The number of race-hate crimes, committed in Russia declined last year, though ethnic discrimination still causes concern, the U.S. State Department said in its annual 2009 Human Rights Report.
"Recent years have seen a steady rise in societal violence and discrimination against minorities, particularly Roma, persons from the Caucasus and Central Asia, dark-skinned persons, and foreigners. Although the number of reported hate crimes decreased during the year, skinhead groups and other extreme nationalist organizations fomented racially motivated violence," the document says.
A total of 12,900 racially or religiously motivated were registered during the year.
From 15,000 to 20,000 people are members of neofascist movements, and a total of 200,000 are involved in the activities of "extremist youth groups." As of last February, there were up to 70,000 skinhead and radical nationalist organizations operating in the country.
"Racist propaganda remained a problem during the year, although courts continued to convict individuals of inciting ethnic hatred by means of propaganda," it says.
The report said societal discrimination against ethnic minorities and dark-skinned immigrants or guest workers remained widespread.
"A number of studies released in March by independent NGOs and advocacy groups... found widespread problems of unpaid laborers with no legal recourse," the report says.
The authors of the document stress that law enforcement on both the local and federal level "continued to target members of ethnic minorities disproportionately" throughout 2009. In addition, police often refuses to register crimes that were committed against migrants.
"Police reportedly beat, harassed, and demanded bribes from, persons with dark skin or who appeared to be from the Caucasus region, Central Asia, or Africa. In Moscow authorities continued to subject dark-skinned persons to far more frequent document checks than others and frequently detained or imposed illegally large penalties on them for lacking documents," the document says.
WASHINGTON, March 12 (RIA Novosti)