MOSCOW (AP) - The embassies of Armenia and six other former Soviet republics in the Caucasus and Central Asian regions appealed to the Russian Foreign Ministry to alert police and security agencies to rising concerns about skinhead attacks on non-Slavic people in Moscow.
The consuls of Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan sent a letter last week to Vladimir Kotenev, the director of the consular department of the Foreign Ministry. They said they had received numerous complaints from citizens of their countries about harassment and attacks by skinheads,
particularly on Moscow's subway system, at outdoor markets, and discos.
Referring to Adolf Hitler's birthday on Saturday, the consuls wrote: "The approaching, so-called day of memory with the noticeable activation of similar groups naturally provokes our concern about possible consequences."
The Interfax news agency, citing police sources, reported Monday that police would beef up protection of diplomatic missions and public places including the Moscow subway, railway stations, airports and shopping malls on Saturday.
Russia has a small but occasionally violent far-right nationalist movement, whose members normally target dark-skinned people from the Caucasus region of the former
Soviet Union, Asia and Africa. Last week, numerous foreign embassies received electronic mail messages threatening a skinhead "war" against foreigners.