The outline of the events in Biryulevo looks as following: on October 10 in this district of Moscow 25-year-old Egor Shcherbakov was killed. There is only one version of the murder – he was killed while defending his girlfriend from an unknown non-Russian, who might just as well be… It is reported that the man had big nose and… There is nothing more to this description, in fact, which had been allegedly recorded on some camera. It’s been said that the recording of the murder and the photo of the murderer had been spread not only on social networks, which is not surprising, but also on TV channels, which is already somewhat strange.
That day, a number of other more bloody and hideous murders had been committed in Moscow: the metropolis had been living its usual life. The brutality is pretty common in such large cities. However, the murder of Shcherbakov caused the so-called people’s gathering to take place. On October 13 there was another gathering with pogroms. The first one took place on the day after the tragedy and was spontaneous. However, there was nothing spontaneous about the second gathering. From October 10 to 13 nationalists and soccer fans had been gathering people through social networks, indicating routes, detours, and gathering places. This implies two conclusions.
The first one is that nobody was hiding anything. The police had time to prepare.
The second is that it was no spontaneous gathering of local people. Of course, there were residents of Biryulevo district, but according to many accounts, there were many people walking their pets and children on the streets. These were peaceful onlookers. I won’t say anything about the extent of their responsibility to their own children here. It’s all clear. But these were simply onlookers and not the participants.
From the beginning the epicenter of all the evil was declared Biryulevo vegetable warehouse, which is also – and this is an essential moment – a vegetable market with a very substantial turnover. Naturally, it is not the most pleasant neighborhood: the locals constantly complained about the noise and, most importantly, about the traffic jams often created by trucks. But these were the only complaints.
According to video footage and witnesses’ accounts, it was not the local residents of the district, who went to smash the warehouse, but the militants, who came to Biryulevo. One can’t say that they destroyed completely everything, but it is obvious that they knew where and how to go and what to do. The level of organization was high. At the same time, the rioters damaged the train platform next to the warehouse, but did it rather neatly – crushed watermelon tent, turned Zhiguli, while leaving the expensive cars untouched. The state property – turnstiles, ticket offices – have remained intact.
But it all started not with the warehouse, declared a stronghold of the evil forces, as once the Cherkizovsky market, followed by many other markets in Moscow that had very nice location with equipped infrastructure that forced prices down. All the products in vegetable warehouse are also sold cheap – right from those trucks hated by locals. On their way, the rioters also damaged a shopping center “Biryuza,” which most certainly has nothing to do with the migrants.
The mayhem in “Biryuza” was different from what the entire world saw happening during the riots in British, American, and other famous cities. There was no mob, no robbery. OMON security force stood by watching how about two dozen men broke into the shopping center and set it on fire. A small crowd was pushed back.
This is not the way stores are looted. This is the way criminal “they asked to say hi!” is done – by throwing black marks, sending a dead fish.
OMON made first arrests and released the rioters right away.
Then there was a trip to the vegetable warehouse, which also reminded “they asked to say hi!” followed by arrests – about 400 participants of the events were detained with fights. Most likely, video and photo recording of the events was conducted.
There was a lot of police not only in Biryulevo that day. The police cordoned off the Manezhnaya Square and blocked exits to the Red Square. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev ordered to identify the organizers and bring them to justice. Otherwise, the top officials of the Moscow Main MVD Directorate will be discharged.
From the point of view of the police it was all reasonable – the police officers overlooked a number of incidents, but then it managed to contain them. Another question is the mass character of these events, as well as the hostile attitude of the local residents to migrants, who provide the low prices for vegetables in the market. No one is going to be surprised if afterwards other vegetable warehouses will be closed in Moscow and prices will go up considerably. It will be also interesting to see who, in such case, will end up owning the plots of land under vegetable warehouse and the damaged shopping center.
Yes, I totally imply that the events in Biryulevo might have been business motivated. Gangs of soccer fans and nationalist militants can provide services on a commercial basis. It is noteworthy, that nobody listened to Aleksandr Belov-Potkin, leader of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration (AII Movement), who tried to stop the mob. Belov directly accused the head of the police of condoning the riots.
There is also a political component to this.
It all happened right after the election of the mayor of Moscow, when a part of the intelligentsia that calls itself democratic opposition, supported Alexei Navalny with his measured nationalism and anti-migrant rhetoric. Now Muscovites had a chance to see measured nationalism not its verbal expression, but in action. However, the big question remains – who are the migrants?
Navalny focused on criticizing the import of workers from the Central Asian republics, mainly Tajikistan. But Moscow rioters do not care about who they deal with: foreigners and Russian citizens from the North Caucasus who look similar to Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis. In Russian cities people very often refer to their own fellow citizens as migrants, the way it was during the anti-Chechen pogroms in Kondopoga in 2006. That is, we see Russian chauvinism in its purest form. The slogan “Russia for Russians” is directed, in fact, against the citizens of Russia.
As a result of the pogroms, the authorities made a decision to establish an agency that would counteract illegal migration and arrested nearly 1,200 workers at Biryulevo warehouse on October 14. The local authorities and rioters in Biryulevo by joint efforts impose Muscovites life in a besieged city. One can’t help but starts to compare the situation with those charged with rioting in Bolotnaya Square – no one ever discussed their demands. While the authorities came to friendly understanding with the Nazis already during the mayhem, which, apparently, could have had business reasons, but could also be a political production.
Rospotrebnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection) closed the warehouse in Biryulevo. Business and politics have demonstrated their unity in modern Russia.
This is, of course, only a coincidence that it all happened shortly before the Eid al-Adha – the time, when Nazi propaganda used to raise the degree of Islamophobia.