This certainly sounds like a racist attack to me:
A group of young men wielding pipes and sticks attacked a group of North Korean laborers in the Moscow region, leaving four of the migrant workers hospitalized, authorities said Tuesday.
The attackers, all in their early 20s, ransacked the building where the North Koreans live at around 8:30 p.m. Sunday in the town of Volokolamsk, 130 kilometers northwest of Moscow, said Pyotr Ustimenko, deputy head of the Volokolamsk administration.
There were around 20 attackers, and 17 of the 39 North Koreans in the camp at the time were treated for injuries, Ustimenko said. Four were hospitalized.
It is interesting to know that there are North Korean labourers working not only in the Russian Far East as lumberjacks, but also in the Moscow area as construction workers. While South Koreans went abroad to find work in the1960s and 70s it is now North Koreans who are trying their luck in foreign lands. One big difference of course, is that these workers are not exactly free agents pursuing the ‘Russian Dream’ but closer to indentured labourers, often strictly controlled by the North’s Labour Security Service.
In a talk last week North Korea expert Leonid Petrov suggested that there might be much unrealised potential for the North Korean economy as a labour exporter, where it could play the same role it has for many developing countries in acquiring foreign currency via remittances. In fact, it seems North Korean workers could already be forming part of what I would call the ‘Eurasian labour displacement chain’ (for want of a better term). As the UK and other rich EU countries relentlessly suck in workers from Eastern Europe, whole areas of Poland and other countries are becoming depopulated and suffering severe labour shortages. This in turn has led to the import of labour from Russia, Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to pick fruit and fill other manual jobs in Poland. I’ve heard that Chinese workers are now arriving in Ukraine to fill the gaps in the labour market being created there, but could it be that North Koreans are another group who are beginning to make up for labour shortages in Russia and Ukraine?
Perhaps we could call this the labour version of the ‘Butterfly Effect’ - when someone in Hampstead needs a reliable cheap plumber it could mean that a North Korean gets a job on a Moscow building site.