Moscow Will Not Allow Passage of Discrimination Law in Krasnodar

MOSCOW (Armenpress–AP)–The legislation on emigran’s that the lawmakers in the southern Russian territory of Krasnodar are going to pass will undergo a thorough analysis by the Russian Justice Ministry and the Prosecutor’s Office to secure its conformity with all Russian and international standards and norms–Yuzhniy Federalniy Okrug–a magazine–published by the authorities in the City of Rostov on Don reported.

The magazine writes that the tension in Krasnodar–in which each fifth resident is said to be an immigrant from Caucasus or Central Asia–has become another headache for central authorities in Moscow in addition to the Chechnya and Ossetian-Ingush problems.

A bill–drafted by lawmakers in Krasnodar–requiring the introduction of austere measures to regulate and reinforce control over the illegal influx of emigran’s–including creation of filtration centers–has been sent for the approval of Governor Alexander Tkachov.

Following hot debates in the Krasnodar and Russian press on the situation and reported violations of human rights–Vladimir Zorin–a senior official in the Russian government–was compelled to travel to Rostov on Don–the administrative center of Russian Southern Federal Okrug. Speaking later to reporters–Zorin said the bill runs counter to Russian and international laws.

According to him–"Russia–as any quickly developing country–needs influx of a law-abiding qualified labor force–a force that would have respect for our laws–our traditions and customs." The Russian official blamed the created situation in Krasnodar on the local authorities who had been putting off legislative regulation of the problem in the 90s. "I would like to repeat that the federal center will not allow violation of Russian and international laws," he said–regarding the bill in Krasnodar.

A senior member of the Armenian parliament denounced last Saturday the authorities in the southern Russian territory of Krasnodar for their "discriminative" treatment of national minorities.

Hovanes Hovanesian–chairman of parliament committee on foreign relations and also head of Armenian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) called on Governor Tkachov to stop the acts of violation against national minorities living in the territory–under the disguise of fighting against members of criminal groupings that involve members of national minorities.

Hovanesian also said that the Russian governor should have in mind the strategic allied relations between Russia and Armenia when treating citizens of Armenian decent in Krasnodar.

Speaking to reporters in Yerevan–Hovanesian recalled that the mounting tension in Krasnodar–also involving Armenia’s–had been discussed with the visiting Russian Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov earlier. An arrangement was made to make an in depth look into this question in Krasnodar together with experts and law-enforcement officials from Armenia and Russia.

The chairman of the committee said Armenian authorities should focus on this problem to defend the interests of Armenian nationals there–otherwise "the bad example" of Krasnodar might become an example for other Russian cities and provinces to start a campaign of ousting Armenia’s.

Hovanesian did not stop short of accusing some of his compatriots in Russia of promoting anti-Armenian moods in Russia–as many of them are members of criminal gangs–thus bringing forth the discontent of the indigenous Slavs.

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–reported the Associated Press.

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.

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