Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin led a minute’s silence for Yegor Sviridov, a Moscow Spartak fan killed in a clash with migrants from Russia’s southern Muslim provinces on Dec. 6. “A young man died,” Putin said. “This is a big tragedy.”
The incident highlighted tension between those who live in big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg and immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus region. Far-right forces have increased attacks on dark-skinned migrants. At a rally of Spartak fans to protest the shooting death of Sviridov, fans shouted racist slogans at police and passers-by and dozens were injured in fighting.
Former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, now an opposition leader, blamed the Putin government for fueling the nationalists. “The fact is that the authorities in previous years virtually encouraged such developments and didn’t do anything to minimize them, and now it all pours out in the street,” Kasyanov said.