Dec 1 2011
Russia’s parliamentary elections Sunday will be defined by an increasingly visible anti-Muslim nationalism which has even prompted some liberals to flirt with far-right forces.
TheNewAge MOSCOW — Hundreds of Russian nationalists staged a rally in central Moscow to demand an end to social payments for Muslim republics of the volatile North Caucasus region.
Recent polls have shown a rise in Russian xenophobia and a sense of voter frustration over the influx of mostly Muslim newcomers to cities that are already creaking under the strain of heavy crime and poorly-funded services.
The sanctioned gathering came amid spiking social tensions and lingering security fears from a January suicide bombing at the main Moscow airport that killed 37 people and was claimed by the nation’s most feared Islamist warlord.
“We are tired of seeing the Caucasus youth creating mayhem on our streets and at our schools and universities and then going unpunished,” rally co-organiser Alexander Khromov told the Interfax news agency.
The event was officially titled “Stop Feeding the Caucasus!” and included leaders from far-right organizations. “We are not xenophobes. We are not Nazis. We are demanding equality for Russian regions,” said rally co-organiser Anton Nosov of the little-known Russia Civic Union group.
Another speaker told the crowd of about 500 that “we spend too much money and too much blood” on the Caucasus. The council issued an official statement on Friday conceding that the payments made by Moscow to the restless Caucasus region were “not small”.
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