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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Putin faces up to racist scourge
Vladimir Putin at Russia's Victory Day parade
Mr Putin made the link between the war and a resurgence of Nazism
Russian President Vladimir Putin has used a Victory Day parade to issue a warning to neo-Nazis and other nationalist extremists.

He said they were "leading the world to a dead end" and would not be tolerated in Russia.

His comments follow a series of attacks on foreigners - some of them fatal.

A report last week by Amnesty International said racist killings in Russia were "out of control", and that at least 28 people were killed in 2005.

Mr Putin made the speech to World War II veterans as Russia marked Victory Day, which celebrates the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945, with a military parade in Moscow's Red Square.

Urgency

By using a big, set-piece occasion to raise the issue, Mr Putin is stressing the moral urgency of Russia's racist problem, says the BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke.

RACIST ATTACKS
April 2006 - Senegalese student shot dead outside nightclub
Oct 2004 - 20-year-old Vietnamese student stabbed to death by 18 skinheads
Feb 2004 - Eight-year-old Tajik stabbed to death

"Those who are again trying to raise the defeated flags of Nazism, who sow ethnic hatred, extremism and xenophobia, are leading the world to a dead end, to thoughtless bloodshed and cruelty," the president said.

"For this reason, the defeat of fascism must be a lesson and a warning against the irreversibility of vengeance."

Russia is under increasing international pressure to crack down on nationalist groups, some of which openly display Nazi symbols.

Amnesty accused Russia of "turning a blind eye" to violent racist crimes.

There has been a wave of attacks, particularly in the city of St Petersburg.


SEE ALSO:
Russian racism 'out of control'
04 May 06 |  Europe
Living with race hate in Russia
24 Feb 06 |  Europe
Murder of African alarms Russia
26 Dec 05 |  Europe
Country profile: Russia
21 Mar 06 |  Country profiles


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