FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 41


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Subject: FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 41

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Original sender: Paulette Layton <PLayton@sorosny.org>

FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 41


FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 41
October 16, 1998
 
RUSSIA'S CRISIS:  IMPACT ON FORCED MIGRATION
 
Forced migrants already living in the Russian Federation are among the
hardest-hit by the sudden collapse of the banking system, according to
Valery Tishkov, the director of the Institute of Ethnology and
Anthropology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.  Addressing a
roundtable of migration policy experts sponsored by the Council on
Foreign Relatios and the Forced Migration Projects in New York on
October 14, Professor Tishkov cited three main factors that have
aggravated the conditions of forced migrants.  High unemployment
levels have soared; housing construction has frozen with the
devaluation of credit and savings accounts.  And small business people
have suffered acutely from the collapse of local markets, inspiring
animosity from the hard-pressed local population.  Protests have been
threatened by angry migrant settlers in southern Russia.  The
financial crisis has also forced the government to cut 20 percent of
the local staff of the Federal Migration Service, prompting the
signing of an unprecedented agreement between the FMS and local
nongovernmental organizations for the NGOs to fill the gap in services
to forced migrants.  At the same time, Tishkov noted that seasonal
patterns of in-migration from Central Asia were down, perhaps while
people waited for stabilizing signs.  By contrast, emigration of
well-educated Russians to Western countries is on the rise, and may
continue to do so until Russia can promise it citizens a viable
economic future.
(For additional information see FM Alert of October 9)
 
MOSCOW TURMOIL IMPACTS RUSSIAN SPEAKERS IN KAZAKSTAN
 
The political and economic turmoil in Russia is diminishing the desire
of Russian speakers in Kazakstan to migrate, observers say. "They
(Russian speakers) are not thinking any more about leaving for Russia,
or any other CIS country for that matter," Rozlana Taukina, president
of the Association of Independent Electronic Mass Media in Central
Asia told the Forced Migration Projects in an interview. "Those with
skills, especially those who can speak English, are looking to go to
the West." More than 100,000 people left Kazakstan in 1997, with 72.4
percent departing for Russia, according to the Committee for
Statistics and Analysis of Kazakstan's Agency for Strategic Planning
and Reforms. Some Russian speakers cite language policies that they
perceive as discriminatory as a reason for migration. Kazakstan's
population fell about 189,000 in 1997 to an overall estimated total of
15.7 million. Out-migration was a significant contributing factor in
the population decrease. 
(For background see the Forced Migration Projects special report
"Kazakstan: Forced Migration and Nation Building").
 
RECENT CLOSING OF UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN FRAGILE TAJIKISTAN CASTS
SHADOW OVER REHABILITATION PROGRAMS
 
International aid officials based in the Central Asian state of
Tajikistan are concerned that the withdrawal of the American embassy
staff to neighboring Kazakhstan could weaken hard-won projects aimed
at helping the battered nation build a new economy and government in
the wake of civil war. Under the terms of a complex peace plan signed
in 1997, thousands of troops must be demobilized and re-trained, while
education, health care and the justice system require overhauls. 
Leading international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) met this
week in the region to discuss the pressing need to continue supporting
these efforts.  Some NGO representatives expressed their concern about
the future of such projects in the absence of an important donor in
the country.  Plans for the U.S. embassy staff's return to Dushanbe
are uncertain, since the rise in security concerns following the
bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania last summer.  
(For background see the Forced Migration Projects special report
"Tajikistan:  Refugee Reintegration and Conflict Prevention")
 
For more information contact:
The Forced Migration Projects
400 West 59th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10019
tel: (212)548-0655
fax: (212) 548-4676
e-mail: refugee@sorosny.org
website: www.soros.org/migrate.html

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