Ethnic Profiling in the Moscow Metro

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June 2006

Riders on the Moscow Metro who appear non-Slavic are over twenty times more likely to be stopped by police than those who look Slavic, according to this report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, in partnership with JURIX and Lamberth Consulting. Riders who appear non-Slavic make up less than five percent of all Moscow Metro patrons but account for over half of all people stopped by the Moscow Metro police.

Ethnic Profiling in the Moscow Metro quantifies for the first time the prevalence of ethnic profiling by police in Russia. The study employed the same scientific means to quantify the practice in Moscow as were used to measure racial profiling in the United States and United Kingdom. Trained monitors observed over 1,000 police stops in the Moscow Metro system. Based on data from their observations and interviews with victims of these stops, the report proves not only the pervasiveness of ethnic profiling in the Moscow Metro but also its futility, as the study concludes that these stops rarely result in arrest or uncover minor administrative infractions.

In addition to giving a scientific measure of racial profiling, the report provides recommendations for reforming the Moscow Metro police's practices, including devising stop-and-search guidelines based on behavior and other objective factors rather than apparent ethnicity, and amending legislative provisions so that patrol police are not responsible for collecting fines for document violations.


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