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A dozen race-hate youth groups have been uncovered in Russia's
A dozen race-hate youth groups have been uncovered in Russia's two largest cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in the Moscow Region in 2008, an Interior Ministry official said on Thursday.

The groups, comprising 59 members, are accused of a combined total of 46 crimes, including 34 race-hate murders, and two attempted murders.

"The groups could be responsible for the deaths of 14 nationals of Tajikistan, 10 Uzbek nationals, six Kyrgyz nationals, four of Azerbaijan, one Turkish citizen and 3 Russians with non-Slavic features," said Yury Kokov, the head of the Interior Ministry's anti-extremism department.

Russia has seen a wave of racially-motivated crimes since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Routine attacks by skinheads and gangs of youths on foreigners and people with non-Slavic features are a regular occurrence in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in the central Russian city of Voronezh, which hosts a number of foreign university students.

In early October, two 18-year-old leaders of a Moscow skinhead group pleaded guilty in court to charges of race-hate killings and attacks.

The gang is suspected of killing at least 20 people with "non-Slavic features" and assaulting 12 others in a series of racially-motivated attacks between August 2006 and October 2007. The suspects are also accused of shooting videos of the brutal attacks and posting them on the Internet.


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