Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, commenting on a shooting incident during a wedding party in the Russian capital, said firing gunshots in a fit of joy - whether in Moscow, Makhachkala, or New York - is unacceptable everywhere in the world.
Nothing could have prepared Muscovites for the scene that greeted them on Sunday when wedding guests from the North Caucasus discharged their guns as their motorcade sped through the Russian capital.
Medvedev said that regardless of differing cultural traditions, “the law has not been scrapped thus far.”
One member of the Moscow wedding party was sentenced to 15 days in prison, with another receiving a 2,000 rouble ($66) fine.
Some politicians, mindful of public opinion over a recent incident involving a drunk driver who killed five pedestrians in Moscow, said the punishment did not equal the crime.
"References to some local customs are unconvincing in this case: I don't know the traditions in Dagestan that contradict the Constitution and laws of Russia," Dagestan's deputy to the State Duma lower house of parliament, Ramazan Abdulatipov, said.
The wedding incident also threatens to rekindle ethnic tensions between people from the North Caucasus and Russians, while giving nationalistic politicians an opportunity to whip up public passion.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, outspoken leader of Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR), said that while it's “a sign of joy” for people from the Caucasus to fire off guns in celebration, in Moscow “it's a sign of robbery, and banditry.”
The LDPR leader said such incidents should be punishable by up to two years in jail.
The Prime Minister took a more sober and diplomatic approach to the incident, saying that such behavior in other parts of the world would have been greeted with force.
"If such an incident had happened in New York the consequences could have been much more serious,” Medvedev said. “The police would have reacted by opening fire and they would have been acquitted.”
Eliminating such behavior must start at any early age, he added.
"We must busy ourselves teaching children the [rules] of living in a community of people from their early years,” the Prime Minister stressed. “We must instill these values on a regular basis.”
Due to the great diversity of Russia Medvedev said citizens must not forget the “long-established skills of living in a social community.”