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Monday, October 14, 2013

Rampage in Moscow Unfolds on Camera

Video posted online Sunday showed ethnic nationalists breaking into a vegetable market on the outskirts of Moscow to attack migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

As my colleague Andrew Kramer reports, video posted online late Sunday offered visceral images of rioting by Russian nationalists who beat and terrorized migrant workers at a vegetable market in a working-class district of Moscow.

One brief clip, posted on the Russian social network VK by a 17-year-old blogger who writes as Nikita Zuev, showed a small knot of young men suddenly charging at the market’s glass doors, chanting “White Power!” in English and “Russians Advance!” in Russian.

Journalists from the news site Lenta.ru, who called the riot a “nationalist pogrom,” recorded more footage of the same charge and caught residents of the Biryulyovo district rushing to the market in enthusiastic support of the rampage.

“Everybody’s going to the vegetable market to sort things out,” one young woman explained to the Lenta journalists. An older women, who cursed at and slapped the riot police officers attempting to stop the rioters, cheered, “Advance, Russians! Advance!”

Later in the Lenta report, a young man with Asian features and a bloody face could be seen being cursed, beaten and kicked after he fell to the ground. After nightfall, the Lenta camera caught a man yelling drunkenly at the police officers, “Why don’t you all turn around and go count the illegal migrants inside!”

As my colleague Andrew Roth noted on Twitter, the opposition activist Aleksei Navalny, who has frequently expressed sympathy for Russian nationalist resentment, wrote on Monday that the authorities were partly to blame for lax regulation of immigration.

In August, Mr. Navalny complained that the authorities in Moscow were disrupting his campaign to be elected the city’s mayor by paying migrant workers from Uzbekistan to scale apartment buildings and remove banners draped from high-rise balconies by his supporters.

Video from the Russian news site Lenta.ru showed the authorities in Moscow removing a campaign banner in support of Aleksei Navalny, the opposition candidate for mayor.