Russia Caught Between Economic Decline and Potentially Explosive Demographic Change

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 5, 2017) Russia’s economic development ministry says that the country’s GDP growth will be approximately half of one percent lower each year because of projected declines in the number of workers in Russia in the coming decades, a decline that the ministry says must be fought by increasing immigration. But any […]

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State Duma committee approves text of Russia’s naturalization oath

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. July 4 (Interfax) – The State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building has approved the text of the naturalization oath of allegiance to Russia. This is an amendment to the draft law, which deprives convicted terrorists of Russian citizenship. It will be considered by the State Duma on Wednesday, on July 12. The oath is as follows, […]

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Interfax: Over 265,000 people receive Russian citizenship in 2016, renunciation cases exceptional – Interior Ministry

Russia Map

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – The instances in which people file applications to give up Russian citizenship are very rare, Olga Kirillova, the head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Main Migration Department, said on Wednesday. “The instances in which people give up Russian citizenship are negligible,” Kirillova told reporters. Valentina Kazakova, deputy head of the Main Migration Department, said over […]

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Russia Still Migrant Magnet Even as Wages Stay Below China’s

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – April 19, 2017) The vast pool of labor across Russia’s porous borders is relieving strains in the labor market, helping drain the economy of inflationary pressure as it accelerates after almost two years of recession. A steady flow of arrivals has continued even as shrinking wages and Russia’s worst currency crisis since 1998 […]

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Russia Wants Immigrants the World Doesn’t;  While Europe and the U.S. tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 14, 2017) [Text with photos here bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-14/russia-s-alternative-universe-immigrants-welcome] On a brutally cold February day, hundreds of laborers from Uzbekistan mill around in the snow and mud of a construction site 10 miles outside Moscow. Surrounding them are a series of unfinished 18-story apartment blocks meant to serve as homes for Russian military officers. […]

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Demographic Collapse of Ethnic Russian Nation Seen Accelerating

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 25, 2017) Russian demographers predict that the total population of the Russian Federation will be relatively stable over the next two decades but only because of massive immigration from Central Asia and the Caucasus and still high birthrates and relatively low death rates among the traditionally Muslim nationalities of Russia itself. […]

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For Russia’s Labor Migrants, a Life on the Edge; In slum settlements on the outskirts of Moscow, foreign workers are adjusting to the realities of Russia’s economic crisis.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Kupfer, Bradley Jardine – November 4, 2016) Not so long ago, the migrant population of Chelobityevo in northern Moscow lived in fear of the police. These were times when uniformed officers would descend on the village unannounced, beating and arresting undocumented workers in their path. Once, migrants were forced to strip naked in freezing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “NATO finalizes military build-up to counter Russia” – AFP

NATO Meeting file photo

NATO foreign ministers were … finalising the alliance’s biggest military build-up since the end of the Cold War to counter what they see as a more aggressive and unpredictable Russia. … [At] a “landmark” summit … in July … NATO leaders will formally endorse the revamp which puts more troops into eastern European member states as part of a “deter […]

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How Russia Is ‘Weaponizing’ Migration to Destabilize Europe

Europe Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Josh Rogin – March 24, 2016) Some officials in Europe see Russia’s hand in the rising migration crisis, accusing the Kremlin of exacerbating anti-Muslim sentiment to benefit right-wing parties at a fragile moment for the European Union. Even before the latest terror attacks in Brussels, anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiment in Europe had been on the rise. […]

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Russia’s militant migrant challenge

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Russia’s terrorist threat has evolved. But the authorities are yet to evolve with it. (opendemocracy.net – Mark Galeotti – March 17, 2016) Mark Galeotti is Professor of Global Affairs at New York University’s SCPS Center for Global Affairs. He blogs on Russian security affairs at In Moscow’s Shadows and tweets as @MarkGaleotti. Why did Uzbek nanny Gyulchekhra Bobokulova call out […]

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Shuvalov: economic situation in Russia is difficult, there is no influx of guest workers to Russia

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Feb 26 (Interfax) – Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said there is no big influx of foreign labor migrants to Russia amid the economic problems. “We need to understand that the economic situation in the country is very difficult. Migrants are not so active now as they were when our national currency was rather strong,” Shuvalov said […]

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Integration still a challenge in Russia

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

Russian society has yet to accept that mass migration is a fact, which makes it harder for those moving to the country to integrate into society, according to an expert on xenophobia. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Krol – November 2, 2015) The SOVA Center for Information and Analysis is one of the leading nonprofit organizations in […]

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Détente NOW!

