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Teenagers Sentenced In St. Petersburg For Racially Motivated Violence

Nationalists rally in Moscow on National Unity Day, the new state holiday created by the Kremlin on November 4 to promote patriotism.
ST. PETERSBURG -- A court in St. Petersburg has sentenced four teenagers on charges of manslaughter and inciting racial hatred after an attack on a street car, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The court said that on November 15, 2008, the four visited the grave of Dmitry Borovikov, the leader of the extremist group Mad Crowd. The four decided to honor Borovikov's memory by attacking passengers on a suburban tram who were not ethnically Slavic.

They shouted racial slurs and attacked four non-Slavs on the street car. Three people were severely injured and a fourth died several hours later.

One of those convicted was sentenced to 7 1/2 years in a labor camp while the other three received suspended sentences.

Lyubov Punkevich, a senior assistant attorney with the Northwest Transportation Department, told RFE/RL that often the victims of such attacks are illegal workers. Because they are not formally registered as residents they are afraid to go to the police.

"This happens a lot on city trams, but victims rarely go to the police for help, so it is rare that we can convict the guilty parties," Punkevich said.