Moscow Mayor Candidate Vows to Get Rid of Migrants

MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) – The nationalist Liberal Democratic Party’s candidate for mayor of Moscow said Russia’s capital must rid itself of foreign migrants within three years to give more jobs to Russian residents.

Vladimir Ovsyannikov also said he believes there should be a quota on the number of newcomers allowed to register in Moscow due to the city’s “overpopulation,” according to the key points of his campaign platform, posted on the party’s website on Monday.

“As a result, 70 percent of jobs will be held by Muscovites, and 30 percent by [Russian] residents of other regions,” the statement said.

“The resolution of the problem of migrants will make it possible … to reduce the level of crime, as well as neutralize negative feelings and estrangement toward those who came to Moscow from former Soviet republics [other than Russia],” it said.

Most foreign migrant workers in Moscow are from former Soviet republics in Central Asia and are allowed to enter the country without a visa.

Russia has the world’s largest number of illegal migrants, accounting for almost 7 percent of the country’s working population, according to a 2012 report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The currently acting mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, said in an interview published two weeks ago that migrant workers from Central Asia should not be encouraged to remain in Russia.

“Moscow is a Russian city and it should remain that way. It’s not Chinese, Tajik or Uzbek,” he told the Moskovskiye Novosti newspaper. “People who speak Russian badly and who have a different culture are better off living in their own country.”

Sobyanin announced last week that he would resign as mayor but days later said he would run for re-election in a snap election, which is now scheduled for September 8. Critics said he would have an unfair advantage in the race since other candidates would have very little time to campaign.

As part of his campaign platform, the Liberal Democratic Party’s Ovsyannikov said he would also support small businesses with interest-free loans, reduce traffic congestion and get rid of monopolies on construction, education and commerce to reduce the cost of services and housing.

His platform further envisions lowering prices for industrial goods and making stadiums and other sports facilities available to Muscovites on a 24-hour basis.

Billionaire-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov and opposition leader Alexei Navalny have also announced intentions to run in the election, the city’s first popular vote for the office in a decade.

Between 2004 and 2012, the governors of Russia’s regions, as well as the mayors of Moscow and St. Petersburg, were appointed by the president. Direct elections were reintroduced last year in the wake of widespread protests triggered by allegations of fraud in the parliamentary polls.


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