Europe Map

Subject: Détente NOW! Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2015 From: “Dr. Christian Wipperfürth” <cwipperfuerth@email.de> Your readers might be interested in the “Détente NOW!” – Initiative by leading members of the Social Democratic Party (which takes part in the German government), the industrie and NGOs. It can be found at http://www.cwipperfuerth.de/2015/10/detente-now-english/ —- Pax Christi Press Release (translation) Berlin, October 2015 For a […]

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Russian poll on nationalism and xenophobia produces worrying results

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Henry Kirby in London – August 25, 2015) More Russians than ever (41%) believe that illegal immigrants from neighbouring countries should be granted legal status in Russia and given the chance to assimilate, although 43% still want them to be expelled from the country. According to a survey published by independent polling company Levada […]

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Why Russia Still Attracts Immigrants

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – June 15, 2015) Russia isn’t often thought of as a country of immigration. Yet the country’s enormous territory and shrinking indigenous population invite a striking number of immigrants: Last year, despite the collapse of oil prices and the Ukraine crisis, Russia was the biggest originator of migrant workers’ remittances in Europe. When President […]

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The Federal Migration Service may consider amnesty for illegal migrants

File Photo of Migrant Workers Sleeping Quarters

(Interfax – January 6, 2015) The Federal Migration Service (FMS) does not rule out an amnesty for illegal migrants in 2015. “This issue may actually be considered. A lot will depend on outcomes of the launch of a system of patents for migrants employed by legal entities,” a FMS source told Interfax. FMS head Konstantin Romodanovsky said earlier that migrants […]

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Russia To Test Migrant Workers On Country’s History

Migrant Workers file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Farangis Najibullah and Umid Bobomatov – June 13, 2014) So you want to work in Russia? You may be a skilled bricklayer — but do you know when Ivan the Terrible reined in the boyars? Or when the Polish-Lithuanian forces were expelled from Muscovy? When Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg? No? Well you might want to start […]

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RIA Novosti: 1 Million Foreigners Could Be Working Illegally in Moscow – Official

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

MOSCOW, January 9 (RIA Novosti) ­ About a million foreigners could be working illegally in the Russian capital, a top Moscow migration official suggested Thursday. Olga Kirillova, head of the Federal Migration Service’s Moscow branch, said in televised remarks to the state-run channel Moskva 24 that just over 415,000 foreigners work legally in the city. She said that the overall […]

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Can European socialism be good to Russia?

Map of Russia

(Pravda.ru – Nadezhda Alekseeva) Europe is moaning under the strong influx of immigrants, and the floodgates were opened by European socialists. A poisonous bite of suicidal tolerance has dulled the natural instinct of self-preservation of the European nations. In recent years, Euro-socialism has been trying to take root on the Russian soil, so far without much success. Does it have […]

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Interfax: Russian population rises by 261,600 per 10 million due to migration – Rosstat

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

MOSCOW. Dec 18 (Interfax) – Russia’s population was an estimated 143.6 million on November 1, 2013, up 261,600 from the beginning of 2013, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) said. The number of births in January-October rose to 1,591,600 from 1,586,900 in the same period of last year. The number of deaths fell to 1,574,800 from 1,586,100. Natural population growth […]

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Putin Lays Out Illegal Migration Agenda During Annual Address

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Yekaterina Kravtsova – December 12, 2013) President Vladimir Putin touched upon the burning topic of illegal migration and Russia’s relations with former Soviet republics during his State of the Nation address on Thursday. Control over illegal migration will be tightened, yet ties with neighboring countries will be strengthened, Putin said. He proposed creating barriers for […]

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Regions ‘Quietly Sabotaging’ Moscow’s Nationality Policy, Expert Says

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 1, 2013) Even as the Russian government takes the first steps to shift responsibility for inter-ethnic peace onto the leaderships of the federal subjects, a Russian expert has warned that “in certain regions,” what is going on with respect to the implementation of nationality policy can only be described as “quiet […]

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Interfax: Most migrants come to Russia in visa-free travel regime, many don’t speak Russian

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) – A third of migrant workers do not speak Russian, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said. “We are witnessing a surge in the arrivals of migrants from CIS member countries. As of now, 11.1 million foreigners are staying in Russia, and almost three-quarters of them enjoy the visa-free travel regime,” he told a roundtable in […]

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Cruelty at Russian hospitals: Illegal migration – red herring

Eurasia Map

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – November 8, 2013) An Uzbek migrant in labor was initially denied entry to a Vladivostok hospital and nearly gave birth on the doorstep. Although the Investigative Committee looked into the incident, they will not be launching a criminal case. And the head of the regional branch of the Federal Migration […]

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My Two Days Working Undercover at Moscow’s Sadovod Market

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eradzh Nidoev – November 7, 2013) [Photos here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/my-2-days-working-undercover-at-moscows-sadovod-market/489045.html] It’s 6 a.m. and still dark outside. I am standing inside the sprawling Sadovod market on the 14th kilometer of the Moscow Ring Road in southeast Moscow. A sweeper is working one of the deserted rows of shops, trying to put things in order after yesterday’s […]

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Russian Nation Said to Have Lost Its Ability to Assimilate Others

Migrant Workers file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 6, 2013) For most of modern times, ethnic Russians have assimilated members of other nations living among them because they represented a more advanced community, but now, a Moscow blogger says, they have “lost the ability to assimilate other peoples,” something that makes the influx of non-Russian migrants even more disturbing […]

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Interfax: Russian March assesses degree of public discontent – policy expert

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 5 (Interfax) – The relative serenity of the Russian March was based on the wish of its organizers to avoid “rocking the boat” and instead to assess public sentiment about migration and inter-ethnic relations, policy expert Nikolai Mironov said. “It seems the March organizers did not want to disturb the peace. I think it was a test; they […]

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Ethnic Affairs Ministry Mulled as Anti-Migrant Sentiment Rises

Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov – November 6, 2013) A day after hundreds of detentions at numerous nationalist rallies across the country, media reports circulated Tuesday that the government is considering creating an interethnic relations ministry to keep tensions under control. Immigration has dominated the Russian media landscape since thousands took part in a nationalist riot in the […]

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Grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia – Alekseyev

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Lyudmila Alekseyeva, chairman of the Moscow Helsinki group and Russia’s oldest human rights activist, believes Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has crossed the line of aggressive nationalism. “Let’s put barbed wire around Zhirinovsky, not the Caucasus,” Alekseyeva told a press conference on Thursday. Alekseyeva said grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia, but some people […]

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The mean streets of Russian nationalism; Who are Russia’s real nationalists? And why are they rioting?

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan, Natalia Antonova – October 31, 2013) In the past, Maria, a sales manager, never attended the nationalist Russian March, an annual rally commemorating Russia’s Day of National Unity. This time, less than a month after taking part in a violent nationalist protest in southern Moscow’s Biryulyovo district, is different. “I’m ready to go,” […]

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Interfax: Patriarch Kirill: Biryulyovo events demonstrate government unwillingness to solve excessive migration problem

Patriarch Kirill file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – The latest events in Moscow’s Biryulyovo district show that only the forces seeking to destroy Russia will gain from further disregard of the opinion of the Russian majority, said Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia. “The latest clashes in the Moscow Biryulyovo district demonstrated that a deaf ear turned by the authorities to the […]

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Ten Myths About Migrants

Migrant Workers file photo

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Alexander Podrabinek – October 28, 2013) The “migrant issue” is being presented as one of the main pressure points in Russian society. Author and human rights activist Alexander Podrabinek discusses the ten most popular myths about migrants­and debunks nine of them. When I wrote that the migrant issue in Russia was mostly artificial […]

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RIA Novosti: Bribery, Arrests Among Language Topics in Textbook for Migrants

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) ­ “Why are you arresting me?” “Isn’t it just easier to give money to the policeman?” “What do you do if the police beat you?” Practice conversations in a special Russian language-learning textbook ­ handed out at an experimental new cultural integration center for migrants ­ focus on topics considered most relevant to guest workers […]

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RIA Novosti: Russia Among 7 Best Countries for Expatriates

Migrant Workers file photo

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia was named seventh best country for expatriates in an annual survey involving more than 7,000 expats worldwide and described as one of the largest of its kind. HSBC Expat Explorer analyzes three major criteria for various countries – quality of life as a foreigner, the opportunity to make money and conditions for raising […]

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Citizen Or Foreign Migrant? In Moscow, The Line Is Often Blurred

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, October 30, 2013) The two men have a lot in common. Both are in their 20s and moved to Moscow in search of a better life. Both face discrimination with employment, encounter harassment from police, and have struggled to find places to live. Neither has many Russian friends. But there is one important difference […]

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Business ombudsman Boris Titov proposes amnesty for migrants

Boris Titov file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Russian business ombudsman Boris Titov said that the one-time migration amnesty that he has proposed would allow legalization of labor in the migration market and would bring 74 billion rubles to the treasury. “We propose a one-time amnesty for those who already are working in Russia on the condition of concluding a labor agreement and […]

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Kudrin says Russian economy cannot do without migrants

Alexei Kudrin file photo

ST. PETERSBURG. Oct 22 (Interfax) – The Russian economy will have difficulties functioning without migrant workers, former Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said. “Russia will become a country with workforce deficit in the coming years…We currently cannot do without migrant workers. But migration should be regulated, it should be legal,” Kudrin told reporters in St. Petersburg on Tuesday during the […]

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Police find 2,000 flats with illegal migrants in Moscow’s Biryulyovo

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 23, 2013) Police have uncovered some 2,000 apartments housing illegal migrants in the southern Moscow district of Biryulyovo, where nationalist riots broke out earlier this month over the stabbing death of a Russian by a suspected foreigner. The figures were the latest in an ongoing crackdown on migrants in the wake […]

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Putin Makes Local Governors Responsible for Ethnic Relations

Migrant Workers file photo

UFA, October 22 (RIA Novosti) ­ President Vladimir Putin signed a law Tuesday giving local authorities more responsibility for handling relations between ethnic communities in a sign the government is growing nervous at evidence of a surge in nationalist-tinged discontent. Speaking at the Interethnic Relations Council in the Urals town of Ufa, Putin lashed out at local governments for what […]

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Understanding the specifics of Russian xenophobia

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Sergei Markedonov, special to RBTH – October 22, 2013) The author is a visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. Migration policies and xenophobia in Russia are at the forefront of political discussion in the wake of the riots in Biryulyovo. Riots in Moscow’s West Biryulyovo have […]

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Organizations Fighting Illegal Migration Could Get State Support

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – October 22, 2013) A bill submitted to the State Duma on Tuesday could add NGOs engaged in the fight with illegal immigration to the list of organizations that the government is authorized to support. The law currently sanctions government aid for organizations involved in 12 areas of social work, such as disaster […]

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Life in Biryulevo after the murder and riots

Biryulyovo Riots file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – October 22, 2013) Russia may have to review its immigration policy in the wake of mass protests and rioting in Moscow. Last week, the southern Moscow district of Biryulevo was gripped by mass protests; the protesters demanded changes to Russian immigration policy. An RBTH correspondent looks at why the […]

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Investigators think Orhan Zeynalov driven by hooliganism to kill Biryulyovo resident

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 21, 2013) Orhan Zeynalov was driven by hooliganism when he murdered resident of Moscow’s Biryulyovo district Yegor Shcherbakov, the Russian Investigative Committee said. “Zeynalov has been charged with committing a murder driven by hooliganism,” Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin told Interfax on Friday. According to investigators’ information, “Zeynalov denies the charges brought against him, and, as […]

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Communists call for active contacts with migrants, their involvement in politics

Migrant Workers file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, October 19, 2013) The Russian Communist Party intends to more actively involve migrants in protest rallies “to strengthen the international component of the protest movement,” a draft decree the Central Committee of the Communist Party is expected to adopt at a plenum held in the village of Moskovsky on Saturday says. The Central Committee’s departments on nationalities […]

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Migrant raids in Moscow largely waste of time

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief, October 18, 2013) The weekly sweeps targeting illegal migrants in Moscow are certainly an ambitious project. It’s just too bad that they won’t do much good. The police plan on going door-to-door, to find out exactly where and from whom that migrants are renting living space, according to Moscow Police Chief […]

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Police to Raid Migrants’ Apartments Every Friday

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – October 21, 2013) In the latest step by authorities to fight unlawful immigration following an anti-migrant riot earlier this month, the city’s police chief said that Moscow police will raid apartments reportedly occupied by illegal migrants every Friday until the end of the year. The initiative, announced by top cop Anatoly Yakunin […]

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Presumption of innocence violated in Biryulyovo murder suspect’s case – Azeri Foreign Ministry

Map of Azerbaijan and South Caucasus Environs Including Portions of Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Iran, Caspian Sea

(Interfax – BAKU, October 17, 2013) Azerbaijan’s Embassy in Moscow has lodged a protest with the Russian Foreign Ministry over what it called violations of the rights of Azeri native Orkhan Zeynalov, who is suspected of killing ethnic Russian man Yegor Shcherbakov in the Biryulyovo district in southern Moscow. “The brutal detention and brutal treatment of Orkhan Zeynalov, whom they […]

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Ethnic Tensions Still High In Moscow In Wake Of Suspected Killer’s Arrest

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg and Arifa Kazimova – October 16, 2013) Footage detailing the heavy-handed arrest of an Azerbaijani native suspected of killing a Russian man in Moscow has escalated mounting ethnic tensions between the two nations. Russian police detained Orkhan Zeynalov on October 15 on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 25-year-old ethnic Russian man, Yegor Shcherbakov, in […]

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