Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Russia Should Restore Something Like Federal Migration Service Putin Disbanded in 2016, Khramova Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 9 – To combat hostility toward migrants and to make Russia a more attractive destination for them, Moscow should establish a ministry with responsibilities like the Federal Migration Service Putin abolished in 2016 rather than have immigration be dealt with primarily by the Interior Ministry, Marina Khramova says.

            The FMS handed things better than the interior ministry has, the director of the Moscow Institute of Demography at the Russian Academy of Sciences says; and consequently, its restoration would benefit both those thinking about coming to Russia, migrants already here and Russians more generally (rbc.ru/economics/10/02/2024/65bbab919a79478bcd1aed9f).

            That is all the more important now when Russia needs immigrants to cope with its demographic problems and must compete with other countries to attract the people it needs and then integrate them successfully into the Russian population, Khramova says, adding that her colleagues have been talking about this for some time.

            In her interview, the Moscow demographer offered five other important observations:

·       Despite Kremlin hopes, Russia isn’t going to be able to boost the fertility rate significantly anytime soon and certainly not to the four or five children per woman per lifetime Putin has talked about.

·       The ethnic Russian share of the population will continue to fall because both non-Russians already in Russia and non-Russian immigrants will have more children than Russians. Indeed, the share of the population declaring itself to be ethnically Russian has already fallen to 71.7 percent and will continue to fall a few percentage points every decade.

·       Tightening restrictions on immigration to combat illegal entry is counterproductive: it keeps those who want to come legally from doing so and does little to stop those who want to come any way they can.

·       A large share of immigrants classified as illegal are simply people who have overstayed their visa permissions rather than hardened criminals.

·       Most criminal activity by migrants is directed at other migrants rather than at indigenous Russians.

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