Pro-Kremlin Youth Slam Washington

MTAlexander Kashin, right, speaking Sunday at a Young Russia-organized rally across the street from the U.S. Embassy.
About 80 young people gathered outside the U.S. Embassy on Sunday, chanting anti-American slogans and demanding that a former U.S. diplomat be tried over a car crash that paralyzed a Vladivostok student 10 years ago.

The rally appeared to be a manifestation of anti-U.S. sentiment that has escalated after Georgia, backed by the United States, tried to retake South Ossetia by force in August.

Sunday's protesters -- students recruited by United Russia's youth group, Young Russia -- placed the accident victim, Alexander Kashin, 33, in the back of a truck while chanting "Bush will have to answer for everything" and "American pigs should go."

"We gathered here to demand that America pay Kashin full compensation and bring Kent to justice," Young Russia spokesman Yevgeny Nasonov said.

In 1998, Kashin was hit by a car driven by Douglas Kent, the U.S. consul general in Vladivostok at the time. In 2002 and 2006, Kashin unsuccessfully filed civil suits to U.S. courts seeking $9 million in compensation.

"My personal drama is kind of a spit in the face of all Russian people," said Kashin, whose trip from Vladivostok was sponsored by Young Russia.

"But I also would like to see my own country more interested in me," he said, adding that he believed the issue would have been settled long ago if the foreign minister had interceded on his behalf.

The protesters stressed the political side of Kashin's situation. "This guy was maimed by a ... U.S. diplomat, and no one was punished. Now [U.S. President George W.] Bush has sent [Georgian President Mikheil] Saakashvili into South Ossetia, and no one is punished again," said Dmitry Demin, a Young Russia activist.

"Now Russia is strong enough to show America that our citizens cannot be treated like that," protester Anton Demin said.