More than 1,000 migrants have been detained by Moscow police to determine whether they have committed any crimes.
The police crackdown came a day after a riot erupted at a shopping centre in the southern district of Biryulyovo, where many people from the North Caucasus work. Protesters, some shouting racist slogans such as “Russia for the Russians!”, stormed the building targeting migrants.
The violence was sparked by local anger over the fatal stabbing of an ethnic Russian man last week. The rioters believe a man from the North Caucasus is the killer, although authorities have not confirmed this.
Local Alexei Gladyshev criticised the police for not doing more to prevent migrants breaking the law, saying: “They rape and mug people, but nobody shows this. All these facts are kept hidden in police reports, and we look like fools!”
Communities that have settled legally in the Russian capital have been left feeling persecuted by the worst anti-migrant violence in three years.
Gafar Ovintegyan, a naturalised Russian citizen of Azeri origin, said: “We have not caused any scandal. It was all set up. They shout and scream telling us to leave. Do you think that would change anything? It would only be worse!”
Advocacy groups have warned that migrants in Moscow from the Caucasus region and Central Asia are at increased risk of attacks.