25 January 2004, 14:58
The Condition of Meskhetian Turks in the Krasnodar Territory and the Territorial Government Migration Policy
This review was drawn up by the Human Rights Center Memorial as part of the project "Development of mechanisms to counteract ethnic discrimination in the Krasnodar region"; it is based on results of monitoring in the region, as well as media and news agency files. The quoted media outlets are listed at the end of the review.
On May 13, Prizyv newspaper based in Krymsk, Krasnodar region, Russia, published an address to Alexander Tkachev, regional head of administration, and Mr. Beketov, chairman of the Krasnodar regional legislature, from the chairman of the Deputies Council of Krymsk and the Krymsk district (adopted at the Council's meeting on April 23, 2003, decision N280). The address claims in particular that "the biggest problems are connected with illegal, temporary, thirteen-year long residence of Meskhetian Turks in the district. The Turk leaders with the assistance of human rights organizations seek to lead their compatriots away from their main goal - departure to their historic homeland in Georgia - and orient them towards settlement in the Krymsk district forever... Incessant conflict situations between the Meskhetian Turks and the native population, as well as representatives of the Cossacks threaten development into interethnic conflicts... Over a series of years, the native population has firmly and insistently demanded that the Meskhetian Turks should be resettled from the Kuban territory... we ask for you direct involvement in decision-making aimed at removal of the Meskhetian community beyond the Krymsk district and the Kuban area in the shortest time possible."
The files in Komsomolskaya Pravda Kuban newspaper of July 8, 9 and 10, 2003, "Russians to revere Koran, eat rice with chopsticks?" describe the situation with the Meskhetian Turks: "About 15,000 Turks are concentrated practically in the only, Krymsk district of the Krasnodar region. Those officially registered are 721. The rest have no passports, nor registrations, nor military ID - so the local government tries to fight them. 'No one wants to live with the Turks, even the Muslim Uzbeks ousted them!' Cossacks joke. 'So why are we worse then?' this is apparently their implication. The disgust with which they describe how Turks 'desecrated' the local Culture House can be traced back to physiology..." Then it is about one local school: "Turkish children presently study separately in special Turkish classes. This division, as head master Liudmila Kan assures, was introduced not to hinder development of Russian schoolchildren, a level more advanced. As a result, the small Turks who were born and have grown up in Russia have the same command of the Russian language as of Latin. They do understand, but as for answering... 'Is their native language taught in these classes?' I asked the head master naively. 'Wha-a-at?' she asks back, indignantly. Her indignation can be understood: three of the four first classes this year are Turkish... Approximately the same system is used at school in Erik, Apsheronsk district, where there are two classes for children with 'arrested development' in which Khemshili and Turkish children are grouped. They make a total of 27."
Some Krymsk businesspeople went on hunger-strike in the central marketplace of the district consumer society on June 26. This move was linked with conditions in which the marketplace administration put the businesspeople; the traders did not raise the "national issue." However, it became known that some Cossacks had made an offer to the businesspeople on June 16: if the businesspeople helped the Cossacks remove Meskhetian Turks from the marketplace and raise the "national issue," the Cossacks would facilitate solution of their problems. The people did not agree to such a deal. Krymsk-based Electron newspaper allocated a part of its front page to a paragraph titled Our Marketplace Possibly Growing 'Cheaper'? on June 21: "Passions are still running high over the Krymsk food marketplace. A group of businesspeople, some Meskhetian Turks among them, are trying in every way to step up passions, continuing to stir up trouble, so to speak, trying to organize a sort of opposition." Thus, the Krymsk press made another attempt to set the public opinion against the Meskhetian Turks alleged to be to blame for the conflict between the businesspeople and the marketplace administration. However, the Turks did not appear in the regional media coverage of the situation in Krymsk.
Three stop complexes in different parts of Krasnodar heard explosions on August 25. Experts found out that the coverless explosive assemblies of 200 to 400 gm of trinitrotoluene equivalent had been filled with iron screw-nuts and metal plates. Four residents of Krasnodar died because of the terrorist acts, more than 20 people were wounded, and many had to apply for psychological aid. After the explosions, the authorities again came back to the topic of migration. Obviously, migrants remain key suspects of terrorist acts for the regional leadership. Izvestia Yug newspaper published an interview with Alexander Tkachev, regional governor, on August 29: "When answering the question of a resident why the tough line was suspended in the regional government's nationalities policy, including their promises to deport illegal migrants, the governor emotionally promised this policy would probably be continued... Alexander Tkachev had also raised the same subject - of the need to continue the tough line in respect of illegal migrants - in his report at an expanded meeting of the regional Security Council on August 27."
