The Russian Migrants Federation on Thursday urged minority groups to avoid confrontations with paratroopers on their national holiday.
Paratroopers are known for especially boisterous behavior on Aug. 2, Paratroopers Day, when they traditionally gather in parks and on central squares to drink, unwind and parade around in uniform.
Mukhammad Amin, president of the migrants association, told Interfax that his organization had advised minority groups to avoid parks and train stations on the notoriously rowdy holiday.
“Sometimes a drunk paratrooper can cause a fight or an accident. Some of them drink to excess, and conflicts arise from this,” Amin said.
Moscow police told RIA-Novosti that they detained three ex-paratroopers who smashed into several cars while driving an armored vehicle “in a state of extreme intoxication.” Almost 3,000 Interior Ministry troops, regular officers and volunteers were on duty to keep law and order in the capital Thursday.
Local melon traders — often the target of attacks for their Caucasian appearance — have also delayed opening their stalls, fearing the consequences of potential clashes with paratroopers.
Alexei Nemeryuk, head of City Hall's trade and services department, told Interfax that “people from southern regions fear for the safety of their produce and themselves personally.”
In another measure to avert mishaps, Moscow authorities decided to close cafes and turn off fountains — a popular bathing spot for reveling paratroopers — in Gorky Park throughout Aug. 2.
Authorities also chose to drain fountains in Krasnodar, Chelyabinsk, Yaroslavl and Nizhny Novgorod, according to Channel Nine television.