The police spoke of 8000 participants at the "Russian March" for the Day of National Unity, the organizers gave the number as 20 000. Human rights activists criticize the action as exacerbating ethnic problems in the multi-ethnic state of Russia. They warned of a hunt for workers from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Just three weeks ago, the murder of a young Russian by an Azerbaijani triggered severe xenophobic riots in Moscow.
The demonstrators, many of whom carried black, yellow and white tsarist flags, called on the political leadership to stop "feeding" the Islamic-majority North Caucasus. Right-wing extremists showed how often on 4. November Nazi symbols and demanded stricter entry conditions for migrants. Police arrested about 30 participants, according to the Interfax agency. 5000 security personnel were deployed.
Prominent Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny had called for participation in the march. But he himself did not appear. Critics accuse Moscow opposition leader of supporting populist demands for such things as visa requirements for workers from Central Asia. "The laws allow such a march, but people’s motives are sad," said civil rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva.
Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin laid flowers with Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill in Red Square. The work-free National Unity Day had been introduced by Putin in 2004. It is supposed to commemorate Moscow’s victory in the 17. The group aims to commemorate the end of the twentieth century against Polish-Lithuanian besiegers and, according to the Kremlin’s will, to replace the communist celebrations of the October Revolution of 1917.