Reader Jeremy Putley points out that the Associated Press has reported that barbaric, maniacal Russia is now trying to move against Georgian children in response to Georgia’s desire to be free from Russian-sponsored coup attempts. What’s next? Grandmothers? Puppies? How long before the gulags start appearing? How much more evidence does the world need of Russia’s intentions before it will act to prevent this unfolding nightmare from reaching true Neo-Soviet proportions? Does Russia have any scruples at all? Only time will tell. Whoever remains silent in the face of this outrage is complicit.
Moscow Police Seek Georgian Kids’ Names
The Associated Press
Friday, October 6, 2006; 8:19 AM
MOSCOW — Moscow police have asked schools to provide lists of children with Georgian surnames, education officials said Monday. Police denied making the request, which brought a new and chilling reminder of growing xenophobia amid Russia’s escalating campaign against neighboring Georgia.
Russia also deported 132 Georgian citizens on a plane from Moscow after detaining them as illegal migrants, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said. His ministry, which is flying Russians out of Georgia, was charged with organizing the deportation flight.
The two countries have been locked in a bitter dispute since the arrest last week of four Russian officers on charges of spying. Despite their release, Moscow has imposed a range of punitive sanctions on its small southern neighbor as well as launching a crackdown on Georgian migrants and businesses in Russia.
Alexander Gavrilov, a spokesman for the Moscow City hall’s education department, told The Associated Press that some of the capital’s schools had received the request for children with Georgian names. He criticized the police action, saying that all children, irrespective of nationality or religion, had an equal right to education.
“If the law enforcement bodies carry out work searching for illegal migrants, it’s their business and there is no way schools must be involved in this process,” the official said.
Nina Zubareva, an official from school No. 1289 in northern Moscow, told the AP that on Thursday, the local police station telephoned and demanded a list of pupils with Georgian surnames.
“There are very few pupils with Georgian surnames in our school and we have honored the police request. I must say that our pupils are Russian citizens and have Moscow registration. Their families have been living in Moscow for years,” she said.
Moscow police denied it had told schools to list their pupils of Georgian origin.
“We did not issue any such instructions, nor do we plan to,” police spokesman Valery Gribakin told Ekho Mosvky radio, despite the educators’ accounts.
Russia suspended air, sea, road, rail and postal links with its southern neighbor on Tuesday. On Thursday, Moscow said it would abolish quotas allowing a certain number of Georgians each year to obtain residency and work permits. Several Georgian-run casinos and restaurants in Moscow have been raided and closed for alleged regulatory violations.
According to some estimates, around 1 million Georgians — more than a fifth of Georgia’s population– work in Russia, and their families rely on the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual remittances sent home. Russian authorities say that more than half of Georgians in Russia are working illegally.
Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko said Georgia had to end its “anti-Russian” behavior if it wanted the dispute to calm down.
“Russia does not want to be provoked, Russia wants to be respected. Russia wants the anti-Russian campaign to stop,” he said.
Bilateral relations have grown progressively worse since pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in Georgia after the 2003 Rose Revolution and vowed to move his country out of Russia’s sphere of influence and join NATO and the European Union.