A few weeks ago Forbes released its World’s Billionaire List. Most commentators have noted the increase in Chinese, Indian, and Russian presence on the list. This is not surprising. The three countries are some of the most economically robust countries in the world.
It is no wonder then that the global ruling class is reflecting these nations.
What does this mean for the global ruling class? As James Petras notes in his article “Meet the Global Ruling Class,” this surge in billionaires has come with increasing polarization of the world’s wealth. “The total wealth of this global ruling class,” he writes, “grew 35 per cent year to year topping $3.5 trillion, while income levels for the lower 55 per cent of the world’s 6-billion-strong population declined or stagnated. Put another way, one hundred millionth of the world’s population (1/100,000,000) owns more than over 3 billion people.” I’ll repeat that in case you didn’t get it: One hundred millionth of the world’s population own more than 3 billion people. So much for the rising tide lifting all boats.
Petras also makes some important observations about
But perhaps most interesting is how
In both Latin America and Russia, the billionaires grabbed lucrative state assets under the aegis of orthodox neo-liberal regimes (Salinas-Zedillo regimes in Mexico, Collor-Cardoso in Brazil, Yeltsin in Russia) and consolidated and expanded under the rule of supposedly ‘reformist’ regimes (Putin in Russia, Lula in Brazil and Fox in Mexico). In the rest of Latin America (
Chile, Colombiaand ) the making of the billionaires resulted from the bloody military coups and regimes, which destroyed the socio-political movements and started the privatization process. This process was then even more energetically promoted by the subsequent electoral regimes of the right and ‘center-left’. Argentina
What is repeatedly demonstrated in both
Russiaand Latin Americais that the key factor leading to the quantum leap in wealth from millionaires to billionaires was the vast privatization and subsequent de-nationalization of lucrative public enterprises.
It is no wonder Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said that “property is theft.”
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By Sean — 13 years ago
The Moscow City Duma elections are finished. Their lead up was filled with trepidation, controversy, and speculation. All proved to be sound and predictable concerns. But there was no need took look up one of the many soothsayers and warlocks that are advertised in Moscow tabloids to predict the outcome. No palms needed to be read. No chicken bones interpreted. If Moscow gypsies earned their keep solely on giving political advice, they would have been put out of business. Indeed, nobody doubted that United Russia was going to come out more politically secure in the nation’s capital. Rather the question was where the losers stand, if anywhere, after the electoral smoke cleared.
United Russia swept all but 7 seats, dominating 28 of the 35 seats up for grab on the ballot. Out of the 34.8% (2.4 million) of registered voters who bothered to vote, they received 47.3%, the Communist Party got 16.8% or 4 seats, whole Yabloko 11.1% or 3 seats.
Moscow is the heart of Russia and pumps vital juices to the rest of the nation. Given its importance as an economic and political center, there is no doubt that the City Duma results are a preview of the 2007 Parliamentary and 2008 Presidential elections. The fact that United Russia came out so handedly, also reveals that Russian politics remains a contest between them and the Communist Party. The liberal forces and extreme right and left parties are thoroughly marginalized. With this election, Yabloko and its new ally the Union of Right Forces barely escaped shrinking into obscurity. Many felt that if Yabloko couldn’t garner 10% of the vote, there was no political future for the party. They survived by 1.1%.
However, the Western media has yet to come to terms with the utter insignificance of Yabloko. One need only turn to today’s reporting on the elections to get a full frontal of lament for Yabloko’s political collapse. It seems that everything but the truth is being used to explain why United Russia won so handedly, while Yabloko barely made a showing. Take Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for example. Yabloko’s poor showing was “because so many voters chose to stay at home” rather than because they have no constituency. If they had so much support wouldn’t they have come out to vote? Or are the Yabloko supporters voting with silence? Also predictably are charges of voter falsification and malfeasance. At least that is the analysis of Yabloko deputy chairman, Sergei Mitrokhin,
“We have come to the conclusion that the level of falsification in today’s Moscow election exceeds anything that has ever been observed in the city before. What’s more, this has been done openly, shamelessly and, I would say, insolently. A well-targeted campaign was run against Yabloko and the United Democrats of Russia throughout the election campaign, which was, in fact, run from within the Kremlin and this gives us grounds to suggest that this will now continue in the electoral constituencies by other means.”
Now granted there is no doubt in my mind that such falsification occurred. Nor do I doubt that the Kremlin has liberal parties in its sights. According to Kommersant, Mitrokhin went on to charge that the tactics for voter fraud resembled that used in Ukraine by Viktor Yanukovich’s camp:
[At one polling station] at 9:25 a.m. 107 people arrived at the same time in one of the voting places and all of them had absentee ballots. If these statements are true — the same technology, which was used by Viktor Yanukovich supporters during Ukrainian elections, was applied in Moscow. In Ukraine there were buses full of voters driving around the country and people were voting outside of their registered locations.”
Among other cited incidents, one member of local electoral commission No. 2409 was removed for “re-arranging the furniture, which was creating a fire hazard and groundless conversations with chairman and members of the commission.” In another incident, a Yabloko observer named Vitaly Reznikov tore off Vladimir Putin’s portrait from the wall at voting booth No. 2658. Reznikov considered the portrait “hidden propaganda of United Russia.” He was subsequently fined 1500 ($50) rubles for violating the Criminal Article “Petty Hooliganism.” But what is an election without a little hooliganism?
