Sunday, October 26, 2014


Russia

First Person: Life In Russia As A Non-Russian Child

Aida's daughter Bermet didn't find a very warm welcome in Russia.
Aida's daughter Bermet didn't find a very warm welcome in Russia.
Aida Kasymalieva reports from Moscow for RFE/RL's Kyrgyz Service. This summer, she brought her 5-year-old daughter, Bermet, to Moscow from the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, where she had been living with her grandparents. This is Kasymalieva's account of her daughter's experience of life in Russia.

DOMODEDOVO AIRPORT, MOSCOW -- Bermet has arrived. She's arrived! Seventeen kilograms of pure happiness is back with me again.

"Mom, we're Russians now, aren't we?"
"Why do you say that?"
"Because we're in Moscow."
"No, we're not Russians."
"Then why are we going to live here? There are so many Russians -- just look around!"
"Yes, more than back in Bishkek."
"They're like Aunt Sveta. So many Aunt Svetas here."
"It doesn't matter. We're just here temporarily, because I work here. We are Kyrgyz."
"Oh, I get it. Russians go to Bishkek, and we come here. We change places. It's a game!"

She repeated that thought every time we encountered other Kyrgyz on the subway. She devised a project for herself -- to count her compatriots during subway rides. We once counted 300 Kyrgyz immigrants on a trip that lasted seven stations.

No Welcome Home

Before Bermet's arrival, I found a place to live in Balashikha, a city just outside the Moscow city limits. It made for a long commute: 55 minutes on a bus, and another 40 minutes on the subway to get to the city center. The trip is even longer if the traffic is bad.

There are many new buildings in my neighborhood in Balashikha, all apparently built for young families. All the buildings are identical, painted the same shade of orange. Sometimes the families inside seem identical as well -- the same mother, the same children. And all different from us.

As soon as I brought Bermet home for the first time, we threw down our bags and went out for a walk. My friendly little Bermet, who was used to drawing smiles from strangers in Bishkek, immediately greeted all the mothers she saw gathered in the courtyard. But instead of greeting her back, the women simply ignored her. One by one. Not a single smile.

On that evening, Bermet's first in the Moscow suburbs, we returned home feeling confused and sad. Within a week, she had gotten used to playing alone and had stopped attempting to say hello to anyone on the street.

"Oh, Mom -- that man is eating a banana. I want one too!"
"Yes, I'm eating, and it's none of your business," the man snarled at Bermet.

I had been trying to keep my feelings to myself. But that day I turned to Twitter. "I didn't want to write about this. But since Bermet's arrival I've been going outside. And we're alien, we're different. No one smiles. And the children copy their mothers' hatred."

Aida KasymalievaAida Kasymalieva
x
Aida Kasymalieva
Aida Kasymalieva
The next day, Bermet made a fresh attempt to make friends in the courtyard. She went up to one girl, and then another, trying to make their acquaintance. But it was in vain. She got only silence in response. That, and a rude shout from one of the mothers to her daughter: "Dasha, come over here!"

"They won't play with me," Bermet said despairingly. "I want to go back to Bishkek. I want to be with my friends -- with Akerke, Meerim, Aiday, Artur, Masha."

The sky had fallen. The planet had spun out of its orbit and drifted away into infinity. This was the only way of expressing how I felt.

Over time, my conversations with Bermet took on a kind of dreadful sameness.

"No one plays with me."
"They just don't know you, Bermet."
"They're mean."
"Everything will settle down in kindergarten. You'll make so many friends!"
"Why don't they want to play with me? I come up to them and they don't say anything!"


I should clarify here that Bermet speaks better Russian than I do. And she has friends of many ethnicities back in Bishkek.

Courtyard Ghettos

Balashikha is full of diminutive names. There's the "Solnyshko" (Sunny) bus stop, the "Pole Chudes" (Field of Miracles) neighborhood. Even the city itself may have gotten its name from a Finno-Ugric word meaning "land of laughter and fun." All names that stood in stark contrast to the cold reception we received at every turn.

One day, we set out to explore every playground and courtyard in our neighborhood, finally stopping at the one that was closest to our house. Throughout, Bermet and I were totally alone. Strangers' glances seemed to push us out, to snap at us and remind us, again and again, that we were alien, alien, alien.

Bermet sat down on a bench and looked around.

Not everyone was Russian. There were people from the Caucasus, whose children didn't speak Russian and who crowded together on one bench. On a second bench, the Russian mothers gathered. Bermet and I were sitting on the third bench.

