Last Thursday, OMON (Otryad Militsii Osobogo Naznacheniya) raided Georgian casinos, restiurants, and markets under the guise of illegal immigration operations. Everyone knows the true reason: tensions between Russia and Georgia have reached a fever pitch. Many find the conflict rather strange. Georgia and Russia have deep historical ties. The state is considered Russia’s best friend in the Caucuses. But tensions have resurrected all sorts of ghosts: Stalin and Beria have been quick mention. The Georgian mafia, which has been tolerated for so long, is now an instant boogeyman. It has even generated discussion about Russian police corruption because the cops are so ready to take Georgian bribes. Finally, the incident has sparked humor. As one joke published in Kommersant reads: “The idiot Georgians—they lost their largest colony.” (“?????? ??????? – ???????? ????? ??????? ???? ???????.”)
All jokes aside, the raids are chilling, especially the formal inquiry the Russian police made to grade schools for lists of non-Russian students. The police wanted to “check” if the students’ parents are legal immigrants. Forget the fact that many non-Russians are Russian citizens (once again the problem of russkii/rossiisskii), or that Russian law guarantees children’s education despite the immigration status of the parents (read: “a son doesn’t answer for his father”), or that it is downright disgusting to get at parents through their children. But the Russian police denied any connection to the Georgian Affair or that Georgians were being specifically targeted.
This is where Novaya gazeta doesn’t miss a beat. In this week’s edition (the same with the memorial to Anna Politkovskaya), the editors have published police documents to the contrary. Here are translations:
No. 1. Official inquiry with OVD (Otdel vnutrennyi del) stamp, Taganskii district, Moscow.
For the purpose of securing law and order and abidance of the law, the prevention of terrorist acts and aggressive feelings between children—residents of Moscow and children of Georgian nationality please present to OVD Taganskii district of Moscow the following information:
F.I.O (family name, name, middle name), date and place of birth and residence children of Georgian nationality, and in which class they study.
F.I.O, date and place of birth and residence of parents, place of work, position, and family composition.
Relations of children of Georgian nationality with other pupils, cases of hostile relations between children, and such [hostile] relations toward them [i. e. Georgian children], facts about disobedience of Georgian children to teachers, facts of antisocial activities, and unlawful acts.
Please send the given information to our address by 9.10.2006 (Moscow, Vedernikov alley, d. 9.)
Commander of the Taganskii district of Moscow
Colonel police Zakharov.
No. 2 Official inquiry with the stamp of OVD “Vernadskii Boulevard” UVD ZAO of Moscow
To Director Goi SoshInquiry
I ask you to send present lists of people of Georgian nationality—students at your school with the following information. The student’s F.I.O, date of birth, address, home phone number, parents’ F.I.O. I ask you to send this information by 3 o’clock 4.10.2006. I ask you to send the answer to this inquiry by fax: 431-30-11. Telephone PDN: 431-30-13.
I.O. Commander OVD “Venadskii Boulevard” UVD ZAO Moscow.
Lieutenant Colonel of the Police, Komarov, A. V.
No. 3. The remarkable answer of the School Director to document No. 2.
Department of Education of the City of Moscow.
General education middle school No. 169
Moscow Institute of Open Education
119415, Moscow, ul. Udal’tsova, 21.
Tel: (095) 138-39-68
4 October 2006
OVD “Vernadskii Boulevard”
In answer to your inquiry from 3 October on the presentation of lists of schoolchildren of Georgian nationality we inform you that a record of students by this national mark does not made in the school.
In order to produce a similar collection of information (carrying a confidential nature) and give them to another organization, we must receive consenting order from a higher authority—the Moscow Department of Education.
Director of School No. 169 MIOO