The Soviet Union endeavored to create an image of a Russian people who were united regardless of their ethnic background. Students were not merely invited from African and Asian nations, but frequently had an all expenses paid education at Russian universities. But, once the Soviet Union collapsed the facade of an apparent prejudice free nation collapsed and ethnic anger and fights have become common in modern Russia. A few days ago in Moscow, fighting erupted between ethnic Russians and people who came from the Caucasus regions of the nation. Several of the “foreigners” were beaten so severely they wound up in the hospital after a dozen people armed with knives and broken bottles fought one another.
This was the third brawl within a week between ethnic Russians and people who had darker skin colors. In another incident, 40 people of “non-Slavic appearance” beat up two people of “ethnic Russian” appearance.
It is clear most of these ethnic conflicts are between young men who were born after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The fighting reflects failure on the part of Russian education to deal with issues of multiculturalism. Ignorance and ancient prejudices are open in modern Russia and it is time for its leaders to recognize their responsibility to use education as a means of confronting the ugly hatred which lies below the surface of indifference.