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Russia's Interior Minister talks on state of immigration in Russia

October 23, 2013, 13:14 UTC+3
Vladimir Kolokoltsev has made several statements regarding immigration policy and state of affairs in this area at a question-and-answer State Duma session on Wednesday
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Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Pochuev

Photo ITAR-TASS/ Mikhail Pochuev

MOSCOW, October 23 (Itar-Tass) – Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev has made several statements regarding immigration policy and state of affairs in this area at a question-and-answer State Duma session on Wednesday.

Tougher registration rules

One of his proposals is to alter legislation dealing with liability of renters, businessmen and private individuals which facilitate illegal immigration. Specifically, Kolokoltsev proposed prohibiting registration at legal addresses (which may not actually correlate with physical addresses).

“It’s abnormal, when some of the citizens of a district come to a ‘public gathering’ to protest, among other things, the large number of immigrants, whereas some citizens at the same time illegally rent out their apartments, making them into illegal dorms,” the official said, noting that around 2,000 such apartments were discovered in the vicinity of the ill-fated Biryulevo vegetable warehouse.

The official believes that tougher registration procedure and punitive measures for breaking it will allow legal migrants social benefits and will streamline work of the authorities in this sector.

Immigrant-related crime

This year has seen an upsurge in crimes committed by foreign nationals in Russia; criminal proceedings over instances of organizing illegal immigration are opened more frequently.

“Against a background of an overall decline in crime rates by 10 percent this year saw certain growth in the number of crimes committed by foreign nationals and persons without citizenship,” Kolokoltsev said.

He said such dynamics were observed in the territory of 57 territories of Russia.

“One in four regions saw crime growth by 30 percent and more. Over half of all crimes by foreign citizens occurred in the Central Federal District. The highest number of crimes and the highest growth rates were observed in Moscow and St. Petersburg,” Kolokoltsev said.

He told the legislators there was no reason to suspect the police remained idle spectators to such trends.

“However, our main efforts should be focused not on the consequences, but on the root causes,” he added.

“The number of administrative offences Russian police have prevented showed a 50-percent growth this year. Such rates were registered in 64 territories of the Russian Federation. Moscow saw a four-fold increase,” Kolokoltsev said.

Ethnic crime

Russian police have stopped the activity of almost 440 ethnic criminal groups this year, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said on Wednesday.

Specialized departments for combating ethnic crime, set up under criminal investigation bodies, are implementing a broad range of measures to neutralize ethnic criminal groups, the police chief said.

"This year alone we stopped the activity of 438 such groups, and prosecuted 1,187 people who were activists or organizers of these groups," Kolokoltsev said.


Kolokoltsev said the number of acts of terror in the country has decreased by two times in the past few years.

"The number of terrorist attacks in Russia has decreased twofold in the past three years. It's a concrete result of our work," Kolokoltsev told the lower house of the Russian parliament.

"This work has been long and systemic. We'll continue this work, paying closest attention," he added.

Cheap labor

MOSCOW, October 23 (Itar-Tass) - Interior Minister said corruption in trade is based on the proceeds derived from cheap labor force. "More than 3,000 crimes were exposed in wholesale trade in the first nine months of this year," Kolokoltsev said at the Government House question and answer session at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday. "The proceeds from using cheap labor force make the backbone of corruption." "Obviously, an illegal labor migrant is economically advantageous," he added.

In his opinion, the demand for illegal migrants will not disappear as long as this situation remains unchanged. "This means migration flows to our state will not be reduced, hence a range of negative consequences," Kolokoltsev said.

Nationalistic provocation

Provokers used the murder of Muscovite Yegor Shcherbakov to part the inter-ethnic conflict in Biryulyovo, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said.

“... I’d like to mark certain aspects of the events: the so-called citizens meeting and their willingness to convey sympathies to the victim’s family and discontent of proper order in the district, as well as measures to spark the inter-ethnic conflict and violence of certain provokers, who used the tragedy and the emotional state of people,” the official said, reminding that events in Biryulyovo district of Moscow developed in such manner after a resident, Yegor Shcherbakov, 25, had been killed October 10.

Moscow markets

Deputy Moscow mayor Alexander Gorbenko said Town Hall will shut down some 30 markets in the city by 2015.

"We've been aware since 2011 that markets and fruit/vegetable warehouses are very crime-prone areas, so we shut down a number of such places," Gorbenko told lawmakers.

According to Gorbenko, some 30 markets have been shut down in Moscow in the past three years. "For example, after the Luzhniki market was closed, the general crime rate decreased by 60 percent," the deputy mayor said.


Russia is the second country in the world in term of immigrants, second only after the United States. In the last few years the number of migrants in Russia have increased by 40 percent. According to the Federal Migration Service, in 2012, 15.9 foreign nationals arrived in Russia; only 6.48 million of them registered with migration officials. In the first nine months of 2013 the numbers are 14.63 million and 5.5 million respectively. According to official estimates, currently 11.3 million foreign nationals and stateless persons live in Russia  - 3.6 of them are in the country illegally. 

Konstantin Romodanovsky, the head of the Russian Federal Migration Service, said that Russia had more than 11 million foreign migrants residing in its territory.

“At the moment, there are more than 11 million foreign nationals in Russia. The question arises whether we really need so many of them. Is it possible to restrict their inflow?” Romodanovsky said at the government Q & A hour at the Russian State Duma on Wednesday. Unfortunately, it is impossible to solve this problem exclusively by rule of thumb. Here, economy is more important than politics whether we want it or not,” Romodanovsky told the deputies.

“The number of migrants entering Russia from the CIS countries has increased by 37 percent over the past four years due to a difference in the economic development of Russia and the rest of the CIS states,” the head of the Russian Federal Migration Service went on to say. He added that most foreign labor migrants were young people aged 18-29. They are not adjusted to working and living in Russia.

“Most of the labor migrants are men without any serious profession. They are hired to do heavy physical and low-paid jobs,” Romodanovsky added.

He said that the Federal Migration Service had recently compared the average salary in regions to the average salary of a street cleaner in those regions. “Almost everywhere, the street cleaner’s salary was two and a half times lower than regional average. This gives an answer to many questions. The problem is that the country has been relying on cheap workforce for a long time,” Romodanovsky explained.

He believed that Russia should re-focus its attention on qualified and acclaimed foreign workforce.

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