|"Fabrice Kanda fled the Democratic Republic of Congo after news stories he wrote charging fraud during the 2011 presidential election made him a wanted man there. A relative helped the 29-year-old journalist secure a plane ticket and visa to Russia. He left behind a wife and two small children," Ann M. Simmons reported for the Los Angeles Times. (video)|
"First they spat angry words at Remy Bazie,"Ann M. Simmons reported Sunday from Moscow for the Los Angeles Times. "Then they struck him in the face with an iron bar, knocking him unconscious.
"The men who jumped the Ivory Coast migrant at a crowded Moscow train station last November did not rob him. But they damaged his jaw to the degree that doctors had to install a metal plate to hold it in place. It took Bazie four months to raise the $3,600 to undergo surgery.
"'Most of the time I'm harassed, but this was the worst experience,' Bazie, 28, said recently as he sat at a parish community center in Moscow where African migrants often seek refuge.
"His story is not uncommon, Russian civil and human rights leaders say. African migrants face widespread hostility and racism that usually go unpunished.
"According to the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis, a Moscow-based advocacy group and think tank, 177 acts of violence against blacks have been reported in Russia since 2010. . . ."
Simmons worked from 1991 to 1994 as a reporter in Time magazine's Moscow bureau after having been a student in the country and had been seeking a way to return to reporting from Russia. "It is not OK that there is a lack of journalists of color, and particularly black journalists, covering the current crisis in Russia and Ukraine," Simmons told Journal-isms in March.
The story's tagline reads, "This report was funded by a grant from the International Center for Journalists."