A 26-year-old courier – the citizen of Tajikistan – contacted the police station in St. Petersburg’s Moskovsky district on December 24 at around 4:00 pm saying that four young men attacked him for no reason when he was delivering an order to the address 47 Vitebsk Avenue. 

They sprayed gas in his face, kicked and punched him in the head.  At the hospital he was reportedly diagnosed with a closed head injury, a concussion and hematoma.  After assistance was provided, the man was released home

Kommersant, citing the press center of the St. Petersburg Police Directorate, says four teenagers aged 14 and 15 years were detained on suspicion of beating the courier.  Proceedings are reportedly being carried out with them.  

The fact of beating the courier was caught on video.  The camera captured a group of four young men, who began to beat for no reason the courier waiting at the entrance to the house.  One of the guys was kicking the courier in the head.  Then his friends sprayed the victim with gas canisters.  One from the group was making video shots of what was happening. 

Specialists note that three interconnected factors have contributed to the rise of xenophobia in Russia: a misguided and failed Soviet nationalities policy; migration caused by ethnic strife and the collapse of the Soviet Union; and economic dislocation resulting from the introduction of a market economy.  Some authors have dubbed this phenomenon “Chernofobiya,” or “Blackphobia,” indicating the fear of darker-skinned non-Slav minorities in the former Soviet Union.

SOVA Center for Information and Analysis says it recorded nine hate-motivated attacks in October this year alone.  Simultaneously, several ultra-right Telegram channels posted video clips of pepper-spray attacks on Central Asian migrants and people of “non-Slavic appearance”.

Since the beginning of the year in total, the Center has reportedly become aware of incidents in which no fewer than 90 individuals have suffered in hate-motivated attacks; of one murder; and of three serious death threats.

Racism in Russia mainly appears in the form of negative attitudes towards non-ethnic Russian citizens, immigrants or tourists and negative actions against them by some Russians. Traditionally, Russian racism includes anti-Semitism and Tatarophobia, as well as hostility towards the various peoples of the Caucasus, Central Asia, East Asia and Africa.