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Does Yekaterinburg prepare plank-beds for immigrants from abroad?

At the end of the year in one of the military bases near Yekaterinburg an isolation camp for migrants will be opened. Vladimir Vorotnikov, Chief of the Central Administration Board of Internal Affairs of the Sverdlovsk oblast, announced this.

According to him all foreign citizens who arrive for work will without fail be quartered in former caserns. They have to pass a physical examination, are being registered and, what is most important, are checked by the police database. This is meant to reduce criminality among migrants.

According to Vladimir Vorotnikov, the companies, which want to make use of cheap labor force, should pay for the stay in the isolation camp.

General Vorotnikov’s announcement evokes an ambiguous reaction among the public and human rights groups.

The leader of the Tadzhik culture society Farukh Mirzoev complained that the police chief reduced the whole project to a deportation camp, although the idea, the ethnic cultural associations of Yekaterinburg had brought in, was much wider: to create a migration center, which on the one hand would have helped to decide if a stay of a foreign citizen is legal or not, and on the other hand suppress the endless exactions by law-enforcement agencies.

Mirzoev doesn’t know, but assumes, what will turn out now, after the project was handed over to the police, will be: “A similar experience they have made in Moscow. We have been there recently; in general we liked it there: the rooms are clean and have TV …”.

Andrei Kabanov, president of the fond “City without drugs” reacted very emotionally to Vorotnikov’s declaration: “We were affected by the idea to create a reservation to collect money from the Tadzhiks. But it turns out to be kind of a concentration camp. They brought them here, counted them up like sheep, collected money and then made them work - and again collected money. And all this out of tremendous love and respect to the Tadzhikian citizens”.

Tatyana Merzlyakova, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Sverdlovsk oblast, however, thinks that with time passing everything will turn out well: “Of course, it touched me, that Vladimior Vorotnikov didn’t see a possibility to co-ordinate his position with the oblast government, since the Center will be created on the government’s efforts. But, anyway, we will find a common language and act civilized. I stay quiet because the Minister of State Property keeps the control, and the Center is lead by Mikhail Bochkarev - a civilian and not a retired policeman as was proposed before. I have no doubt about his professionalism and reputability”.

Tatyana Merzlyakova promised that an observation council will be founded at the migration center, which deputies, human rights activists and representatives of ethnic-cultural associations will be members of. The council will keep an eye on the camp and that the migrants won’t turn into a source of income for those, who now compete with each other for the right to watch over the foundation of the Center.

The commissioner for Human Rights cannot agree with the opinion, that everyone will take money from the migrants and hand out certifications that won’t save them from deportation and fines.

A sad statistic does not support the oblast’s image: in the first term of 2003 thirty Tadzhiks died, mostly because of violence

Source: Nezavissimaya gazeta

© 1993-2003

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