MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. The number of racism and xenophobia-related crimes in Russia has developed a noticeable decline, for which the law enforcement agencies and a significant improvement in their operation have the credit. Some say that reduction in the number of labor migrants, who have been leaving Russia against the backdrop of the ruble’s slump and tighter requirements posed by the authorities played a certain role.
Racism and xenophobia-fueled crimes in 2015 dropped by half against 2014, says the information and analysis human rights centre SOVA. Last year such incidents occurred in seventeen regions of Russia. Nine people died and 68 were injured, in contrast to 36 killed and 133 injured in 29 regions in 2014.
"The reduction in the number of xenophobia-fueled crimes in Russia last year was largely a result of better policing," SOVA functionary Natalya Yudina told the daily Izvestia.
According to the Federal Migration Service, labor migration from Central Asia fell by 8.4% (367,000) in January 20 through December 4, 2015.
The law enforcers have certainly stepped up the struggle against right-wing radicals, SOVA human rights activists have acknowledged. Last year saw six sentences passed on 13 defendants in four regions of the country. Members of three groups: BORN, Ataka and Okkupai-Pedofilyai were convicted. The law enforcers’ pressure on nationalists brought about a considerable decline in their public activity. Customary street processions and rallies failed to draw even half of the usual turnouts. Not a single ethnic conflict gained full strength and "pressures" by the authorities were the most widely discussed theme.
"I fully agree that better performance by police played the key role in easing xenophobia and racism-related crime rates," the director of the Theoretical and Applied Political Sciences Centre at the presidential academy RANEPA, Professor Vladimir Malakhov, of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Philosophy Institute told TASS. "The trend has been observed since 2012. As soon as police started dealing with these guys in earnest, the crime rate went down. There is far less tolerance towards them these days. And many more criminal cases are taken to their logical outcome."
As far as migrants are concerned, the Russian economy will be unable to do away without guest workers, and xenophobia in society is by no means related with their overall number. Its level in society remains unchanged. It is merely directed against other targets.
Russia’s leading human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina, the chairperson of the Civil Assistance committee, which extends a helping hand to refugees and forced migrants, unconditionally agrees the law enforcers are addressing the problem of ultra-right nationalists in full seriousness.
"There have been many trials and many groups have been eliminated," she told TASS. "We have observed no big decline in the number of labor migrants, but there have certainly been far fewer attacks against them, just as against asylum-seekers. I cannot recall any high-profile complaint filed over the past year, although before almost each migrant could recall some unpleasant experiences of the sort.
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