Arson attacks on North Caucasian cars in Moscow may raise the conflict between Russians and North Caucasians to a higher level

Valery Dzutsev

On July 21, Moscow police informed the popular Russian news website about three arson attacks on cars with tags of North Caucasian regions. Two cars with Dagestani license plates and one car with a Kabardino-Balkarian tag were set on fire in the eastern part of Moscow. The police officials cautioned the cars may have flared up by themselves, but given that all three cars were in close proximity to each other and had North Caucasian regions’ codes, the coincidence is very unlikely.

Moreover, it became apparent that attacks on the cars with North Caucasian plates started at the beginning of June, 2011. Over ten cars with Kabardino-Balkarian and Dagestani license plates were set on fire in the Moscow suburb Balashikha, also situated to the east from Moscow. Independently of police sources, some car services told about other cases of car arson attacks, though they were unable to confirm whether the affected vehicles had North Caucasian tags. The number of attacks may thus be even higher.

Leader of the nationalist organization “Russians,” Dmitry Dyomushkin, denied that organized Russian nationalists could be involved in the attacks. “The degree of nationalism in the [Russian] society is extremely high. There are some autonomous groups that do not carry out any political activities, but have switched to a regime of ‘punch, explode, kill,’” Dyomushkin warned.

It appears some Russian nationalists have started to mimic the North Caucasian insurgents, creating small autonomous groups, which then target North Caucasians. If this trend persists, however, and the Russian authorities do not put an end to it, the next step will be attacks on ethnic Russian civilians in the North Caucasus and full-scale civil war.