So yes strange things happened during this election but as Kommersant soberly adds, “It is highly doubtful that such technology would be effective in Moscow. Even if the Yabloko statements about the issue of 70,000 absentee ballots are true, they would not make much difference among over 2 million voters who participated in the elections.”
If the election’s end signaled the beginning of the end for Yabloko, the pre-election period showed that the nationalist party Rodina might have a firm finger on the pulse of many Muscovites. Rodina was banned from participating in the election on November26 for its advertisement (which you can watch here) that depicted some dark-skinned fellows throwing watermelon rinds on the ground as a blond Russian woman walks past them. Then two Rodina leaders, one which is chairman Dmitrii Rogozin, walk up and ask if the men “understand Russian” and to pick up the rinds. The ad ends with the Rodina banner with “Let’s clean up the garbage from our city.” The racism in the ad was lost on no one.
But Rodina didn’t stop there. According to an excellent piece by LA Times’ Moscow correspondent Kim Murphy, when the Paris race riots exploded, Rodina re-dubbed the ad in French and changed the slogan to read “France, One Year Ago.” The Moscow City Court ruled that the ad incited racial hatred and banned Rodina from participating in the elections. Most people saw right through the fact Rodina was banned for “inciting racial hatred” and correctly recognized that the move was entirely political. But the more interesting aspect of this story is the reactions from the public about the ad. Today’s LA Times story on the elections quotes a pensioner named Zoya Danilova, 63, would have voted for Rodina because “they had this ad that was very good. . . It had very good ideas in it, but someone upstairs didn’t like it so they were struck from the ballot. It’s a joy to me,” she added, “that I was born in Russia, and there’s no place I’d rather live. I love my homeland.”
Her “I was born in Russia” statement is what complicates the issue of citizenship. Most people were born not in Russia but the Soviet Union, and whether you were born in Russia, Uzbekistan, or Tajikistan it didn’t matter, you were a citizen then and many non-Russians think so should you be now. Mekhti, a 40 year old native of Baku, who Murphy interviewed agrees,
“What are you talking about? “I’m not a foreigner. I was born in this country, in the Soviet Union. I served in the Soviet army in East Germany for this country. And now Rogozin is saying that I am garbage? We are working hard, selling fruit and vegetables to people in this city, and if they could do without us, we would not be here, believe me.”
As Murphy’s article points out many Russians view blame many of society’s ills on immigrants. Tensions have risen sharply as more people from Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Tajikistan immigrate to Russia as cheap labor. In recent months, there have been several incidents of racial violence perpetrated by skinheads in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Voronezh, to name a few. The question now becomes if Rodina’s ad could curry favor among voters now, what will role will race play in the 2007 and 2008 elections?Post Views: 578
By Sean — 11 years ago
As I’ve already indicated, the adoption and enforcement of the January 15 migration law has caused confusion among administrators, police, officials, and foreigners alike. Nothing points to this confusion more than the following transcript of Vyacheslav Postavnin’s briefing with the American Chamber of Commerce on February 8. I provide the transcript here as it was posted on Johnson’s Russia List #41, with some minor edits to reduce its length.
The briefing is interesting reading for a number of reasons. First it shows just how confusing the registration process is to most people, including Russians. Second, it gives a picture of the Russian bureaucratic process. There are many times when Postavnin urges questioners to apply to him personally. Not only does this suggest that Postavnin is well aware that existing bureaucratic channels are clogged, confused or just broken, it also shows that in
intervention by powerful figures can side step much of the bureaucratic morass. In Russia, the political is personal Russia and the vertical flows of power quickly trump horizontal ones. Lastly, Postavnin’s opening remarks places ’s problems with immigration and migration squarely within a global context. The problem as he notes is about labor, whether that labor be skilled or unskilled. Migration and immigration policy is about controlling the virtually uncontrollable fluidity of the labor market; a task that is not without its own domestic, economic, and international pressures. The only question is whether Russian Government’s insistence that keeping a policy of internal registration is really sound even if there efforts to simplify it. It is here that Russia ’s migration policies might prove to be an unremitting contradiction to the flow of capital and profit. Russia
American Chamber of Commerce in Russia
Amcham Briefing Meeting With Vyacheslav Postavnin, Deputy Head Of The Federal Migration Service
Marriott Grand Hotel, 12:40, February 8, 2007
Andrew B. Somers, President, American Chamber of Commerce in
Somers: Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to start our event. As you can all see from the massive turnout, this is a tribute both to our guest and the subject matter. I’d like to thank the HR Committee for all their work on these very interesting discussions and themes. I would like to acknowledge Peter Reinhardt and Yevgeny Reyzman who are the co-chairmen of the HR Committee. And of course we will be following up on this with the Migration Service in your interests.
Mr. Postavnin, who is Deputy Head of the Foreign Migration Service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has agreed to speak to us today on this issue which has been all over the press since the regulations were issued to basically regulate foreigners in Russia, their entry, their exit, their right to work here.
And I would like to acknowledge the leadership of the Foreign Migration Service under Mr. Romadanovsky and Mr. Postavnin. Mr. Postavnin has been particularly helpful in being accessible to us, to try to resolve issues and work together in our mutual interests to ensure that foreigners are here legally, the government is aware of that, and that barriers are reduced when those barriers are brought to the attention of the migration service.
