This issue of OZ addresses to the problems of migration. Today, millions of people leave their homes in the hope of finding better life somewhere else. Population and development issues are certainly the source of considerable debate among governments and policymakers both at the national and international levels. Aspects of national and international life that are influenced by migration include economy, social life, culture, security, health, and environment. Is migration a curse or a blessing for developed countries? Migrants of different language and culture are welcomed in low-status and underpaid jobs, but are rarely greeted as neighbors. This paradox has to be solved. While the world’s South countries produce the bulk of the world’s workforce and potential immigrant influx to the developed countries, the North has to find a way to accept these people and integrate them into its societies. It has to come up with new policy solutions in order to both guard its own interests and secure the future of the whole planet.
While the traditional immigration-based countries have been enjoying relative stability, Europe and the Russian Federation have recently faced new demographic challenges. To preserve and boost their economies, Europe and Russia need immigrants. How many of them should be accepted? How should nations adjust their policies to deal with an inflow of culturally alien population? The problem of immigration is definitely two-fold. On the one hand, accepting large numbers of immigrants seems to be the only foreseeable counterweight to depopulation and bring in cost-efficient labor. On the other, there are problems of illegal immigration and integrating immigrants in receiving societies. While it’s more or less clear what to do about the former, the latter requires strenuous and continuous institutional and cultural efforts.
Anatoly Vishnevsky, Director of the Center for Demography and Human Ecology, Institute for Economic Forecasting, Russian Academy of Sciences, discusses projections of world and Russian population and migration trends based on the draft of the UN’s World Population in 2300 paper and annual demographic report Population of Russia 2002 (Naselenie Rossii 2002). Vishnevsky is extremely skeptical about the possibility of solving the problem of population decline in developed countries by increasing birth rates. Whereas a modern Russian (and generally ‘Northern’) family is not highly motivated in having more children than it has today, an increase in immigrant flows into Russia is plausible by both Russia as receiving country and immigration donor countries. Russia has to adopt an adequate immigration policy that will bring both skilled and unskilled workers into its economy and also help to solve economic problems of immigrants themselves and their countries of origin. The developed ‘North’ has to enlarge its capacity to accept and ‘digest’ maximum numbers of incomers and integrate them into the western culture. This is the only way for humanity to get out of the crises that resulted from the demographic explosion in the Third World.
Census figures in a democratic country can never be precise. To get an accurate demographic accounting, one would need first to close borders. This, however, does not make censuses irrelevant. In his interview to Vitaly Kurennoi, Head of State Statistics Committee Vladimir Sokolin argues about the results of the last All-Russian census, processes of regulating national and international migration, and why people emigrate from Russia to Belarus and are reluctant to move from allegedly Russian-phobic Baltic states.
Contrary to a popular misperception, population decline in Russia is a trend that became explicit already in the 1960s. Demographer Victor Perevedentsev tells of the complex reasons of Russia’s demographic catastrophe. Neither lower mortality nor an increasing birth rate will alleviate the situation. It can only be cured by sound immigration policies that will welcome immigrants and sponsor their integration into society. Migration inside the Soviet Union was twice more extensive than the one that is present now on the territory. People just do not notice migration when it goes on smoothly. This was the case in the USSR: except for the cases of forced migration practiced by the authorities, Soviet internal migrants normally had positive motivations.
Migration organized by the state equaled to about 15 percent of total inner migration. Zhanna Zaionchkovskaya, President of Research Center for CIS Countries and Baltic States on Forced Migration, compares former and current migration trends in Russia.
Russia has become an integral part of the global economic order that involves extensive use of migrant workers. The absence of adequate federal regulation of migration makes the immigrant workers in Russia victims of shadow and criminal businesses. It also hinders the effective use of migrant labor that is so demanded by Russian economy. According to sociologist Elena Tiuriukanova, Russia has yet to develop both the institutional and legislative procedures of combating illegal immigration that includes human trafficking and abuse of migrant laborers.
OZ publishes a synopsis of a book by Peter Stalker Workers Without Frontiers: The Impact of Globalization on International Migration. The book, written for the International Labor Organization, is based on applied sociological research. Stalker presents a general outlook of changes in the international labor market and gives projections for its development.
Most territories acquired by the Russian Empire throughout its history had very sparse population and were to be colonized and developed. Based on rich and for a large part unpublished archive sources, Vladimir Kabuzan describes both spontaneous and officially driven migration and settlement process in the pre-revolutionary Russia, its scale, specific character, and constituent elements.
In the recent period of Russian history, the country’s internal migration has changed its direction: it drifts towards West. As Nikita Mkrtchian, expert with the Economic Forecasting Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences maintains, the country has neither demographic nor administrative resources to change this direction. While northern parts of the Russian east will stay largely depopulated, southeast will be digested by migrants from Asian Pacific region. Russia has to accommodate its policies to the situation.
