May 17, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10617

Dmitry Popov, Columnist For Russian Daily 'Moskovskiy Komsomolets': Labor Migrants Have Opened A Second Front Against Russia

May 17, 2023
Russia | Special Dispatch No. 10617

The war in Ukraine has created a labor shortage in Russia, which has attracted labor migrants from the central Asian states, the former Soviet republics. This in turn has led to tensions between Russians and the migrants. The head of the Russian Federation's Investigative Committee, reported "group attacks by migrants designed to humiliate Russians." According to Bastrykin, following the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, crimes perpetrated by the migrant population increased.[1] In his address to the 11th St. Petersburg International Legal Forum (SPBILF), Bastrykin lamented that "While the Russians are defending their Motherland on the front line, migrants in the rear are attacking our cities." Bastrykin called for conscripting the migrants into the Russian Army, which is in need of able-bodied soldiers. "They want to enjoy the benefits, but they don't want to fulfill their obligations to the state... If you don't want to fulfill your obligations, go back to your homeland," Bastrykin declared.[2]

Alexander Bastrykin (Source:

In addition to violent crime, the migrants are accused of infiltrating residential areas, including in Moscow. A group of illegal foreigners appropriated the service premises above the parking lot of a central Moscow high-rise and set up a secret shelter there with a toilet, a laundry room, and a kitchen.

They lived there rent-free and did not pay for the utilities since they patched into the water and electricity meters. After the residents of the high-rise tracked down the migrants living in the building, they disappeared before the police could apprehend them.[3]

The former Soviet Republics that supply the foreign workers remain important to Russia. Their leaders were the only national leaders to grace Russia's May 9 Victory Parade. They are also crucial to the parallel import system that helps Russia bypass the sanctions. Therefore, Russian officials tasked with maintaining the relationship are considering institutional solutions.

In a conversation with news outlet URA.RU, Konstantin Zatulin, First Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Affairs and Relations with Compatriots, recommends that Russia create a ministry for migration.

"It seems to me that we need to move on to serious decisions and create a ministry for migration. Within the framework of existing departments, the problem is not solved at all if it is not allocated to a separate department... Everything we hear about migration is only in connection with crime from law enforcement agencies. In general, migration is in the budget under the fight against crime section. Is it normal? We in the State Duma insist on the creation of a separate department, but we would like to be heard by the government."[4]

In a column titled "A Second Front Within Russia: Migrants Are Encouraged to 'Vent Their Grievances' against Russians," Moskovskiy Komsomolets columnist Dmitry Popov starts out by lashing out against the migrants, who are, according to him, flaunting their power. In the column's secondary title, that reads, "The politics of receiving super-profits at the expense of cheap labor has become dangerous for the country," the populist Popov pivots to attack Russia's business elites. Popov, who favors a Soviet style economy, would like to see the business elites that are too fond of the West replaced by an elite formed on the battlefield.[5] He therefore concludes that both migrants and Russians are victimized by business leaders that shamelessly exploit the migrants and stoke tensions. Unfortunately, their political power impedes a true solution to the labor migrant problem.

Popov's column follows below:[6]

Labor migrants in Russia (Source:

"In east Moscow, migrants from Tajikistan armed with baseball bats trashed a bar and beat up the staff (including a pregnant employee).

"And the whole thing wasn't even a robbery, the Tajiks were explaining to locals 'who was master of the house.' Who is actually the master of the house? Is it our people? If you are sure of the positive answer to this question, add to it the word 'momentarily,' to make it more accurate. But all the same, such an opinion is erroneous.

"In Chelyabinsk, in February, a group of Russian teenagers decided to put an end to the lawless rule of an ethnic teenage gang that was terrorizing everyone, robbing people of their money, mobile phones, beating them. They too were explaining who the 'master of the house' was. The law enforcement was not bothered by this. Then our teenagers challenged the troublemakers to a fight, and they fought fair and square. There was a public outcry. And only after that, did the law enforcement got concerned. As you [probably] have guessed correctly, a case was brought against the Russian boys.

"There are plenty of such cases. In April, Alexander Bastrykin, head of the Investigative Committee of Russia, cited statistics: in one year alone, the number of serious crimes (murders, rapes, etc.) committed by migrants has increased fivefold.

"It's not difficult to guess why this is the case. As soon as the state loosened its 'grip' (which is quite logical, given what all the state's forces are allocated to), emerging diasporas and those that have already emerged, once they sensed this weakness, have engaged in 'self-assertion.'

"The danger of this second anti-Russian front forming within the country must not be underestimated, especially as it is actively supported by the West. 'Decolonization' and accusing Russia of enslaving the surrounding peoples is now one of the main directions of ideological indoctrination of the population of the former Soviet republics. So, why not take out the resentment on the 'enslavers' [i.e., the Russian people] especially as the current 'employer' is also keeping them in beastly conditions?

"This issue cannot be resolved via purely law enforcement means, as is already evident from many years of experience. In fact, even Bastrykin admits that 'majority of the crimes committed by illegal migrants are associated with corruption.' It cannot be resolved also via purely economic methods such as Bastrykin's proposed 'heavy tax' on foreign workers or passing a 'road map' for the replacement of migrant workers with Russian citizens, ensuring compatriots a decent level of social and labor guarantees. This is all about treating the symptoms, not the disease.

"There needs to be a radical change in migration policy in terms of goal-setting. The goal should be to strengthen the country and the people. This requires a real (rather than a nominal) program of repatriation of Russians and other indigenous peoples of Russia, a program for attracting highly qualified specialists, and much more. Entire volumes have already been written on this subject.

"But now the goal of migration policy is to facilitate super-profits for a rather narrow circle of people by using migrants' virtually slave labor.

"The saddest thing here is that this very 'rather narrow circle' has the opportunity of influencing the government decision-making process and is fighting, and will continue to fight to the end, to ensure that the current migration policy remains the same.

"As long as this state of affairs persists, Russian native peoples and hordes of migrants can sort out amongst themselves who the master of the house is as much as they like. In any case, the answer will be wrong."

Dmitry Popov (Source:


[1], May 13, 2023.

[2], May 12, 2023.

[3], May 11, 2023.

[4], May 15, 2023.

[6], May 12, 2023.


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