Putin apologises for racism

2005-09-27 15:12

Moscow - President Vladimir Putin apologised on Tuesday for racist attacks that have been on the rise in Russia in recent years and promised that law enforcement services would redouble their efforts to stop them.

"I would like to offer my apologies for the incidents that have taken place," Putin said in response to a question on the attacks.

"We are going to intensify law enforcement activities and do everything we can so to make skinheads and fascist elements disappear from the political map of our country," he said.

Racist violence was a source of concern to Russian society at large and to him personally, Putin added.

Racist attacks in Russia, generally targeting people from the Caucasus region and the former Soviet republics of Central Asia as well as foreign students from Africa and Asia, have occurred with increasing frequency in Russian cities in recent years, officials say.

Earlier this month, foreign students protested in the northern city of Saint Petersburg after a Congolese student died as a result of wounds he sustained after being attacked in the street. Authorities said on Monday they had arrested four people in connection with the attack.