Moscow police and the Ministry of Emergency Situations have been forced to open
a pre-deportation camp for illegal immigrants, which is already almost full to
capacity. Meanwhile, the Federal Migration Service is planning to create more
than 80 new detention centers for illegal immigrants. Experts argue, however,
that simply rounding up illegal aliens will not solve the immigration problem.
The immigration camp hastily set up in
the west of Moscow following large-scale inspections of the city’s markets
looks more like a refugee camp. Two hundred army canvas tents have been pitched
on the pavement.
The detainees — mostly from Vietnam, but also some
from Egypt, Syria and Afghanistan — sleep in bunk beds. Next to the
tents is an endless wall of 100 portable toilets, followed by field kitchens
where buckwheat and tinned meat are prepared. The whole operation is organized
and run by the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
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Representatives of the Embassy of Vietnam
have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the “simply inhuman” living
conditions in the camp, with 40 people being forced to share tents that are
only 540 square feet in size. The main complaint among experts, however, is not
so much the living conditions in the camp, but rather the fact that the camp
itself is the result of questionable policy.
Sergei Markov, director of the Institute
for Political Research, has noted that the very fact the camp has been set up
shows the government’s non-systemic policy on migration.
“The camp is a temporary measure; it is a
quick-fix to a problem that has existed for years. What it does is expose the
weakness and ineffectiveness of the government. Now it’s important to establish
exactly what it is that we want. We need immigrants, but they need to be legal
immigrants. We need to understand who is to blame for the fact that they are
here illegally: the immigrants themselves, or the business structure that
invited them over in the first place,” said Markov.
Meanwhile, the Federal Migration Service
has already prepared a bill that should solve the problem of illegal
immigration. The document outlines the need to set up more than 80 centers in
Russia for the detention of foreign nationals subject to deportation.
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As Yevgeny Andreyev, researcher at the
Higher School of Economics’ Institute of Demography, explained, it is not in
Russia’s interests to combat immigration. The country needs to come up with
ways to legalize their presence in the country, because it is through immigrant
workers that the problem of the ageing population can be solved.
“According to Federal State Statistics
Service estimates, we have around 700,000 people of retirement age in the
country every year. That is a huge figure. And that number’s not going to get
any smaller,” Andreyev said.
“The population continues to age, and that process
presents new challenges, reducing, as it does, labor resources. This is a major
global problem, and we can’t do anything about it. There are two areas that
need to be developed — the infrastructure for retirees and a system for inviting foreign
workers to Russia.”