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YABLOKO conducted a round table on Russias migration problems

Press Release

December 19, 2012

The YABLOKO party invited experts to discuss migration problems in Russia. Opening the round table, Boris Misnik, Coordinator of YABLOKOs Political Committee, outlined the key issues for the discussion, including control over residence and registration, their legal basis, living conditions in the country of residence, everyday xenophobia and others.

Sergei Mitrokhin, Galina Mikhalyova and Boris Misnik


Galina Mikhalyova, Secretary of YABLOKOs Political Committee, stressed that YABLOKO realized the complexity of the migration problems.

"We have invited experts so that they would help us to develop a clear position on this issue. Because a social-liberal political party offering an alternative to the governments policy, can not avoid this complex problem," she said.

Nadezhda Nozdrina, senior fellow at the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Academy of Sciences, spoke about the role of housing in the migration process. "In our view, the role of housing in the development of migration remains highly undervalued by the governments responsible for the formulation of migration policy in Russia. It is a must to have a housing policy, and it is one of the most important components of the state migration policy in general," Nozdrina said.

Nadezhda Nozdrina

Svetlana Gannushkina, head of the Civil Assistance committee, a public charity organistion for assistance to forced migrants, devoted her speech to refugees, persons without citizenships and forced migrants. She reported on the recently adopted Migration Policy Concept saying that she had took part in its development.

Svetlana Gannushkina

"We are living in a period of stormy development of migration, and migration is inevitable", Gannushkina said. According to her, "there is no dilemma, whether migrants will work or not, the dilemma lies in a different thing whether they will work legally or illegally." Russian is interested in the legal work of migrants, so that the employer would provide them with cheap housing, a medical insurance policy or paid enough money to buy these things. Then the work of a domestic worker will be competitive with that of an expensive migrant, Gannushkina concluded.

YABLOKO leader Sergei Mitrokhin agreed with her. However, he said, "the present situation with migration has been virtually envisaged by the concept of Russias development formed in the 1990s, and it does not correspond to the views of the present elite."

Sergei Mitrokhin

"Then the authorities have decided that if we have too expensive labour, we will not get foreign investment. That is why they have abandoned the social obligations of the Soviet Union ", Mitrokhin noted.

Mitrokhin also added that "it is impossible to solve the problems associated with migration in isolation from other problems; it will be impossible to balance the rights of a migrant and a domestic worker until the minimum while the minimum wage amounts to RUR 5,000 only (about Euro 125)."

Galina Mikhalyova spoke about the difficulties faced by the Western countries, although the migration problem is not so acute for them as in Russia and they have well-developed mechanism for integration of immigrants. She also noted such an important aspect of the problem as the double discrimination of migrants, for example of women and minors.

Galina Mikhalyova

Andrei Babushkin, member of the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation and member the federal Bureau of the YABLOKO party, devoted his speech to the relationships of migrants with the law enforcement.

Andrei Babushkin

He innumerated and dispelled the myths popular with policemen, namely that the police are the main fighters against migrants, migrant workers make up most of offences and that bringing migrants to a police department is of a great preventive value.

He also noted that the corruption index is exceptionally high here: only 50,000 out of 4 mln detained migrants were brought to court for the past four years.

Babushkin also called not to overstate the criminality of migrants. According to the official statistics, they account for only 3.5 per cent of crimes throughout Russia; whereas in Moscow this index is higher - about 19 per cent (but the share of migrants within the population of the city amounts to 24 per cent).

Babushkin also spoke about his long-standing dispute with the chief of Meschansky Police Department in Moscow. The police official promised to show the district statistics proving that over 50 per cent of criminal offenses in the area were committed by migrants. However, he managed to documentary confirm only 23 per cent.

"All the attempts to control migration with administrative methods are doomed to failure. No matter how severe the sanctions against migrants were, they are unable to reduce migration even by 1-2 per cent," he concluded. Also Babushkin expressed his opinion that full naturalization of migrants would not be possible. "By involving migrants into national culture and the economy, we can raise the naturalization level from the present 15 per cent to a maximum of 40 per cent, and will never reach 50 per cent," he concluded.

Kirill Yankov, Director of the Economic Policy department of the Foundation "Center for Strategic Research", argued with the assertion that the Russian economy would not be able to function without immigrants. According to him, the population, natural resources and the territory should be regarded as constants, "the task of the state is to construct an optimal economy out of what it disposes of ". Yankov gave the example of Japan, which does without migrants, in spite of the fact that it has more people incapable of work than the ablebodied. He also noted that such countries as Finland and Belarus live without migrants.

Kirill Yankov

Closing the round table Galina Mikhalyova thanked the participants and promised that the discussion of this complex would go on and lead to the development by YABLOKOs Political Committee of policy guidelines on migration.


See also:

Human Rights



Press Release

December 19, 2012

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