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Mass media / News

Russia for the Russian. Sergei Mikheev on migrantophobia

Radio Liberty 16.12.2018 at 08:00

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, non-profit information service funded by the U.S. Congress, broadcasting to the countries of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East and Russia.

On the day of the 70th anniversary of the universal Declaration of human rights in Morocco officially opened the conference on the adoption of a new global agreement, which should help the world in solving one of the most important human rights problems – migration. One of the stated objectives of this document – "reducing risks and vulnerabilities faced by the migrants at various stages of migration". To support this idea brought together representatives of governments of more than 1500 countries. At the end of October 2018, the Russian President signed a decree "On the Concept of state migration policy in 2019-2025 years." A new concept was adopted before the deadline for the current concept (2025), and there is a more rigid principles of the treatment of migrants than in the former. The same concept still criticized the overly complicated procedures for obtaining various immigration statuses, acknowledged that the huge "illegal migration" in Russia is a consequence of imperfection of the legislation and practices. Priority was recognized to protect the rights and freedoms of migrants, their social security, quite a lot has been said about integration and adaptation of different categories of migrants. In the new concept the emphasis shifted: instead of the facilitation, creation of new migration programs (such as the seasonal migration of students) we are talking more about the fight against phenomena mentioned in the text, because of the intensity of migration flows "can become a threat to the Russian Federation and contiguous States." Among the threats highlighted various negative socio-economic processes, as well as the danger of penetration on the territory of the Russian participants of criminal organizations, terrorists and extremists. If the former concept of the program of resettlement of compatriots was the only part of the total, a relatively liberal principles, the new document is much more definite is said about the priority of resettlement of compatriots and Russian speakers about Russian "cultural (civilizational) code" and the fight against illegal migration. The text of the concept is replete with the terms "security", "extremism" and "combating illegal migration", while human rights, anti-discrimination, social guarantees, which are needed by most visitors on earnings of aliens, says briefly. Quite clearly about who is considered "desirable" migrants: first of all compatriots (Russian, Russian language, speak Russian), which represent only a small portion of visitors to Russia. From the statistics of the interior Ministry you can see that the number of compatriots who have received the status in 2017, is little more than a hundred thousand, while the migrants for work reasons, nearly five million. And those five million who pay taxes, charges for patents and other mandatory payments to the state Treasury, but, as a rule, do not even have the right to free medical care and pension. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has long been part of public and political debate in Russia, so fixing this "system of values" in a specialized document looks natural. Migrant-phobia in the Russian society is very strong, including from-for absence in the state of adequate integration programmes and transparent, accessible procedures of legalization of foreigners. Migrants are faced with an extremely complicated bureaucratic procedures, they spend considerable amount to get the documents to live and work in Russia. This often forces them to circumvent the law and seek niches in which legal status it is easier to hide. At the same time ways to restrict the rights of migrants and the reasons for exclusion from the stream of visitors becomes more and more (the expulsion and ban on entry can be obtained for several administrative offenses, such as violations of traffic rules). In the new concept for solving these problems are offered General statements about "increasing the transparency of administrative procedures and their protection from corruption", "reduction of the probability of making unreasonable decisions and assumptions technical error", "creation of mechanisms of social and cultural adaptation", "adoption of measures against segregation." There are no specific answers to the questions how these problems are addressed, in particular, will be eliminated corruption in the migration sphere that is supposed to do to deal with "technical errors" from which migrants are deported, crammed into detention centers who were forcibly removed from their families. Characteristically, children who make up a significant portion of the migration flow, the concept is not a word, although it is sharper than adults children are faced with the necessity of ethno-cultural adaptation and protection. In Russia, do not stop police raids, during which migrant children are detained together with adults and, in the case of violation of the law, taken away from their parents and placed in institutions. Children often suffer from a lack in Russian law of rules, extending their length of stay in the country along with their parents. During the school year it infringes migrant children's right to education, forcing them every three months to cross the border of Russia. Finally, many Russian schools refuse to accept migrant children because of problems with their registration at the place of stay. The UN Committee on the rights of the child has repeatedly pointed out the need to respect the rights of migrant children, the state's obligation to treat them as all other children, regardless of the availability of documents and status of the parents. This neglect of their rights, which has been shown by Russian authorities in favor of the priority of "cultural code" and "protection of Russian culture and language", is unacceptable. Rude and far from the reality of policy in relation to migrants only provoke ethnic tensions are Less visible but also very vulnerable part of the migratory segment of a stateless person. According to the concept, in relation to them should be taken for registration of identity documents. Amendments to the legislation long prepared, but not adopted, therefore, without access to citizenship remain tens of thousands of people, years of living in Russia without the necessary personal documents. Now individuals without citizenship detained for "violation of the migration regime", then submit judicial decree of expulsion, deprived of their liberty – in fact, indefinitely as to expel such people in any country impossible. At the end of two years (the maximum possible for "security deportation" of imprisonment) they are released, but no documents allowing them to legally stay in Russia, do not issue. As a result, they often end up back in custody as violators of the migration regime. Russia ranks fourth in the world among the recipient countries of migration, therefore, the result of the implementation of the concept should be to create a situation which would not only allow to use the potential of migration for the benefit of the country, but also to ensure the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of all involved in the migration processes of people. One of the points, revealing the purpose of the migration policy, refers to "the creation of conditions for adaptation to the legal, social and economic conditions of life in Russia of foreign citizens". Given the lack of any real proposals for solving the problems of rights violations, xenophobia, and discrimination that accompany the life of a migrant, migrants, like offer to those conditions just to get used to. At the beginning of December 2018 has been updated another is national policy. It on combating discrimination and equality in rights and freedoms of man says more, but it is a threat to national security called "illegal migration". The core idea of the text can be considered adoption of the concept of civic Russian identity. This identity, as specified in the text of the document, "based on preservation of Russian cultural dominance, common to all the peoples inhabiting the Russian Federation". Speaking of the "Russian cultural dominant", that is, not multiculturalism, and the importance of some of the Russian culture over the other, the authors of the concept risk creating an even greater cultural distance not only between the visiting migrants and the Russian population, but also to this situation within Russia itself, when different people will perceive their identity as hostile to the Russian. Therefore, the negative factors, which we are afraid of the authors of the two concepts will never be eliminated, but rough and far from the reality of policy towards foreigners and ethnic minorities, by contrast, will only provoke ethnic tensions. Sergei Mikheyev, – the expert of the anti-discrimination centre "memorial" Expressed in category "Blogs" opinions may not reflect the views of the editorial staff of Radio Liberty