(September 19, 2005)
With military precision, a group of youths attacked a Roma (Gypsy) family in their own home in Belgorod, Russia, according to a September 13, 2005 article in the local newspaper Meridian. The attack took place late at night on August 25, as the Nikolaenko family was asleep in their home. Armed with knives and metal pipes, a dozen or so masked attackers cunningly placed a detour sign on the road to avoid the risk of passing motorists interfering with their plans.
Screaming "Beat the Gypsies!" the youths threw smoke bombs and Molotov cocktails through the windows and lay in wait for the Roma to run out. Ivan Nikolaenko was the first to escape the burning home, and was immediately set upon by some of the youths wielding pipes. As he was defending himself, he witnessed his son being stabbed and his wife being pummeled with pipes as she lay on the ground.
Fortunately, the Nikolaenkos had some overnight guests, and when they emerged from the house, they startled the attackers, who didn't expect so many potential opponents. The attackers fled, except for one, whom Mr. Nikolaenko managed to grab and unmask, exposing the face of a local youth. Mrs. Nikolaenko had her arm broken in several places and was hospitalized, along with her son.
Police arrested several suspects. At this point, the article states, the facts become murky. The article cites rumors that some of the attackers were students at a local MVD (police) academy, and that they have been released by sympathetic police officers. A local police official denies this, but was reluctant to provide further details about the identity of the attackers.
One of the suspects reportedly confessed to being a skinhead, but local authorities are playing this down. The author of the article was dumbfounded that all the suspects are being charged with "hooliganism," despite the obvious organized and racially motivated aspects of the crime.
It would not surprise me should the rumors of some of the attackers being MVD academy students. They would just the kind of people who would know how to obtain detour signs and such. The question also arises as to whether "smoke bombs" are articles that "ordinary" skinhead hooligans would be able to lay their grubby little hands on without help from certain sections in the security apparatus. Well, maybe one day the truth will emerge but I do have my doubts simple because it was only, as the authorities in Russia and elsewhere see things like that, "dirty Gyppos" that were attacked and nearly murdered.