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Putin calls for improved approach to migration

By REN QI in Moscow | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-04-04 08:56

FILE PHOTO: Ambassadors and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Russia attend a flowers laying ceremony at the memorial for the victims of the attack at Crocus City Hall concert venue in Krasnogorsk, outside Moscow, Russia, March 30, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a new approach to migration on Tuesday, after foreigners living in Russia were detained for a deadly attack on a concert hall outside Moscow that killed at least 144 people and wounded 551 more.

The Islamic State, the militant group that once sought control over swathes of Iraq and Syria, claimed responsibility for the attack. Russia has said it suspects Ukraine was linked to the attack, a claim denied by Kyiv and dismissed by Washington.

Putin told police chiefs that the attack was aimed at sowing discord, xenophobia and Islamophobia inside Russia.

He also said migration systems needed improvement, as it was clear that work permits were sometimes being issued to people with serious criminal records.

"We need to deeply and radically update our approaches to migration policy," Putin said, adding that some people with almost no knowledge of Russia or Russian culture were being allowed to work without proper checks. "The decisive principle should be that only those who respect our traditions, language, culture, and history can come to live and work in Russia."

Millions of people from former Soviet republics in Central Asia have flocked to Russia's biggest cities over the past few decades, supporting a booming 24-hour consumer society by working as taxi drivers, cleaners, barbers or beauticians.

"It is necessary to ensure the interests and security of the state and society, to conserve and preserve interethnic and interreligious harmony, our cultural and linguistic identity, all that is Russia's strength," Putin said.

At least 12 people, including four accused gunmen, have been detained in Russia in connection with the attack. Most are Tajiks who had lived and worked in Russia.

Tajik officials said they have seen a rise in Tajiks leaving Russia since the attack, and Russian media have reported police raids against unregistered migrants.

Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs also issued a statement after the attack, recommending that Kyrgyz citizens avoid travel to Russia.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday that Russia had important matters to discuss with Afghanistan's Taliban leaders and was working to remove the Taliban from its list of banned terrorist organizations.

"This is a country that is next to us, and one way or another we communicate with them. We need to resolve pressing issues, this also requires dialogue, so in this regard, we communicate with them like practically everyone else — they are the de facto authority in Afghanistan," Peskov said.

Peskov did not elaborate on the "pressing issues", but the Taliban had condemned the terrorist attack in Moscow "in the strongest terms".

Appointments announced

Separately, during a conference call with senior staff members of the Russian Armed Forces, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that Admiral Alexander Moiseyev has been appointed as head of the navy, Vice-Admiral Konstantin Kabantsov as commander of the Northern Fleet, and Vice-Admiral Sergey Pinchuk as commander of the Black Sea Fleet.

According to state news agency Tass, the 61-year-old Moiseyev has been the Northern Fleet commander since 2019. Earlier, he was the Black Sea Fleet commander and deputy chief of the Russian General Staff.

Shoigu said the army was pushing Ukrainian forces westward, and Ukraine's counteroffensive last year had proved to be a failure. Kyiv's forces had since tried to gain a foothold on various fronts, but had not achieved their goals.

But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Ukrainian military sources disputed some of Shoigu's assertions that Moscow's troops had seized control of a number of localities along the eastern Ukrainian front.

Reports from Ukraine suggested that its forces had inflicted heavy losses in an attack by Russian tanks and armored vehicles.


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