of Russia had to adapt to local realities instead of being an irritant to the local population.

"Clearly, kebab cookouts, ethnic dancing or introduction of some Central Asian customs irritate our population, which has a good reason to be irritated," he said.

"Therefore, integration and adaptation are important so that they live by our rules," Romodanovsky said.

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