Staunton, June 27 – Buryats, Tuvins and other Asian nationalities increasingly report that they have been the victims of discrimination by Russians in Siberian cities, the Irkutsk-based Babr24 news agency says. The trend is dangerous although it is not yet clear whether things are actually getting worse or whether the non-Russians feel freer to complain.
Babr24 reports that in recent months members of Asian nationalities visiting Russian cities east of the Urals report that Russians have refused to rent apartments to them or allow them entrance into local nightclubs as well as delivering themselves of unflattering judgments about these people (babr24.com/bur/?IDE=231902).
It would be wrong, the news agency says, to conclude that Russians as a whole are behaving in a consistently racist manner; and it cannot be excluded that some non-Russians have either misread the situation or decided to blow things out of proportion to benefit themselves. But there is an obvious pattern, and it is worrisome.
If non-Russians believe that Russians are discriminating against them, they are likely to act in ways, either keeping away from Russians or taking measures to defend themselves, that will lead some Russians to conclude that the non-Russians themselves are the problem and that Russians must act before the non-Russians come to dominate the situation.
Should that happen, Babr24 says, there is serious danger ahead, especially as many of Russia’s Asian nationalities live along the Chinese and Mongolian borders where any inter-ethnic tensions and clashes could have the most unfortunate consequences for the Russian Federation as a whole.