Putin’s view of Russia’s national future. Migration policy and residence registration


This article was translated by Roman Frolov who also translated Artemov’s “Russians in Russia: A state within a state” for TOO. Frolov comments:

Igor Artemov is one of the oldest and the best reputed Russian  nationalist. His organization, the Russian All-National Union (RONS), was proscribed last year, and Artemov himself is on the run because he is wanted by the Federal Security Service for the ‘hate crime’ of writing that Russian Orthodoxy is the only true faith. In reality, they just wanted him out of political field, I guess because, as a politician, he is much more dangerous to the establishment than the other Russian Nationalist leaders.

Migration policy 

A month ago the President of Russian Federation (RF) Vladimir Putin signed the Concept of Migration Policy of Russian Federation covering the period from 2013 to 2025. The full text of this document is available on the official presidential site. As with any official document, it is verbose and not specific. Yet let’s try to analyze it and single out its essence.

These days, there are two types of peaceful (without war or other cataclysms) mass migration of peoples from one country to another. One is so-called economic migration; it is the movement of great numbers of people to other territories, from one state to another in search of employment, social security or generally better and safer life.

Another is repatriation — a return to historic Homeland of people who due to different reasons, usually beyond their control, became citizens or residents of other countries. Repatriation usually begins when living conditions in places of their current residence are no longer satisfactory in terms of material, spiritual or cultural well-being.  A repatriate is thus different from an economic migrant by having bonds of blood and culture with the ethnic core of the country he returns to. It is well known that after the dissolution of the USSR huge numbers of ethnic Russians and other indigenous peoples of Russia were cut from their motherland and unwillingly became citizens of other states. There were no less than 20 millions of such people in 1990. Around half of this number still lives outside Russia.

It would be natural and reasonable if the President took into account these people first and foremost when he considered the Concept of Migration Policy. It is such people who are officially called ‘compatriots’. Let’s now see whether or not this is true and who the Russian President primarily thinks about. Read the document:

Migration processes play significant role in socioeconomic and demographic development of Russian Federation. During last two decades migration compensated for more than a half of natural decline in population. Permanent settling of migrants in Russian Federation becomes a source of population growth in the country in general and in the regions, whereas procurement of foreign labor of prioritized professions and qualifications required by Russian economy is necessary for its progressive development.

It is known that over the course of the last twenty years the population of Russia declined rapidly due to low birth rates and high mortality — a decrease from 700,000 to 1,000,000 people per year. There are two general ways to halt this process. The first is to introduce government assistance measures to support families, which would like to have children but cannot afford them because of poverty, joblessness or absence of housing. The second is to stimulate repatriation to Russia of millions of Russians compatriots who live in neighboring countries. A sound government policy should include both strategies.

Yet what is President Putin doing? In the Concept he endorses there is almost nothing about assisting the compatriots. On contrary, “the Concept” obviously proposes to compensate the decline, or, speaking in plain language, the dying out of the population of our country, not by means of repatriation of compatriots — the people of former USSR who are closely ethnically and culturally related to us — but by means of migration to Russia of alien, not-indigenous peoples of the Near Abroad. This is precisely what is announced to become a priority of Russian state policy — and announced quite officially.

Mentioning of prioritized professions and qualifications is surprisingly cynical. Every Russian is perfectly aware that migrants from Central Asia and Transcaucasia as well as from China are mostly extremely unqualified. So far nobody was able to name any notable Tajik scientist or an Azeri engineer!

   Presently, attractiveness of Russian Federation for migrants is low in comparison to other migrant-accepting countries and mainly limited to the citizens of the member-states of the Commonwealth of Independent States. Emigration from the country continues. Migrants of new generations, arriving to Russian Federation, have lower education, worse knowledge of Russian language and worse professional skills than their predecessors.

The imperfection of the current system of migration management manifests itself in a large number of illegal migrants. Every year, there are 3 to 5 million foreign citizens who work without official permit. Illegal migration, providing labor for the grey economy, is one of the main reasons for the growth of negative attitudes toward migrants among a certain part of the population of Russian Federation.

It is obvious for anyone familiar with the problem that the cited numbers are patently false. Authorities have acknowledged on several instances that the number of illegal immigrants in Russia is no less than 15 millions, which is the second most in the world behind the USA. I reiterate — these are mainly unqualified migrants. And yet Putin’s Migration Concept aims to legalize precisely these people. By the way, beginning in January, 2013, Putin has officially allowed illegal migrants who stay in Russia without work permit to remain in the country.

All this happens while there are several millions of unemployed Russians, especially in peripheral regions, far away from large cities.

As we see, Putin’s Concept mainly focuses on the so-called “labor migrants,” most of whom are illegals, and ignores the fact that the illegals, who do not pay taxes, compete on the labor market with Russian citizens and constitute one of the causes of the latter’s unemployment.

The Concept contains a few words about compatriots. Here they are:

With the exception of the State Program for assistance to voluntary resettlement in the Russian Federation of compatriots residing abroad, there are no programs for bringing in migrants for permanent residence with desirable professional, educational, economic, demographic, socio-cultural and other characteristics, who can successfully integrate into Russian society. Difficulties in getting temporary and permanent residence permits complicate the process of obtaining citizenship for the majority of law-abiding migrants.

And this is it. Read it again, carefully.

