Prague, 28 June 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Meskhetian villagers in Russia's southern Krasnodar Krai today entered their seventh day of a hunger strike to protest what they say is discrimination against their ethnic group. Local Meskhetians told RFE/RL by telephone today that 27 villagers were on strike in Kievskoe, a settlement located a few dozen kilometers northeast of the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk.
Kievskoe Meskhetians demand to be restored the right to cultivate small acreages leased by private owners or collective farms and sell vegetables on local markets. They say that, earlier this year, regional authorities deprived them of this right, thus leaving them with virtually no source of income.
Most of the estimated 18,000 Meskhetians who live in Krasnodar Krai are considered as stateless persons and have no civil, political, or social rights.
For more on this story, please see Russia: Krasnodar Meskhetians Fast To Protest Ethnic Discrimination