Moscow's well-known Sechenov Medical Academy has decided to suspend classes for three days from Thursday through Saturday in order to protect its foreign students from the heightened Neo-Nazi activities around April 20, which marks the 118th anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday. In the past years the racist violence has peaked around April 20, during which Russian Neo-Nazis and skin heads take streets to commemorate the anniversary of Hitler's birthday.
The academy also ordered its foreign students to stay inside the dorms over this period for security reasons. The decision of the Academy reflects rising xenophobia and racist violence in Russia, and inability and unwillingness of the authorities to hold it back. Over the last week a street cleaner from Tajikistan and an Armenian businessman were killed in apparent racist attacks. In 2006 alone over 50 people were killed and several hundreds were injured as a result of racist violence in the country.
Opinions of the academy's foreign students reflect mixture of feelings. Some of the students were pleased with the move of the academy's administration, saying that they appreciate academy's initiative aimed at their well-being. Others who consider this step as an authoritarian measure lamented that Russian government is not doing enough to prosecute hate groups.