In a recent development that underscores the ongoing efforts to manage migrant labor in the city, local law enforcement authorities have conducted a thorough operation at a vegetable warehouse, uncovering the employment of nearly 400 foreign citizens. According to official reports emanating from state media channels on Wednesday, the operation not only shed light on the scale of foreign labor in the city but also revealed an intriguing aspect of integration into Russian society.
Sources within the Kremlin-operated news agency Tass have revealed that the operation, carried out over a span of two days, exposed a unique enforcement procedure now being employed by law enforcement officials. Under this procedure, foreign individuals who have obtained Russian citizenship are directed to a military enlistment office as part of the migration raid process. The rationale behind this approach, as cited by the Main Directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia for St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, is to streamline the registration of these newly minted Russian citizens for military service.
This innovative step comes on the heels of a series of legislative measures introduced in Russia following the commencement of President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. One of the most significant instances of this legislative push was a decree signed by Putin in March, facilitating a simplified path to Russian citizenship for foreign nationals who commit to a one-year military service contract during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Valery Fadeev, Chairman of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council, has advocated for a synchronized process whereby foreign nationals obtaining Russian passports are simultaneously registered with the military. As Tass reported on its Telegram channel, Fadeev emphasized that this dual registration is essential to ensure that these individuals fulfill their military obligations. The alternative, he purportedly warned, could lead to oversight and non-enlistment.
In a broader context, St. Petersburg has emerged as a focal point of intensified efforts to regulate and monitor migrant labor. Recent weeks have witnessed a series of targeted raids aimed at identifying and addressing illegal labor practices. On August 1, more than a hundred undocumented migrants were apprehended at wholesale markets in the city’s Frunzensky district, according to Tass. Subsequently, in another operation earlier this month, over 300 migrant workers were detained in a wholesale business.
In a subsequent incident, the attention of law enforcement was drawn to the Apraksin Dvor district, resulting in the detention of around 700 individuals. The aim of this operation was to ensure compliance with legal immigration and labor standards within the city.
In a detailed breakdown of the most recent developments, a spokesperson from the St. Petersburg Police Department disclosed to Tass that out of the 482 individuals apprehended in the most recent operation, 140 have been referred to migration services, while 22 remain under custody at the police station. However, specifics regarding the involvement of migrants detained in earlier raids in St. Petersburg, this month, with the military enlistment offices have yet to be clarified.
These successive operations and evolving enforcement procedures underscore the evolving landscape of immigration and labor management in St. Petersburg, reflecting broader efforts by Russian authorities to align societal integration with national defense priorities.