Ethnic violence

   Beginning in the late 1980s, ethnic violence emerged as a significant problem within the Soviet Union. The comparatively open environment enabled by glasnost forced many of Joseph Stalin’s crimes against the country’s non-Russian populations, particularly the punished peoples and Ukrainians, into the open. With ethnic nationalism on the rise, Stalin’s delimitation of borders based on the principle of “divide and rule” came under question, as did the situation of “relocated” Soviet citizens, either as internal deportees or “colonizers.” Resentment of ethnic Russians in the Baltic States (and Kazakhstan) and Meskhetian Turks in Uzbekistan led to street clashes and urban rioting with ethnic overtones.
   In Moldova and the Caucasus, the situation degenerated into outright conflict. Slavs and Russophones, fearful of “Romanianization,” mobilized against ethnic Moldovans and created the Transnistrian enclave; Armenians and Azeris conducted a series of pogroms against one another that led to a war over Nagorno-Karabakh; Ingush and Ossetians clashed over property disputes linked to the former’s deportation to Central Asia during World War II; and, in Georgia, there were bloody episodes between ethnic Georgians and minority Abkhazians and Ossetians. These disputes played a high-profile role in the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The newly independent Russian Federation continued to suffer from ethnic conflict in the North Caucasus, where Muslim/Christian, Turkic/Circassian, and Slav/non-Slav determiners frequently led to ethnically charged violence.
   Since the mid-1990s, the number of xenophobic attacks on nonRussians has skyrocketed. In recent years, neofascist and neo-Nazi youths have targeted immigrants from Central Asia and other parts of the former Soviet Union, including the beheading of a Tajik man in 2007, an attack broadcasted on the Internet. Attacks on Jews and synagogues have also increased in recent years. There have even been attacks on national minorities from within Russia, such as the murder of a Sakha (Yakut) in 2007. Violence directed at ethnic Georgians within Russia also flared around the time of the South Ossetian War. Clashes between non-Slavic ethnic minorities are also on the rise. The majority of such attacks among ethnic groups are rooted in commercial and/or political disputes.
   See also Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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