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#8 - JRL 2006-201 - JRL Home
Chechen Ombudsman: Karelian Events Show Xenophobia Rooted in Russian Society

GROZNY. Sept 5 (Interfax) - Chechen commissioner for human rights Nurdi Nukhazhiyev believes that overcoming ethnic intolerance is the one of the most vital goals for Russia.

"The incident in Kondopoga and the events that followed it have clearly shown that the virus of xenophobia has taken root in Russian society," says an official statement by the Chechen ombudsman received by Interfax.

"The resolution of the ethnic intolerance problem is a fundamental task of society, and recent events in Kondopoga have proved it once again," Nukhazhiyev said in the statement.

"There are more than 100 peoples living in Russia and their mutual respect is the cornerstone of our federative state," the statement reads.

"Should society and the authorities start to resolve issues based on the ethnic origins of citizens, our future is in doubt," Nukhazhiyev said, adding that "the actions of the local authorities in Kondopoga, who did not take enough measures to prevent the consequences of the incident and their attempts to resolve problems by means of expelling citizens of certain ethnic origins are perplexing."

At the same time, the ombudsman hailed the position of Sergei Katanandov, the head of Karelia, who stated that the authorities will protect citizens regardless of their ethnic origins.