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Russian Moving Company Offers 'Slavic Driver' Option, Sparking Racism Row

Viktor Drachyov / TASS

Russian social media users have accused a local moving company of racism after it offered customers the option of hiring “Slavic drivers” for an additional price.

A Facebook user took note of the 500-ruble surcharge for “Slavic” and “Russian citizen” drivers on Gazelkin.ru’s order form over the weekend. Gazelkin removed the feature from its website after the post gained nationwide attention in Russia, where discrimination is commonplace in cities with large populations of Central Asian migrants.

The company replaced the controversial “Slavic driver” option with one that offers a driver with “perfect spoken Russia,” social media users noted on Tuesday.

Although most users criticized the company for racism, others said the option was driven by convenience.

“I’d rather overpay for a person whose mentality I’ll at least know how to approach, rather than get a pig in a poke for my money,” wrote one.

The company has suspended offering Slavic drivers as an added feature, Russia’s Tjournal news website reported after talking to a Gazelkin operator. However, Ekho Moskvy radio host Alexander Plushev tweeted Tuesday that a Gazelkin consultant confirmed on air that “you can still use the service.”

Another Facebook user suggested that the publicity wave would give the company more customers who want to take advantage of its “Slavic driver” option.

“Not everyone knew about this function, but now a lot more people will shell out the extra 500 rubles to feel at peace,” the user wrote.

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