President Putin comments on the racist rampage in Moscow

The meeting between President Putin and Minister for Justice Yury Chaika took place yesterday in the Kremlin. At the beginning of the discussion. the Russian president touched upon the recent events in Moscow that took place not far from Tsaritsyno underground station.

The head of the state said that the country was facing more and more incidents based on extremist sentiments. Putin stressed that the efforts of the authorities to struggle with this evil were sometimes ineffective.

The president asked for Chaika to give his viewpoint on the matter – what the Ministry for Justice and the law-enforcement bodies have to do in order to make the actions of the authorities more efficient. Putin inquired about the bill regarding the struggle with extremism, that is being currently developed at the Ministry for Justice. Putin asked for the work on it to be sped up in order for its sooner submission to the State Duma.

Yury Chaika stated that a similar law, which was passed in 1999, turned out to be ineffective, so the new bill has to be elaborated on. Chaika mentioned that the document would set up (pursuant to the presidential order) a federal center for struggle with extremism. The bill also gives a definition to the notion of extremism and for the first time, it clarifies the criminal responsibility for it. Chaika promised to have personal meetings with the leaders of the Duma factions and associations, when submitting the bill to the lower house of the Russian parliament.

In the evening of October 30, up to 300 young people stormed a Moscow market near the Tsarytsino metro station. They attacked the market vendors, presumably immigrants from the Caucasus. Militia had to fire in the air in order to stop the rampage. Two people were killed as a result of the racist attack and 23 were injured. The citizens of Armenia, India, and Afghanistan are among those who suffered. The militia detained 25 young men; there were legal proceedings instituted against those who took part in the brutal fight.

AP photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with members of his Cabinet in the Moscow Kremlin, Monday, Oct. 29, 2001

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