So again, we are very grateful for Mr. Postavnin to come here. He has a commitment with the government some time later. So we have a certain period of time, and I am going to ask him now to come to the podium and address the issue and then questions and answers. And I am warning you ahead of time I am going to discipline you on the questions because we want to get as many in as we can, and I am going to ask not to have followup questions, at least not from the same person, okay?
I would now like to invite to the podium Mr. Vyacheslav Postavnin. (Applause.)
Postavnin: Thank you, Mr. Somers. Ladies and gentlemen, friends, I am surprised by the number of people who have come here to attend this event. I expected it to be a kind of private event involving only specialists. Indeed I was taken aback a little bit, and I want you to understand it if I take some time to get on with it.
I could see once again how important a migration policy is in our times, in the contemporary world. Migration legislation in any country, if it is changed, always evokes a great deal of interest. And Russia was not an exception.
A few words about what we wanted to do and what objectives we were pursuing by developing and introducing new migration legislation. The main purpose was to balance out labor resources between foreign workers and Russian workers. Organizing an effective counterbalance to illegal migration, which is quite massive. According to our estimates it exceeds 10 million people, and we are second after the
and we may be first .(inaudible)…, and this problem is quite acute. This is the second problem. US
The third problem is what all countries face, I mean countries with more or less developed economies, European and American countries, namely demographic problems and the need to replenish our labor resources. We are interested in attracting foreign labor, primarily skilled labor. It is quite obvious to us that skilled labor, or shall I say specialists, come over here from what we call the far abroad and countries with developed economies, primarily Western Europe and North America.
So in our regulatory acts we made an attempt to create such tools that, on the one hand, would allow us to reduce the number of illegal migrants in Russia, protect the domestic labor market, and on the other hand, bring in as many specialists, workers and managers as possible and of course to create conditions for a good investment climate in our country so that new technologies would come to the country and major economic projects could be implemented.
Another element of our new migration policy is a program for the voluntary resettlement of compatriots. It is based on the creation of new jobs, the development and implementation of big investment and economic projects that can hardly be implemented without large investments, primarily from big foreign companies. This is why we tried to simplify access to our market for this category of specialists.
The main revolutionary step, so to say, in this regard was the law on migration registration. You may probably know that we used to have a registration system based on permits. It was a rather long and complex process and was necessarily related to housing, the place of residence. In the new law we tried to separate housing from registration and give it the nature of notification.
I anticipate your questions about problems and difficulties related to migration registration. We are aware of this problem and we are monitoring the situation. I must explain to you why this happened. Actually we expected this problem in the initial stage. It’s the so-called delayed demand. A large number of migrants, primarily illegal migrants, from the so-called near abroad who come here without visas were not simply waiting for the doors to be open on the 15th and they could come and register by a simplified procedure. This created congestion, sort of, at the entrance to our system. We are trying to solve this problem, we are engaging a large number of our units, offices and divisions. I am confident that these are temporary difficulties.
I must say that the government is helping us. By the way, for you to know that we understand the importance of this matter that affects practically all sections of the population and all citizens who arrive in our country, the government is watching the situation and meets to discuss this issue on a weekly basis. All problems or hitches we see during the implementation of our laws, we understand that they are far from perfect, but we are ready to adjust and correct them.
I think that’s all I wanted to tell you in brief. Let us now try to move on to questions.
Somers: Thank you. Yevgeny Reyzman, co-chair of our HR Committee. Please, come and ask the first question.
Q: As always, I will have a global question. Representatives of our foreign guests are sitting in this room, from the countries of the “far abroad”, as well as the Russians who work with these representatives. In this country one can hardly find any other category of people, including Russians, who expend so much effort on honoring Russian laws, including our immigration laws. The changes that took place recently, last year, regarding immigration policy and work permits, affect above all foreigners from the “near abroad”. My question is of a global nature. Is anything being planned in the immediate or more remote future that may affect our category of foreigners, that is, foreigners from the “far abroad” in terms of facilitating the obtaining of a work permit and dealing with such vital problems as the need to get several work permits if he holds jobs in various entities, even if they are connected with one and the same company here in Russia, whether in its representative office or a subsidiary company. Is anything being planned to do with them in mind in the near future?
Postavnin: I suspected that the question would be asked. Because the new immigration laws applied more to the citizens who have arrived from countries with a visa-free regime. I can tell you more. We have another draft law which applies mainly to people from the far abroad which would make it easier to obtain work permits, lengthen the effective period of the permits. Yes, such legislation is in the pipeline. We have passed a package of documents and you are probably aware of the President’s directives, the priorities have been determined and we largely coped with the task. And just at the last meeting of the government we discussed the continuation of the work on this draft law that you are referring to.
Yes, we are aware that it needs to be done. Now as regards permits to work in two or more places at once. I do not quite see the point of your question, but at least we at the center can issue a permit that is valid on the territories of several subjects of the Federation, and we can describe your position in such a way that you could happily work. But as regards the cumbersome and tiresome procedure of obtaining a work permit, I think it is basically the same as in any other country. It does not take any more time and it is not any more complicated. Nevertheless, we understand that we are interested to have your specialists and your capital and we have developed the “one-stop” principle. It is already operated in some of our regions, at least in the center, that’s for sure. We are promoting it to some more regions.
We have received directives to the effect and we are implementing a huge range of measures in order to simplify this work and make it more pragmatic, to renounce all the unnecessary bureaucratic procedures, meaningless procedures which do nothing but irritate people and, believe me, we understand that they spawn corruption. This is the scourge of our country. We are working on this and the administrative regulations worked out by our staff this year will be introduced as a pilot scheme in Moscow, the Moscow Oblast and St. Petersburg. And our work was slowed down a bit by the huge wave of labor migrants who have arrived from the CIS countries. It may not be all that important for you, but for your information I must mention it so that you could understand our problems.
