Russia: Racist Attack on Journalist/Blogger

Global Voices Online
Saturday, February 10, 2007

Channel One footage of the Feb. 10 news piece (RUS) on the subway attack on Aidar Buribayev, a reporter for Newsweek's Russian-language edition.

Four young men attacked Aidar Buribayev - LJ user aidar_b2, a 28-year-old reporter for Newsweek's Russian-language edition - on a Moscow subway train just after midnight Saturday. Buribayev is an ethnic Kazakh, who was born and raised in Moscow; his non-Slavic appearance was most likely the reason he got assaulted. Here's his account (RUS) of what happened:


1. I'm in one piece. Injuries: left eye is swollen, nose is broken but no bone displacement, and a few insignificant scratches.

2. There were four attackers, young people. No, they weren't wearing any uniform. Just the black jackets, jeans and boots. Short hair, bum-looking, high school dropout type [...]. I stood next to a non-working door at the car's end. A guy came up to me, he was hiding his face behind a scarf. He looked me over with disgust and then signalled to the company that stood at the other end of the car that I was on my own (he raised his index finger).

Two more guys approached. A small man standing near me understood what was going on and quickly vanished. The biggest guy asked: "What are you doing here? Russia is for the Russians, don't you know that?" I told him he was wrong. The big guy hit me in the face. I hit him back, and on it went...

What's interesting is that all three of them didn't really know how to fight. The big one fell down, and I continued with the rest. Two minutes of kindergarten (hitting each other with our feet and screaming), until the fourth one appeared. For some reason, he was standing aside at first. Shorter than me, well-built. And his two blows were the ones that succeeded (see item 1). Damn boxer.

We reached [Tverskaya station]. Two men started pulling us apart. I went to the police room, and the guys disappeared. The end of the story.

3. Until 7 AM, I was making visits to police departments, clinics, and the cops even took me to a narcologist and were very upset when the tube indicated that I was sober.

4. They could've caught the attackers right away, but there was only one policewoman at the station, who introduced herself as Masha. She showed up after about ten minutes of calling via the loudspeakers at the station's vestibule. But I don't think this is the end.

5. What it was. Most likely, it was an accidental attack by the neo-Nazis. Today, it may well be considered a routine crime ), or maybe not. Funny that on this very day I finished a piece on the [United Russia party] members who now have to love the "Russia for the Russians" slogan. A piece with some interesting bits on [the Movement Against Illegal Immigration, the DPNI].

6. It was nice to receive calls and know that people are concerned. Thanks to all. [...] And Sasha Raskin (Newsweek) was following me around till the morning to all the cop places and was teaching men [in uniforms] to behave all the way.

"[They are beating us] - we are growing stronger."

The number of comments to this post is growing every hour (right now, there are 210). Many readers are wishing Buribayev to get well soon, but as many seem to be the ill-wishers - aggressive, often illiterate, immature and repetitive. Below is the translation of three comment threads, which seem to be representative of the discource as a whole and also make for a somewhat informative reading. Buribayev responds to the first comment, but doesn't join the discussion afterwards.

krig42: You are very lucky, Aidar. Russians are surprisingly kind and tolerant. Because in your Motherland, an ethnic Russian journalist exposing local nationalists wouldn't have survived even a couple of publications. And you go on living and exposing. So everything is fair and logical. And then, if you are such a fighter against Nazism, why don't you do this in your homeland? And we'll deal with nationalism here ourselves, without the Americans from Newsweek and such helpers as you are.

aidar_b2: 1. To begin with, I am at home. In this city and in this country I was born, and it's not up to you to decide whether I can live here or not.

2. "Because in your Motherland, an ethnic Russian journalist exposing local nationalists wouldn't have survived even a couple of publications." If one considers Kazakhstan as my motherland, then it probably means that you've never been there - or am I wrong? Or perhaps you could give some examples.

3. "Russians are surprisingly kind and tolerant." I'm not arguing with this. But it seems to me that there are jerks everywhere, from Ecuador to Kamchatka.


fenrir93: Why don't you write about the fate of the Russian citizens, including journalists, in your historical motherland - Kazakhstan - and not about Russian nationalists?

scandal_max: And why don't you leave your comments in some other thread?

fenrir93: And why don't you leave your comments in some other thread?

scandal_max: I find it interesting to write here. And you do, too, right? And so does Aidar: he writes about things that he finds interesting.


veau: Damn, what nonsense... It's getting impossible to live in this country. I mean, what difference does it make if someone's Russian or not? It's like a mental illness. Everyone should be respected. And these bastards think that they are right? I feel ashamed for the country!!!

wind_lj: Russia or Turkmenistan, what difference does it make?

"It's getting impossible to live in this country." No one is keeping you here. You can move and live somewhere in Turkmenistan. Because it doesn't make any difference whether there are Russians around or not. But to many people it does matter, and the Russian people mainly want to live in a country where there are 80-90 percent Russians, and not 10 percent. [...] So 20 million Kyrgyz come to Russia, and 50 million Chinese, and 10 million Azeris. And they multiply. And as a result, only 10 percent of Russians will remain in the country. And this won't be Russia anymore. All our history will have to be crossed out - what for have we been building the country for? [...] The thing is, in a normal state, the state itself would've been involved in immigration policies.



- A translation on nationalism in Russia was posted here two days ago.

- Aidar Buribayev got detained by the police during the 2006 Gay Pride Parade in Moscow, which he was covering; his account was translated here. (At that time, his username was aidar_b, but then he deleted his blog: the links to his posts in the May 2006 translation are no longer valid. Aidar has a new blog now and his current username is aidar_b2.)

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