Posted 12 июля 2023,, 07:55

Published 12 июля 2023,, 07:55

Modified 12 июля 2023,, 10:33

Updated 12 июля 2023,, 10:33

Ethnic enclaves in Russia: a horror story from the authorities or reality?

Ethnic enclaves in Russia: a horror story from the authorities or reality?

12 июля 2023, 07:55
The Human Rights Council has joined the discussion about whether there are ethnic enclaves in Russia and if it's true — what to do with them. The course of the authorities is clearly visible: the cultural and ethnic balance in the country is broken, the migrants themselves are to blame for this, so the legislation needs to be tightened.

Yelena Petrova, Natalia Seibil

The Russian political class is actively discussing the problem of ethnic enclaves. It's not that they didn't notice before that people from Central Asia and Transcaucasia trade and work in the country's markets, or Tajiks sweep Moscow and St. Petersburg yards. Who will forget the famous «Let's go!»

It's just that suddenly now the authorities are wondering if it's good when this working people settle in a bunch, send their children to study at a district school and speak their own language, so that it's unclear whether it's Kuzminki or distant Dushanbe. Previously, everyone dismissed the problem, now suddenly it has become almost a priority in the country.

No one really knows how many of them there are in the country. At the end of May, Igor Barinov, the head of the relevant agency for Nationalities Affairs, spoke in the Duma. Judging by his report, many governors are not aware that they have ethnic enclaves. In the North-Western Federal District, Igor Barinov was convinced that they had no enclaves. Then they began to sort it out, and it turned out that already in 2018 there were 300 of them. It is difficult to say how they figured out what criteria officials set for recognizing the area as an enclave. Are we talking about one house where migrants were lucky enough to rent apartments, or is the enclave measured in square kilometers? How many people should live in an enclave so that they need to be engaged with the connection of distant garrisons? It is impossible to understand.

Now the Human Rights Council under the President of the Russian Federation has decided to contribute to the history of the enclaves. It turned out that this institution has been working together with the Ministry of Internal Affairs for two years on how to make the lives of people who came to work and create GDP together with Russians even more difficult than it even is now. Considering that there are fewer migrants in the country now than before the pandemic, such concern of the HRC is difficult to explain.

In 2022, a patent that gives the right to work in In Russia, 1.98 million people have registered. This is 120 thousand less than in 2021. According to RANEPA researchers, the share of migrants in the labor market has decreased to 5% of the total number of employees or even less. Despite this, in one 2022 year, regional budgets received 97 billion rubles due to patent payments.

Why did such a fuss about migrants start in high offices?

Economists have estimated that 3 million people are missing from the labor market. At the same time, about 3 million migrants who work in Russia, this figure has already been taken into account. If they didn't exist, 6 million would be missing. However, a member of the HRC Kirill Kabanov states that in Russia has enough workers. Maybe Mr. Kabanov lives in some other Russia, where the grass is greener, there is no SVO, but instead of tap water, milk flows? In that other Russia, where the HRC does not like everything, employers are happy with every additional pair of workers. Doctor of Economics Sergey Smirnov sees no other way to attract migrants:

— And so our contribution to world GDP is very small, but we are starting to reduce it again. You can't shoot two birds with one stone, and we're trying to do it. Here are the new territories that became part of the Russian Federation. They also need to be restored, these are also jobs. Who will work there? Will employees from Moscow go there? I doubt it somehow. People assess the risks. Therefore, we can never do without migrants. And there is no tragedy in this.

Human rights defenders who have been dealing with migrants all their lives, like foreign agent Svetlana Gannushkina, unlike the HRC, do not see any threat from migrants:

— In order to avoid enclaves, firstly, no one artificially creates them. And if you artificially fight them, I don't understand how. We just need to ensure that employers provide people with normal living conditions, then there will be no enclaves, and people will be close to their places of work. Enclaves arise as a result of the fact that people cannot communicate with the local population. This requires counter measures. It is necessary that there are language courses, that there is a friendly attitude, that children are taken to schools. It depends on the host society. It should be able to adapt those who come for a while and integrate those who come at all.

Instead, the HRC, represented by Kabanov, proposes to further tighten the conditions of migrants' stay in Russia. Instead of registration, which is a notification procedure, it is proposed to introduce a residence permit, that is, the authorities will again allow people to settle where they arrived. Or not to allow. What Kremlin human rights activists apparently don't know is that it already operates de facto all over the country. With just a stroke of the pen, the arbitrariness of local authorities will become the norm of the law. Was it worth it to abolish captive slavery for the sake of this, as it was in The Soviet Union? People are not registered in the premises in which they live, landlords do not want to give registration, says Svetlana Gannushkina, a foreign agent. Therefore, many people have to buy it in those rooms in which they do not live. And this is an artificially created situation, which does not depend on migrants, but on the fact that landlords, the owners of the premises do not do it:

— Why they don't do it, I have only one answer: they want to minimize their relations with the state. These are our citizens, not migrants at all. They perceive their own native state as repressive and want to minimize their relations with it. Otherwise, why not let a person register where he rents a room? I'm usually told that it's because people don't want to pay taxes. But the tax is very small. Everyone is ready to compensate for this tax in order not to have any trouble with the police and in general with the outside world.

The introduction of a residence permit for migrants on the Soviet model will lead to even greater corruption, which, due to the excessive tightening of requirements for new arrivals, is already blooming in full bloom. Outraged citizens complain that where migrants live compactly, there is no Russian government, you can't wait for the police, and everything is solved according to concepts. And few people think that if the police arrive on call in two hours, so maybe she shouldn't come there? Corruption is the same crime as arbitrariness or denial of the rules and laws of the country in which you live. Maybe the HRC should deal with the violation of citizens' rights to protection by the police and the failure to fulfill its duties? It would be much more useful.

Meanwhile, demographic surveys, which officials are happy to quote, say that 80,7% of Russians are satisfied with the level of interethnic relations in the country. Then it is unclear why the authorities take out this fake horror story and brandish it. The head of the FADN Igor Barinov told the Duma that the government allocated 8.65 billion rubles for the implementation of the 3-year program «Implementation of the state National Policy». They should be spent on the adaptation of migrants, and not on the fight against the new fata morgana of the Russian government — ethnic enclaves.