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 of the riots, the most violent in nearly two years, as police have started going door-to-door looking for unregistered migrants illegally renting apartments in Moscow.

“It’s not a normal situation when one part of a district takes to the streets in protest against a large number of migrants, while another part illegally rents out their apartments, turning them into mini-dormitories,” Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying during an address on Wednesday before Russia’s parliament.

He said that in areas surrounding a vegetable warehouse that employed migrants and that became the epicenter of the rioting, 2,000 apartments were uncovered by police in the last several months.

Moscow currently has 3.5 million foreigners, with 80 percent of those from former Soviet republics, predominantly Central Asian states like Uzbekistan (24.2 percent), Tajikistan (16.7 percent) and Kyrgyzstan (13.6 percent) according to Federal Migration Service Chief Konstantin Romodanovsky’s statement before parliament on Wednesday.

Kolokoltsev called on lawmakers to introduce measures preventing ethnic conflicts like the one in Biryulyovo, where nearly 400 were arrested and over 20 injured in the violence.

Regional authorities should be held fully responsible for inter-ethnic conflicts that break out over their territories, Kolokoltsev said.

“This responsibility should not just be for those in whose territories the conflicts occurred, but those in whose territories the violators were raised,” he said, referring to regional authorities of republics whose natives took part in conflicts elsewhere in Russia.

A law went into effect on Tuesday holding local authorities responsible for failing to act to prevent interethnic conflicts.

An Azeri national, Orkhan Zeinalov, was arrested last week for the stabbing death of Yegor Shcherbakov in Biryulyovo in the early morning hours of October 10.