Staunton, June 10 – In the first quarter of 2022, the number of Tajiks taking Russian citizenship jumped to more than 33,000, while the number of Ukrainians doing so fell significantly. If that trend continues, Aleksandr Shustov says, “Tajiks soon may exceed Ukrainians in taking Russian citizenship.”
This continues both a trend seen throughout 2021 and has been intensified by changes in immigration law and practice, the Moscow commentator says; and at least for now, it is seen among Tajiks rather than all Central Asian immigrants in Russia (ritmeurasia.org/news--2022-06-10--v-poluchenii-rossijskogo-grazhdanstva-tadzhiki-vskore-mogut-obognat-ukraincev-60328).
But that may change, Shustov suggests; and assuming that does happen, the share of Central Asians among those taking Russian citizenship will only increase, especially as there have been declines in the number of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Moldovans doing so – and the risks for Russia will increase as well.
Among these risks, he suggests, is the formation of ethnic “enclaves” or ghettos in Russian cities and the sharpening of ethnic tensions between indigenous Russians and Central Asians who are now Russian citizens, leading either to demands for an end to immigration from the culturally more distinct Central Asia or even the expulsion of those already there.
As a result, Shustov concludes, “the migration situation will again become one of the chief domestic political problems,” a development that may feed into others conflicts particularly if tensions with the West remain in place for the longer term.