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    RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT IS CONCERNED ABOUT AN OUTBURST OF EXTREMISM AND XENOPHOBIA

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    MOSCOW, March 4, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The government is concerned about an outburst of extremism and xenophobia and regards it as a consequence of a political stirring up of national strife, said acting Minister for Nationalities Vladimir Zorin.

    "We are concerned about an outbreak of xenophobia and youth extremism. In many respects, this is an echo of the last elections when certain parties and politicians were playing this card," Mr. Zorin said at a Moscow news conference on Thursday.

    He drew attention to how the law on countering extremist activity works in the country. "This law has made it possible to toughen administrative measures. In 2003, 60 criminal cases were launched under it, 20 of them were considered in court, and 17 verdicts were announced," said Zorin.

    In 2000, according to his data, before this law was passed in Russia, 37 cases of national extremism were launched, of which only 6 were considered in court. And no verdicts of guilty were passed.

    The law on countering extremist activity was adopted in summer 2002.

    According to Mr. Zorin, the government has a clear program of action for combating extremism.

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