More than 200 people held a silent protest in central Moscow on Saturday against a rise in racism in Russia, commemorating an Armenian stabbed to death a week ago.
One by one, young and old Muscovites alike filed into the Pushkin metro station to lay red roses and carnations at the platform where 17-year-old Vahan Abramyants was murdered last Saturday.
Abramyants was killed by unknown attackers, described by Russian media as skinheads, who fled the scene leaving the young Armenian dead with a knife wound to the chest. A schoolboy was detained on suspicion of killing Abramyants, but he was released after police failed to present enough evidence to charge him with murder.
Racist assaults have become common in Russia, where young men are increasingly prone to neo fascist beliefs despite the country being proud of its role defeating Nazi Germany.
"Many Russians feel humiliated that the nation's authority and economic power plunged as a result of these faulty reforms in the recent past," said retired physicist Yevgeny Petrov after laying flowers at the spot where Abramyants was killed. "But it's the most dastardly thing -- to give vent to your humiliation and attack innocent people who look non-Slavic."
African and Asian students are frequently targeted, along with darker-skinned immigrants from Russia's former colonies in the South Caucasus and Central Asia.