Two Roma Killed in Racist Pogrom in Russia
14 April 2006
Racist Attack on Roma in Russia Causes Two Deaths and Severe Injuries
Budapest, Volzhskiy, 14 April 2006. According to ERRC sources, on April 13, 2006, Grigoriy Marienkov, a Romani man, and a Russian woman whose first name was Galina, were killed by youths apparently identified by local Roma as skinheads. The attack and killings took place in the Volgograd region of Russia. In the pogrom, approximately six members of the Romani family Marienkov were also severely beaten and wounded.
The details are as follows:
In the late evening hours of April 13, 2006, the Marienkov family and a Russian guest, Galina, were sitting by a fire built just outside the tent they inhabited, on the banks of the Akhtuba river, approximately 22 kilometres from the town of Volzhskiy, in the Volgograd region of Russia. ERRC sources reported that between 9:00 and 10:00 in the evening, a group of approximately twenty youths armed with metal bars and spades attacked the group and beat them severely until all were lying unconscious. They then reportedly left the site. A young male member of the family who first regained consciousness called the police shortly after 10:00 PM. It was established that two people, a Romani male, Grigory Marienkov, and the visiting non-Romani woman, Galina, both in their 40s, had died of their wounds. Additionally, eighty-year old Polina Marienkova and thirteen-year old Roza Marienkova were hospitalized. Ms Polina Marienkova's jaw had been broken; Ms Roza Marienkova had head wounds and is currently in critical condition.
According to the electronic Russian publication Gazeta.ru, police arrested six perpetrators, at ages 17-20, three of whom are female. The Prosecution of Volgograd Region has reportedly opened criminal investigation under Article 105 of the Russian Criminal Code for murder of two or more persons, committed by a group of persons, motivated by national, racial or religious hatred.
ERRC monitoring of the human rights situation of Roma in Russia indicates that as nationalist-extremist movements have been gaining popularity in Russia over the past decade, racially-motivated violence against Roma occurs with disturbing frequency. Roma are particularly exposed to attacks by nationalist-extremist vigilante groups because they live in compact settlements that are easy to identify. The attack of April 13 has precedents in the same area of Russia. In August 2001, a Romani community settled along the Tsaritsa river near Volgograd was attacked by skinheads armed with metal bars, stones and wooden truncheons, and two Roma were killed. The ERRC report "In Search of Happy Gypsies: Persecution of Pariah Minorities in Russia" published in May 2005, details numerous attacks against Roma in various parts of the country, including arson, indiscriminate beating causing death and severe injuries to Romani individuals. Most often these actions are not investigated or police deny racial motivation. Many attacks are not even reported to the police due to reasonable fear of harassment and extortion by the police themselves.
The ERRC welcomes the prompt response of the Volzhskiy law enforcement officials to the April 13 attack on Roma and the launching of investigation against perpetrators for a racially motivated crime. The ERRC is continuing to monitor the case to ensure adequate prosecution of all perpetrators, and effective justice for the surviving victims.