Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fatal Street Fight Sparks Ethnic Conflict in Russian Town

A deadly street fight in a small town in central Russia has exposed smoldering ethnic tensions, with hundreds of locals shouting for resident Chechens to be evicted, and the government reportedly sending in armored personnel carriers filled with police troops to quell the unrest. According to a statement issued on Monday by the regional prosecutor’s office, a 16-year-old ethnic Chechen fatally stabbed a “local man” with a scalpel outside the Golden Barrel restaurant in the early hours of Sunday morning in Pugachyov, whose population is estimated at 40,000. The fight was apparently over a girl, a senior investigator told RIA Novosti. The suspected killer was detained later Sunday, the same day that residents marched through the streets calling for all ethnic Chechens to be “evicted” from the town, the prosecutor’s statement said. A funeral service for the deceased local, a 20-year-old former paratrooper, also took place on Sunday. Russia fought two bloody civil wars in Chechnya in the mid to late 1990s, and many natives of that region fled to other parts of the country. Lingering ethnic tensions, however, occasionally flare up between North Caucasus natives and Slavic Russians.

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