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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Senator Says Racism Europe's Problem

SAN FRANCISCO -- Federation Council Senator Mikhail Margelov acknowledged Russia's problems with ethnic intolerance during a conference in California on Friday, but chalked it up to a broader European discomfort with the continent's new tide of immigrants.

"Those problems of intolerance, which are also part of Russian everyday life today, are very typical, unfortunately, for Europe today because Europe is becoming more multinational, more multicultural," said Margelov, chairman of the Federation Council's International Affairs Committee.

"I don't think that Europe was ready for that, and it doesn't work as a melting pot," Margelov said in response to audience questions following an address to the World Affairs Council of Northern California.

Immigrants from poverty-stricken former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus are frequent targets of violence by skinheads and other extremist groups in Russia.

"We have the guest workers coming from Tajikistan, coming from Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, from central Asian countries," Margelov said. "They have very different cultural heritage, they have very different habits and they have a very different style of life that not many people like in Russia."