'These Tajiks'

The next day, there was one empty seat on a bench occupied by elderly women. One of them threw an angry glance at me and began speaking loudly about "stinky" Tajiks and how "uncivilized" they were. "They scream all night long," she said, and hang their "stinky blankets" off the balconies in the morning. She took me for a Tajik.

There are actually many Uzbeks living in those buildings -- migrant workers and unskilled laborers. Their children, who don't speak Russian, avoid the playgrounds as though they were lepers. But there are actually no Tajiks.

Once I called a plumber, and when I began to explain my address, he complained that I lived in an area full of "churkas," a derogatory word for nonwhites.

And yet he felt no discomfort facing me 10 minutes later when I opened the door to my apartment.

Black Emma

After her first day in kindergarten, Bermet came up to me and said: "Mommy, I'm black all over. My hair, my eyes, and my skin."

I froze for a moment, but forced myself to make a cheerful reply from the kitchen. "That's right, sweetheart, we are both black beauties." I didn't try to find out where she had heard that phrase.

After two months in the kindergarten, she hadn't made any friends.

"'You're not part of our group. We won't play with you,'" Bermet once told me tearfully, repeating what classmates Vika and Dasha had said to her.

I only wanted some sense of goodwill toward my child. When the time came for her to leave, I couldn't bring myself to bring a cake. Instead, I decided to express my concerns to the director. Our conversation, as expected, turned into an hourlong argument, and she didn't give in until I threatened to take my complaint to the Ministry of Education.

"I apologize if something went wrong," she finally said, barely squeezing out the words. She did not say good-bye to Bermet as we left.

On that day we went home and I grabbed Emma -- a doll that I had bought in New York City. Emma is an African-American doll, made of cloth, with dark, curly hair, and the same height as Bermet.

And the three of us -- Emma, Bermet, and I -- took a walk in the Field of Miracles. It was our kind of silent protest in support of tolerance and against xenophobia.

On our way back to our apartment, a family joined us in the elevator. The air felt thick with hatred. Their child was whimpering, prompting his mother to shout, "Don't be a monkey!" She was looking at Emma as she said it.

The Russian March on Unity Day in Moscow
The Russian March on Unity Day in Moscow


Heading Home

On November 4, I covered the Russian March -- the annual gathering of ultranationalists on National Unity Day to protest the presence of Caucasians and other immigrants in their country.

Among the thousands of protesters, I saw a young girl -- no older than Bermet -- sitting on a grown-up's shoulders. Together they shouted, "Moscow for Muscovites! Russia for Russians!" The little girl, like many in the crowd, was wearing a mask. Many other demonstrators were young parents, their children still in strollers. It was then that I understood that Bermet and I had to get out of this place.

Before our departure, I gaze through the window of our apartment at the houses in our neighborhood. Even at 3 a.m., there were three lights burning in the house across from ours. An unbearable feeling settled over me, and I literally gasped for air. I don't want Bermet to grow up with the feeling, imposed on her by others, that something is wrong with her. Everything is perfectly right with my wonderful, smart girl.

I don't understand anything. We lived in Dubai and Bermet attended school there as well. There, children are the object of constant affection, no matter the color of their skin or eyes. The Arab natives calmly stroke babies' heads and smile with delight. One can breathe easily there, without a feeling of shrinking. The same is true in Bishkek, where no one separates the people into difference categories.

People have tried to convince me that the things I've seen only happen in the suburbs, and that attitudes in Moscow are different. I've been told I'm being obsessive and hypersensitive about it. But somehow I don't think 5 kilometers' difference suddenly makes people kinder -- especially in Moscow.

People offer different reasons for why this is so. They claim that it's not anger, that it's just fatigue. But I don't care. We're leaving right now, and I'll think about tomorrow tomorrow. After 2 1/2 months of living in Moscow, Bermet weighs 19 kilograms instead of 17. One of the two kilos is definitely bitterness.

"I don't like Moscow. The people here are very mean!" This is how Bermet says good-bye to Russia.

This piece was originally published in Russian by the Kyrgyz news agency chalkan.kg
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by: Frank
December 06, 2011 21:25
Vintage RFE/RL propaganda overlloking the number of instances to the contrary.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
December 07, 2011 07:43
Rubbish Frank, Russians are well known for their racist attitudes, mass membership of neo-nazi gangs (more than half of the worlds neo-nazi members are Russians), murder of immigrants etc.