On the one hand, it is to be welcomed that these people have come out of the shadow, that they feel that laws are beginning to work in our country, laws that they can understand, that they can gain legal status, they can become full-fledged members of society. In this way we provide access to justice, to protection of their rights and dignity. This is important for us if we want to call ourselves a mature society living according to world values. And we had to sort out the huge mass of rightless people, often exploited people. So, we concentrated on this problem. But I can assure you that we are not forgetful of the other tasks, we are pursuing them in parallel. And the administrative rules that are to be adopted will stipulate down to the last minute how much time we should spend on each person or company from Western Europe and America. And it is, I assure you, 5-10 minutes. And during the year Mr. Naryshkin, head of the government’s staff, personally sees to it that the rules are observed. So, I have no doubt that I will solve this task next year if I want to pick my job.
Somers: Other questions?
Q: Vladimir Shapovalov, the office of the company Washington Group International. The company is implementing an international treaty on the territory of Russia. Our office has representatives of the United States, Ukraine and Russia. To legalize ourselves and comply with all the government decrees we have to register ourselves with the migration authorities, I mean the company itself. I have visited several branches and the office on Pokrovka and in one place they tell me that it cannot be done because the head of the representative office holds a visa from the executive body of the Russian Space Agency and it is a business visa and he needs a working visa. On Pokrovka they tell me that representative offices do not have to get themselves registered. And so we cannot properly comply with Russian legislation because we cannot obtain registration ourselves. And every branch has its own requirements. And as a result, they continue imposing fines for untimely registration. Some impose fines, some don’t.
The statement issued last week to the effect that pending the adoption of a political decision Ukrainian citizens are not liable to be fined — the police don’t know about it, they stop people in the streets and continue to fine them. I would like to know if at least the representative office can be registered with your service?
Postavnin: Yes. As regards obtaining registration, you can contact me, you can send a fax. I will take this issue under review. We have a special working group which monitors compliance with current legislation and I would appreciate it if you apprized me of all such things. Yes, we have a lot of problems, especially with the law-enforcers, with the police. And of course there is no denying that there are elements of corruption. Yes, an edict did come out that pending a political decision, Ukrainian citizens should not be fined, but they continue to be fined. The problem is there, we are trying to control it. But I have always said that if we want to defeat this evil, and it does exist, give us concrete facts: who fined whom. Please do it and we will deal with that in a loud manner. Otherwise we will never win. We have to show at least, for the public to see that there are such facts, and we will punish them.
It is my personal view that those humiliating checks of individuals in the streets should be banned. It does not matter whether they come from the near abroad of far abroad. Police should not do this. The presumption of innocence should be observed. Besides, I have not heard of any case when they would seize any terrorist in the street.
There is such a problem and we know it. So, please apply to us. The public should have its say. The laws are not adopted for nothing. We have tried to adequately reflect the feelings and realities existing in our society.
Somers: Next one on the left. Mr. Firestone.
Postavnin: Sorry, this has been the case since the year before last year. I issued relevant instructions. Please apply to me with your problem. The thing is that I have done a lot for that already. Sorry.
Q: First of all, I am a lawyer that works here in Moscow. I am long-term resident of Russia myself, with a temporary permit. I hope I will soon have permanent residence. This is a question about where I think the new regulations that just went into effect have inadvertently made things more complicated and not more simple. Under the new regulations, people who are here on either temporary residence or permanent residence have to register within three days of changing their place of residence.
As I read the law, that does not mean three days of my moving, for instance, changing my apartment. It means that if I go to St. Petersburg to visit friends for the weekend, I have three days to register with the local police there. And if I don’t do that, I am violating the law. Well, that’s not customary, for instance, in America. If one had a Green Card, they would not have to notify the authorities every time they went to another city on a business trip or to visit friends.
And in my opinion, it’s a bit needless because you know where I live. I am registered in a particular apartment. I am just wondering if we have any hope of that being simplified. Thank you.
Postavnin: For those having a temporary residence permit — well, it is not three days, but if you change you place of residence, really you have ten days to notify the authorities of this change.
Q: I am not speaking about the change of my place of residence. Under the new rules, if I go to visit another city, just on a business tour, this is a change of the place of stay, as it is written there. So, even if I go to St. Petersburg for a week, to meet my friends, I have to register. This is what I mean.
Postavnin: Yes, I see, the change of the place of stay, not residence. Yes, there is a problem here. Notifications, registration of migration. Really, we have problems. Let me tell you that during the most recent meeting of the government, we compiled a list of those problems. I will tell you more: there even are problems with those leaving the country. The one who leaves the Russian Federation should notify the employer, stays without documents.
Thank you for this question. Please, if you have questions, if you keep the minutes of the meeting, it would be good for us to get that and we will react to those things.
Q: Peter Jennison (sp?) lives in
Moscow, works in Moscow, goes to for the weekend. Should be register in St. Petersburg or not? We find that this is very similar to written pledge not to leave town. St. Petersburg
Postavnin: Well, there is no need to explain if he goes to meet with his friends.
Q: So, if he goes to meet with friends, there is no need to register. This is what everyone wants to hear from you. For any period? If one goes for a week? No need to register? That is, if they do not change place of residence?