The compatriots — Russians and representatives of other peoples whose ancestors were building our country over the course of many centuries — are referred to in the text as “law-abiding migrants… with desirable … characteristics”. It sounds like it is not people of our common heritage being discussed—people who were abandoned by Russia to the mercy of fate in neighboring states—but androids. …

As a Russian born in Central Asia, I take such bureaucratic expressions as a national offence to my people, especially considering that I and Putin obviously belong to different peoples. Apart from general, meaningless phrases, Putin offers virtually no assistance to his compatriots in their repatriation.

Then the text again refers to migrants, discussing possible ways to assist them — them, not the compatriots:

Important elements of migration policy of Russian Federation involve provision of conditions for adaptation and integration of migrants, protection of their rights and liberties, and social security. Solution of these problems is complicated by unjustifiable difficulties in obtaining permanent resident status and by the lack of proper regulation of legal status of foreign citizens residing in the Russian Federation. A direct result of the absence of government programs for adaptation and integration is the isolation of migrants from the society and the growth of negative attitudes toward them. To organize the programs for integration and adaptation, it is necessary to bring together all the concerned parties (the governments of migrant-sending countries, the migrants themselves, business, non-government organizations) and fully utilize the potential of mass-media. 

 The experience of countries that conduct active migration policy demonstrates that migration processes accelerate socioeconomic development and provide for the growth of prosperity in the population. To unlock the positive potential of migration processes, the entire system of migration management in the Russian Federation must be modernized.  

It is all very clear. The government of the Russian Federation believes that the state has to assist migrants in resettling and is ready to find and allocate funds for this purpose. For eight years I served as a member of Legislative Assembly of Vladimir oblast and I know from this experience that the Russian bureaucracy did everything possible to avoid awarding Russian citizenship to Russians from the republics of the former Soviet Union. Some people have spent as long as 10 to 15 years waiting for citizenship. For others it never came true and they died as “persons without citizenship.” So why does Putin treat alien migrants differently? Wouldn’t it be more proper to help young Russian families with employment and housing, to stimulate birth rates in Russian families instead of importing migrants?

But it gets worse. The Concept announces the following main directions of the migration policy of Russian Federation:

  • Development of mechanisms of stimulation of foreign workers highly sought on the Russian labor market for making long-term work contracts and obtaining permanent resident status;
  • Simplification of entry and residence procedures for foreign workers arriving with business goals;
  • Simplification of entry procedures and removal of restrictions on employment and education for family members of foreign workers;
  • Simplification of entry, exit and staying procedures for foreign citizens involved in investment and business, improvement of the system of issue of work authorization documents;
  • Increase in the number of foreign students, primarily citizens of member-states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, in institutions of intermediate vocational and higher education;
  • Improvement in residence conditions of foreign students, their socio-cultural adaptation, medical insurance, physical security;
  • Export of Russian education services into migration-origin countries;
  • Enabling foreign citizens to work within their obtained specialty in the Russian Federation immediately following their graduation from Russian institutions of intermediate vocational and higher education.

Anyone reading Putin’s document without bias would understand that the Russian authorities do not even try to hide the fact that their goal is to alter the national and cultural composition of Russian population by means of importation and legalization of huge numbers of culture- and civilization-wise alien people, mainly from undeveloped Third World countries.

Are indigenous people of our country happy with such future? For how long would Western right-wingers consider Putin a “Russian Nationalist”? Is it possible that a nationalist would do everything in his power to reduce the numbers and impoverish the main ethnic group of his country, his own ethnic group? Indeed, over the course of the Yeltsin and Putin governments, the number of ethnic Russians decreased more than during the communist purges and the war with Hitler.


Residence registration 

Another tell-tale example of the anti-Russian policy of President Putin is the draft legislation on residence registration recently introduced to State Duma. First, it is necessary to recall the history of this concept. During Soviet times, no one could reside in one place for longer than three days without registering with the police. Failure to register was fraught with heavy fines or imprisonment. After the dissolution of the USSR these rules were abolished — an obvious sign of a free society. Now Putin wants to re-establish all the police-state restrictions of Soviet totalitarianism. Because the Duma’s majority is represented by Putin’s supporters from the so-called ‘party of crooks and thieves’ [Party United Russia], there is no doubt that the Putin’s new law will be passed quickly.

Putin proposes to punish with imprisonment Russian citizens without ‘registration.’ This has important consequences for ordinary Russians, especially for those living in small towns and villages, many of whom leave for large cities in search of jobs, where they usually reside without registration. Now all of them will face imprisonment unless they as usual pay large bribes to Putin’s officials to obtain the ‘registration.’ RIA Novosti reports that the following punishments are proposed for Russian citizens with forged registrations: a fine between 100,000 to 500,000 rubles (ca. $3,000-17,000), or compulsory labor up to 3 years, or imprisonment for the same term.

Importantly, forging registration or living without it on the part of foreign citizens is proposed to be punished by fine only, which clearly extends special privilege to foreign citizens in this context.

The draft law also proposes to amend the Russian Administrative Offence Code with a clause, introducing a fine between 2,000 and 3,000 rubles for Russian citizens living without registration, and for the owners of such rental housing — a fine between 2,000 and 5,000 rubles (the proposed fines are approximately two-fold greater for Moscow and St. Petersburg).

Putin had mentioned these plans on upgrading penalties for registration offences in one of his pre-election articles in the beginning of 2012. The Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation had also proposed to upgrade the penalties. In particular, it had proposed to forcibly cancel the registration of Russian citizens, who are absent from their residence place for more than 90 days.

It is obvious that by the end of the first year of his third term, President Putin is implementing increasingly tough measures against the indigenous peoples of Russia — paving the road to genocide.