@ Jack (Armenian bigot) they go to Russia because most of them don't have the English skills to go elsewhere and get real jobs, they do have Russian skills, so they go to Russia and get abused....
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 01:36
Andrew, you come across as an anti-Russian bigot.

Overall, the Abkhaz and Ossetians appear to prefer Russia over Georgia. Russia has a history of accepting people of non-Rusisan background as their own.

In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
December 09, 2011 15:32
Hi Averko/Frank/Whatever

No, just anti-racist bigots which unfortunately consists of most Russians, hence the massive popularity of groups which proclaim "Russia for Russians" and kill little girls in the street for being non slavs.

Russia has a very long history of racism towards its subject peoples.

BTW, The South Ossetians seem to have rejected the overtly pro Russian candidate Bibilov......

The Abkhazians voted in a candidate that Russia tried to smear by proclaiming him a pro Georgian traitor.....

Hmmm, maybe they don't dislike Georgians as much as you think....
In Response

by: Frank
December 10, 2011 14:35
Andrew spouts his usual anti-Russian bigotry.

One can look at instances where Georgians (as one example) aren't so highly thought of.

He's dreaming to think that most Ossetians and Abkhaz prefer Georgia over Russia.

Moreover, many Georgians don't harbor his anti-Russian stances.

Russia has a good history of accepting many non-Russians, who in turn are quite pro-Russian.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
December 12, 2011 18:32
Frank/Averko/Whatever

Russia has a very long and very well documented history of institutionalized state sponsored racism.

Russian xenophobia
The new Jews
Behind a row over anti-Semitism, an older, broader intolerance

http://www.economist.com/node/3672697

As to whether South Ossetians or Abkhaz prefer Georgia over Russia, well Abkhaz are already complaining about Russian interference in their affairs, as are South Ossetians.

The head of the UNDP for the Caucasus was recently told on a visit to Sokhumi "Just tell the Georgians to keep the rhetoric down, and we can work out a deal, the Russians are trying to swallow us".

Of course many Georgians don't harbor anti-Russian stances, in terms of people to people relations (nor do I) but they despise the Russian state in general.

Unlike the majority of Russians, Georgians in general are not racist. They also (unlike you) have the intelligence to see the difference between people and the state.

Russia has a history of annihilation of ethnic minorities, particularly in the Caucasus, of course, you being a supporter of ethnic cleansing I guess you don't consider this "racism" in any way.
In Response

by: Frank
December 12, 2011 22:50
If anything, Andrew exhibits the greater degree of bigotry. In his instance, the target is the Russian people.

The Russian government has numerous individuals with non-Russian backgrounds. In Russia, one can find this evident in sports, entertainment and other pop culture situations.

Russians accepting people of non-Russian background isn't such an oddity. Earlier instances include Catherine the Great and Pushkin.
In Response

by: Frank
December 12, 2011 23:12
As a follow-up to my last set of submitted comments in answer to the propagandistically anti-Russian comments, the present situation continues to suggest that most Abkhaz and Ossetians prefer Russia over Georgia.
In Response

by: EF Slattery from: New York
December 07, 2011 19:13
"First person" signifies an individual point of view. Try reading the title.
In Response

by: Matt from: Boston
December 08, 2011 03:33
Both Frank and Andrew are wrong. This is not propaganda, nor are all Russians racists. This is simply the account of one Kyrgyz woman and her daughter's experiences with xenophobia and racism in Russia. It highlights a major problem in Russian society, but certainly never states that all Russians are racists. Simply that, in the neighborhood where they lived, there was a lot of xenophobia and this must mean xenophobia is a problem in the larger Russian society. Thank you, Ms. Kasymalieva for this very interesting account.
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 09:31
It wouldn't surprise me if this piece is something akin to the farce story conjured up by the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US in the leadup to the 1991 war against Iraq.

FYI, I don't deny a problem of intolerance in Russia, while maintaining that RFE/RL exhibts inaccurate (as in slanted) coverage that leans in one direction.
In Response

by: bob
December 08, 2011 18:25
Frank's so right, RFE would never do anything about intolerance in some US friendly place, like Kyrgyzstan.

oh, wait: http://www.rferl.org/content/portraits_of_osh_more_dangerous_than_anger_is_desperation/24373471.html
In Response

by: FRank
December 10, 2011 14:37
A media outlet the size of RFE/RL can periodically have accurate instances over the other often times inaccurate and partisan occurrences.
In Response

by: Sabina from: Woodbridge , VA
December 10, 2011 20:39
In my life as an adult I've only passed through Moscow twice. Both times felt like, as you softly call it, an alien. It doesn't really matter what color is your skin, or hair - people hate not only outsiders, but each other as well. Being a Kazakh, I don't look like your typical Kazakh. I can pass as a local pretty much anywhere, and I am usually accepted everywhere by everyone, but Russian people, especially from Moscow. For the same reason even here, in the US, I don't have any Russian friends. The only thing we have in common is the language we speak...
I hope your life in Russia haven't affected Bermet's personality and she stays that same sweet little girl she is.

