The murder of three people in Moscow has brought to the surface the increasing hatred felt towards immigrants in Russia.
|The tendency to blame the migrants is misguided. If you look at the detentions after the riots, the Russian government detained 1,200 migrants … on the outskirts of Moscow … and more than 1,000 of them were documented. They had proper visas, and they were fine. So the problem is more complex than the illegal migration.
Innokenty Grekov, a programme associate on Hate Crimes at Human Rights First
Chanting “Russia for Russians”, several thousand people began rioting in Moscow after an ethnic Russian was murdered in front of his girlfriend.
The killing, blamed on a man from Azerbaijan, caused some of the worst race riots in years.
Police arrested more than 1,000 people – mostly migrants. Since then, two men, one Azeri and one Uzbek, have also been murdered.
In a recent survey, almost nine out of ten Russians said they want to limit immigration.
“The influx of labour migrants is an economic necessity. Russia does not have enough workforce. The Russian government delivers to the people, their incomes have been growing over the years and Russian residents do not seem willing to take manual hard labour … In Moscow … unemployment is zero, which means indeed that this influx of migrants is a necessity,” Maria Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, says.
But according to a Ukrainian polling institute, 86 percent of the Russians questioned feel their government should limit the influx of foreign workers. Nine percent felt there was no need; and five percent felt it was hard to say.
But when asked if the government should actively support integration, 43 percent said ‘yes’, 45 percent said ‘no’; and 12 percent said it was hard to say.
Immigration is seen by many as a threat to the stability of Russian society. The mayor of Moscow reportedly said that Moscow would be the world’s safest city if there was no immigration, which includes, he says, the arrival from internal immigrants from inside Russia.
Why are some Russian officials stoking xenophobia? What are the root causes of rising anti-immigration sentiment in Russia and what are Moscow’s plans to do something about it?
To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Jane Dutton, is joined by guests: Sergey Frolov, the deputy editor-in-chief of Trud newspaper; Maria Lipman, a political analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center; and Innokenty Grekov, a programme associate on hate crimes at Human Rights First.
|“This problem has three roots. First of all the illegal immigration, the second one is the high level of bribery among the russian and especially Moscow police. And the third one is [that] the people who came here to live and to work, they don’t like to be adapted, to communicate with local people … They didn’t even try to assimilate in Russia because normally these people live in legal flats and they live in very small circles together with their relatives and their friends and they try not to communicate with the people outside. That’s why there is no understanding between each other.”|
- Moscow Suburb Riot Shows Russia’s Tense Ties With Migrants (npr.org)
- Over 1000 migrants rounded up after being targeted in Moscow riot – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Nationalist Riots In Moscow Send Fear Through Muslim Migrant Communities (rferl.org)
- Migrant worker killed after race riots in Moscow (theguardian.com)
Thousands of Portugese took the streets of Portugal’s two most populated cities to demonstrate against planned cuts of pensions and salaries.
Saturday’s demonstrations are a response to the government’s decision to extend austerity measures in the 2014 budget.
In Lisbon, hundreds of buses slowly crossed the April 25th bridge in a protest organised by Portugal’s main labor group, the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers. In the northern city of Porto, thousands gathered in the main square shouting anti-austerity slogans.
Portugal, currently engaged in an international aid programme, is focusing next year’s fiscal efforts on spending cuts, reducing state pensions and cutting public workers’ wages.
Unemployed teacher Sofia took part in the protest to ask for government resignation.
“I’m here to fight for more work and better wages and against this government’s austerity measures, so I want them to leave together with the Troika,” Sofia said referring to the trio of European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank in charge of handling bailouts of distressed euro zone countries.
“I am a retired civil servant and I’m suffering from the cuts. I worked and studied to earn more than 2,500 euros without any government help and now they are cutting my pension,” pensioner Maria Barreto said.
The country’s 78-billion-euro bailout formally ends in mid-2014 when Portugal should return to financing itself normally in bond markets, which it stopped doing in 2011 when its debt crisis first hit.
