But at the same time, he continues, Russians living in the cities to which these workers come are anything but thrilled. Their arrival pushes down the wages of locals in many cases and changes “the inter-ethnic balance” in all cities but especially in Moscow -- and in “a far from good” direction.
This is not just about an increase in the fraction non-Russians form in the population but in the fact that in the capital in particular, “districts of compact settlement of this or that nationality are forming.” These are “still not China towns or ghettoes,” he says, “but rather ‘regions with a national coloration,” something that hadn’t existed ever before.
If they continue to form, Moscow will soon become “an entirely different city,” not one in which nationalities will come together to form a single people but one in which each of them will remain separate, distinct and in some cases hostile to all others. Gradually, he says, the city could become a collection of neighborhoods, “each living as it were in its own pavilion.”
Akopov insists that this is “not an alarmist scenario.” Rather it is “one of the completely possible scenarios of the development of Moscow. It is clear that neither Muscovites, not Sobyanin, not the federal powers that be want that outcome.” But they have not yet found a way to regulate the influx so that it won’t happen.
What is important, he concludes, is that the federal government and the cities understand one another and find a compromise, instead of promoting their own very different interests in isolation one from another.
Just how much of an influx there now is in Moscow was highlighted today by Nikolay Patrushev, the head of Russia’s Security Council. He told a meeting in Oryel that every 13th resident of Moscow is a foreigner, that every fourth one of these is there illegally, and that some of those who can’t find work are turning to crime ( ).