Friday, April 20, 2007

Russia: Adolf Hitler's birthday at a Moscow university

Associated Press:

A leading Moscow university ordered its foreign students on Thursday to remain in their dormitories for three days because of fears of ethnic violence around the time of Adolf Hitler's birthday, students said.

The measure at the prestigious Sechenov Moscow Medical Academy, in line with warnings to foreigners issued by other schools and organizations in the past, underscored the government's inability to stem the growing xenophobia and racism.

At least 22 people have been killed and more than 130 injured in apparent hate crimes in Russia so far this year, according to the Sova human rights center, which monitors xenophobia. Last year, 53 people were killed and 460 others injured, according to Sova.

Hundreds of foreign students at the Sechenov Academy were told to stock up on food and warned they would not be let out of the dormitories through Saturday in what students said was clearly an attempt to protect them from possible attacks by ultranationalists marking Hitler's birthday April 20 (Friday).

Skinheads tend to become more violent around the Nazi leader's birthday, and in the past have appeared in groups, shouted slogans and staged attacks on dark-skinned foreigners and others who do not appear Slavic.

Russia is in the throes of its worst wave of xenophobia since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union

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