Staunton, Jan. 24 – After a Tajik who had recently become a Russian citizen killed an ethnic Sakha, several hundred residents of Yakutsk took to the streets to protest against this murder. They also attacked some of the booths Central Asians maintain in the central market there
The police appealed for calm, noting that the murderer was “a Russian citizen just like you,” and the situation might have ended there had the authorities not raised the stakes by shutting down the Internet, limiting the ability of residents to make payments or transfer money, and the republic head warned that “outside” agitators were trying to destabilize the situation.
Asen Nikolayev urged Yakutsk residents “not to respond to illegal calls by ‘provocateurs sitting abroad’ who want to ‘incite a conflict, sow hostility divide and embitter’ the residents of Russia. Be careful,” he said, when the real enemy is killing our fellow citizens, we must unite more than ever” (nemoskva.net/2024/01/24/bunt-v-yakutske-stihijnye-akczii-prohodyat-v-gorode-posle-ubijstva-26-letnego-urozhencza-namskogo-ulusa/).
Given the extreme cold, few Sakha residents are likely to stay in the streets for long; but this case shows just how tense the ethnic situation there has become and how even a single crime can lead to mass actions. Indeed, that happened earlier. In 2019, Sakha residents staged a protest against the rape of a Sakha resident by a Kyrgyz.
Details about the current situation, however, remain scarce given how far away Sakha is from Moscow and given the shutdown of Internet connectivity for the day of these events.