Cruelty at Russian hospitals: Illegal migration – red herring

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(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 Service – somehow deciding that he was qualified to speak on the issue – announced that medics at the hospital in question did not break any laws when they refused to render aid to the woman.

Most of the responses to this case have centered on the fact that the woman is likely an illegal migrant. She had no paperwork or money on her and fled the hospital after giving birth, only to be discovered hiding out in the basement with her newborn and two other children.

The cost to the taxpayer that is incurred when women like that give birth has featured heavily on the public agenda – yet the money is ultimately a red herring. Let’s face it, certain people profit from illegal migration and for as long as those people stand to make a buck, undocumented migrants will continue to show up in Russia by the thousands, if not millions.

Corrupt officials and employers who directly benefit both from the influx of migrants and from their illegal status (illegals are a great source of bribes) are the ones who are ultimately responsible for creating an environment in which poor and marginalized foreigners remain a major presence in Russia.

Russian law is meanwhile plain on the subject of doctors denying people aid in an emergency – it is a crime to do so. And yes, labor is considered an emergency.

We are being placated with statements to the effect, “But it was only an Uzbek migrant! This wouldn’t happen to a nice, normal Russian person in need!”

Except it does, in fact, happen to Russian people in need. It happened to a blind, disabled pensioner in the Khabarovsk region earlier this year. The ailing man was brought to an old folks’ home by a friend, only to be chucked out due to the absence of some medical spravka. Even though there was a hospital nearby, where said spravka could have easily been provided. Security staff literally dragged him out of the building and dumped him at a bus stop. Disoriented, he crawled away. A few days later, he was found dead in the basement of a building nearby.

The Khabarovsk incident, at the very least, made the news. How many people are denied help and suffer in silence? How many deaths have occurred because personnel at certain state facilities don’t feel they “owe” anyone anything?

Yes, uncontrolled illegal migration is a bad thing because it creates a permanent underclass wherein people live wholly outside the law, contributing to general lawlessness and chaos. But uncontrolled migration is not the issue in the Vladivostok hospital case. Basic accountability is.