Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Moscow Will Now Fight Ghettos in Russian Cities, Places It has Long Denied Even Exist

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 10 – In Soviet times, few ghettos emerged in the USSR’s cities because of the government’s tight control of residence permits and its fears that the concentration of ethnic or religious groups in one place could lead to problems. After 1991, such places began to emerge but Moscow insisted that they were defined by economics rather than ethnicity.

            Despite growing evidence of the existence of ghettos in major Russian cities, the Kremlin has continued to insist that there are no such places in the Russian Federation, although in a concession to reality, government officials increasingly have spoken of “ethnic enclaves” (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2023/02/there-are-no-ghettos-in-russia-moscow.html).

            The Presidential Human Rights Council has now called on Russians to submit ideas for combatting these “ethnic enclaves” through the use of legal regulations (kommersant.ru/doc/6095829  and nazaccent.ru/content/40884-v-spch-nachali-sobirat-predlozheniya-po-borbe-s-etnicheskimi-anklavami.html).

            Council member Kirill Kabanov says that such enclaves “inevitably lead to conflicts and the growth of crime,” two of the problems his group has been working with the interior ministry and the Federation Council for more than two years. Now, it wants to expand its activities to block the rise of such communities.

            He favors limiting the number of pupils who do not speak Russian or do not speak Russian well in classes and introducing quotas in workplaces as has already happened in Kaluga Oblast and the Sakha Republic. And he insists that none of these steps will violate the rights of Russians or non-Russians.

            Reacting to Kabanov’s announcement, Yevgeny Varshaver of the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service says that “the problems of ‘ethnic enclaves’ in Russia  are much exaggerated.” The number of people who live in them is small and most articulate their own middle class, a feature, of course, of ghettos not slums.

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