Thousands of migrants arrested in St. Petersburg New Year raids – media

No less than 100 undocumented outsiders apparently face extradition from Russia

Around 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 historic city center. While the authorities reported no major 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.

Violators were issued fines of up to 7,000 rubles ($78), according to Fontanka news outlet, with at least 100 undocumented migrants now facing deportation from Russia. The authorities have yet to reveal 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 3 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.

The interests of Russia and its citizens “must be put first,” he stated, adding that immigrants and visitors must comply with the law, while “we, as a civilized country, must also ensure their rights.”


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