Police officers arrested two men last night in the town of Kondopoga, the Karelia Republic. The men were trying to set a local shop on fire. That was the only incident that has occurred in the town since last week’s shocking massacre between Russians and Chechens.
Activists of the movement Nashi (Ours) say that the town of Kondopoga has become a place of attraction for fascists. “The fact of their arrival in the town after the massive riots last week says that they simply want to obtain political profit from the ethnic conflict. This is completely irresponsible. They want to make it all become a large-scale interethnic conflict which can lead to more victims,” an official statement released by the press service of the movement says. The movement urged all political forces to show accuracy in their estimations of the controversial events in Karelia.
Several members of the Nashi movement arrived in Kondopoga to evaluate the present situation in the town. They conducted an opinion poll the results of which showed that the people had not been frightened with recent riots.
The head of Karelia, Sergei Katanandov, made Kondopoga-based Caucasian nationals entirely responsible for the riots originally started with the murder of two Russian residents of the town on August 30.
“A group of people of a different nationality was acting impudently and glaringly. They ignored the mind-set of our nation. It takes long time to make northern Russian nations lose temper. In general, I can understand the feelings of those people who took to the streets. We will do our best to punish the instigators of the conflict,” Katanandov said. “We need to oust impudent youth from here. They do not show any respect to us. Furthermore, local authorities and law-enforcement agencies turned a blind eye on many abusive occurrences. We are not against the Caucasians, we are always glad to welcome open-minded, honest and hard-working people. However, we will not let them disrespect our laws,” the head of the Karelia Republic said.
The official statements from Karelian officials do not inspire the local residents, though. “We do not believe them – either the police or the prosecutors. They have deployed special security forces here now indeed. But the police will leave in a week, and we all will stay here to live further. We are scared. Chechens write on their online forums that they will make another Beslan of Kondopoga. I am scared to let my daughter go to school. A lot of parents do not let their children out of their homes here,” a local resident said.
Kondopoga’s schools were half-empty on Monday indeed. We will never know what really happened in the town last week. There can never be a precise and clear statement made to explain the reasons which led to a massive street fight.
Based on Russian media news reports
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov