FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 6

Date: Tue, 10 Feb 1998 10:35:34 -0800
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Subject: FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 6 

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FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 6

FM Alert, Vol. II, No. 6
9 February 1998


A working group of independent Russian experts argues that Russia
should take immediate steps to formulate a comprehensive migration
management strategy in order to reduce the threat of social
confrontation. Greater coordination among Moscow and the constituent
entities of the Russian Federation, as well as CIS member states, is
needed to ensure the implementation of effective migration policies,
the experts say. A main obstacle identified by the experts is a lack
of uniformity in the application of Russian laws concerning migration.
Many Russian regions openly disregard federal legislation governing
the reception of refugees and displaced persons. The Federal Migration
Service (FMS) is doing an inadequate job of getting regional officials
to comply with the law, the experts add. Among the legislative changes
recommended by the expert panel are: the need for a new law on
internal migration in the Russian Federation; the development of
regulations for the granting of temporary asylum; and the formulation
of criminal and financial penalties for those, including local
officials, who impede freedom of movement. The experts also call for
greater governmental cooperation with nongovernmental organizations in
the development of legislation. (For additional information consult FM
Alert of January 30, 1998).


A panel of Russian experts says movement to Russia of refugees and
migrants from neighboring CIS countries shows few signs of abating in
the near-term, and thus poses a threat to internal stability. The
experts, working under the auspices of the Russian government's
Security Council, warn that the arrival of newcomers is a source of
social tension in many Russian regions, due in large part to a
shortage of economic opportunities. Among the factors pushing ethnic
Russians and Russian speakers to leave CIS countries and return to
Russia are: discriminatory policies introduced by CIS governments that
restrict educational opportunities and employment in the state sector;
deteriorating economic conditions in CIS states; and the decreasing
opportunities of Russian speakers in CIS states for cultural
expression, in particular the use of Russian language in official
dealings. In at least one CIS state -- the Central Asian nation of
Kazakstan -- out-migration is again on the rise, with most of those
leaving being Russian speakers heading for Russia. According to
Kazakstan's State Agency for Statistics and Analysis, during the first
nine months of 1997 over 230,000 people left the country, compared
with 165,000 during the corresponding period in 1996. (For additional
]information see FM Alert of November 26, 1997).


The Executive Committee of the Ukraine's International Renaissance
Foundation, a part of the Soros foundations network, has allocated
$430,000 for 1998 programs that promote the reintegration of formerly
deported peoples in the Crimean Peninsula. Launched last June, the
program, "The Integration of Formerly Deported Crimean Tatars,
Germans, Greeks, Bulgarians and Armenians into the Ukrainian
Community," funded 63 projects during the 1997 fiscal year, worth
about $380,000. Projects aim to promote tolerance, improve mass media
standards and promote the cultural revival of formerly deported peoples.
Crimean Tatars were the largest ethnic group to be deported en masse
by Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin during the Second World War for
supposed collaboration with the invading Nazi armies. Approximately
260,000 Tatars have returned to the Crimea in recent years. The return
of formerly deported peoples heightened social tensions in the Crimea,
which has yet to recover from the economic devastation wrought by the
Soviet Union's collapse. According to Lilya Budzhurova, a member of
the Crimean Tatar leadership, more than 128,000 Tatars lack adequate
housing in the Crimea. Among the international organizations helping to
ease the shortage is UNHCR, which has recently renovated 14 buildings
to accommodate returnees. (For background information consult FM
Alerts of November 20, 1997 and September 12, 1997.

For more information contact:
Forced Migration Projects
Open Society Institute
400 West 59th Street, 4th floor
New York, NY 10019
tel: (212) 548-0655
fax: (212) 548-4676

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