BISHKEK — Kyrgyz labor migrants in Russia are complaining that they are routinely targeted by Kyrgyz criminal groups there, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reports.
Kanybek Kurmanaliev, who has been working in the Russian capital for several years, has travelled to Bishkek on behalf of the Kyrgyz migrant community in Moscow to urge the Kyrgyz parliament to help.
Kurmanaliev told RFE/RL on October 4 that Kyrgyz labor migrants in Russia have always faced problems. He said armed robberies of Kyrgyz nationals by Kyrgyz organized crime groups in different Russian cities are on the increase.
“They are very different,” Kurmanaliev said. “Some of them force Kyrgyz citizens to pay so-called ‘protection taxes,’ some of them just rob us or steal our belongings. There were cases when Kyrgyz labor migrants were abducted by Kyrgyz criminal groups in Russia and tortured to extort money.”
Kurmanaliev said some Kyrgyz gangsters put plastic bags over their victims’ heads, extort money at gun point, tie them tightly and lash them.
“I myself took part in releasing some of our compatriots from their captors, who were also Kyrgyz, and I saw with my own eyes how the rope cut centimeters deep into the victims’ flesh,” Kurmanaliev added.
Kurmanaliev also said that representatives of the Kyrgyz Interior Ministry in Moscow ignore the labor migrants’ demands to investigate crimes committed by Kyrgyz criminal elements against their compatriots in Russia.
Kyrgyz Interior Ministry spokesman Bakyt Seitov told RFE/RL that the ministry, together with the Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry, does everything it can to investigate all such cases.
He added that a criminal group from Kyrgyzstan involved in robbing Kyrgyz labor migrants in Moscow is expected to be extradited to Bishkek in the very near future.
Seitov also said that, in many cases, Kyrgyz and Russian law enforcement organs are unable to investigate, as the Kyrgyz victims are reluctant to divulge details, fearing for their lives.
Hundreds of thousands of Kyrgyz labor migrants work permanently in Russia. The remittances they send home — a total of $980 million between January and August 2011 — account for approximately 30 percent of Kyrgyz budget revenues.
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