The Moscow Times reports that the Soviet habit of informing on one’s neighbors is being reborn with vigor in Vladmir Putin’s Russia, starting with the children:
The Federal Migration Service on Monday lauded members of a nationalist youth group for rounding up dozens of illegal foreign workers and turning them over to authorities. Migration service chief Konstantin Romodanovsky told reporters that Mestniye members “really helped” the agency in detaining 72 people attempting to obtain work illegally, Interfax reported. Romodanovsky did not elaborate on the nature of Mestniye’s assistance, but the youth group’s spokesman, Andrei Groznetsky, said activists used subterfuge to blow the whistle on the workers. In a daylong operation Saturday, Mestniye activists pulled up in cars to a market near Yaroslavskoye Shosse in northeast Moscow where migrant workers typically wait for temporary manual labor jobs. “It’s no secret that they hide in groups next to the building materials store near the market looking for work,” Groznetsky said. The driver, posing as a businessman in search of cheap labor to renovate his dacha, would call over three or four foreigners standing nearby and offer them 1,000 rubles each for four hours of work, Groznetsky said. But instead of taking them to the dacha, the driver would then drop the workers off at a nearby migration service office to have their documents checked, he said. “We have close links with the Federal Migration Service and have helped them before,” Groznetsky said.
Created two years ago as a pro-Kremlin youth group, Mestniye has drifted more toward anti-immigration stunts in line ideologically with the ultranationalist Movement Against Illegal Immigration. This summer Mestniye activists distributed fliers urging Russians not to take taxi rides in cars driven by illegal immigrants. The flier showed a picture of a young blond woman refusing a ride from a leering, dark-skinned driver. Romodanovsky defended the use of the Mestniye activists in cracking down on illegal immigration, despite the fact that they can occasionally be “very combative.” “If they are utilized wisely, they can be useful,” Romodanovsky said at the news conference.