In Russia Mass Deportations Of Muslim Migrants Surge After Moscow Terror Attack

In Russia Mass Deportations Of Muslim Migrants Surge After Moscow Terror Attack
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There have been widespread reports of mass deportations of Muslim migrants from Russia in the wake of the March 22 terror attack on the Crocus City Hall venue in a Moscow suburb which killed at least 140 people and left hundreds more wounded and injured.

This trend is said to be the result of a significant uptick in raids by authorities on apartments and dorm complexes known to house Central Asian migrants, amid concerns that Islamic radicals could carry out more attacks.

President Vladimir Putin has put blame on Islamic extremists for the major attack which involved four gunmen planting explosives and randomly shooting into crowds; however, he and Kremlin officials also believe the men had assistance from Ukraine or possibly US or other foreign intelligence.

The alleged gunmen, who reportedly tried to escape across the Ukrainian border, are all Tajik nationals. A number of other foreigners have also been arrested in the days after the attack. Washington has said ISIS-K was behind it, while condemning Moscow’s allegations that the US or Ukraine could have had something to do with it.

The regional pro-opposition outlet Meduza has said that in the last week of March, St. Petersburg courts “received 584 cases of administrative offenses in connection with non-compliance with migration legislation.”

The report indicated that at least 418 foreigners were then ordered to go to special holding facilities to await expulsion from the country. “Another 48 people must pay a fine and leave the Russian Federation on their own,” Meduza wrote.

An organization of human right lawyers who work in Russia, Perviy Otdelobserved in a statement Friday that in the St. Petersburg region, “Temporary detention centers for foreign citizens are packed, surrounded by special vehicles and buses heading to the airport.”

The Amsterdam-based Moscow Times linked the surge in deportations to the Crocus City Hall terror attack:

The countries where the migrants were being sent to were not specified, though it is known that labor migrants in Russia mostly hail from poor Central Asian countries.

Bailiffs reportedly refer to St. Petersburg’s mass deportations as “Operation Anti-Migrant,” with raids targeting local hostels and apartments. Similar raids were reported in Moscow and other Russian cities.

Anti-immigrant sentiment surged after four gunmen — who were later identified as Tajik nationals — stormed Crocus City Hall last Friday, killing 144 people and injuring 382 in the shooting and massive fire at the popular concert venue.

The backlash against Russia’s sizeable Tajik immigrant community is expected to grow. Recent years have seen over one million unemployed Tajiks enter Russia in search of work.

A separate Moscow Times report has found that “Between 2012 and 2018, over 2,000 Tajik citizens joined terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq, making Tajikistan the third highest sender of foreign fighters to the war on a per capita basis.”

The report continues: “Most joined Islamic State, with some taking up key positions, including the group’s War Minister Gulmurod Halimov, who used to serve as head of Tajikistan’s OMON paramilitary police force.” This means Russia’s monitoring of and crackdown on this migrant community is likely only to grow from this point.

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