Twelve friends, many of them from Russia, were defending their Russian restaurant ‘Pushkin’ in San Diego for two days with guns in their hands against belligerents and looters who replaced peaceful demonstrators in most major cities in the United States, where mass protests against police brutality continue unabated after the death of African-American George Floyd in Minneapolis. Pushkin Russian Restaurant owner Hayk Ghazaryan recorded a video during the influx of another group of protesters.
“We don’t hurt anyone, we don’t let anyone break anything, we don’t let anyone break into the restaurant,” the 36-year-old business owner, who moved to the U.S. in 1998, set up his buddies.
On the tape, you can hear him calling on his colleagues not to provoke people passing by, many of whom are armed with stones, bottles, and Molotov cocktails.
“I have many friends who, like me, are more of a supporter of republican thinking. When I realized on Sunday that something could happen, I called them, and half an hour later they were at the restaurant. There were 12 people in total, all with guns and pistols. They have it legal, we know how to handle it. We can’t walk down the street with guns, but in our own self-defense room, of course, we have the right to use them,” said Haik.
According to him, robbers and looters operate in groups, all members of which are equipped with walkie-talkies and clearly perform their tasks. The first group uses hammers and bats to hit windows, and then those who stuff bags with goods and set fire to the store to cover up the crime.
“They walked right at us, shooting firecrackers and running fireworks. But they saw that we were protecting our restaurants and neighboring stores. Not many dared to come up, and those who came up and saw the guns were quick to getaway. Some even praised us for defending our business, but these are the same people who trashed the pharmacy a couple of blocks before us,” confessed Ghazaryan.
Twelve friends guarded the restaurant and neighboring shops for two days, making it clear to the approaching intruders that in case of an attack they will not be fed. Fortunately, they did not have to use weapons. But they won fame: the photo, in which 10 strong men with weapons in their hands stand at the walls of the institution, flew the social network. True, with the comment “The Russian Mafia is fully defended”.
“We have a real Soviet international: I am Armenian, there are Azerbaijanis, Bukhara Jews, Russians, Ukrainians. And everybody is close friends with each other, and political aspects are not discussed. We are a small representation, a part of Russia in San Diego, and we try to support each other,” Ghazaryan summed up.