swastika graves 88.
(photo credit: )
Vandals painted swastikas on more than 100 Jewish and Tatar gravestones in a central Russian city and overturned many others - the latest in a string of anti-Semitic, racist and hate crime vandalism across the nation, police officials said Wednesday.
State-run television showed footage of the ransacked Dmitrovo-Cherkasskoye Cemetery in Tver, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of Moscow, along with white-and-black paper swastika leaflets scattered about the grave stones.
More than 150 gravestones were vandalized, Tver regional police chief Leonid Gagloyev said in televised comments. It was unclear when the vandalism took place; Russian television said it was the third time the cemetery had been vandalized.
"We think it was a planned action and the vandals are fascist groups, skinheads," he was quoted as saying.
Russia has seen a notable rise in hate crimes and racist violence and vandalism in recent years, which rights groups say is fueled in part by the authorities' reluctance to crack down on extremist groups.
Late last month, assailants threw gasoline bombs at a mosque in the central city of Yaroslavl and scrawled extremist slogans on its fence. And unidentified attackers vandalized two synagogues - one in the Volga River city of Astrakhan and the other in the Far Eastern city of Khabarovsk - shattering windows at one and briefly setting a door ablaze.