Racial Tensions Escalate in Krasnodar

KRASNODAR–Russia (Noyan Tapan)–Authorities in Krasnodar region expelled a Kurdish family living in the region Friday–in what has become the first definitive execution of a law passed last month–limiting the rights of minorities in the regions/

An organization called the Southern Wave urged authorities to halt this campaign–warning that thousands of Armenia’s–Assyrians–Kurds–Yezidis and Gypsies will be affected by this new situation.

Krasnodar governor Aleksander Tkatchov wrote in an article that "we deem illegal all persons whose last names end in yan–shvili and oghli–and we need to establish the legal status of those whose last names end with ov or in."

Leader of the Krasnodar Armenian community and the first vice-president of the Krasnodar chapter of the Russian-Armenian Organization Razmik Gevorgyan told Radio Free Europe that Tkatchov has been urging people to "let’s clean up–let’s deport and let’s cleanse the area of ethnics." This effort is being supported by neo-Nazi groups in the area.

The region’s predominantly Russian press has actively supported the governor’s racist campaign.

The Armenian community–which numbers around 500,000 in that region alone–faces the same discriminatory actions. Since the active enactment of the law–families have been assisted by the Armenian community to return to Armenia–while other Armenian individuals have been either beaten up or threatened with expulsion after being fined.

Gevorkyan reported that random house-to-house raids have become commonplace–where authorities illegally conduct search and seizure operations and enter people’s homes unannounced demanding an explanation of their status.

The tense situation in Krasnodar will be the topic of an emergency session of the Russian-Armenian Organization’s board of directors Tuesday.

The board has opted to send a team of leaders to region and has petitioned the Russian government to have the presidential chief of staff Aleksander Voloshin and the vice-speaker of the Russian parliament Artur Chilingarov join the Armenian delegation on this visit.

During a visit to Armenia last month–Russian Interior Minister said that his ministry was paying great attention to the Krasnodar issue. According to the Armenian side–a large number of Armenian citizens live in the three regions of Russia – Stavropol–Krasnodar and Primorie.

For this reason–an agreement has been reached on holding a meeting of the experts of the Interior Ministries in Krasnodar–to be attended by the representatives of other departmen’s and government bodies. The aim of the meeting is to study the situation of the Armenian citizens in detail.

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