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9 Jul, 2008 00:43

Are ghettos the answer to Russian hate crimes?

Tension is rising in Russian society, with more guest workers flocking in and more hate crimes reported every month. Some experts suggest keeping different nationalities apart to drain the steam.

These days people with dark hair, eyes and skin don’t feel safe in Russian cities, with racially motivated crimes are on the increase.

Recently the government has woken up to the problem and convicted racists face tough sentences. But that's not enough for some activists who are suggesting segregation.

“This problem can be solved with creation of special communities with an infrastructure in which people would live and feel relatively safe,” believes Nafigulla Ashirov, Co-Chairman of the Russian Mufti Council.

In other words – a ghetto.

However, the proposal hasn't gone down well with Russian lawmakers, who don't want to see the inner-city problems that have plagued other major capitals.

“It's an idea no-one could put into practice! It's even harmful, because if implemented, it would cause a rise in international tension. Also, dividing society on the grounds of ethnicity has always brought about sad consequences in Russia,” said Russian MP Gennady Gudkov

While politicians attempt to come up with solutions, migrants from across the world keep heading towards Russia every day.

Today Russian cities don’t have the ethnic neighbourhoods seen in places like London, or New York. But the fear is as long as the attacks by skinheads continue, radical ideas, like creating ghettos will be floated, rather than the more substantial ones needed to deal with the underlying social problem.