Russia's Communist Party has called for a curtailment of “illegal migration” to the country and illustrated its appeal by a drawing of a woman wearing a Muslim head covering and veil and holding a severed human head.
The anti-migration measures, some of which had garnered thousands of supporter signatures by Thursday morning, was the party's response to a gruesome incident this week, when a woman — named as 38-year-old Uzbek national Gyulchekhra Bobokulova — was detained on a Moscow street holding the severed head of a child, shouting “Allahu Akbar” and calling herself a “terrorist.”
Bobokulova, who worked as the child's nanny, stands accused of killing the girl.
It has since emerged that her 19-year-old son, who had been living in Moscow but returned to Uzbekistan at the end of November last year, has also been arrested in the Uzbek region of Samarkand, the nanny’s father told Gazeta.ru.
“Where they have taken him we don’t know, where he is and what is up with him, they haven’t told us anything,” he said.
None of Russia's television networks reported the incident involving the woman as the Kremlin apparently feared it could stoke a backlash against migrant laborers. But if the plan was to avoid public expressions of outrage, it has largely failed, judging by a flurry of statements and proposals by Russia's politicians.
“The heinous case of the murder and beheading of a Russian 4-year-old girl by an illegal immigrant from Uzbekistan demands that society get back to solving the acute problem of migration,” the Moscow branch of the Communist Party, or KPRF, said on the party's website.
The party's proposed anti-migration measures included a life-long ban on re-entering Russia for foreigners who commit a crime in the country. The measure, which did not specify whether foreign suspects would need to be convicted of their alleged crimes or only charged, had garnered more than 19,000 supporter signatures by Thursday morning, out of the 20,000 it was seeking.
LDPR lawmaker and chairman of the State Duma's committee for public and religious organizations, Yaroslav Nilov, sent an open letter to KPRF chief Gennady Zyuganov, denouncing the drawing of a niqab-clad nanny holding a severed head as a “direct manipulation” of public perceptions.
“LDPR has always proposed harsh measures to solve the migration problem,” Nilov said in the letter, published on his party's website. “At the same time, I'm convinced that during today's complicated time, speculating on a tragedy can be interpreted as a signal to action by radicals and extremists.”
Although the suspect threatened to blow herself up when she appeared on a Moscow street, no explosives were reportedly found. Officials at a psychiatric clinic in Uzbekistan's Samarkand said the nanny had a more than a decade-long history of schizophrenia, accompanied by a “loss of control over her actions,” Russia's RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Her father confirmed that his daughter had earlier in her life been committed to a psychiatric hospital in Uzbekistan for 13 days after hearing ‘voices’ and saying ‘strange words'.
The Znak news website reported that videos have emerged of the nanny being interrogated by police and claiming that she committed the crime as revenge for the actions of President Vladimir Putin in Syria, shouting “Who spilled blood? Putin drops bombs from planes. Why do you bomb Muslims? They also want to live.”
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