After the attack on a concert hall – racist wave against migrants after attack in Moscow – News


The Kremlin continues to blame Ukraine for the attack on a concert venue in Moscow; the alleged perpetrators come from Tajikistan. This led to a wave of racist attacks against migrants from Central Asian countries in Russia.

Since the terrorist attack in Moscow in March that left over 140 dead, racist attacks on refugees and migrants in Russia have been increasing. This is confirmed by Svetlana Gannushkina, who runs an aid organization in Russia that has been working in the field of migration for decades.

“People are insulted or physically attacked,” Gannuschkina told SRF. “The perpetrators are normal citizens who believe they can now express their opinions, on public transport, on the street and so on.” Gannushkina’s aid organization is officially considered a “foreign agent” in Russia, but she continues to work in her homeland as best she can.

1000 inquiries per day about discrimination

The number of reports has also exploded for Valentina Tschupik. She comes from Uzbekistan and offers legal help to people from Central Asia in Russia. Today she lives in the USA. “After the attack, we received around 1,000 inquiries per day,” said Tschupik. Usually there are around 200 per day.

A large part of the recent attacks were carried out by the security forces, say Tschupik and Gannushkina. Anyone who does not look Slavic is affected. Waves of arrests against minorities in Russia are normal after terrorist attacks. “The authorities are using the xenophobia among the population to distract from their failure,” said Gannushkina.

However, the repression eased after a few days. The security officers probably acted on their own initiative. “Unlike in the past, this time there was apparently no instruction from above to take action against migrants,” explains Gannushkina.

Russia relies on workers from Central Asia

The fact that there were no systematic attacks against immigrants this time could be because the Kremlin wants to reinforce its narrative that Ukraine was behind the attack.

On the other hand, Russia needs workers from Central Asia more than ever because there is an acute labor shortage and migrants are increasingly being recruited as soldiers for the Russian army through fraud and empty promises. Russian politicians have announced tougher immigration laws, but they are unlikely to follow their words with action.

Tajikistan’s government is looking for alternatives

The torture of the alleged perpetrators of the attack after their arrest has deeply unsettled many migrants in Russia. Many are now leaving the country, says Svetlana Gannushkina.

The return movement is unlikely to be in the interests of the authoritarian Central Asian governments, because they also have economic interests. Remittances make up around a third of the gross domestic product in Tajikistan. If migrant workers return now, it would have devastating consequences for the economy of Tajikistan, where poverty and corruption are ubiquitous.

Tajikistan’s government is now looking for alternatives and is negotiating with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to send Tajik workers there. Ordinary migrants remain a plaything of the regime.

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