Anton Troianovski national.cfm?id=972892006
Last updated: 04-Jul-06 01:33 BST

RUSSIAN prosecutors said yesterday they considered the stabbing of
five victims from ethnic minorities a hate crime, following a spate
of attacks on dark-skinned people in Moscow this weekend.

Four Armenians and an Azerbaijani were attacked by about 15 assailants
at a subway station on Saturday. Russia has seen a wave of xenophobia
and hate crimes in recent years, with hundreds of attacks reported,
including many on immigrants from the former Soviet Central Asia and
the Caucasus Mountains region.

Rights activists say hate groups are emboldened by a "mild" approach
to prosecutions, and that neo-Nazi and extremist literature is
sold freely.

Vardan Oskanian, the Armenian foreign minister, denounced the attack,
and called on Russia to do more to head off the rise in violent

Alexander Brod, who heads the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, said that
the surge in attacks might be tied to two high-profile conferences
that opened in the capital on Monday before a G8 summit that begins
next week in St Petersburg, as extremists sought publicity.