Is Chinese immigration in Russia a threat or an opportunity for Russia? Professor Vilya Gelbras of the Institute of Asian and African States at Moscow State University analyzes the phenomenon based on two anonymous surveys of Chinese immigrants performed in 1998 and 2002 in Moscow and three major cities of Siberia and Russian Far East. Today Russia’s attitude to the problem is rather suicidal: while restricting immigration that would benefit the economy and social well-being, the government overlooks the current Chinese economic expansion that uses illegal channels to drain Russia’s natural resources and dispose of commodities not accepted on other national markets. Forming comprehensive economic, social, and immigration strategies that will protect Russia’s national interests is an urgent necessity.
Deputy Head of the Federal Migration Service Mikhail Tiurkin has devoted his doctoral thesis to the concept of institutional and legal basis of migration system in Russia. In an interview in this issue of OZ, he presents his assessment of the Service. Tiurkin contends that the existing legislation in the field is inapplicable. Today, we do not have an accurate assessment of how many immigrants and of exactly what professions should we accept in each region. While the law requires employers to pay taxes and provide their workers with a decent living, many employers aim to avoid such burden. The level of education and professional training of immigration service officers has to be enhanced. Federal law has been amended and adjusted to international migration legislation in order to avoid legal collisions. But it has still to be improved. The policy of attracting immigration should not imply neglect of family protection, increasing birth rate, and solving other demographic issues. Immigrants should be attracted for permanent residence and adapted to the society. Large businesses have to be interested in qualified and permanent — not seasonal — workers. They also have to take responsibility for their employees and their families. Comprehensive treatment of these problems will let us solve many of them in the near future.
According to modern international standards, businesses should give priority to Russian citizens while hiring workers. Legalizing illegal immigration will bring about six billion rubles into the federal budget. Successful international immigration practices have to fit local reality. To effectively regulate migrant flows, Russia has to cooperate with migration services in other countries. So far, in the CIS close cooperation has been established with Belarus, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. According to the last census, Moscow’s population has grown from 8. 5 to 10. 5 million in the thirteen years between the two censuses. It makes the city one of the largest in the world with about 10, 000 per square kilometer density of population. This congests the city’s infrastructure and creates constant stress for the city inhabitants. In an interview to Vitaly Kurennoi, Sergei Smidovich, Head of Moscow government’s migration department, points out that not just immigration policy but also the whole economy of the city development has to be changed. Capital has to be invested not in residential development, especially luxury housing, but in the urban infrastructure. Immigration is a prerequisite for the city’s development, but it has to be regulated in its interests. The European practice of differentiation between the citizens of the EU and foreigners may be considered in this respect. Making the migration Service a federal agency has been highly beneficial for employers: they maximize their profit while the city has to solve any social problems that arise in the course of immigration. Creating ethnically oriented primary and secondary schools could lead to discord in the society. Cultures have to communicate, not to be isolated from each other. Demographic-wise, the immigrant impact on the city wellbeing is ambivalent: they boost industrial production but also bring in potential troubles, increased crime rates, and infections such as malaria and tuberculosis. Smidovich advocates creation of a special research institute that would be able to develop a comprehensive federal migration policy.
In the Post-Soviet Russian public discourse, all sorts of migrants have been referred to as refugees, which brought quite a lot of confusion to the subject. Meanwhile, the Convention related to the status of refugees adopted in 1951 clearly defines the criteria of the status. Russian PostSoviet legislation adds yet more clarity to the definition. The legislation discerns between the ‘far’ and ‘close’ abroad and was formulated primarily based upon the cases of asylum seekers from such countries as Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo, Ethiopia, etc. Former Soviet citizens were expected either to get naturalized or to acquire a status of forced migrants. Alla Yastrebova looks at the problem of refugees and granting asylum from the perspective of international migration.
Journalist Lidia Grafova, Head of the Forum of Migrant Organizations, argues that immigrants in today’s Russia are treated by public officers worse than criminals. Illegal labor migrants have to pay tribute to mafia instead of paying taxes to the budget. Grafova calls for an urgent immigrant amnesty.
Olga Chudinovskikh writes about the reasons for the current crisis in the Russian migration statistics. While about ten immigration statistical systems are being used or created, none of them describes Russian migration as a whole. Methods of gathering and processing data in these systems are not compatible, thus one cannot compile or compare these data. Most of administrative immigration statistics sources for no justifiable reason are not in open access to researchers, and they have to depend on their connections. Chudinovskikh advocates the system of registration of temporary migrants as a way to record migration data. She suggests measures necessary to reform the system of collecting migration data.
In most cases, ethnic Russians and Russianspeakers who had to flee former Soviet republics after the collapse of the Union were not welcomed at home. Until now, their needs are taken care of mostly by volunteer social organizations and largely ignored by official authorities. Registration and nationalizing the immigrants remain poorly regulated, hence arbitrary treatment that they receive in public offices. Elena Kirillova maintains that Russia who is in a great need for her homecomers has to change this attitude. The article is complemented by a set of documental stories of recent Russian repatriates.
Demographic trends in Europe are imminent with major threats to the continent’s wellbeing. The main problem, according to the paper by Joseph-Alfred Grinblat of the United Nations, is the ageing of European population that can hardly be balanced even by gross increases in immigration rates. Grinblat compares population estimates in France, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, and Russian Federation and presents five demographic projections for the period 1995–2050. He calls for finding inclusive policy solutions to the problem.
