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Murder, Riots, and Arrests: RFE/RL Reports on Moscow's Restive Relationship with Migrant Communities


Russia -- Unrest in Biryulevo, Moscow, October 13, 2013.

Russia -- Unrest in Biryulevo, Moscow, October 13, 2013.

Moscow is a tinderbox of tension after the capital's worst ethnic riots in three years have sent a shockwave of fear through migrant communities.

RFE/RL's Russian Service has video and photos of police clashing with rioters on October 13. Angry over the fatal stabbing days earlier of a young ethnic Russian that was widely blamed on a man from the Caucasus, rioters smashed shop windows and stormed a vegetable warehouse in the southern Biryulevo district of the city.

The next day, fear swept through Moscow’s migrant community after police arrested some 1,200 migrant workers at this same warehouse, while another 450 migrants were detained elsewhere in the city. An ethnic Uzbek migrant from Tajikistan who works in the warehouse spoke to RFE/RL’s Uzbek Service about the uneasy climate in which migrants live.

Meanwhile, correspondents Claire Bigg and Arife Kazimova report that footage of the dramatic arrest of Orkhan Zeynalov, the Azerbaijani man suspected of the murder, is making the rounds on Russian television, fueling tensions between ethnic Russians and Azerbaijanis. In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service within hours of Zeynalov's capture, his father said he did not believe his son could have been involved in the fatal stabbing.

Correspondent Tom Balmforth juxtaposes the rather lenient police treatment of the nationalist rioters in comparison to the crackdown on opposition protestors on Moscow's Bolotnaya Square in May 2012.

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