Yesterday the Moscow City Duma Speaker, Vladimir Platonov, requested from the Main Internal Affairs of Russia in Moscow the circumstances of an incident on Tverskaya street on Sunday, where a car from a wedding convoy blocked the road, and people in the car opened fire. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin instructed the police to stop any similar actions in the future, and the police appealed to witnesses of the car shooting, asking them to provide all available information, including video footage from mobile phone cameras or video recorders to establish the circumstances of the incident. Officially, the shots were fired in the air by means of traumatic weapons. One of the gunmen, Murat Agalarov, detained along with other wedding guests, was arrested for 15 days. The rest paid a fine.
This story has already become a pretext for political statements. Thus, the ex-candidate for president of Russia, Mikhail Prokhorov, compared the fines and release of the detained participants of the shooting to the verdict of Pussy Riot. "The girls dancing in the church were sentenced to two years in prison, and men who could injure or even kill people got off with a fine,” Prokhorov said.
Another former presidential candidate, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said that "the tradition of constant weapons-bearing, normal in the mountain hunting culture, is not allowed in cities across the country ... According to the customs of the peoples of the Greater Caucasus, it is a tradition to organize a wedding, when people from the whole city, the whole village participate in the celebration. But the cities are small there, and almost all the people there are relatives; shooting is always obligatory. When there is a wedding, the men pull out their guns and shoot up in the air. Everyone understands that this is a sign of joy. But for us it is a sign of robbery, banditry. Therefore it is necessary to explain to them that the customs of villages, small towns, mountain culture should be used only in the national regions, and when in Stavropol, Krasnodar, Moscow, they have to behave the way the local people behave: speaking softly and calmly, not flourishing arms, not insulting others and forgetting the word "gun."
Influential representatives of the Moscow Caucasians also commented on the wedding shooting. "I see it not as a show of national customs and traditions but as a demonstration of barbarism, ignorance and rudeness, disregard for those around them. The point is that there are so many beautiful things for demonstrating customs and traditions. And they can be demonstrated. Demonstrating other traditions has a certain place and time," the Chairman of the Russian Congress of Peoples of the Caucasus, Aslambek Paskachev, said.
"If someone refers to customs and traditions, I do not know any Dagestani tradition that would be contrary to law. Even at weddings we should ask the elders if we can shoot ... it is forbidden to shoot even airwards, neither in the city nor in the village, it can be dangerous. It is necessary to take all the details into account. I want to see our children playing at a wedding in the mountains. We cannot dance in the streets and, especially, shoot airwards without the approval of our elders. As for the wedding, a Dagestani wedding should be celebrated in one's native village, as well as every local person should be buried in his native village," the Chairman of the Assembly of the Peoples of Russia, State Duma deputy from Dagestan, Ramazan Abdulatipov, said.
Member of the President's Council on International Relations, ex-Minister for Nationalities Vladimir Zorin, believes that people will no longer shoot in Moscow, referring to the tradition: "It was possible for all interested parties to resolve the issue with the celebration of Eid al-Adha and other Muslim religious ceremonies in Moscow. I think the situation with weddings can also be resolved."
The head of the Duma Committee on Nationalities, Gadzhimet Safaraliyev, is ashamed of his countrymen: "There is a custom in Dagestan - shooting upwards at weddings, riding in a motorcade, but it is acceptable in Dagestan, and if they wanted to follow this custom, they should celebrate the wedding in Dagestan and not in Moscow."
It is fair to say that these problems don't only exist in multinational Russia. Several years ago in Galilee - the historical area in northern Israel, bordering Lebanon - the police carried out an operation codenamed "Marriage without Shooting", trying to convince the Arab people that it is possible to get married without gunfire and pistol shots. It was about propaganda, but the police threatened to arrest the troublemakers. They warned that if the shooting was made from unregistered weapons, the punishment would be much worse, and the first suspects would be the groom and his father.
It is obvious that the authorities not only worry about citizens, but also fear of random victims. The examples are not far to seek. Two years ago a girl was killed in an Adyghe village. A splendid wedding was traditionally accompanied by shooting in the air. Men passed around a home-made pistol, firing real bullets. One of the bullets hit the head of the guest.
There is also shooting in the Caucasus during other holidays. On the eve of last New Year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of South Ossetia appealed to residents of Tskhinvali with a requirement to refrain from indiscriminate shooting during the holidays. The violators of the requirements for storage, bearing and use of firearms will be subject to administrative and even criminal charges, according to the South Ossetian Interior Ministry.
Indeed, traditional games and spectacles in the North Caucasus have always been of a militarized nature: shooting at stationary and moving targets, shooting at full gallop, riders’ fighting for a sheepskin, fighting of cavalry and infantry armed with sticks. But anthropologists who study the wedding rituals and customs of the North Caucasian peoples agree that not all the peoples of the North Caucasus have a custom to celebrate weddings by shooting in the air firmly entrenched from the Middle Ages. Generally, this custom is traditional for the rites of the Chechens and Ingush, while this tradition is not particularly rooted in the wedding ceremonies of a number of other North Caucasian peoples.
Not long ago the President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, ordered shooting at weddings to be restricted: "In these cases the weapons should be confiscated, and those found responsible should be fired from their jobs, if they work in law-enforcement agencies. But if I completely forbid shooting at weddings, it would be wrong. I am not against our traditions, but it is necessary to restrict the shooting. Two or three times, not by means of heavy machine guns, are enough.
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