Friday, March 15, 2024

If Migrant Workers come to Russia from Asia and Africa, They will Bring Illnesses that Will Overwhelm Country’s Healthcare System, Moscow Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 11 – As immigration into Russia from Central Asia and the Caucasus has slowed, ever more Russian officials have begun to suggest that Russia will be able to get the migrant workers it needs from Asia and Africa (

            But Moscow experts are warning that such people are likely to be carriers of exotic diseases whose spread in Russia would overwhelm the capacity of Russian health care to prevent their spread and thus make new epidemics more likely, according to Yekaterina Trifonova of Nezavisimaya Gazeta (

And they point out that while many Russians are concerned that immigrants will bring crime into the country, few of them and even fewer officials are worried about the far greater threat that these new arrivals will spread diseases that Russian hospitals are not equipped to counter.                

Among the diseases experts suggest will arrive with immigrants from Africa and Asia are leprosy, Ebola and other hemorrhagic fevers, and HIV/AIDS.  And they warn that those who want to come to work in Russia are likely to pay off officials at the border in order to enter the country, increasing corruption and the risks that these diseases will spread.

And there is an even greater danger: Many immigrants from Asia and, Africa may have diseases that they have become personally immune to and so are not sick themselves but will carry the viruses with them and spread them to a Russian population with little or no immunity to them, sparking flareups wherever they arrive and even epidemics.

In Soviet times, these experts say, the government was sensitive to these issues; but now in Putin’s Russia, there is less concern even though the threat is far greater especially at a time when the Kremlin is “optimizing” the healthcare system, that is, reducing its reach and effectiveness.

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