Jewish graves vandalized in Russia (Archive)
Photo: Irena Edelstein
A Russian court sentenced five teenagers to between five and 10 years in jail on Friday for beating a Jewish man to death in a cemetery with a metal cross, media reported.
The court said that in 2005 when they were aged from 12 to 17, the five escorted the 21-year-old victim to the cemetery before attacking him.
The agency quoted a court official in the Ural mountains region of Sverdlovsk as saying the murder was racially motivated.
Racism has flourished in Russia since the Soviet collapse, with skinheads killing dozens of foreigners over the past several years.
There are also frequent cases of anti-Semitism. A man shouting "Heil Hitler" burst in to a synagogue last year, stabbing nine people. Jewish graves are frequently desecrated as well.
Polls show troubling trendSurveys and polls over the past few years show a sharp rise in the number of anti-Semitic and racist incidents across Russia.
Less than one month ago a study was published which found that at least 54 people were killed over the past year as a result of “racially motivated” attacks. Firearms and explosives were used in some of the attacks. The study was carried out by a new research institute which focuses on nationalistic activity in Russia.
According to a report in Russian newspaper Novy Izvestia, the institute’s data revealed that 520 people were subject to racist assaults. “According to our data, one or two people are attacked every day in Russia out of racist motives,” an institute official told the newspaper.
“Attacks have become routine, and they will only increase and worsen if nothing is done to contain them,” he warned.
The data testified to a sharp increase in the number of racist attacks in Russia last year. In 2005, 399 attacks and 36 murders due to racist motives were recorded, while in 2004 there were 212 attacks and 46 deaths.
The data reflect only a partial assessment, as Russian police often refrain from defining attacks as anti-Semitic.