An ongoing legacy of the authoritarian ethnocentrism policies of the Putin administration is fostering hate crimes in Russia. Africans, Armenians, and members of other ethnic groups who come to large cities like Moscow encounter discrimination, hatred, and even death. A few months ago, a jury in the Moscow Region Court found a man innocent of murder even though witnesses saw him take out a knife on a crowded commuter train and shout, “Glory to Russia” as he plunged a knife into the heart of Artur Sardayan, an Armenian. A man prior to this trial another man was found innocent of killing an Armenian on a crowded metro station. Finally, the Russian Supreme Court threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial that hopefully will conclude in a conviction.
There is always a penalty when a nation is led by a man who considers himself an all-powerful ruler who is above the law. In Russia, Putin has projected this image while slowly dismantling democratic values. This has led to an increasing number of hate crimes.