Crescono le tensioni razziali nel paese di Putin assediato dall'irrazionale nemico dell'intolleranza xenofoba. La paura del diverso come valvola di sfogo per la crisi di identità che avvolge la Russia.
It's been a sad Eid al-Adha this year for many of the Muslims living in Russia. On the eve of the holiday this year, police took to the streets of Moscow to arrest hundreds of illegal residents, many of them Muslims. As I followed the news I found myself recalling a recent conversation with my friend Magomed. Magomed, who hails from the southern republic of Dagestan, has nurtured a lifelong fondness for the Russian heartland -- and it pains him to realize that many mainstream Russians often don't reciprocate. He's fond of Russian culture and the Russian language, and he's happy that Dagestan became a part of Russia two hundred years ago. Like the many people from his part of the country who now live in Moscow, however, he speaks Russian with a perceptible accent, and his skin is darker than that of many European Russians. So despite his longing to be treated like other Russian citizens, his everyday experience tends to be somewhat contradictory: "If you're a dark-skinned guy from the Caucasus, they assume you're the enemy."
Ethnic tensions have been ratcheting up in Moscow lately, and last Sunday they exploded. The scene was a western suburb of the city known as Biryulevo, which has a large population of immigrants from the Caucasus. It's a depressing industrial district without many attractions, it's never had a subway station, and it's notorious for its bad pollution -- all reasons why immigrants have traditionally found it affordable.