Some 3,000 foreign citizens were apprehended by police in St. Petersburg on New Year’s Eve, with hundreds of them found to be in Russia in violation of migration laws, according to media reports.
St. Petersburg police were out in full force ensuring the protection of public order and security during New Year’s Eve celebrations, with “special attention” paid to the historical center of the city. While authorities reported no gross violations, according to law enforcement sources thousands of people were briefly detained for “verification” of documents.
“Police officers brought about 3,000 foreign citizens from the central part of the city for administrative proceedings. As it turned out, more than 600 migrants are in Russia with various violations of migration legislation,” a police source told Sputnik.
The violators were issued fines of up to 7,000 rubles ($78), according to the Fontanka news outlet, with at least 100 undocumented migrants now facing deportation from Russia. Authorities have yet to unveil the nationalities of those detained.
Residents of former Soviet republics, mainly from the Caucasus and Central Asia, have flocked to Russia in search of work over the past two decades. Official statistics put the number of migrant workers at three million, not counting those who live and work in Russia illegally.
Last year, President Vladimir Putin said that immigrants who come to Russia must comply with its laws and respect its customs and traditions, including learning the language.
“We need to attract such labor resources that meet the interests of the Russian economy,” the president said. The interest of Russia and its citizens “must be put first,” the president insisted. All immigrants and visitors also “must comply with Russian laws,” Putin clarified. “And, of course, we, as a civilized country, must also ensure their rights.”
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