Postavnin: Up to ten days. If one stays there longer —
Q: Then this is required.
Somers: Could we stop please? Please let’s keep quiet. Over here on the right.
Postavnin: Well, let is discuss this. This is a serious issue. In fact, the issue of registration is a bottleneck, as it turned out. And we know this. Our position was: as this is done just by notification — if an individual comes to a hotel, this happens automatically. If one lives in a hotel, one will not face any problem. One hands in the passport and everything happens automatically — we proceeded from the assumption that an individual moves to another city and if he stays there longer than ten days — Well, I understand what you mean. One comes to stay with his friends —
I agree. I will raise this issue and we will start considering this problem. (Laughter.)
Somers: Can I intervene here please for a minute? Could we show a little more respect up here? The man has just said he’ll study the question. Does it not call for laughter?
Postavnin: I can explain why this is different from what Western countries have. The system of registration. The system is arranged in a somewhat different manner. In the US, there is the social security card. Any move related to payment at the bank and elsewhere, an individual is immediately identified as staying at a particular place. You should not tell me that an individual enters the country and stays beyond control.
It is absolutely clear that the terrorist threat exists everywhere, including in the US and in Russia to a great measure. It was an attempt to establish control — not control over foreigners, over citizens. This is only goal of that. Perhaps, this was not an absolutely right move. Given that in the future we are going to have a centralized data bank where all foreign citizens will be registered, we believed that this will also be done automatically, even via the purchase of a ticket we would be able to see where an individual comes. Again, this is not need to control all individuals, but if something happens — well, you understand it — if some acts of terror occur.
So, please, treat this seriously enough. When you just say that it is bad here and it is good there, well, yes, we are at the stage that is incomparable with the US. They are tenth-year students and we are third-year students. We are going along this path and have done this in an accelerated manner. Mistakes are inevitable. Therefore, please treat this with understanding.
You should understand the main thing. It is that we are ready to take this into account and look for solutions that would be acceptable for everyone. And those decisions will be made quickly.
Somers: We have a question on the right please.
Q: Mr. Postavnin, first of all I think everybody here very much appreciates your coming to this meeting and answering these very very difficult questions. It’s very very good of you and —
Somers: Please, thanks for your support.
Q: I know this is difficult for him. Everybody has got, I’ve got a little bit of a difficult question, everybody has got his difficult question. So really I really want to express our gratitude that, AmCham’s gratitude and the members, for your coming here and answering these difficult questions. I think that that’s something that is just unheard of in a lot of areas. You are addressing these things. So, I think we should him a round of applause first for coming in and doing this. (Applause.)
Somers: Another top question.
Q: Okay. Now I’ve got a little bit of a practical question. As I understand the new registration rules, a foreigner having a business visa must register, have his landlord go to the local migration service and register his visa within three days upon entering the country. My first question is: what documents — well, it’s one question — What documents does the landlord need to take to the migration service and are all the migration services in Moscow that are enlisted, are they all aware of the issues and what the procedures are so that when my landlord, for example, goes to the migration service, will understand what needs to be done. And also, you may not be able to answer these questions, where can we find out some details and terms of the registration process? Thank you again very very much for coming here to AmCham.
Postavnin: Thank you very much for understanding and support. It is very important for me to know that you understand our condition. I think all these contacts should continue. Where else can we learn about your problems if not from you? This is important for me.
Now to the point. We have two forms of registration. Migration registration at the place of temporary residence is the simplest form that does not require any documents except a passport, an application and a migration card. That’s all. You will get it all stamped at the post office. It will take as much time as you have to stand in line. The other form is registration at the place of residence. If you buy a flat, you are required to produce documents confirming that this is your property. So it is up to you to choose the form.
The latter is a bit more complex procedure. If you rent a flat, all you need to do is to come to the migration office or a post office with the owner of the flat, fill out a form and mail it, and no one can deny you registration if your passport is valid, and I have no doubt that it is.
Q: Passport also? Do we send? Or just a form?
Postavnin: No. You only need to show your passport. You don’t have to send it at a post office or a police station.
Q: Henry Rothstein. Thank you for coming to answer our questions. I have a somewhat technical question. For an office or a branch of a foreign company in
to file an application for work visas for its foreign employees who have already obtained work permits, they have to apply to accrediting agencies, and these accrediting agencies have to file these appeals for them. But very often accrediting agencies say, you know, we have accredited five of your people and you have received work permits for 25 people and we think we will apply for only five people to come over here for work visas but we will not let you do it for 25 people. In other words, it’s an artificial barrier that is not provided for in legislation because the law allows foreign offices to file these appeals and invite persons who have already received work permit. Will anything change in this regard in the near future? Russia
Postavnin: We have dealt with this problem many times. By the way many of the problems were resolved thanks to Mr. Somers. Let me tell you that I support certain liberalization for the offices of such major companies, and we are addressing these problems. But unfortunately there is another point of view. I have said that we have a draft law that will solve this problem, it’s in the pipe now and I hope it will solve this problem once and for all.
Since I am in charge in labor migration in the Federal Migration Service, I would like to advise you to send your documents to me because as I understand we are talking about Moscow-based firms. Send your documents over and we will consider them. But I assure you, there will be no artificial restrictions or barriers.
