IM Sergey Nikolaev slain in Moscow racist attack

10/24/2007 – Horrific news: a Russian IM, who hailed from the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, was brutally murdered in Moscow this weekend, by a gang of racist youths after a soccer match who attacked him because of his Eurasian complexion. It adds to the rising number of hate crimes in the Russian capital. Meanwhile news services are full of today's conviction of the "chessboard killer". All deeply disturbing.

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IM Sergey Nikolaev killed in racist attack

A baseball bat and a knife were used to brutally kill 46-year-old Sergey Nikolaev, originally from Siberia, who died at the site of the attack. Police suspect up to nine teenagers attacked Sergey Nikolaev, who had a Eurasian complexion. Those responsible were reportedly wearing black coats which, combined with the weapons, match characteristics of racist gangs across Russia. The young people, aged 14-16, had disappeared by the time the police got there.

The violence broke out after a soccer match. The group of youths marched around the southern part of the city, attacking anybody they saw who did not look like an ethnic Russian. Despite numerous witnesses, nobody came to his aid and nobody alerted police for 30 minutes. Konstantin Chernobaev, an eye-witness, says, "I think they were skinheads. After the attack, they divided into two groups. The first ran away, the other went to a block where there are lots of skinheads. In this block there are lots of symbols used by nationalists."

Another victim of the attack – Nikolaev's Tajik friend Galijan Gulyashov – was also badly beaten, but survived. Now in hospital, he's said to be in a serious yet stable condition. A criminal case has been launched into this event, and police are also completing a finger-tip search of the area.

If the attack does prove to be racially motivated, it will add to Moscow's rising number of hate crimes. In June this year, clashes erupted between members of nationalist movements and people of ethnic Asian and Caucasian origin.

In Chess Today Alex Baburin writes: "I first met Sergey in a tournament in the Russian Federation in the early 1980s. Then I saw him at tournaments in Hungary in late 1980s. Soon after that he stopped playing chess and became a successful businessman. He employed only chess players in his company, which was his way of supporting his former colleagues. Sergey kept interest in chess and attended chess events in Moscow. I remember meeting him at the FIDE World Championship in Moscow in 2001. From time to time he would phone me in Dublin and we would talk for 20-30 minutes about the state of modern chess and players we both knew."


Yakuts

Yakuts are a Turkic people who live in Sakha (Yakutia), recognized by Moscow in 1992 as a Republic under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. It is half the size of non-Russian Europe. About 40% of Sakha, which spans three different time zones, lies within the Arctic Circle and is covered by permafrost.

The first Sakha, who were of Turkic and Mongolian origin, arrived in the 13th century. When Russians began arriving in the 17th century they referred to the Sakha as "Yako". Today the population of the Republic is around one million.


A Yakut lady – more pictures of Yakuts available here


Russia's "Chessboard Killer" Convicted of 48 Murders

Oct. 24 2007: A Russian court convicted the man known as the "chessboard killer'' of murdering 48 people, most of them with a hammer in a Moscow park during a five-year killing spree. A Moscow jury today found Alexander Pichushkin, 33, guilty on 48 counts of murder and three of attempted murder. All but one took place between 2001 and 2006. Pichushkin, who is unmarried and lived with his mother, claims to have killed more than 60 people. Pichushkin told prosecutors that he had marked 63 of the 64 squares on a chess board, one for each murder, leading Russian media to dub him the "chessboard killer". The country's most notorious serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, was convicted in 1992 of murdering 52 people and executed two years later. The prosecutor, Yury Syomin, said he was seeking life in prison for Pichushkin. Russia suspended capital punishment in 1996. Full news report.

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