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Graves Vandalized In Tatarstan

Tatar graves vandalised in Alabuga
Tatar graves vandalised in Alabuga
ALABUGA, Tatarstan -- Dozens of graves in a Muslim cemetery in Tatarstan's city of Alabuga have been severely damaged by unknown vandals, RFE/RL's Tatar-Bashkir Service reports.

Rafik Makhmutov, leader of the Tatar Cultural Center (TIU) in Alabuga, said that more than 50 graves were damaged on May 25, with many of the gravestones knocked over or broken into pieces.

He and other members of the TIU have begun restoring the damage.

The majority of Alabuga's residents are ethnic Russians.

Makhmutov said the incident is not only of concern to Tatars, adding that all ethnic groups in the city are offended by the action.

TIU activist Mansur Yarullin said that he hopes the vandals will be brought to justice.

Alabuga is a city of some 65,000 people about 200 kilometers east of Kazan, Tatarstan's capital.