Q: Yekaterina Mironova, Philip Morris. You know, we all rejoiced when it was reported a person could simply come and register, and there are no problems with hotels. But if a person rents a flat, he faces big problems. First of all, post offices refuse to receive these notices. I understand that they are not in your jurisdiction, but how can this interagency feudal war be stopped? As for our attempts to file documents at the regional department on our own, in particular we try to file documents at the Tverskoye department, they requested the original of the passport, the migration card, the work permit, a letter from the company, a letter from the DEZ, and that the employee and the owner of the flat should be present in person.
Postavnin: Thank you very much. I know this is true. And I ask you to report these facts to me. I address these issues at our meetings all the time. Just yesterday I prepared a letter of instructions. In order to rule out situations where officials request documents that are not provided for in the law. We will fight this.
Q: What is your fax number? Postavnin: I can give you my telephone number, I don’t remember the fax number. The secretary will give it to you. The number is 698-07-86. I will be very grateful. I hold meetings every week and I will be very grateful. I will demand that every case be investigated, even if it’s not in
Q: I have a practical question. Your promise that the procedure will be simplified reminds me of Chernomyrdin’s words: we wanted to do it as best we can but it turned out as always. While before I simply took the documents of my boss and went to my local DEZ and registered him by paying a certain sum for six months of his stay through a firm in Pokrovka Street, which is related to the Migration Service, now when I go to this firm — they send me over the DEZ to the passport registration office and from their to this firm. The people who work there, it’s their job, they are professionals, but they couldn’t get anything done for three days. They say, We don’t know anything ourselves. We run from office to office in total confusion. I had to use connections to do it. Now he is away from the country and will come again shortly. He is married and has three children. The five of them have been living in
for 10 years. And now each time they fly to Moscow Miamior , I have to run with their passports and get the papers stamped, and if they fail to meet the deadline twice, they will have to pay a fine of 850,000. Israel
Moreover, companies that were happy to make money in this before say now, We don’t want to do it because if you don’t bring the stamped paper back to us we will be penalized. You have simply cornered yourself and us too. Why did you do it? Whose idea was that?
Now tell me what I should do. He has arrived today. I will fill out a card and where should I take it? Should I repeat the same ordeal again? Don’t think that everything is so simple. The lady who spoke before me is right, they will send you on a wild goose chase at the post office. Or should I go to Putin?
Postavnin: You have so talented people.
Q: Talented in a different way. I understand talent differently.
Postavnin: Let me repeat once again that registration at the place of temporary residence requires a passport, an application, a migration card, and a state fee. Nothing else. I see no problems. If workers at a post office — I see, I see what the problem is and I thank you for raising these questions. I will pass them over to the leadership of the Ministry of Communications.
You are right, there were intermediary firms that did this work for a certain reward. In other words, they bypassed the procedures. Your firm may have the money to solve the problem. But most people, migrants who number 10 million, are very poor people and they cannot afford the services of middleman firms. As a result, they became illegals with all the consequence that entails. Yes, in this way we have deprived a whole group of bureaucrats of the possibility to take bribes. Yes, there is some resistance. Actually, there is nothing complex about this procedure.
Q: A practical question. Until last Friday, the companies that were registered at the Federal Migration Service for Moscow at 42 Pokrovka Street could register their staff by producing the registration card and the other documents (notification, passport and so on) as members of that organization. The law says that the host organization can be a legal entity. But beginning from last Friday, if you come to 42 Pokrovka on behalf of the organization and produce the registration card, you will not get registration. And the requirement is that the owner of the flat should show up in person to be the host party. Only working visas are accepted and registered from organizations. All the other visas — if a company employs, let us say, 100 people — and 40 people are invited for negotiations on business visas, then 40 owners of flats should come to 42 Pokrovka and get them registered. Pokrovka is the best case because in a district branch, you will never get passed the Uzbeks, Tajiks who crowd the place, it is impossible even to enter the district office. What can companies do if they are registered themselves to get their employees registered?
Postavnin: It belongs to the same category of questions as previous ones, it is about registration and migration registration. I repeat, we are aware of the problems that you are telling me about. We have been instructed by the government to eliminate these problems which became evident in the process of enforcing these laws. And I promise that these problems will be solved in the near future.
Q: We offer apartments on lease to foreigners. And many questions arise about the host party. That is, who is the host party in this case? Most of our contracts are with companies and the companies then themselves distribute their employees between apartments. But forms in which companies are indicated as host parties are rejected and they demand that these forms be signed by Rosinka which is the owner of the apartments. However, the law does not say it in quite these terms. And we would like to get some clarity.
Postavnin: I understand your question. The law does say in black and white that the host party can be a foreign legal entity. If you have problems, then you can sue these people. This is just a violation of the law.
Somers: Question over here.
Fellowships. Thank you again for coming today. I have a very short and quick question. Thank you again for coming here today. Under the 2004 binational agreement between Centerof International Russiaand , Ukrainians are allowed 90 days to be in the country before registration. The Ukrainian news services are now reporting that under the new law they are affected and the days have been reduced from 90 to 3. Could you, please, clear that up? Ukraine
Postavnin: Yes, the situation with
was curious, though perfectly predictable. Yes, there was a period when they were in a better position than the citizens of Ukraine . That was a discrepancy. Now the problem is being tackled at the diplomatic level because there is a sense that migration registration is a different institution because while registration has remained, the agreement between Russia Russiaand applies only to registration. In short, opinions are divided, intensive consultations are underway at the diplomatic level and a decision is to be arrived soon as to whether to leave the 90 days as before or put them on the same footing as other citizens. Ukraine
. . .
