Russia's migration policy improving

Russia's migration policy improving

On October 31, President Putin adopted a decree "On the Concept of the state migration policy of Russia for 2019-2025," simplifying the procedure for obtaining Russian citizenship. The concept is aimed, among other things, at creating more comfortable conditions for compatriots from abroad to take up permanent residence to Russia, as well as at creating clear rules for entry and obtaining the right to reside, work, and acquire Russian citizenship.

Yesterday, at the panel session titled "National Policy and Migration" experts discussed the tasks of implementing the Russian migration policy, minimizing bureaucratic barriers and simplifying the procedure for resettlement of compatriots living abroad to Russia and the Strategy of the State National Policy, which was discussed at a meeting of the Russian Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations on October 26.

The head of the Department for the Strengthening of National. Unity and the Prevention of Ethnical and Religious Extremism of the Russian Federal Agency for Nationalities, Abdulgamid Bulatov, said that in due time the development and adoption of the National Policy Strategy of the Russian Federation through to 2025 was an important step towards harmonizing inter-ethnic relations, towards strengthening inter-ethnic peace, inter-ethnic unity and solving all related tasks. "But when the strategy was adopted, then there was still no specialized federal body that would deal with its implementation, there was no program for this body back then. Now we have both body and program. The body is the Federal Agency for Nationalities, which was created by presidential decree in March 2015. The state program on the implementation of national policy functions as well," Abdulgamid Bulatov noted.

According to him, there were serious changes both inside the country and in the international arena: “When the strategy was adopted in 2012, Crimea was not yet returned, there was no situation in the south-east of Ukraine and Donbas, there was no united front of the Western powers against our country, there was still no ISIS (banned in the Russian Federation) and all the problems, which have come out with the activation of the next clone of the radical extremist terrorist pseudo-Islamic ideology. All this together necessitated a change in the strategy, although its main goals, priorities, tasks and directions remain the same. However, adjustments were made taking into account the changes which have taken place and emerging challenges and threats."

Member of the Presidential Council for Interethnic Relations under the President of the Russian Federation, Deputy Director of the Institute for Ethnology and Anthropology of the RAS, Vladimir Zorin, admitted: "It took us a while to realize that migration issues are directly related to our interethnic relations and our national policy. The 1996 Concept for State Ethnic Policy had other priorities, other directions. But by the early 2000s, all of a sudden, for all experts and our practice (we were raised by the Soviet  tradition) it unexpectedly turned out that migration problems exist. The first waves of migration - one and a half million people a year - did not cause either migrant-phobia or problems with migrants. We somehow accepted it, helped them, because these people were mainly migrants and refugees who, under the conditions of the collapse of the USSR, found themselves outside their historical homeland. By the beginning of the 2000s, a new migrant type came on stage - a labor migrant who had less traditions of the Soviet period with every year, at the same time bringing new post-Soviet relations, which were of different character,  different meaning. We were not ready for this."

According to Zorin, issues of adaptation and social integration of migrants and foreign workers, as well as issues of interethnic relations and the impact of migration on interethnic relations have an important place in the updated strategy of state policy. "Both migration policy and relations between migrants in our country have the most direct impact on the interethnic climate, interethnic relations."

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