06MOSCOW10665, THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN MOSCOW, PART TWO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06MOSCOW10665 2006-09-22 13:27 2011-08-30 01:44 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Moscow

VZCZCXRO7230
PP RUEHDBU
DE RUEHMO #0665/01 2651327
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 221327Z SEP 06
FM AMEMBASSY MOSCOW
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2802
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE
RUEHXD/MOSCOW POLITICAL COLLECTIVE

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MOSCOW 010665 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/19/2016 
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREL KDEM RS
SUBJECT: THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE IN MOSCOW, PART TWO 
 
 
Classified By: Political M/C Alice Wells. Reasons: 1.4(B/D). 
 
1. (C) SUMMARY. This is part two of a two-part series on the 
typical experiences of immigrants in Moscow.  The first cable 
described the experiences of a partly disabled Chechen male 
who has lived on and off in Moscow for the past 20 years. The 
current cable relates the experiences of a Kazakh female who 
is a newcomer to Moscow.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2. (C) The subject of this cable, Dinara, is a highly 
educated Muskie alumnus from Kazakhstan.  She moved to Moscow 
with her 11-year-old son in the fall of 2005 to be closer to 
her mother and brother and his family, all of whom are 
Kazakhs who have held Russian citizenship for many years. 
 
-------------------- 
Registration Hassles 
-------------------- 
 
3. (C) When Dinara moved to Moscow, she traveled by train, as 
many Kazakhs and other Central Asians do to save money.  She 
explained that to stay in Moscow legally, a Kazakh citizen 
has to receive temporary registration within five days after 
crossing the Russian border.  Traveling by train takes almost 
two days, so by the time she got to Moscow, only three days 
remained for her to get registered.  In those three days, she 
had to have her application approved by her landlord, by the 
building administration, and by a district police officer, 
and then submitted -- together with a copy of her passport 
page, a receipt confirming she had paid the fee, and her 
Migrant Card (MC), which she received when she crossed the 
border -- to the district branch of the Federal Migration 
Service (FMS).  Each of the three offices -- building 
administration, police station, and FMS -- have different 
working hours, are not located near each other, and usually 
have very long lines.  She said even if a person didn't have 
any other commitments their first few days in Moscow and knew 
exactly which papers are required and where all the offices 
are located, being able to make the deadline would be quite a 
challenge.  She joked that if she had known all this before 
she arrived in Moscow, she would have taken a plane. 
 
4. (C) The registration itself is a stamp that an FMS officer 
puts on the MC.  However, it is not done on the spot, but 
takes three working days (i.e., another week since the FMS is 
only open three days per week) to get the MC back.  Even 
then, it might take one or two more days because the lines 
are so long that the FMS sometimes closes before a person can 
reach the head of the line.  People usually begin queuing two 
to three hours before the office opens. The temporary 
registration is only good for 90 calendar days.  After that, 
one has to leave and re-enter the country in order to receive 
a new MC and start the registration process all over again. 
There is a website forum (www.nelegalov.net) where people 
discuss the closest and most convenient places to cross the 
border, as well as many other immigration issues. 
 
5. (C) Dinara's temporary registration expired before she had 
the chance to cross the border to get a new one.  If you are 
caught leaving the country with an expired temporary 
registration, the consequences can be harsh: either a large 
ruble fine or a several-year ban from re-entering Russia. 
However, most border guards do not levy the fine, but pocket 
a bribe instead.  Dinara tucked 1500 rubles into her passport 
in case the border guards stopped her.  Luckily, they did 
not.  Dinara thought Uzbeks and Tajiks are singled out for 
closer scrutiny than Kazakhs.  Her current temporary 
registration expires on November 5, and she is in the process 
of figuring out when and where to go to renew it.  For many 
blue-collar immigrants, repeating this procedure every three 
months is prohibitively expensive and the time away from work 
required could cost them their jobs, so they let the 
registration expire and take their chances with the police. 
 
