Ovanes Ayrumyan

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Armenian Student Stabbed 18 Times
By David Nowak

The body of an Armenian music student stabbed 18 times has been found on a street in southern Moscow, while two Vietnamese citizens have been hospitalized after an attack, family and officials said Tuesday.

News of the attacks may fuel worries about an outbreak of xenophobic violence, coming after the murder of two dark-skinned people and the stabbing of two others.

Ovanes Ayrumyan, 23, died immediately in the attack on Balaklavsky Prospekt in southern Moscow on Saturday, said his brother, Tigran Ayrumyan, who attended his funeral Tuesday.

"We are all in shock," said Ayrumyan, 19, speaking from the family home, where their father, Grigor, was too distraught to speak.

"You know, there are people of our nationality who behave badly and provoke people," said a family friend, who gave only her first name, Karina. "Ovanes was not one of them."

A talented musician, Ovanes Ayrumyan toured the world playing lead violin with the Chamber Orchestra of the Svetlana Richter School of Arts, said Alla Gudush, the orchestra's director.

"This was a happy person. He was a fantastic and unique guy. Everybody should strive to be like him," Gudush said.

In another attack, two Vietnamese citizens, aged 28 and 30, were admitted to the hospital with knife wounds Tuesday, Interfax reported. No other details were available.

Ayrumyan died the same day that dozens of drunken football fans aged 13 to 16 attacked three dark-skinned people while celebrating a Spartak Moscow victory on the street. They stabbed to death Sergei Nikolayev, a 46-year-old chess player and native of Buryatia, at around 5 p.m. on Ulitsa Arkhitektora Vlasova, and injured natives of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan on nearby streets.

It remains unclear whether Ayrumyan was attacked by the football fans. Balaklavsky Prospekt, where he died, is roughly a 15-minute walk from Ulitsa Arkhitektora Vlasova. He had just left the Chertanovskaya metro station at about 7:30 p.m. when he was attacked.

On Sunday night, a 37-year-old Uzbek was stabbed to death about two kilometers away from Ulitsa Arkhitektora Vlasova.

Police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev could not be reached Tuesday, while the city's Investigative Committee, which is leading the probe into Saturday's attacks, refused to comment.

Police have denied that the attacks were racially motivated, saying Saturday's victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

No suspects have been detained in any of the killings.

No other details are known about the attack on Ayrumyan, but police told the family that officers at the Chertanovskaya metro station saw a young man, in bloody clothes, run into the metro and down the escalators. He was not detained, Karina said.

Meanwhile, the Moscow City Court on Tuesday convicted three young men in a racially motivated killing. The three were accused of beating and stabbing an ethnic Kyrgyz man to death in in October 2006. The convicts were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 14 years.