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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Security to Continue, Mayor Says

The increased security measures in Moscow that followed the Chechen siege of Budyonnovsk will continue for a month, Mayor Yury Luzhkov announced.


All 26 armored personnel carriers and the 16,000 Defense and Interior Ministry troops mobilized June 15 will remain on the streets for at least two weeks, the mayor announced at a regular government meeting Wednesday, Russian news services reported.


Depending on the progress of negotiations with Chechnya, the measures may then be relaxed slightly for an additional two weeks, Luzhkov said.


According to statistics from the Interior Ministry, more than 53,000 people have been detained under the new security regime -- almost twice the number of detentions that usually take place during a week. Ministry spokesman Vladimir Vershkov said most of the arrests have been for public drunkenness and violation of registration rules.


As usual, much of the security measure consists of a crackdown on dark-skinned nationals from the Caucasus region. Alexander Iskandryan, co-director of the Center for Caucasus Studies, said the last week has brought a three-fold increase in detentions but no dramatic change in police treatment of people from the Caucasus.


"It's completely illegal, but unfortunately it is not unprecedented," Iskandryan said. He said the Moscow police have enforced "a not-very-hidden order" to target dark-skinned people ever since Luzhkov declared a state of emergency in October 1993.


During the week, police confiscated 52 firearms, 11 grenades, about 10 kilograms of drugs, 207 stolen cars and 11 billion rubles' worth of cash and valuables. A total of 1,679 crimes were registered during this period, about 10 percent less than the usual weekly number, the Interior Ministry reported.


A ban on imports at the Moscow Region border south of Moscow stranding around 45 trucks from the Caucasus will continue until further notice, said Colonel Sergei Luzhetsky of the Tulskaya Region automobile inspectorate. They will have to turn back, he said.