Economist Mikhail Denisenko of Moscow State University gives an overview of immigration tendencies in the developed countries. Unlike immigration policies in the ‘classical immigration countries’, which have long been enjoying benefits of immigrant labor, European immigration policies have traditionally been aimed at restricting immigration. Although Europeans lately started to realize the need for immigration reform, there is still much discontent in most western European countries about the shortcomings of accepting immigrants. However, there is no alternative to the Old World’s reassessment of its immigration policies. The process of immigrants integration is reciprocal: national governments have to develop and introduce new immigrant adaptation programs, whereas immigrants have to exercise effort in order to learn the language of their new home country and accept its basic values.
According to Lisa Magana, Associate Professor in the Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies at Arizona State University, the U.S. immigration policy process is characterized by several factors that lead to the formulation and implementation of many poorly crafted immigration policies. These factors include, but are not limited to, popular sentiment, social and economic misperceptions about immigrants, nativism, and politics. This article examines some of the key trends in U.S. immigration policy as well as future trends. When historically reviewing U.S. immigration policy, it is clear that a considerable amount of attention has been on illegal immigration from Mexico.
Italy that used to be an immigration donor has recently started to attract immigrant labor. Corrado Bonifazi of Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies and Salvatore Strozza, of Department of Demographic Sciences at University of Rome “La Sapienza” depict the influence of economic ‘pull factors’ on illegal immigration across the country. Economic conditions in different regions of Italy vary to a great extent, hence the difference in immigrant qualifications required by businesses and households in these regions.
Since it gained political independence, Ukraine has accepted a thoroughly liberal immigrationrelated legislation that is in strict accord with the international standards in this area. To what extent the new policies and regulations have positively affected the country’s economy, demo graphic situation, and security, however, remains questionable. Elena Malinovskaia of the National Institute for Problems of International Security at the National Security & Defense Council of Ukraine describes migration in post-Soviet Ukraine and national migration-related lawmaking at this period. She calls for a new concept of national migration policy.
The term ‘xenophobia’ is routinely used in modern liberal political rhetoric. Alexei Muraviev of the Institute of World History distinguishes two types of the phenomenon and describes their uses in human societies. Whereas one is a sort of inherent psychological mechanism of preserving by a society its uniqueness and security, the other is an ideological tool of channeling negative public emotions.
Anastasia Leonova, researcher at Levada Center finds that the problem of popular negative attitudes towards migrants is not merely related to migration itself; it is characteristic of the state of Russian society in general, of its values and behavioral patterns. She contends that the phobia of immigrants is possible in the country without immigrants themselves. Leonova lists social and psychological reasons of this phenomenon. According to Leonova, the majority of Russians, although not ready to associate themselves with chauvinist and nazi rhetoric, are ready to succumb to the ideas expressed in such rhetoric ‘within due limits.’ Sorting out ‘outsiders’ does not help Russians to develop their own unifying national idea, Leonova contends.
In the “Country of OZ” section, there are essays on cultural and psychological aspects of migration.
What is the state of economy, demography, and culture of the Russian North? Kargopol region of Arkhangelsk province is a typical example. Geographer Tatyana Nefedova of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences asserts that, despite poverty and an agricultural crisis, the region has an encouraging economic and cultural outlook. The place is rich with mushrooms and berries, and has a strong tradition of producing and selling such produce. Kargopol can also boast spectacular wild nature reserves and important architectural monuments. Yet another living local tradition is arts and crafts industry. Nefedova concludes that investing in these fields will revive the region. Public officers have to respect and take good care of local traditions, no matter if they look ‘progressive’ or ‘regressive’, in order to preserve the unique natural, historical, and architectural beauty of the region.
Psychologists Olga Krushelnitskaya and Antonina Tretiakova describe the main principles of an educational primary school program designed to help children develop communication and cooperation skills. Such psychological training today is especially necessary in Moscow where, in many schools, children from immigrant families comprise up to 30 percent of students. These children often have a poor knowledge of the Russian language, lack preschool education, and have diverse social and cultural backgrounds, which cause conflicts between them and their native peers. In a series of training seminars, teachers were instructed on techniques of encouraging children’s ability to work together and resolve their conflicts peacefully with minimum intervention from adults.
There is not sufficient information on how many Israel immigrants return to their countries of origin or travel abroad for an extended period of time. Official statistics give a figure of about eight percent of immigrants who emigrated or have been absent for a long time. Yevgeny Finkel, executive editor of MIGnews.com makes his own estimate of these numbers. He also suggests typical portraits of the ever-traveling Israelis who often have double or even triple citizenship.
Migration that is studied by economists, politicians, and demographers, remains unexamined from the viewpoint of its impact on a concrete individual. Victor Perevedentsev tells a biographical story of his experience of moving across the country.
In Moscow, an optimist with strong surviving skills can do wonders, even if he is illegal. Being a professional, one needs papers in the streets, not at his workplace. OZ publishes a biographical story of a successful illegal immigrant Niklas Grocholsky who learned the art of surviving in the city and even made a good career. He was once even awarded a prize without being asked his name.