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  Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Russia's president promised Wednesday an appropriate response to racial, interethnic and inter-religious hatred
Russia's president promised Wednesday an appropriate response to racial, interethnic and inter-religious hatred. "It is evident that countering extremism is not only a state responsibility, although the state should address it first and foremost," Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with political party leaders. "Those who preach racial, national or religious hatred must know that their views will provoke an appropriate response," he said. A surge in violence targeting foreigners with non-Slavic features has prompted Russian and foreign human rights groups in recent months to raise concerns over the alarming spread of racist and xenophobic attitudes in the country. According to the president, civil society and political parties should have a clear position in regard to the problem. By making the statement, Putin apparently meant to imply that ordinary citizens in particular should change their attitude toward such crimes, because both Russian nationals and police seem to either dismiss the problem or even sometimes support extremists who attack dark-skinned people. Putin added that the wording of laws countering extremist activity should be absolutely clear, and that punishment should be inevitable and appropriate to the gravity of the crime. Of particular concern, he said, is the easy accessibility of "materials that preach hatred and discord," both in bookstores and on the Internet. He said the danger of nationalistic sentiments should be clearly explained to the citizens of Russia, which is a multiethnic and multi-faith nation. Putin thanked lawmakers for adopting laws making it possible to ban extremist parties from participating in elections.
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