Russian Authorities Intending to Intensify Fight Against Inter-Ethnic Discord

The Russian government and the executive will not turn a blind eye to even the most small-scale incident involving anti-Semitism, poor treatment of people from the Caucasus, as well as anti-Russian sentiments and the incitement of inter-ethnic and inter-religious discord.

Russian Minister for National Policy Vladimir Zorin made this statement on Friday, while commenting on a Justice Ministry decision to issue a written warning to the National-Power Party of Russia (NDPR) for extremist activity.

According to the Justice Ministry co-chairman of the NDPR Boris Mironov had given an interview which included calls for the constitutional rights of different nationalities to be abolished. In particular, Zorin stressed, Mironov had recently called for all non-ethnic Russians, including Jews, to be stripped of their voting rights.

In this connection, Zorin said that the Law on the Counteraction of Extremist Activity contained great possibilities to prevent inter-ethnic and inter-religious discord. The minister believes that not only justice bodies, but also the courts must fight extremism. "Unfortunately, the number of cases that have made it to court on the incitement of discord can be counted in single figures, but the implementation of the law will allow this work to be increased," he stressed.

At the same time, Vladimir Zorin said that the fight against extremism could not only be helped by the law-enforcement agencies, but also by the federal targeted program, which was adopted in august 2001 on the president's initiative, on forming a stable and tolerant mentality and preventing extremism in Russian society.

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