Russia’s words not enoughLess than three weeks after a Korean student studying abroad was attacked and killed by a group of Russian youths, another Korean university student has been confirmed to be in critical condition after being stabbed by a Russian in Moscow the day before yesterday.
Two masked assailants approached the Korean student, known only by his surname Shim, and one of them stabbed Shim in the neck.
The incident does not stir shock or fury so much as fear.
We cannot help but raise serious questions about whether or not Russia is based on proper governmental authority. Does that country really operate under civilized laws?
On Feb. 15, a student known only as Kang, on an exchange program between the Gwangju National University of Education and Altai State University, was attacked by three skinheads in Barnaul, Russia.
Less than 20 days later, a similar incident has happened again.
In 2005, two Korean students in their teens in St. Petersburg were stabbed and seriously injured, and in 2007, another Korean student was attacked by a group of Russians and died while receiving treatment. Last year, a female university student studying in Russia was terrorized by a group of Russians wielding flammable materials.
It is difficult to understand these incidents as simply random crimes. We cannot resist interpreting them as an organized effort to target and terrorize Korean students in Russia.
We now need more from the Russian government than words. Saying that it will try its best to prevent such incidents from happening again in the future is no longer enough.
Instead, the government must act to catch the criminals and subject them to proper judgment after thorough and quick investigations. The Russian authorities also need to develop measures to protect Korean students and residents staying in their country.
The Korean government also has a responsibility to respond on this issue as strongly as it can. President Lee Myung-bak should call Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin directly and demand they take action.
Last year in Russia, there were 215 crimes involving skinheads, which resulted in 74 deaths and 280 serious injuries.
Who would want to invest or study in a country known for far-right extremism and racist violence? Russia must recognize how serious this issue is and work to exterminate the groups responsible, to ensure such barbarous attacks never happen again. Each one is an international disgrace that tarnishes Russia’s name.