Sunday, December 14, 2008

Krasnodar Officials Gather List of Minority Schoolchildren

(December 12, 2008)

Education officials in the Prikubansky district of the notoriously xenophobic region of Krasnodar in the south of Russia have asked teachers for the names and addresses of children whose ancestry stems from the Caucasus, according to a December 11, 2008 article in the independent newspaper "Novaya Gazeta." According to the request by the district's top education official, Zoya Gontar, the lists are intended as a means of protecting the schoolchildren from racist violence. Ms. Gontar reportedly wrote that, "incidents of extremism against people of Caucasian nationality are rising amongst our youth" and that the police had requested that she draw up the list of children "on behalf of their security." However, a local police official denied knowing about initiative.
The Krasnodar region was the site for many years of mass official and non-official persecution and discrimination against certain migrant groups, especially the Meskhetian Turks. The persecution and violence directed against the Meskhetians was so bad that it eventually led to them being granted refugee status en masse in the US. Whether this initiative is a well-intentioned attempt by one official to protect minority children from racist violence, or a sign that local officials are planning steps to monitor migrants more closely, perhaps for reasons that do not take their well-being into account, is not yet clear. (Source: Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union)


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