by: Jack from: US
December 07, 2011 00:56
if Russians are so bad and Muslims migrants are so much oppressed in Russia, why do Muslims swam into Russia by millions every year? Shouldn't they move where they are going to be next to their fellow muslims, like to Pakistan or Afghanistan?
In Response

by: Frank
December 07, 2011 09:42
When it comes to Russia and Serbia, RFE/RL is propagandistically doom and gloom, in a way that omits some variables which stand in the way of the faulty imagery being hustled.

A large multiethnic country with economic challenges is bound to exhibit instances of intolerance.

On this matter, the current RFE/RL coverage is somewhat akin to how Cold War era Radio Moscow covered race relations in the US.
In Response

by: Pasha from: Bishkek
December 07, 2011 10:03
They go to Moscow for the same reason many people migrate: economic opportunity... and as someone who has spent extensive time in Russia I can say that Ms .Kasymalieva's daughter's impressions of how welcoming muscovites and russians in general are to foreigners of any stripe (including russians from other former-Soviet Republics) is not "vintage RFE/RL propaganda" and as to Pakistan and Afghanistan... yeah. That makes alot of economic sense...
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 01:38
I know of other instances to the contrary.

Hence, the highlighting of views like the above RFE/RL piece amounts to bogus anti-Russian propaganda.


In Response

by: Assel from: UK
December 07, 2011 11:31
you do realise this is about race not religion? now tell me, should all the black people in your country have moved back to Africa instead of fighting to be treated like human beings?
In Response

by: JP from: US and Kyrgyzstan
December 07, 2011 15:45
Jack, are you actually asking or are you just unhappy with this article because you don't like what it implies about Russia (as Frank seems to be above)? If it is the first, I will tell you.

Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Tajik people work in Russia because the economic situation in their home countries is so dire that they choose to work as migrant laborers in Russia so they can send money back to their families. Nearly all people in these countries can speak Russian well. Most of the migrant workers are in Russia legally. Due to political problems there are simply no viable opportunities for most people in their home countries. The writer of this article is very well educated and has opportunities to work in other countries as well (such as the UAE). She is a journalist, unlike most migrant workers, who was assigned to Moscow.

The economic opportunities in Pakistan and Afghanistan are even fewer than the formerly Soviet Central Asian states. Central Asian nationals, while Russophone, so not speak the primary languages of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Besides, the issues described here have nothing to do with religion and everything to do with racism. While there are some very open minded folks in Moscow and the rest of Russia, that doesn't discount the fact that ultra-nationalist groups receive wide support and there are high rates of hate crimes against non-white people, especially those with ethnic origins from the Caucasus and Central Asia. (Note: there are very many Russian citizens with these origins, and the Russian border still stretches deep into the northern Caucasus. When in Moscow, these people regularly face violence and "anti-immigrant" hate speech.

This article is merely an instance of how these phenomena were experienced by one family.
In Response

by: Cole from: USA
December 07, 2011 18:38
Jack,

Many Kyrgyz people move to Russia to work because of comparatively high wages and a broader range of opportunities. Often times, they choose Russia because, as citizens of an ex-Soviet republic, they hold a passport with which they can travel to and from Russia without a visa.

I'm not sure if you're up on current events but Afghanistan and Pakistan aren't the best places, right now, to go looking for work with your 5-year-old daughter. In the article, she mentions working in Dubai which, as far as I know, is about 75% Muslim. So, it seems, she may have already experienced some part of what you were making an effort to suggest.

That said, I disagree with the fundamentals of your observation. The article is not about a Muslim complaining that non-Muslims are mean to her. It is about a person from Bishkek, a city that from my experience is fairly tolerant, moving to a place where she and her daughter are treated differently on the basis of appearance. Given the facts as presented, the xenophobia she experienced would not have been assuaged had she been of another faith.

If you're going to make statements like, "Shouldn't they move where they are going to be next to their fellow muslims...," at least have the decency not to tell the world you're from the USA. The rest of us don't like having to answer for your narrow mindedness.
In Response

by: Mr.M from: Bishkek
December 07, 2011 19:19
Why are so stupid to divide people to muslims and non-muslims? Are you aware that historically 35% of people in Russia ARE muslims?