Q: Irina Ladinskaya (?) of the company Cargill. I have a question about the host party. Who is it? For example, a person got an invitation from a company which is in
. He comes to Moscow or perhaps went on to some other cities on business. And we have been confronted with a problem. In the regions, and I am talking about Yefremov, Tula Oblast and the city of Krasnodar, they do not recognize the law at all. They wouldn’t hear about it. They say they still have the registration procedure and they will continue to enforce it. What should we do? For example, there are still cities in which there are no hotels. We have 16 legal entities and we have production facilities in various Russian cities. For example, a person comes to a city and is lodged at our official apartment. It is rented by the company. Who is the host party in this case? Moscow
Postavnin: The city of
, what oblast? Yefremov
Oblast. You know, we even have a notification with a stamp of the Tula Oblast FMS. And notification has been turned down. Tula
Postavnin: How many such incidents in the Tula Oblast can you report?
Q: Well, several.
Postavnin: Okay, I invite the head of the Tula Oblast to my FMS office and I invite you and we will try to settle these issues.
Q: Wonderful, thank you. So, who is the host party?
Postavnin: It’s all in the law, it’s simple.
Q: No, the FMS site in
says that any legal entity any citizen can be the host party. Does it mean that the person who has come with a visa of an organization goes to another city to our partner company — can that other company, a totally different company, which is not indicated in the visa, act as a host party? Moscow
Postavnin: It will be the host party in that particular city. And there is an alternative. Even if they are intransigent, as you say, the firm can send a letter, carried by the individual in question, asking that he be registered at a certain address. The host firm. And that would be enough. Remember, a letter from the host firm. The person can come there by himself, but he should produce a written request of the host party.
Voice: They don’t accept such letters.
Postavnin: I am telling you how it should be according to the law. But laws are broken everywhere, unfortunately.
Voice: They say no, only the owner of the apartment.
Postavnin: Well, you know what I mean.
. . .
Q: Dmitry Filippov, Diamedika. A question about medical examination. Are commercial health institutions allowed to carry out such procedures for persons who apply for residence permits and so on?
Postavnin: This is a different topic. As for migration registration, this topic is most interesting to me as raising the biggest number of problems. I understand this. If you submit your questions in writing, I will be grateful to you. Actually this will contribute to the monitoring of the situation. Based on your questions, we will correct our regulatory acts and bylaws.
In response to your question, this is yet another problem even though Moscow has identified 10 health institutions where a person can take blood tests. A question is now being decided at a high level because the quality of health services in your countries is often as good as that in Russia, and if there is a risk of infection, it certainly not comes from your countries. Besides, the legal culture and law abidance is higher. So I think it would be appropriate if we accept your documents on of one’s health status. We only need to decide on the form. There is a list of such health institutions, but if they do not cope with the flow, we will use our authority to enlarge the list, at least for the category of people you represent here.
Somers: A question right here.
Q: Rexam, Moscow office. Can registration be denied on formal grounds? For example if some inaccuracies were found in the form or if some corrections were made?
Postavnin: No. I am telling you once again, no. Fight for your rights after all.
Q: How? If we come over here and we are told that you have corrected one letter in the form and you will be denied registration.
Postavnin: You have a good command of the Russian language.
Q: And a question about registration through a post office. Our enterprise is registered in the region. Can we register foreigners arriving here on business visas through a post office in Moscow?
Postavnin: I have to think about this and look it up in the law.
Q: We have some problems. People at the post office deny registration and say we do not know addresses —
Postavnin: I don’t know all of it by heart but if I am not mistaken it says a local post office. I repeat again they should not deny registration to you.
Q: Hello, my name is Daniel Klein, I am with a law firm. We specialize in immigration law. And basically the question that I have is that we have lot of our clients give us questions about this new card that everybody is given when they register, an this is in place, I believe, a stamp that goes in the passport and a stamp that goes in the immigration card. And the question we are getting repeatedly, and our research has really revealed absolute confusion both within the law and also in various invitation agencies and so forth, nobody seems to really know what to do with these cards. When we leave the city of Moscow, do we give them back to the invitation agency, do we keep them, shall we keep a photo copy of it and give the original or vice versa? What are we supposed to do with these cards when we leave the city or leave the country? And also for what period, if we leave the city for two days, we have to give it back? Or is it three days? Or is it just as you said ten days, is it ten business days? Can you give some clarification on what we do with these cards?
Postavnin: If I understood you correctly, you were talking about a notification with a registration stamp. If you leave for more than three days and have no plans to come back, the receiving side has to give it back.
. . .
Q: Lilia Kuzova (inaudible)… Russian government resolution 783 of December 22 says that the employer submits an application for labor to authorized agencies every year before May 1. Slightly more than two months are left before the deadline, but no one knows a thing about this. Could you brief us, please.
Postavnin: The document you mentioned was prepared by the Ministry of Health and Social Development which is also a party to the migration process. Since a large package of documents was adopted, there were some flaws. And then I must say there has been a delay in the decision on quotas to regions. At first the idea was to abolish the practice of applications but then gave it up. Perhaps not all know about this in regions. Frankly speaking, I was not in charge of this work. But I can assure you officially that Mikhail Zurabov — we coordinate our work on a weekly basis, summon the heads and representatives of regional administrations to brief them and to hear their reports. Unfortunately all kinds of things happen in our world. Someone claims to have seen Yeti.
