In Russia there is a whole group of national minorities tagged as “the peoples of Caucasus”. In Russian language they are literally called – “the faces of Caucasian nationality” [лица кавказской национальности]. Among others to this group belong Armenians, Georgians, Azerbaijani, Chechens, Dagestani and so on.
Being minority in Russian multicultural society, the people of Caucasus often become a subject to various stereotypes. One of such stereotypes is that “Caucasians” are more likely to commit crimes and even create criminal organizations. “The face of Caucasian nationality” is actually the term which can be often found in police reports where it is used to describe the crime suspects.
Incident in Chelyabinsk school
Two controversial documents have recently gone viral in Russian internet.
The first document is request sent from the Department of Juvenile Division of Police Department to the city’s lyceum № 31. This school is one of the best in Russia with special attention paid to Physics and Mathematics. They have a modern laboratory. Some teachers have PhD degrees and its graduates enter the best universities of Russia without exams. By the way, the children of city’s police chiefs study in this school.
Here is the letter [ed: translation is below]
“Please provide data about the students of Caucasian ethnicity (name, date of birth, home address, parents’ details), who study in your educational institution…”
Judging from the impersonal tone of the letter, we can conclude that such requests were sent to all directors of Chelyabinsk schools.
The second document is the response of Alexander Popov – director of the school № 31.
“In response to your request I’d like to inform you that the only nationality in our high school is mathematics.”
The reaction of police is not known yet. However, Alexander Popov has already commented on the situation saying that the adults shouldn’t interfere in the school matters and children should not be responsible for the deeds of their parents.
The press center of Chelyabinsk’s Ministry of Interior Affairs made the following comment to our newspaper:
- Currently we are investigating the nature of this request. Perhaps, the letter was not written in correct form. But in general, this is a part of preventive work…
Comments of Russian netizens
IMHO: Police, of course, asked the question in a very silly and inappropriate way. But one should agree that the question itself is not unfounded.
Neuzheli: Could it be that Caucasians study math in high school? What for?
Tatyana V.: The director made a clownish act with his disobedience to the police. Hoooorray! Now, how do you think, will the school students behave? Especially the Caucasians. Yes, the police in many cases discredits itself, but we don’t know why they made such request. Instead of fooling around, Mr. Popov should have personally met with the head of the police and find out the reasons.
dima: The cops are doing everything right. It will be easier to make the searches and also better to warn other students. In this age our boys and girls wear rose-colored glasses. Until they encounter with the Caucasus – they won’t know their vile nature.
gost: What can I say, fascism ‘raises its head’, it reminds me something awful. How in Baku they were making the lists of Armenians, including those who were living there for over 100 years. Everyone knows how it ended. This is terrible.
[Note: In 1990 there was an anti-Armenian pogrom in Baku. According to the Human Rights Watch "the action was not entirely (or perhaps not at all) spontaneous, as the attackers had lists of Armenians and their addresses".]
Layza: I didn’t understand what was so special about this request? Faces of Caucasian nationality are known not to abide by the law. I think there will always be reason to check them. In most cases they are proud sons of Caucasus. And if something goes wrong – they are the Russians like all of us…
Pensioner MVD: Respect to the director!!!!!!!
Chelovek: Well, well, well… delinquency doesn’t have nationality, and terrorism doesn’t have nationality. Well, well.
rotmistr Ujskiy: This proves the lack of intelligence of the school director. He wanted some PR and even posted the letters on Internet! Who cares why the police needed the information. Schools are the state institutions and are required by law to provide the requested information. And one shouldn’t seek fame by fighting for justice on the internet.
daladno (replying to the previous comment): And the requested information doesn’t have to be according to the law? Smartass…
Tatyana Morozova: Police would do better if it paid attention to its own employees. They [police] have more criminals than anybody else!
Alexandr Svoboda: It seems that Caucasians are dearer to this director than those who protect the lives of people in the city. That’s a typical ostentatious pseudo-intelligentsia! And afterwards, when the crime occurs in his district, he will scream that there is no order! Mathematics and Euler’s formulas won’t save him!
Valerii Almeev: I don’t understand what is wrong that police inquires about the nationality of students? Are Caucasians ashamed of their nationality? Police has the right to receive such information if it is needed for some particular case. They can even listen to the phone conversations in the interest of investigation. So what? This is the necessary ‘violation’ of the rights for privacy. It is [like this] everywhere in the world. And concealing the nationality of students is stupid. The director of this lyceum is probably not very healthy person.
Nataliya Mareeva: My brother’s wife is a teacher in one lyceum. She says that most troubles, thefts and fights are caused by children from the Caucasus. They are not able and not willing to study. Maybe in his school it’s different?
Realist V: Because of such “ideological” directors Russia is occupied by Caucasians. They have bought everything and everyone and this director seems to be “fed”. And all these blogs, LiveJournals and other internet crap is written by people who mostly have nothing common with Russia. All this internet ”community” was created in order to spoil Russia’s image. Enough of living according to the “principles” instead of living according to the law.