Chapter 7: Internal migrants in Russia
Authorities continued to require intercity travelers to show their domestic passports when buying tickets to travel via air, railroad, water, or road. (Quoted in US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2014) This chapter explores the effects of residency policies on the rights to freedom of movement in Russia. The setting for this study is Moscow, a city that has enjoyed a particular status as an exclusive centre that historically restricted the admission of residents from other regions. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow’s economy has ballooned, attracting migrants from across the country. Many migrants arrive spontaneously in search of jobs. Even more come as a result of targeted managed migration programmes (Blitz 2007; Migration Policy Centre 2013; Russian Life 2006; Yablokova 2014). In addition to being a key economic driver of modern Russia, Moscow has established itself as a recognized powerbase that, under the leadership of former Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, has confronted the federal administration over economic policies and has consequently been a target for Putin’s recentralizing agenda. One key aspect of the new assertiveness of the municipal government has been the use of registration controls to manage the flow of migrants into the city. While there is a long history of residential and territorial stratification in Russia (Blitz 2007; Höjdestrand 2003; Matthews 1993; Shearer 2004), the reorganization of Russia since the collapse of Communism has seen the extension of greater individual rights to free movement and settlement (Codagnone 1998a, b; Light 1995).
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