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Russians point out migrants as biggest threat to themselves

July 23, 2013, 19:06 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila

MOSCOW, July 23 (Itar-Tass) - Inflow of “representatives of alien nationalities” appears to spell the biggest fright on the Russians.

By contrast, for instance, the number of those who fear the arrival of fascists at power is smaller by a factor of six. One of the causes of this is an incorrect migration policy the priorities of which should be changed, experts say.

The All-Russia Center for Public Opinion Research /VCIOM/ has done a research to find out what dangers the Russians are viewing as the most realistic ones. It has turned out that the prospect of “representatives of alien nationalities” /the Chinese, Vietnamese and others/ inhabiting the country’s territory is perceived as the main threat by 35% of the population.

Analysts think that while answering the question about ‘migrants’ the respondents meant the people arriving from other countries by and large.

A different poll held by Levada Center at the beginning of the month revealed that the residents of Moscow City also pointed to migrants as the biggest headache.

The descending line of threats in the VCIOM poll also looks impressive enough. The decay of culture, science and education is viewed as threat number two by 33% of those polled.

Standing next in line is the ecological disaster /that is apprehended as quite a realistic one by 28%/, terrorist acts targeting the strategically important facilities /also 28%/, the exhaustion of the reserves of crude oil and natural gas /25%/, the depletion of the country’s population due to low birthrates /23%/, and a sharp decline of living standards /22%/.

In contrast to this, the arrival of fascists at state power causes fear among 6% respondents - far more than 60% below the number of those who believe in the real danger of attacks by extraterrestrial forces.

MP Andrei Zhuravlyov, the chief of the Duma’s workgroup on drafting the Migration Code is quoted by as saying he shares the feelings of the majority of respondents.

Zhuravlyov, who chairs the Rodina /Fatherland/ party, himself puts the threat of Russia’s getting inhabited by foreigners to the top of the list.

“That’s an alarming and rightful signal to our government,” he said. “Illegal migration is acquiring an increasingly aggressive character. It’s a problem now to go out of your home late at night because you see all those outrageous youngsters smoking hookah and listening to the songs of quite a different type compared to the customary ones.”

The MP recalled that, according to the information of Interior agencies, nationals of other countries accounted for 47% crimes committed in Moscow City last year.

Valery Khomyakov, the director general of the Council for National Security told Novye Izvestia that VCIOM was citing rather “mild” data. “In reality, the problem is much broader, as no less than a half of Russians consider foreign migrants to be the main threat.”

“The problem caused by migration has outdone all other problems in scale,” Khomyakov says. “In many parts of the country the local authorities allow the newcomers to force the local population out of business.”

Svetlana Gannushkina, a member of the Presidential Council for Human Rights is confident that the main threat is coming from the official agencies’ inability or unwillingness to put things into order in the sphere of migration.

“We could learn many useful things from the migrants,” she said. “Recall, for instance, their caring attitude to senior citizens and their non-drinking habits. Our people are displeased with the general situation in the country and they spearhead their rancor at the ethnic aliens.”

In the meantime, the inflow of migrants continues expanding. Konstantin Romodanovsky, the director of the Federal Migration Service said the growth of migration stands at 12% since the beginning of the year. As for the past four years it has totaled 37%.

The quota guaranteeing the migrants’ job placement features about 2 million people but the actual number of illegal workers seems to be totally unknown. Romodanovsky does not rule out that it may be three times as big.

Top officials at the Federal Migration Service say a change of priorities in the migration policy is high on the agenda. In other words, the migrants coming for short sojourns of up to ninety days and vanishing subsequently in the vast spaces of Russia should pose less interest for the employers.

Highly qualified specialists are a different story. They should be invited to Russia for long stays and have a prospect for getting Russian citizenship.

Experts agree with an approach of this kind. Asida Agrba, a lawyer for commercial, labor and migration law told Nezavissimaya Gazeta that there are a mere 20,000 qualified specialists among the millions of low-qualified workers from the former Soviet republics, Turkey and China currently stranded in Russia.

This testifies to the inefficiency of the mechanism of attracting and selecting the migrants.

The pessimistic moods of a big enough number of people are easy enough to explain for. The labor migrants who have no rights at all and who are subject to the harshest forms of exploitation are ready to work for a song and they thus create the situation of dumping on the market of labor and take away jobs from them, Vladimir Khomyakov, a co-chairman of the People’s Council All-Russia Public Social Movement.

We can see quiet plainly the Russians’ discontent over the fact of a shutdown of a range of worker specialties, says Alexander Teziayev, the director for marketing and development of the international electromechanical holding company EKF Electrotechnica.

“And add to this the shadow circulation /of workforce/ on the migration market and you’ll get a maddening cocktail,” he said.”What’s the way to avoid it? Control and nothing else. Then, of course, mandatory requirements for the arriving migrants to fulfill. The restrictions on the list of jobs accessible for unqualified workers. And naturally demands for recertification.”

It is practically no use to fight migration, other experts believe. “You shouldn’t oppose migration, you should govern it and create efficient and convenient mechanisms of regulation and control,” says Maria Timakova, the director for external relations at the FM Logistic company.