And are you aware that people usually migrate for ECONOMIC reasons? Or do you consider Pakistan as a better place that Russia?

Go and have a hamburger fella ;)
In Response

by: Jean from: USA
December 07, 2011 19:32
As on every continent, people move to the places where they can work and support their families. Bermet's mother had a job in Moscow, according to the article, why should her child have to suffer such discrimination because of it?

If anything, this article shows that the ugly side of nationalism is being passed down and even magnified by the children, who normally don't have the same issues with skin color that adults do. It's one thing to be proud of and love one's homeland, it's quite another thing to insist that all others are inferior.
In Response

by: Janna from: KG
December 07, 2011 22:13
Jack is sooo ignorat to even bring up religion! Is it probably coz all you hear is muslims on American news??? How they are bad and all!! Have you got an idea that Jews, Christians and Muslims all worship one and the same God,with the same prophets and so on, but this is not a lecture on Religion.
It is sad to see after readin this story of a girl being cast away like some desease, you are making it into stupid arguement of religions!!! Most of ex Soviet Union people are not religious!!! But how would YOU know?! You have not seen anything farther than your own nose! Russians in Moscow ARE very rasict, arrogant and vulgar, someone already mentioned that, they don't even consider other Russians (from non russian countries) to be russians!!! Look how those Moskovites behave outside their Moscow, like some degenerates! How many shows have been shown abt Russians getting in trouble while on their vacations abroad, coz they don't know how to be cultured!! This story is very sad, adults are teaching their kids to be RACIST!!! Bless those countries, if anything can wake them up and see the reality!! About Afghanistan and Pakistan, just FYI, there are MANY more MUSLIM countried in the world except for these 2 (but I am sure you would not know abt them, coz they don't cover them on your local news!) SHAME!!!!
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 22:28
New Yorkers have a negative repuation with some as well.

Yet, Moscow and New York are both pretty multiethnic, with numerous cultural attributes.

I agree that bad behavior is evident among some of the nouveau riche Russians - something true of other new rich types the world over.
In Response

by: Andrew from: Auckland
December 09, 2011 15:38
LOL Frank/Averko/Whatever...

Moscow is a city where the government targets non slavic residents, deporting them whenever they have a beef with the non slavs home country regardless of their immigration/naturalization status.

Moscow is a city where the government cracks down hard on a handful of pro democracy protesters, but allows massive rallies where Russian ultra nationalists chant "Russia for Russians" and anti immigrant racist chants, where the militia and government turn a blind eye at best, and offer protection at worst, to neo-nazi gangs that murder non slavs (including little girls).

"Bad behavior" in the form of racism is a major part of Russian "kultur" and society.
In Response

by: Frank
December 10, 2011 14:44
The anti-Russian bigot and idiot posting as Andrew once again downplays certain partriculars like the great number of people from non-Russian backgrounds playing lead roles in numerous walks of Russian life.

Comparatively speraking, Russians have shown a greater tolerance than some other societies when it comes to accepting others into their fold.

by: Seidkazi from: Ma Wara An-Nahr
December 07, 2011 10:20
Hmmm it may have to do more with 'Moscow' than with 'Russia', really. Even some white Russians who I know don't like Moscow for its agressive arrogance and vulgarity and prefer other cities, e.g. Sankt-Petersburg. And Tajik migrants who I met told me that the atmosphere in e.g. Kazan is different and better than that in Moscow.
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 01:43
There're varied situations in Moscow and elsewhere in Russia.

There's a good share of bigoted Croats, Albanians, west Ukrainians and Bosnian Muslims.

You don't see many if any RFE/RL commentary on that reality.
In Response

by: A.T.
December 11, 2011 06:30
Sankt-Petersburg (St Petersburg) is no better than Moscow. There's a lot of racism and neo-Nazis are thriving. Thinks Siberia, there's much more tolerance in Eastern Russia.

by: Aibek
December 07, 2011 10:29
Yes, vintage RFE/RL propaganda: This piece was originally published in Russian by the Kyrgyz news agency chalkan.kg

Kyrgyz, Tajiks, Uzbeks and others travel to Russia for work. I think many would like to make a home there but too many have experiences like this one. I think in other cities it is not as bad as Moscow.