Seeking a better future Ricardo Pereira travelled from Torres Novas to Lisbon: “I’m here to fight for a better future for me and for the next generation and against this government’s austerity measures.”
The budget aims to slash the budget deficit to 4 percent of GDP next year from 5.9 percent in 2013. It may still face challenges from the Constitutional Court that has previously rejected some government austerity measures.
I have made use of our local community newspaper (Stouffville Sun-Tribune) to voice my opinion on a number of issues. From a guest editorial to letters to the editor (see this and this as examples). And, when one of the columns writers threw out a challenge to readers to share visions of all the positive changes that the Town should envision as we continue to grow at one of the highest rates in all of Canada (see this), I had to respond. The following is the text of that response:
So, a question I’d like to pose to readers in this discussion is this: given the other side of the coin, do we really want the growth targets imposed by the ‘state?’ Or do we tell our leaders to stop now, while there is some ‘country’ left in the Town.
A CN Rail train carrying liquefied petroleum gas and crude oil has derailed about 80 kilometres west of Edmonton, prompting 49 people to evacuate homes in the area.
Parkland County Emergency Services says it received a call about the accident involving a westbound train around 1 a.m. MT Saturday.
The Transportation Safety Board says 13 cars — four carrying petroleum crude oil and nine carrying liquefied petroleum gas — left the tracks along Highway 16 and Range Road 61 in the hamlet of Gainford.
Carson Mills, spokesman for Parkland County, told CBC News that two of the cars containing liquefied petroleum gas are on fire.
Highway 16 traffic has been re-routed north along Secondary Highway 765, westbound along Secondary Highway 633 and returning southbound on Secondary Highway 757.
|Firefighters in Australia are continuing to fight some of the worst bushfires to hit the country in a decade, preparing for worsening conditions.
In the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, one of the worst-hit regions in fire-ravaged New South Wales state, 300 homes have been either destroyed or damaged by the fire storm that peaked on Thursday, the Rural Fire Service announced on Saturday.
The damage toll is more than double the last count announced on Friday and will continue to rise as assessment teams and police move deeper into the destruction zone in search of survivors and victims.
Homes have been reported destroyed in other regions, but numbers are not yet available.
A 63-year-old man died of a heart attack on Thursday while protecting his home from fire at Lake Munmorah, north of Sydney. At least five others – including three fire fighters – have been treated in hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation, officials said.
Arson investigators are examining the origins of several of more than 100 fires that have threatened towns surrounding Sydney in recent days.
The Australian military also said it was investigating whether a major blaze was linked to an explosives training exercise.
The bushfires have been extraordinarily intense and extraordinarily early in an annual fire season which peaks during the forthcoming southern hemisphere summer which begins in December.
This year’s unusually dry winter and hotter-than-average spring have led to perfect fire conditions.
About 1,500 fire fighters have been back burning to contain blazes since winds and temperatures became milder on Friday. Several roads in fire-affected areas north, west and south of Sydney have been closed.
On Saturday, 83 fires were burning across the state including 19 uncontained blazes.
Rural Fire Service Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers described Saturday’s conditions as a “pause” before higher temperatures and increasing winds were forecast for Sunday.
“It’s just calmed down a little bit and obviously we’re bracing ourselves for these worsening conditions,” Rogers told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.
“What we have is a time for the crews to anticipate the weather coming ahead and try and get as much containment as possible and prevent that fire threatening major population centres when we get worse weather,” he said.
In February 2009, bushfires killed 173 people and destroyed more than 2,000 homes in Victoria state.
- 50 Surreal Images From Sydney’s Bushfire Crisis (buzzfeed.com)
- Australia bushfires destroy scores of homes (thedailyblogreport.wordpress.com)
- New South Wales fights worst bushfires in a decade (theguardian.com)
- Homes destroyed as blazes rip through NSW (abc.net.au)