Saturday, March 30, 2024

Central Asian migrants face xenophobic backlash in Russia after Moscow terror attack

It may not be surprising but it is no doubt disturbing.  CNN reports that the four men accused of the terror attack in Moscow last week were quickly identified by Russian authorities as being from Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia.

Not long after the attack, videos began surfacing of police detaining and abusing the alleged attackers, "with one appearing to show a suspect having part of his ear cut off and subsequently forced into his mouth. The men had been in Russia as migrant workers on either temporary or expired visas, authorities said."

The days since have seen a wave of xenophobia toward Central Asian migrant workers.

On the social media platform X, CNN saw posts that showed people looking for taxis, asking for their rides to be cancelled if the driver was Tajik. One purported photo of a conversation said, “If you are Tajik, please cancel my ride.”

A torrent of abuse has also reportedly been directed towards a barbershop in the city of Ivanovo, where one of the alleged attackers worked. The owner of the shop told Russian journalists that her phone had been ringing “non stop” with death threats, and is quoted by a Russian daily newspaper, Moskovsky Komsomoletsas saying, “I’m pregnant and I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid to go outside.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in the delicate position with regard to migrant workers, who occupy vital roles in the Russian workforce while the country is at war.


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The brutality and senseless violence sets this situation apart, but generalizing fear from attackers to their fellow nationals isn't unique to Russia, especially when countries are at war. The United States put Japanese American citizens in internment camps during World War II. See my article, "Why did the United States put more than 70,000 Japanese American citizens into internment camps during World War II?",0721-Rappaport.pdf

Posted by: Nolan Rappaport | Mar 30, 2024 9:05:39 PM

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