Police Detain 1,000 Migrants in Market Raid
Published: October 30, 2013 (Issue # 1784)
Police raided theásprawling Sadovod street market onáthe southeastern outskirts ofáMoscow on Monday, detaining about 1,000 migrants fromáformer Soviet countries andáan unknown amount ofásuspected counterfeit merchandise.
Theáraid was part ofáongoing inspections ofáareas with heavy concentrations ofámigrants that started ináAugust onáthe heels ofáan attack onáa police officer byáa Dagestani native atáthe Matveyevsky market. Theáinspections coincided with aámayoral election campaign that exploited anti-immigration sentiment.
Theáraids received aánew impetus after thousands ofápeople rioted ináthe Biryulyovo neighborhood inásouthern Moscow earlier this month toáprotest theákilling ofáa resident that they blamed onáan Azeri native working atáa local market.
About 1,000 nationals ofáKyrgyzstan, Tajikistan andáUzbekistan were detained atáSadovod onáMonday toábe checked foráinvolvement inácrimes andáviolations ofámigration law, city police spokesman Marat Bugulov told journalists, Interfax reported.
During theáraid, theápolice also confiscated aálarge amount ofámerchandise that they suspected toábe counterfeit, as well as anáair pistol, bats andáother weapons, Bugulov said.
ôSuch operations are carried out byáemployees ofáthe Moscow police department regularly as part ofáefforts toádecriminalize theácapitalĺs markets,ö Bugulov said.
Theápolice conducted aásecurity check as well, examining intercity buses that park atáthe market foráexplosives, without finding any. Theáchecks were apparently prompted byáa suicide bomberĺs attack onáa bus ináVolgograd onáOct. 21 that killed seven people andáinjured 33, as theábomber had originally been traveling fromáthe Dagestani capital ofáMakhachkala toáthe Sadovod market.
Mondayĺs raid atáSadovod was theásecond such inspection atáthe market ináthe last three months. During anáinspection ináearly August, police detained more than 1,000 people.
Sadovod was opened ináthe mid-1990s under former Mayor Yury Luzhkov foráselling merchandise forágardeners, but has since expanded andánow also features pets, construction materials, clothes, carpets andátextiles. It occupies anáarea ofámore than 38 hectares near theáMoscow Ring Road. But while officially theáauthorities are fighting illegal migration, certain groups ináthe government may be using theálatest market raids toáôredistribute propertyö or ôget aánew car or dacha,ö ináexchange foráturning aáblind eye toáviolations, said Andrei Tumanov, aáState Duma deputy with AáJust Russia andáhead ofáthe Sadovody Rossii, or Gardeners ofáRussia, association.
Sadovod is located ináan area known as ôgolden landö because ofáhigh land prices, Tumanov said.
But Nadezhda Spiridonova, aáspokeswoman foráthe billionaire co-owners ofáthe market, God Nisanov andáZarakh Iliyev, denied theápossibility ofáa commercial conflict.
ôWe do not think so,ö she said.
According toáVedomosti, theámarketĺs co-owners Nisanov andáIliyev also controlled Moscowĺs Cherkizovsky market, which was shut down iná2009 over counterfeit produce andámigration violations.
Theátwo businessmen now co-own theáMoskva market ináthe Moscow district ofáLyublino andáseveral popular shopping malls ináthe city, including Yevropeysky near theáKiyevskaya metro station, theáGrand furniture store, andáa mall ináthe Moskva City business district. They also own theáRadisson Royal Hotel andáRadisson SAS Slavyanskaya, Vedomosti reported.
Another co-owner ofáthe Sadovod market, Ilgam Ragimov, is aáclose associate ofáPresident Vladimir Putin, according toáForbes.