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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Student Frets About Growing Brutality

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Email the Opinion Page Editor

Editor,
I am a postgraduate medical student who has been living in Russia for more than eight years and in St. Petersburg for four years. For the first time I am seeing such brutality in a democratic country like Russia.

I am astonished by the lack of reaction from the government side. Governor Valentina Matviyenko does not speak on this topic or at least take some measures to control the brutal murders of innocent students, who are no different from the children of Russian parents who send their children abroad to study.

I would understand if it were the first one, but even after six murders and several attacks in this academic year, there is no response from the governor.

The whole world is shouting about this problem, but local leaders are less bothered. Should this be the situation in a country that is going to hold a Group of Eight summit? Should such a city, which does not respect human rights, be eligible to hold such a summit? Is this the Russian version of democracy?

There are Russian students and employees the world over. They are not being ill treated. In fact, the Indian government is offering free studies and free trips for Russian students. They are not facing any racial problems or attacks in India. If something were to happen, the government would take quick action.

The life of foreign students in St. Petersburg has become horrible. They live in fear all the time. I hope students contribute their share to the city budget with their tuition fees, so why doesn't the government take some proper steps to stop these hate killings?

Each and every citizen should think of their own kids before supporting these skinheads. If this continues, Russia in the end may contain only Slavs, but where is the guarantee that the skinheads will not start killing their own people, too?

Most of the skinheads are teenagers, and if Russia is really thinking of the future of the country it should think of them, for they are the young roots of the country's growth.

Where is the law for the skinheads? If a killer is a minor, you should not punish him? This is a provocation to all minors, who see that they can do whatever they want and the government and the law will not get involved. But punish the first culprit, and automatically the second one will think twice before doing such things. The future should be glowing, not darkness.

Please consider my letter as the opinions of a foreign citizen living and struggling in St. Petersburg.

I.V.S. Prasad
St. Petersburg



A 'Traveler's Horror'

In response to "Sheremetyevo: From Soviet to State-of-the-Art," an article on April 25.

Editor,
I am a frequent traveler to Moscow (and other cities) since 1980 and have passed many times through Sheremetyevo.

The airport has changed a lot for the better, but it is still a traveler's horror. If only they would change and improve passport control for entering as well as leaving the country. This is the only thing that has not changed since the Soviet days.

I had the doubtful "pleasure" once more to arrive last week at Sheremetyevo and I spent one hour and 30 minutes just standing in line to get my passport (with multiple-entry visa) checked and stamped.

The border control people should take an example from their colleagues at Domodedovo or at Pulkovo. Passengers are received with a smile and processed in no time. This gives the visitor a completely different picture. The way things still are at Sheremetyevo scares people away and gives a very bad impression of an otherwise very hospitable country and very pleasant people.

Raf van Gils
Herentals, Belgium



Global Strike Not the Answer

In response to "We Can't Stay MAD Forever," a comment by Kevin Ryan on April 21.

Editor,
Kevin Ryan argues that Global Strike will provide the United States with an offensive deterrent capability for the new security environment -- provided its destabilizing characteristics can be ironed out.

But making long-range ballistic missiles more useable weapons makes little strategic sense, whichever way you package the proposal.

U.S. lawmakers have twice before turned down funding requests for this same Global Strike concept (once after 9/11 and again in 2003-04) -- and for good reasons.

It raises serious global security implications, including high risk of a mistaken nuclear first strike and a new arms race in ballistic missiles.

Nor is it a wise investment of U.S. taxpayers' dollars at a time when there are other more pressing defense priorities: global port security; National Guard and Army Reserve forces; and Nunn-Lugar programs to dismantle WMD stockpiles.

Ian Davis
Executive Director
British American Security Information Council
London (currently in Washington office)