Russia has been in a trade war with Ukraine after the latter moved to enter the European Union instead of the Russian-made alternative, the Customs Union. In response, the Russian government has blocked imports from Ukraine, and even threatened to deport workers with Ukrainian accents, moves that have further isolated Russia from central and western Europe.
Now, Russia is making similar threats against Moldova, and for the same reasons. – Ed.
Nearly 200,000 citizens of Moldova will be denied entry into Russia. This is according to a publication in “Kommersant-MD” with reference to the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Federation. The reason, as explained by the agency, is that those citizens violated the Russian immigration law.
“To date our information system contains data on 190,000 Moldovan citizens who have violated the conditions of stay. It will be decided to deny them entry into the Russian Federation,” said the spokesperson for the FMS, Zalina Kornilova. It is further clarified that the steps will be taken in regard to foreign citizens who come to Russia to work, but do not have the necessary documents and exceed the permitted period of stay without being registered with the immigration authorities.
According to the newspaper, it’s not about a single-step deportation. “At exit their passports are stamped with a special stamp of exclusion from the country. After that they will not be admitted by the Russian border guard service,” explained the spokesperson for the Federal Migration Service. The agency does not consider such steps politically motivated.
It has to be recalled that recently the Moldovan media has been publishing reports that Russia has tightened control over labor migrants from Moldova. It was alleged that in a few weeks “thousands of guest workers were deported.” The head of the Gagauz autonomy (a region in southern Moldova) Mikhail Formuzal said that people trying to go to Russia to work are turned back at the Russian border.
The Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca has confirmed that he has this kind of information. “We have indications of this. So far we are talking about the problems with entry into Russia. For example, in Bryansk people are removed from trains without any explanation and turned back,” he said. The official did not give specific numbers, though.
Last week, Alexander Kalinin, the Chairman of the Congress of Moldovan diaspora in Russia warned about a threat of mass deportation of approximately 170,000 Moldovans staying in the Russian Federation.
However, as noted in “Kommersant-MD” the Moldovan Ministry of Labor officials could not answer the question of how to employ so many people. Currently, according to the National Employment Agency, there are about eight thousand job vacancies in the country. Earlier, the Moldovan authorities admitted that they are not prepared for the return of migrant workers who had left the country.
The number of Moldovan citizens working abroad is estimated at 700,000 people. Most of them work in Russia. According to the World Bank, in 2012 remittances amounted to about a quarter of the country’s GDP.
The threat of mass deportation of Moldovan migrants from Russia came to the fore against the background of cooling of relations between Moscow and Chisinau. The disagreements are related with the foreign policy choice facing Moldova: between the Customs Union with Russia and integration into the European Union. After the Moldovan authorities refused to join the CU and confirmed their willingness to sign an association agreement and a free trade zone agreement with the European Union, Russia imposed an embargo on Moldovan wine. The official explanation was [related to] the product quality. In Chisinau, many felt the ban was politically motivated.