A Jewish day school teacher was murdered in St. Petersburg, in what some in the Jewish community believe to have been an ethnically motivated attack. In an official statement on Sunday, the Jewish community of St.Petersburg said the details pertinent to the murder “were too scant to make any conclusions,” yet community leaders pointed out the rise of xenophobia as a possible reason behind the crime. Dmitri Nikulinsky, 22, a St. Petersburg native who taught biology at a Chabad-run school, was found heavily bleeding by his mother outside his apartment around 10 a.m. Saturday. Nikulinsky, a biology student in addition to his teaching role, had been stabbed in the neck. “People are very upset and shocked,” St. Petersburg’s Chief Rabbi Mendel Pevzner told JTA. As of Sunday, police had not informed the community of any leads in the ongoing investigation. The community has no plans to increase security at its centers and has issued no statements recommending that its members take any greater precautions. “Until we have any further information about motives, we re not going to come out with such statements,” Pevzner said. In recent years, St. Petersburg has been known as a hotbed of nationalist and neo-Nazi activity in Russia, and several racially motivated murders were committed in the city, though Jews had not yet been among targets of these attacks. Those targeted were mainly foreign students from Asian and African countries and ethnic minorities from former Soviet republics.
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