Staunton, Dec. 3 – No one knows exactly how many illegal migrant workers there are in Russia, but studies suggest that Chinese gangs are playing and important role there. And few in Moscow are paying attention to the fact that Turkish officials are using legal migrants in Russia to collect intelligence and undermine the Russian state, Sergey Kholodov says
Beginning in the first years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Sovershenno-Sektretno commentator says, Chinese gangs organized illegal refugee flows to Russia, collecting money from Chinese who hoped to reach the West but were caught in Russia when their funds ran out (sovsekretno.ru/articles/velikoe-pereselenie-narodov/).
These Chinese criminal groups in Russia have not only shown themselves to be well organized, Kholodov says; but they have enjoyed the protection of some in the Russian government because the gangs oppose drug trafficking and have helped Moscow break up narcotic networks involving Central Asians and others.
While fewer Chinese appear to be trying to use the Russian route to the West now than 25 years ago, he continues, many of the gangs have so rooted themselves in Moscow and other major cities that they have taken over much of the illegal refugee flow, in some cases winning official support because they have worked with the Russian government against others.
Unfortunately, Kholodov says, there are two other problems on the horizon regarding refugees that may prove even more serious. On the one hand, Ankara is actively exploiting legal migrant flows from Turkic countries in Central Asia and the Caucasus to place its agents inside Russia and other countries for espionage and diversionary activities.
And on the other, he says, Moscow has not come up with any solution to the problems legal and illegal migrants pose beyond throwing money at the problem in the hopes of improving the lives of the immigrants -- even though these same officials aren’t ready to spend government funds on the needs of ordinary Russian citizens.