Russian authorities have launched a round-up of Tajik labor migrants with the apparent intent of deporting them. The move is widely seen as retribution for the sentencing of two ethnic Russian pilots in Tajikistan to lengthy prison terms on tenuous smuggling charges.
According to a November 15 report in the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Moscow is threatening to kick as many as 10,000 Tajik labor migrants out of the country. Already, hundreds of Tajiks reportedly have been detained. Legislators also have called for visa restrictions on citizens of Tajikistan, while Russia’s chief doctor has suggested Tajik migrants should be barred from entering Russia due to concerns they are carriers of infectious diseases.
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Konstantin Parshin is a freelance writer based in Tajikistan.