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June 25, 2022

Hundreds of people arrested in Russia over ethnic tensions

MOSCOW – Fearing more clashes between racist hooligans and mostly Muslim ethnic minorities, police detained more than 1,500 people in Moscow and several other Russian cities, after weekend rioting in the capital left dozens injured, Newsday informs. Hundreds of riot police outside the Kievsky station in central Moscow hauled into police vans mostly young men and teenagers who were shouting racist slogans and raising their hands in Nazi salutes. Some were lined up against buses and searched by police. Officers confiscated an arsenal of weapons, including traumatic guns, knives and metal bars, police spokesman Viktor Biryukov said. Police rounded up about 60 protesters in St. Petersburg, where radical groups also planned a gathering. Riot police prevented clashes in Krasnodar and Rostov-on-Don, southern Russian cities with large non-Slavic populations where ethnic clashes have been frequent in recent years, officials said. Dozens of mostly young men have been detained in central Russia and Siberia, Russian news agencies reported.

Resentment has been rising among Slavic Russians over the growing presence in Moscow and elsewhere of people from the southern Caucasus region, most of them Muslims.

While ethnic Russians amount to about four-fifths of Russia’s population of 142 million, the country is also home to some 180 ethnic groups. The Caucasus region with its mountainous terrain and isolated valleys is home to at least 100 ethnicities including Chechens, who waged two separatist wars against Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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