Corruption forms ethnic “enclaves”
21 10 2013, 15:49
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Today a court is due to consider the request on Orkhan Zeinalov’s arrest, who is suspected of the murder of Yegor Shcherbakov; this was a reason for the spontaneous meetings of residents of the Moscow district of Biryulyovo, which turned into mass riots. However, the court won’t consider the request in the near future – Zeinalov stated that he cannot read service documents in Russian, including the materials which give reasons for his arrest. The documents will be translated. Today the Azerbaijani embassy in Moscow will send a note to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Russia to allow employees of the Azerbaijani mission to work with Zeinalov.
Meanwhile, events in Biryulyovo have become a catalyst for changing the legislation. The committees of the State Duma of the Russian Federation are preparing bills dealing with illegal migration. At the same time, this week it is expected to consider the second reading of the draft law on the responsibility of regional and local authorities for failing to prevent inter-ethnic conflicts.
"When we discussed other massacres, clashes on ethnic grounds in the capital and in other cities of Russia, experts have immediately rushed to give a large range of recommendations that can be implemented. And all of these recommendations relate to the fact that we need to tighten legislation to introduce a visa regime, to create new structures such as departments of ethnic crime and any committees on harmonization of interethnic relations, and so on,” Ruslan Kurbanov, orientalist, researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, says. "But I think we have to realize first of all that all of these problems, including tensions in international relations, arise primarily from the fact that already-existing structures work very badly, and existing laws are not enforced practically. A striking example of this is the fact that the authorities never work ahead of the curve. Why do they never respond, I mean the local authorities in each region, why do they never respond before a tragedy? The fact that there is such a hotbed of tension around the depots, including around the Pokrovskaya depot, is a known fact. Local residents have long asserted, and journalists wrote about it, but, according to the managers of the depot, the police actually have not come there for a long time, in fact for almost a year or more. Why? Because they were instructed not to disturb this depot.”
According to Kurbanov, "there are some corrupt schemes that allow traders and those who were involved with this depot to avoid some tax rules, any rule of law and so on. As a result, the authorities did not react in time. As a result, neither the law nor the rules of regulation, nor any tax checks nor the FMS checks have concerned this depot. And not only that: this happens in many Russian cities.”
"Our top government figures have repeatedly expressed that they strongly oppose the creation of ethnic enclaves in Russia,” Kurbanov says. "But these depots actually turn into ethnic enclaves because they are formed around a huge corruption component. Because migrants working there are afraid to go to the city because they have illegal status, because they can be caught outside their territory, in which there is actually an agreement with the police. And contact with the local population is just over the counter actually.”
Kurbanov thinks this is not a single society, this is not a single civic legal culture. And on the part of the local population, which is impregnated with resentment and even hatred toward immigrants, there is a feeling that the government does not solve anything, does not solve the accumulated problems. "Gradually, Manezh Square and events in other cities of Russia, and Pugachev - all this shows them that when they do not go on riots the government does not respond. In fact, these massacres become the only way to make the local authorities, the police and migration services begin to somehow respond to the problems. It is a monstrous system when neither the law nor the government, nor the municipal level, nor society itself works; society has not become, shall we say, an effective civic society which might work for preemption,” Kurbanov is sure.
Galina Bogolyubova, president of Russian Slavic Foundation, agrees with him: "It is necessary to clean up the legal framework, because it does not fit ethno-national policy. We have worked out the concept for 20 years and have finally done it based on this concept for national policy, although there are differences. The national policy of a state in which there are many peoples and different languages and cultures should be a complex national policy. And there is ethno-national policy, which also needs to be dealt with, but it's just another area. This is support for culture and the features of daily life.”
According to Bogolyubova, "it all depends, of course, on the local authorities, on how they are able to work with the public, on what they do for it. If the population each time addresses a particular issue to the council, or to the prefecture, or to the head of the administration, and nothing is done, this, of course, causes protest. Undoubtedly, this issue should be regulated at local level.”
Bogolyubova touched on the federal law on migration: "If we make a raid on vegetable depots, they will catch about two million workers, on average, in Moscow now there are two million illegal immigrants, and what's next? Where will they put them? We have no place to even put them. Where should we take funds to deport them? That is an absolute failure in the legal framework of migration policy. It is impossible to shift the problems of the state to the national-cultural autonomies. Or, they say, you should take grants to teach your workers the Russian language. They will take grants for the promotion of their culture and not for teaching migrants the Russian language. This should be a task for special services – building special adaptation centers, which will deal with those migrants who have come here to take up permanent residence. We cannot consider national policy in isolation from immigration laws. It must be systemic work.”