The Moscow prosecutor's office is considering whether to ban a controversial campaign video with racist and anti-immigrant undertones.
The video was made by the nationalist Motherland party ahead of Moscow legislative elections next month. The video also shows Motherland leader Dmitrii Rogozin and Yurii Popov -- Motherland's candidate for the city vote -- watching men of Caucasus descent throw watermelon rinds on the ground and demanding they pick them up.
A banner on the screen reads: "We're cleaning Moscow of garbage."
The background music played during the advertisement is ethnic music from the Kabardino-Balkariya region, which was the scene of violent unrest last month.
Prosecutors say they will rule on 11 November on the legality of the video, which is already airing on Russia's TV-Tsentr television.
Politicians and public activists have hotly criticized the video as xenophobic and hateful. Lawmaker Vladislav Reznik of the centrist Unified Russia party described the video as "tasteless and obscene," and a product of "redneck fascism."
TV-Tsentr has said it will continue to broadcast the video until the end of the election campaign on 2 December if it is not banned.
Prosecutors are also considering the legality of a statement made by Rogozin on Ekho Moskvy radio. In his comments to the broadcaster, Rogozin suggested the 4 December elections would be "stolen from Muscovites," and that Motherland was prepared to call "tens of thousands of people" onto the streets to protest any perceived voter fraud.
The video also features a bleach-blond girl with a stroller, and some old schmuck, Rogozin's companion, who asks one of the non-Russian-looking guys whether he speaks any Russian at all...
The irony, of course, is that many - if not most - of those who keep Moscow's streets and backyards relatively clean do not look like ethnic Russians at all.
Here's my photo of three Moscow janitors walking down Nikitsky Boulevard in March 2004: