News from Russia – borders open, racism on the rise, migrants mobilize

Russia opens its borders

Russian citizens will be able to leave the country to go to work, get medical treatment, visit family or study. Foreigners will also be able to come to Russia for medical treatment.

Until then, some migrants had had to camp in fortunes tents, especially on the Russian-Kazakh border near Orenburg.

The official website Stopcoronavirus website mentions that more than 14.5 million people have been tested, 530,129 have been sick, 8,706 new cases have been registered in the last 24 hours, 274,641 people have been cured, and 6,829 deaths have been recorded.

COVID-19 crisis rekindles anti-migrant racism

The Russian Ministry of Labour has raised the idea of introducing a national preference, obliging employers to hire Russian citizens rather than migrants.

At the same time, a petition launched on Change.org by nationalist intellectuals and politicians calls on Vladimir Putin to deport all unemployed Central Asian migrants to protect the work of Russian citizens.

In addition, testimonies from victims of racism in Russia, of Kazakh, Angolan, Tatar origin, whether they are Russian citizens or not, are gathered on the blog The Insider in a long article available here.

Migrants are mobilizing

The Federal Committee for Migration and Migration Implementation has launched an online campaign #SummerWithoutPatent (#Летобезпатента) which calls on the federal government to extend the exemption from patent for migrants until the end of the summer.  The government had suspended the patent regime until June 15 – “but the situation hasn’t changed. Many migrants are still unemployed, the borders are closed and they cannot leave their country,” says Vadim Kozhenov, the Committee’s President, in a video available here.

Meanwhile, mutual aid continues among the Central Asian populations in Russia. The Committee on Inter-Ethnic Relations and Migration Implementation in St. Petersburg has announced that more than 500 migrant families have been delivered food kits during the containment measures. Organizations of the Uzbekistani, Tajikistani, Armenian and Azerbaijani diasporas helped organize these distributions.


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