"Druzhba Narodov"

by: JA from: Dubai
December 07, 2011 12:24
Two previous comments from US citizens, lool, u dont know anything outside your little town u live in, nothing abt muslims or other religions, this is not abt religion!!!! like u all think abt any case in this life, coz u ve all been so brainwashed by ur damn leaders!!!!! Russians generally are pigs and ignorant!!!!!!!!!! They want to protect their Moscow frm foreigners, but go all over the world themselves, stay in ur damn MOSCOW!!!!! pigs, they only stink and know how to get drunk!!!!!
Jack from US, do you even know where Afghanistan and Pakistan are situated??? Hahhaha, I bet you dont even know what is the capital of the US!!! lool
In Response

by: Matt from: Boston
December 08, 2011 03:40
Actually, I've spent extended periods of time in both Kyrgyzstan and Russia, and I really liked both the Russians and the Kyrgyz. But I doubt you have any personal experience in Russia or the USA, JA. Funny how the people who know the least often use the most inflammatory language.
In Response

by: JA from: Dubai
December 10, 2011 11:48
OMG< Matt, fyi, I was BORN n RAISED in Bishkek!! Worked with lots of projects involving American citizens and have visited US!! And have studied in Moscow!!so, pls, dont ASSUME smth u have no idea of, just coz u ve been in KG or Russia (probably serving as a military)!!!I have seen ignorance of Americans, just like I c it now here with Frank's religious views, when there is no hint abt religion in the article! The entire world laughs watching programms where they ask americans some simple questions on geography n see how most of US citizens dont know more than the name of their city!

by: black from: usa
December 07, 2011 13:43
it is not about religion...it is about Russia being racist against non-slavic looking people...I feel sorry for this lady and sad for Russia's future as there is no future for the country built on the principles based on the racism, discrimination and lack of democracy...

by: Sandy keeler from: Georgia, USA
December 07, 2011 16:38
That is so sad. My daughter (an American) has lived and worked in both Russia and Kyrgyzstan. She loved both places and the people in both, so I hate to think of them being hostile to each other.
In Response

by: Betsy from: California
December 08, 2011 05:40
Sandy, it helps that your daughter is American. As an American, I've lived in Russia and Uzbekistan and never experienced the racism this author discusses turned against me--but I've heard plenty from Russians about Uzbeks and other Central Asians. Even Russians living in Central Asia (as a minority population) still feel like they can say bad things about Uzbeks just because they once were in power.

by: Michelle from: US
December 07, 2011 19:47
Jack,
Kyrgyz and other non-Russians go to Moscow to find work, because in their native countries there is no work available. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, they have no common language, although English-speakers from Kyrgyzstan often find work in Afghanistan on the US military bases.
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 01:45
Repeated ad nauseum

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 05:15
BTW, among some central Asians, there've been exhibited acts of intolerance. In addition, there has been some central Asian intolerance of Russian speakers with European roots.

This point touches on the kind of plusses and minusses to be found in multiethnic countries with socioeconomic challenges.

Note that the West doesn't seem so willing to take in central Asians.

Russians at large are decent people, in a way different from the RFE/RL spin meistering.

by: Calvin from: Moscow
December 08, 2011 09:57
People, you all must take notice that the commonly referred Russia is a one city goverment being Moscow. and all the racial and religious discrimination that is happening in Moscow takes it's roots from the immigrants themselves which in many different ways are behaving way out of bounds. As a former immigrant myself, i know how hard it is to live far from home but i and my family and many families that lived near us behaved according to the ethic, morale, justice rules of the country. Not what you can say about the immigrants in Moscow (Russia). Raping children, selling junk, discriminating and harrasing women, bullying youngsters... it is a problem, which vlad and dima resist to fix.sadly
In Response

by: Frank
December 08, 2011 22:20
It's unfortunate that some bad apples among these newly arrived groups stand out. They're not good for everyone who is law abiding.

Another facet is the observation that Russian law enforcement have been known to likely be bribed by organized crime, including those from the Caucasus. The public then takes civic action, with some extremists taking over that process.
In Response

by: A.T.
December 11, 2011 06:38
Many of of my countrymen Russians fail to make difference between criminals and nationalities. Yes, poor, uneducated, and more importantly - desperate people are more likely to do bad things, there's nothing new about it. It's the basics. If America continued to link crime to ethnicity, it would never reach the level of tolerance.

In defense of Russia, I should mention that efforts to stop intolerance by the government are quite substantial, at least now, and the sheer number of migrants and the rate of migration in the last decades make it unsurprising that intolerance exists. Still, there is hope. Russia is a civilised country and there won't be major conflicts but more needs to be done for education.
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