2 Killed in Attacks During Holiday

Youths killed two people from Central Asia and assaulted two others, including a Turkmen diplomat, in separate attacks that came on a national holiday celebrating Russian unity, Moscow officials said Wednesday.

The 3-year-old holiday — People's Unity Day, which was introduced in 2005 to replace the traditional celebration of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution — has increasingly been used by ultranationalists to rail against dark-skinned immigrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Gangs stabbed an Uzbek and a Turkmen to death in separate attacks, authorities said.

Another victim was hospitalized after being attacked by skinheads, police said.

The Turkmen Embassy in Moscow said one of its staffers was hospitalized after dozens of youths attacked around midday Tuesday outside the consular section in central Moscow. A spokeswoman who requested anonymity in accordance with embassy policy said the diplomat suffered bruises and was in satisfactory condition.

Riot police on Tuesday detained around 500 people who defied a ban on rallies connected to the holiday.

Hate crimes in Russia are soaring. In the first 10 months of this year, 113 people were killed and 340 injured in xenophobic attacks, according to the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights, which said it was a 50 percent increase over last year.

Nearly half of the attacks took place in Moscow.