Posted by: mulrickillion | February 6, 2012

Kyrgyz and Tajik Migrants in Moscow Speak Out

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Tajik migrants in Moscow (Source: Reuters).

By Aida Kasymalieva and Erica Marat, Eurasia Daily Monitor, Vol. 9, Iss. 19, Jan 27, 2012 —

On January 16, labor migrants from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and other countries joined an anti-fascist rally in Moscow to commemorate the memory of the slain human rights activists Stanislav Markelov and Anastasiya Baburova. Both fought against racial and national discrimination, and were killed three years ago by an unknown gunman (http://kloop.kg, January 20). This event is significant for two reasons.

First, labor migrants from Central Asia have so far abstained from participating in political gatherings. Initially, roughly 200 migrants expressed their interest in participating in the rally, but only half did so. Despite fully supporting the anti-fascist movement, many worried about their personal safety. Fearing possible attacks from fascist movements after the rally, the migrants, as well as the organizers of the rally, had to hide their faces with black masks. . . .

According to Konstantin Romodanovsky, the Director of the Russian Federal Migration Service, in 2011, roughly 9.1 million foreigners arrived to work in Russia, but only 2 million migrants received work permits and patents. Central Asians make up roughly one-third of all labor migrants working in Russia, including roughly one million Tajiks, two million Uzbeks, and over 500,000 migrants from Kyrgyzstan. Of the total 3.5 million Central Asians in Russia, the vast majority lack any legal status (www.profile.ru/, December 19, 2011). . . .

Dissatisfaction among migrant communities is growing, but very few try to organize collective action to protect their own rights. Some migrants who dared to join the opposition rally, work 12-15 hours per day and share single-room apartments with 30 or more people. Their daily food ration consists mostly of instant noodles. Human rights organizations like “SOVA” are the main and only outlets to engage in migrant workers’ problems. Diaspora groups often fear voicing dissatisfaction with the Kremlin’s migration policies. Some migrants find comfort in following dubious religious leaders. Meanwhile, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan do little to help their own citizens find work at home. . . .

The Jamestown Foundation: Kyrgyz and Tajik Migrants in Moscow Speak Out

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