The young generation does not remember Moscow without immigrants because people from Central Asia began moving to the city over 20 years ago. Some of them tried to escape civil wars, others wanted to improve their economic situation. Going to Moscow, they had a good chance to earn some money to send to their families.
Moscow citizens are used to living with immigrants thinking them to be low-qualified workers. They see immigrants as a pool of cheap labor â€“ cleaning men, loaders and builders. They call them non-whites and do not see anything bad about it. It is immigrants from Central Asia whom they insult in public.
A worker from Central Asia in the morning.
A guest worker washes his clothes in the river.
Here is one of such stories:
It was summer and people were at the beach swimming, both Moscow citizens and immigrants. Two ladies were discussing if it were Ok for a dog to swim in the same river with children when people who heard them joined into their conversation with a remark, â€œGiven that those â€˜blacksâ€™ are in the water, the dog wonâ€™t make it any dirtierâ€. By the way, they said it in a loud voice so â€˜those blacksâ€™ could hear them clearly. They could nothing but try to ignore the rudeness.
It looks like this hostility to immigrants is a part of their mentality.
Guest workers pray during Eid al-Adha’ in Moscow.
Those who work with the immigrants claim that there are 8 to 12 million of them in Moscow, while government asserts that the real number is no more than a million. Why? The point is that having illegal immigrants as workers allows Moscow officials:
1. Take bribes for issuing illegal works permits;
2. Conceal the real number.
Guest workers wait for food in a mosque on Ramadan.
Guest workers celebrating Eid al-Adha’ in Moscow.
Quest workers unload vegetables at one of the markets of the city.
The fall of the Soviet Union wrecked the economy of the country which now lives by selling its natural resources which needs a lot of manpower. So, immigrants are perfect for this purpose.
Another finding. People living is Central Asia are usually open-minded and like communicating with other people, including journalists. In Moscow, however, they feel this hostility and are not easy to get in touch with. Are they afraid that they will end up in a police station or an office of the migration service? All their answers are approximately like this, â€œWe are fine. We have come here to workâ€.
Guest workers waiting to be hired at one of the markets of the city.
These people are not going to stay in Russia and come to this country just to work and make money for their families.
Besides, the city has a growing nationalist movement and immigrants from Central Asia with their eyes-catching look and religion are an easy target.
It is difficult for immigrants to maintain their family bonds and often they father children or give birth to children in Russia. Even people working in a shelter for immigrant mothers cannot understand why they have to help immigrants and provide their children with education when they do not always have an opportunity to do the same for Russian women in a similar situation.