Russia has demanded that more than 1 million illegal migrants who migrated there from post-soviet nations leave the country immediately.
The Deputy Interior Minister of Russia, Alexander Gorovoy, requested that the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) cooperate and work with their residents who are residing in the country of Russia. “There are many of your citizens who are currently on the territory of my country illegally. And if we do not reduce this number by June 15, as the presidential decree implies, these people will be punished, up to the expulsion and closure of borders,” Gorovoy said at a plenary session of the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly. According to Gorovoy, Russia currently has over one million illegal, undocumented migrants living within its borders.
Back in December of 2020, the Putin Government extended the previously instituted moratorium on the expulsion of illegal immigrants effective until June 15, in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to many, however, this push is not going to be enough to combat the surge in migration facing Russia. The Moscow Times reported the numbers currently stacked against Russia in terms of illegal migrants. They cited, “According to Interior Ministry data, more than 332,000 illegal migrants from Uzbekistan currently reside in Russia, along with 247,000 from Tajikistan, 152,000 from Ukraine, 120,000 from Azerbaijan, 115,000 from Kyrgyzstan, 61,000 from Armenia, 56,000 from Moldova and 49,000 from Kazakhstan.”
Additionally, Russia is battling a labor shortage at the border due to border closures amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russian government has been working to simplify the entry requirements for laborers in agriculture and construction industries. For over a year, only a select few countries’ citizens are permitted to cross into Russia. According to the Moscow Times, “The Interior Ministry estimated late last year that nearly half of all migrants living in Russia before the pandemic had since left the country.” The Russian government instituted a temporary moratorium on deportations in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak, and extended the mandate in December of last year. Any citizen who is living in Russia has until June 15 to leave Russia with no penalty or consequence.
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ARTICLE: ETHAN FINN
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: THE JAPAN TIMES