MOSCOW -- A day after residents and members of hate groups rampaged through a vegetable market in a working-class district of Moscow, beating and terrorizing migrant workers, the police swept through in force on Monday.
But the targets were not the rioters. Instead, officers acting on a direct order from Russia's interior minister, Vladimir A. Kolokoltsev, detained about 1,200 workers, saying they needed to check for outstanding warrants.
Meanwhile, all but 72 of the 380 people detained for rioting were released. Two face serious charges, and some will have to appear before a judge, Interfax reported. A judge fined one rioter 3,000 rubles, or about $93.
Analysts said the government's actions were part of a trend in responding to violence against migrants, lest the politically important nationalist segment of society take offense.
"They want to show people that they understand that the migrants are the problem," Aleksandr M. Verkhovsky, the director of SOVA, an organization tracking xenophobic groups, said in a telephone interview.
Tensions over migrants, many of them from the Caucasus, have simmered for years in the outlying district, West Biryulyovo. But the strains, deepened by the stabbing death of an ethnic Russian on Thursday, came to a head on Sunday in what Russian commentators are calling a modern-day pogrom.
Video released on Monday reinforced the notion that the violence involved not just nationalists and soccer thugs, but also everyday Russians.
In the bright sunshine of a crystalline fall day, the video, posted online by the news site Lenta.ru, shows how a crowd of drunken men, women in fur coats and grandmothers in kerchiefs swept into the vegetable market, beat migrants, overturned cars and smashed fruit stands.
"Everybody's going to the vegetable market to sort things out," says one young woman, almost giddy with excitement.
"Hurray!" an old woman yells, waving her arms in the air. "Russia forward! Russia forward!"
A young man, his face bloodied, is cursed, shoved and punched. When he trips and falls to the ground, a man wearing blue running shoes casually steps up and kicks him in the stomach.
At one point, an obviously drunken man yells at the riot police officers, who are trying to push the crowd away from a vegetable storehouse, "Why don't you all turn around and go count the illegal migrants inside!"
Twenty-three people were injured, and eight remained in hospitals on Monday, Russian news agencies reported. It was not clear how many were migrants, police officers or rioters.
The violence, which built out of initially peaceful protests calling for an arrest in the stabbing death of Yegor Sherbakov, 25, was the worst in Moscow in three years. In 2010, thousands of nationalists rallied near the Kremlin after a soccer fan died in a fight with a migrant worker.
Mayor Sergei S. Sobyanin, a close ally of President Vladimir V. Putin, issued a statement calling for a thorough investigation and saying those behind the riots must be held responsible. Most of the statement, however, focused on whether the market had violated rules and could therefore be closed, in what appeared to be an effort to soothe anti-immigrant sentiments.
Even Aleksei A. Navalny, the opposition leader who came in second in a mayoral election in Moscow last month on a platform that included cracking down on illegal migrants, wrote in a Twitter post that Russia should introduce a visa requirement for citizens of Central Asia.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times. First Published October 14, 2013 2:01 PM