Somers: A question in the back.
Q: Chuck Bolin, Alina Consulting Group(?). I want to clarify something. I understand that there is migration reporting and there is migration registration. As far as I understand many foreigners thought that migration registration would replace registration. If for example, I arrive here on a business visa from my employer and live in a rented place. But under the new law we have to do migration reporting in a different place and have to undergo registration at the place of residence anyway. Is this right?
Postavnin: You are not right. As I said, there are two different procedures: registration and migration registration. Registration is for those who owns residential property here or who permanent lives in Russia, I mean foreigners. Migration registration is for those who stay in Russia temporarily. It requires a minimal number of documents. If you live in a rented apartment, the receiving side will be your lessee.
Q: Irina Paisova, a branch of the nonprofit corporation ACTI Worker (sp.), US. A question from the director of our branch. Before the new law on NGOs became effective, our branch was accredited by the State Registration Chamber of the Justice Ministry. Now the new law is in effect and we have been put in the register of NGOs of the Federal Registration Service, and we have thus forfeited the right to accredit our director at the State Registration Chamber. In order to get him a new visa we used the services of the Russian organization Investproekt. They gave him an invitation and he arrived here on a business visa and has to leave Russia in six months in order to come back in again and be registered. How can this question be solved for the directors or representatives of branches and offices?
Postavnin: This is the NGO law. It has caused a controversial reaction in society but I would not link it to migration policy. That’s something different. Unless the issue of the legal status of these organizations is decided, this is a question for them, not for me.
Q: Where should he be registered?
Postavnin: I understand of course that I am here to speak for the whole country.
Q: Thank you for your time and effort to explain things to us. I have several questions. I understand that foreign employees have to obtain work permits if they become employees of a Russian legal entity. In other words, it’s a measure to protect the Russian labor market. But should accredited representatives of foreign firms working here obtain work permits?
And my second question. I understand that the legal status of foreign citizens in Russia is regulated by a large number of laws, for example 110-FZ, 109-FZ, 115-FZ, 114-FZ, government resolutions 335 and 333. And I have just heard that there is government resolution 783. I have also heard that the Code of Administrative Offenses also regulates visa issues. Maybe all these things should be put together in some sort of memo for foreigners who come to Russia for business and so on.
And a third question. I would like you to distinguish between the duties of the receiving side and the inviting side and their responsibilities and penalties to be applied to both for violations of the law.
Postavnin: According to the law, both the receiving and the inviting sides bear the same responsibility. On your second question, I agree with you. Two brochures have already been made, and I think they are quite good. They are thin and I keep them on my desk for reference. I think we should copy them if there is such a need.
On your first question, about what permits, we are moving in circles. As I said, legislation is not quite clear about representative offices. My position is that accredited personnel do not have to obtain work permits, but in some places this is required. And lawyers interpret this differently too. The draft law we are preparing, I am saying this once again, says absolutely clearly that this will not be required.
Somers: I know we have many more questions but unfortunately we are way over time. Mr. Postavnin has an obligation with the government. So Mr. Postavnin, I want to thank you very much for your time here.
Postavnin: Thank you very much and I am sorry if I did not answer some of your questions. (Applause.)Post Views: 536
By Sean — 11 years ago
Most assume that utopianism had all but vanished from the Soviet landscape by the time Brezhnev’s walking corpse stumbled down the Kremlin halls. After all, socialism was all but ossified in content and form. Brezhnev’s speeches sounded like cobbled together phrases lifted from his past speeches. Still among some among the USSR’s aspiring engineers, utopian innovation still stirred the imagination. Take, for example, Viktor K. Gordeyev’s gas powered boots. One day they would, in his words, “become a device for moving humanity.”
Well they didn’t. And though Gordeyev and his colleagues at Ufa State Aviation Technical University showcased the boots to the Soviet Army, which caused them to be classified as a military secret until 1994, in the epoch of Russian capitalism, they found that there is just no market for gas powered boots. Thus, for the NY Times, Gordeyev’s boots are yet one example of Russia’s “inability to convert that talent into useful — and commercial — merchandise outside of the weapons business.”
But back to the boots. I mean who really cares about social-economic symbolism when you have gas powered boots. How do they work you ask?
A step down compresses air in the shoe as in a typical sneaker, said Mr. Enikeev, who was a designer on the project. But then, a tiny carburetor injects gasoline into the compressed air and a spark plug fires it off. Instead of fastening a seat belt, the institute’s test runner, Marat D. Garipov, an assistant professor of engineering, strapped on shin belts at a recent demonstration. Then he flicked an ignition switch.
Before running down a university corridor, he jumped in place a few times to warm up the engine. Mr. Garipov then ran laps for about 10 minutes, going about 12 miles per hour, with the two-stroke boots emitting small puffs of exhaust.
A test runner once topped out at 21.7 miles per hour, despite the risk of being sent off-balance.
The tanks in the shoes hold a third of a cup of gasoline each and will take the runner three miles; that means the boots get about 70 miles per gallon.
Don’t believe the Times? Just watch the running fool in the video above.
But alas the problem with the boots is not just that they “throw a wearer off balance or cause knees to buckle.” It’s that their two pound weight makes it “more tiring to run with the motorized footwear than without it.” So much for moving humanity.
As Anfis G. Saibakov, a former student who demonstrated the boots at Disney World in 1998 told the Times, “They should work like a Kalashnikov. Reliable in anybody’s hands.”Post Views: 694