A mass brawl involving Azerbaijanis in Kovdor. Photo: vk.com/murmanskgroup

07 July 2022, 08:38

Conflict in Kovdor raises problem of interethnic relations in Russia

The analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have drawn attention to the growth of ethnic aggression in Russia, and criticized authorities for hushing up problems in interethnic relations.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that at night on July 5, residents of the town of Kovdor, located in the Murmansk Region, took to the streets after a mass brawl involving Azerbaijanis broke out there. Four people were reported injured in the brawl. Law enforcers from other towns of the Murmansk Region were pulled into Kovdor. However, members of the regional Azerbaijani community have stated that the brawl had nothing to do with interethnic relations.

As a result of the brawl, law enforcers detained 10 people, Afil Guseinov, the head of the Murmansk regional NGO "Azerbaijan Cultural Centre", said on July 5. He emphasized that there are no interethnic overtones in the conflict.

In their comments to the statements about the absence of any interethnic background to the conflict, the analysts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have pointed out that authorities usually try silencing the problem, and in general, after the start of the Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the level of intolerance in the society in Russia has increased.

Interethnic conflicts in Russia have become frequenter; the growth is affected by the special operation in Ukraine, Dmitry Oreshkin, a political analyst and a leading researcher at the Institute of Geography, is sure; he believes that authorities are intentionally denying any interethnic background in conflicts.

Local authorities, by hushing up the problem of interethnic relations, only exacerbate it, says Lev Gudkov, a deputy director and a scientific director at the Levada Centre*.

"This should be spoken about; we need to discuss the problems that give rise to the growth of tension, and not to hush them up. Silence is a factor in aggravating the situation," Mr Gudkov said.

Alexei Malashenko, a chief researcher at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations (known as IMEMO) of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS), believes that the incidents in Kovdor and earlier in Surgut, are episodic manifestations that may continue.

*The Centre has been put by the Russian Ministry of Justice on the register of non-commercial organizations (NCOs) performing the functions of a foreign agent.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 6, 2022 at 10:00 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Oleg Krasnov Source: CK correspondent

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