Residents and Migrants Clash Violently in Suburb
Published: May 29, 2013 (Issue # 1761)
St. Petersburg investigators opened an investigation following a fight between migrant workers and local residents last Friday in the suburban village of Pargolovo.
The case will investigate the accusations surrounding reports of the violent assault, the website of the St. Petersburg Investigation Committee said.
The conflict began when three local men, under the influence of alcohol, attacked a citizen of Tajik descent. The victim ran to his dormitory to escape and the three attackers fled the scene.
Later that night the same three men returned, entering the victim’s dormitory with two guns and physically assaulting the migrants living there. One victim was later hospitalized, the Investigation Committee stated.
After leaving the dormitory, the suspects went to a nearby soccer field and fired five times at a group of migrants returning from work to their dormitory.
One worker suffered minor injuries and was later hospitalized.
The three men are reported to be 32, 29 and 26 years old. Preliminary information claims the reason for the conflict stemmed from an earlier argument between the men and the migrant workers.
St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast police ordered an increase in police patrols in Pargolovo to prevent any further conflict, Interfax said.
This is not the first reported attack on migrant workers this month in St. Petersburg. On May 3, police detained a group of people suspected of attacking migrant workers from Uzbekistan after one of the victims was hospitalized with a head injury, Zaks.ru online portal said.
Police have also reported fights between the migrants themselves. In February, seven citizens of Uzbek descent fought in the city, the result of a dispute over a woman. Two participants in the fight were hospitalized with minor injuries, Baltinfo reported.
The number of migrant workers in Russia continues to grow every year, stoking resentment among a large part of Russia’s native population. However, experts say Russia needs migrant workers to keep its economy developing since migrants often do the physically toughest, lowest paid work. Migrants often agree to work in uncomfortable conditions and, even though they are paid little for their work, it is enough to support their families back home where incomes are extremely low.
Searching for ways to make the life of migrant workers in Russia safer and more comfortable, Russian authorities, including in St. Petersburg, have organized Russian language courses for workers, who often speak little to no Russian and are unaware of their rights.
The number of foreign nationals coming to Russia continues to rise, the Russian Federal Migration Service deputy head Anatoly Kuznetsov said in March, adding that “compared with the same time last year, the number of migrants entering the country has grown 14 percent.”
According to official FMS statistics, the number of migrant workers in Russia is close to five million people, including three million who are here illegally.
Meanwhile, experts say the real figures are much higher and may be closer to 10 million. According to the 2012 International Migration Outlook, issued last year by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Russia is home to the world’s largest illegal migrant population, accounting for almost seven percent of the country’s workforce, RIA Novosti reported.