----------------------------------- 
"Simplified" Citizenship Procedures 
----------------------------------- 
 
6. (C) Since Dinara came to Russia intending to settle 
permanently, instead of seeking temporary residency and work 
permits, she decided to immediately apply for citizenship. 
Kazakhstanis, as former citizens of the Soviet Union, are 
permitted to apply for citizenship under a "simplified" 
procedure.  She said that, in theory, it does sound simple: 
one needs to submit an MC with a valid registration stamp, 
proof of registration with the Kazakh Consulate in Moscow, a 
birth certificate, and several other documents, and then wait 
for up to three months until the application is considered 
and a decision is made.  Ideally, citizenship could be 
awarded within the 90-day temporary registration period, 
without having to worry about leaving the country to get a 
new MC and re-register.  However, the reality, she said, is 
 
MOSCOW 00010665  002 OF 002 
 
 
quite different. 
 
7. (C) The first real challenge was that a complete list of 
docume
nts required for the citizen application package is 
only obtainable from an authorized officer at the local FMS 
office.  In Dinara's local FMS branch, there was only one 
such officer, and that officer had left for a month-long 
vacation shortly before Dinara tried to apply.  Dinara said 
she argued fiercely with the deputy chief of the FMS office 
and, in the end, was able to briefly meet with the officer in 
the middle of her vacation to obtain the list of documents. 
(Dinara said that most immigrants would not dare stand up to 
the bureaucracy like that for fear of repercussions.)  Dinara 
spent the rest of the officer's vacation preparing the 
documents for submission on the only weekday (Tuesday) that 
they were accepted.  After waiting in line until 6 p.m., she 
submitted her documents, but was told she would have to wait 
six months, even though the law explicitly states "no longer 
than three months."  However, she was happy just to have 
completed the process and decided not object.   As a 
sidenote, she mentioned that by the end of the day, a few of 
the FMS officials were clearly inebriated and noticeably more 
friendly and helpful. 
 
------------------------- 
Discrimination In Society 
------------------------- 
 
8. (C) Dinara's impression is that men get stopped more 
frequently than women (she has only been stopped once), 
especially those who look like construction workers.  She 
said her brother hasn't been stopped by the police in several 
years, but that is because he has his own car and rarely uses 
the metro.  Even if he used the metro regularly, she said he 
wouldn't be stopped because the police don't often stop 
people who are dressed professionally.  Uzbek workers 
renovating her apartment told her that it usually cost them 
100 or 200 rubles to bribe a policeman.  However, once, one 
of them was carrying several thousand rubles and the police 
noticed.  They demanded 2000 rubles from him and when he 
refused they detained him, did not allow him to make any 
phone calls, and only released him six or seven hours later 
when he gave up and handed over the money. 
 
9. (C) Dinara maintained that the law governing immigration 
violations was written in such a way that it almost 
encourages bribery: the police cannot fine either Russian 
citizens or foreigners for registration and immigration 
status violations, but they can stop anyone and detain them 
for up to 48 hours solely on suspicion of commission of a 
crime or an immigration violation.  This is why most illegals 
willingly pay a bribe on the spot. Otherwise, they would be 
placed in detention and have to pay the bribe in any case. 
 
10. (C) Dinara said that her son has not faced any 
discrimination in school from teachers or other students. 
She ascribes that partly to the fact that he looks more 
Russian than Kazakh (his father is Russian).  However, the 
administrators were reluctant to enroll him at his first 
school, saying he would lag behind because of the 
"differences in curriculum between Russia and Kazakhstan." 
She said their attitude was condescending and borderline 
prejudiced, so she enrolled him in a school farther away from 
their apartment, but with a much warmer and welcoming 
administration. 
 
11. (C) COMMENT. An August 2006 poll by the Levada Center 
found that 17% thought the idea of "Russia for Russians" 
should have been implemented long ago, while another 37% 
supported that idea "within sensible limits." Just 28% 
rejected the idea, branding it as "fascism."  Dinara worries 
about the future for her son when she sees these kind of 
polls, and is not overly optimistic that problems will be 
resolved in the near or medium term.  While her case is less 
dramatic than Adam's, it nevertheless highlights the 
widespread corruption and discrimination immigrants face when 
they come to Russia. 
BURNS

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