Moscow Officials Fired in Wake of Race Riots

November 4, 2013
Georgiy Smoleevsky, prefect of Moscow's Southern District | official site of the Southern Administrative District prefecture

In response to the anti-immigrant riots in the southern Moscow district of Biryulyovo, the Russian government has been forced to act. While almost all of the rioters were released from jail and will have no serious legal consequences, Russian officials have raided the target of the riots, a market and vegetable warehouse in the district, and netted thousands of migrants. Now, newly re-elected Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who has watched the migrant population explode in these districts, has fired or sanctioned several administrators who are responsible for Moscow’s southern districts.

As we’ve noted several times before, the government’s attempts to solve the immigration problems appear to only be aimed at avoiding further riots, and may only make things worse. – Ed.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has dismissed Georgiy Smoleevsky, the prefect of the Southern District, and Viktor Legavin, head of Biryulyevo district council. Prefect of the South-Eastern District Vladimir Zotov has been reprimanded. According to Interfax, the mayor announced his decision at a City Hall meeting on November 1.

Sobyanin said his decision resulted from an inspection that revealed violations at the Pokrovskaya vegetable warehouse and processing facility in Biryulyovo, as well as at the Sadovod market in the south-east of the capital.

The Mayor noted that the heads of prefectures and district administrations should be responsible for any serious mass violations of their territory. “Even if it’s technically not your duty,” he added.

Sobyanin also said that in place of Sadovod, a “normal shopping center” will be built.

During inspections at Pokrovskaya vegetable warehouse and processing facility and the Sadovod market, the police detained several thousand workers. Police raids began after the pogroms by the nationalists happened in Biryulyovo on October 13 during a protest rally in connection with the murder of Yegor Scherbakov, a local resident. Orhan Zeynalov, a citizen of Azerbaijan was arrested and charged with the crime.

Earlier some other officials had been fired because of the pogroms, including the head of the Zapadnoye Biryulyovo police department Gennady Kaverin, and several high ranking officials from the FMS Department for the City of Moscow.