(Eurasia Daily Monitor)—The dramatic resolution of the fiscal-political crisis in the United States was barely noticed in Moscow last week (October 16–17) as two dissimilar events of a local character but heavy resonance focused public attention. The first one was a mass riot in the Moscow suburb of Biryulyovo (see EDM, October 17), triggered by a fairly conventional murder that escalated into a nationalistic pogrom, which the riot police suppressed only by mobilizing all available forces (http://rt.com/news/moscow-
migrant-protest-timeline-154/) . The second event was the court hearing in provincial Kirov of the appeal by Alexei Navalny against the verdict issued last September, which sentenced him to five years in prison for alleged fraud on flimsy and clearly fabricated evidence. The hearing was deliberately abrupt and the sentence was changed to release on parole, which still makes the newly-risen leader of the opposition a “convicted criminal” (http://newtimes.ru/articles/ detail/72876). What comes through in the fierce debates on these events is that the discontent among the urban middle classes grows in parallel and interplays with the anger of the “have-nots” so that the crisis within the political regime built by President Vladimir Putin is gaining new dynamism and extra complexity.
The riot in Bilryulevo cannot be called unexpected as violent incidents involving migrants from the North Caucasus and diasporas from Central Asia have been happening in Moscow suburbs and indeed in many Russian cities increasingly often since the first major outburst in Kondopoga, Karelia, in September 2006 (Nezavisimaya Gazeta, October 15). The angry, few thousand–strong crowd’s main target for attack was this time a large vegetable storage warehouse that allegedly employs hundreds of illegal migrants under the protection of local authorities and police (Moskovsky Komsomolets, October 16). Several low-ranking siloviki (security services) personnel were instantly fired and the warehouse was closed; but these “decisive” measures cannot begin to address the problem of the colossal “gray” economy in Moscow based on the exploitation of essentially slave labor from Central Asia (http://www.forbes.ru/mneniya-
column/protesty/246160- khozhdenie-po-bazam-3-oshibki- kotorye-mozhet-sdelat-vlast- posle-biryu). Neither can the authorities do anything about the ethnic gangs from the North Caucasus, which provide protection for semi-legal businesses that grow by recycling the massive budget donations meant to finance the “stabilization” of this troubled region (http://sobesednik.ru/dmitrij- bykov/20131016-dmitrii-bykov- zalivaya-kavkaz-dengami-vlast- vyrastila-gnoinik-kotoryi- esli-vs). […]
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