Racially Motivated Violence against Roma in Russia

07 November 2002

At the end of March 2002, Ms V. Bydina, a 48-year-old Romani woman from the town of Khimki in the Moscow area, informed the ERRC, through its partnership with the Moscow-based Romani organisation Romano Kher, that in March 2002, approximately ten racist skinheads threatened her 14-year-old son Nikolai in front of Elementary School 10, which he attended at the time. According to Ms Bydina, Nikolai called her after the skinheads had threatened him, scared of physical abuse, and asked her to meet him near the school. Ms Bydina testified that, when she arrived at the school, she saw 13 and 14-year-old teenagers armed with chains. The teenagers reportedly had swastikas painted on their clothes, shaved heads and wore black clothing and big boots. Ms Bydina reported to the ERRC/Romano Kher that she appealed to the Department of Education of the town of Khimki when she learned that her son attended the same school as the young skinheads. According to Ms Bydina, a representative of the Department of Education reportedly told her that the authorities of Khimki cannot fight skinheads and that it was not their competence. The representative reportedly stated that if the state did not have an effective remedy, they could not do anything. Ms Bydina subsequently informed the ERRC/Romano Kher that an unknown person had called her on the telephone at home and threatened her, after which she went to Ukraine for one month to avoid violence. During the period, her two children did not attend school. When they returned to Khimki, Ms Bydina reportedly found a swastika drawn on the wall near the door of her flat and a written message saying "We will come back." On September 20, 2002, Ms Bydina informed the ERRC/Romano Kher that measures had been taken by school authorities to prohibit skinheads from loitering near the school, but that she was selling her flat and moving away because she was worried about her children.

(ERRC, Romano Kher)


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