Dozens of people have rallied in St Petersburg to protest against the killing of an African man in an alleged racist attack. It is the latest in a string of racially-motivated violent incidents in Russia’s second largest city and is being blamed on neo-Nazi groups. The victim, known as Kanhem Leon, was stabbed to death by five or six unidentified youths.
A Namibian student with him managed to escape but a Kenyan nearby at the time was set upon and badly injured. Dozens of Africans and Asians nationals have been targeted by Russian neo-Nazis. Humiliated by defeat in the Cold War and still recovering from post-Soviet political and economic instability, some Russian youths are thoughtto have turned to neo-Nazism.
Human rights groups have warned that mainstream politicians are increasingly embracing racist rhetoric. According to official figures there have been as many fatal racial attacks in Russia in the first six months of 2005 as in the whole of 2004.