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Moscow Prosecutors Lack Evidence In Attack On Minister

(RFE/RL) April 2, 2006 -- Russian prosecutors say they have no evidence to suggest an April 1 attack in Moscow against the culture minister of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria was racially motivated.

Zaur Tutov says he was beaten up by a group of skinheads yelling "Russia is for Russians." He was hospitalized with a broken cheekbone, concussion, and bruises.

But a spokesman for the Moscow prosecutor's office, Sergei Marchenko, said the attackers were drinking and using crude language. The spokesman said Tutov criticized them and a conflict ensued.

The attack comes amid an apparent rise in racially motivated violence in Moscow and other cities. Many attacks target darker-skinned immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

The authorities frequently treat such attacks as random violence or hooliganism.