In early September, at a meeting with counter-terrorist headquarters members, the governor claimed the recent explosions in Krasnodar were "the handiwork of scoundrels who came from the outside." According to the governor, "the population in a series of districts is literally groaning because of the domination of 'aliens' that do not want to consider either our culture, or traditions, or indigenes' rights... The Kuban area is not the homeland for those people, but a place for profiteering and carrying out their selfish plans. They should be stripped of the opportunity to gain a strong foothold in the region. The current practice gives no desired effects when hundreds of thousands of foreign 'guests' are 'walking' where they like and just 26 people a year are deported. We ought to use all force of law to evict illegal migrants from the region." (Kuban Segodnia, N185-186, September 5, 2003).
The governor's tough statements yielded results very soon. The number of detentions and cases of violence on the part of police in respect of migrants soared in the region. The press published decision N13\191\709 of August 26, 2003, "On the implementation of the Emergency Commission's August 26, 2003, decision N12\785\702 and measures for further improvement of counteraction to terrorism in the city of Krasnodar." In particular, its paragraph 2.2 prescribes to "continue inspection of hostels in the city of Krasnodar as regards revealing persons residing with violations of the passport regime and visa regime. Measures must be taken for immediate deportation of the stated category. Results must be summed up in a report by 6 p.m. August 27, 2003."
Alexander Tkachev delivered a statement in a live broadcast on regional television channels on July 3. The governor did not answer human rights advocates' questions; he called the Meskhetian Turks a "dangerous" nation and confirmed information about "deportation camps" being established. In doing so, Mr. Tkachev asked "not to consider him a Nazi." As an example of migrants' expansion in the region, the governor referred to a certain school in which 600 of the 1,400 students were non-natives."
September 17. By a decision of the Cossack Assembly, an order of the ataman of the Pavlovsky district Cossacks, and proceeding from the Krasnodar regional government's target program for protection of public order and measures for prevention of illegal migration and control of residence registration in the Kuban area, a three-person office for control of migration processes is set up in Pavlovskaya, as well as a mobile unit of five Cossacks. Their duty consists in "rigorous control of migration processes in the district" and of migrants' registration. Such activities will be carried out on the basis of the law and in close cooperation with police representatives. The district Cossacks are already addressing their fellow countrymen with a request to report on all facts of "strange people's" stay and their negative behavior in stanitsas [Cossack villages - trans.], settlements and farms.
When answering the questions of Rostov.ru agency on September 18, Governor Tkachev again presented his standpoint on migration problems in the region: "...They try to make a xenophobe and a nationalist of me - this is the 'contribution' of the liberal press and those human rights advocates who are surprisingly color-blind: they 'understand the difficulties' of newcomers, even those who make an attempt on our life, but for some reason they absolutely ignore Kuban area native residents' rights and interests. Any denial on the part of the local government whose opportunities in settling down migrants are very limited, one should say, is portrayed as 'purposeful' policy. Any conflict in everyday life is blown up and extrapolated to the interethnic plane. Underway is unscrupulous substitution for concepts. After all, ethnic intolerance is absolutely non-typical for our region where representatives of 126 peoples live in peace and harmony."
"...Every year, the Kuban area's native population decreases in number: Russians, Adygeys, Ukrainians, Belarusians. At the same time, the number of Armenians and Kurds has grown by 38%, Assyrians by 64%, Georgians by 43%... If it goes the same way further, too, the ethnic structure of the population in the area will in ten years change drastically and we can get another Chechnya because of the smallest destabilization of the situation. The biggest concern... is illegal migration. Up to 0.4 million people live in the region without registrations. This makes the situation extremely tense. According to police information, there are about 150 gangs in the region, a lot of them made up chiefly of illegal migrants. We have been and will be conducting an uncompromising fight against violations of migratory laws. No 'theoreticians' will lead us astray."
"...We had hardly made first steps to bring order to migration when we came to be under cross-fire of Russian and foreign media. At once, we heard angry reproaches of 'advocates' that protect the rights of anybody but the right of the Russian man to be the master of its land. Measures for revealing illegal migrants are categorically proclaimed 'ethnic purges.' The Kuban Cossacks establishing order in their home are called 'racists.' Influential international forces are interested in a migration chaos in Russia. People who have to be looking for a shelter are easily drawn into various political provocations or set against local authorities. We had something like that in the Krymsk district a year ago - a group of Meskhetian Turks went on hunger strike right when a destructive flood was in full swing, putting forward knowingly impracticable demands. It is clear that such speculations on common trouble cannot lead to good."
"...After the well-known events in Fergana, the USSR Council of Ministers' June 26, 1989, decree determined for the Meskhetian Turks residence in the Non-chernozem area and a series of regions in Central Russia. But all of a sudden 13,500 Meskhetian Turks appeared in the Kuban area like a bolt from the blue. The people of Kuban felt sympathy with the migrants and helped them at first. They thought the 'guests' would soon continue their way. Far from that... Now, following the orders of their leaders, they demand naturalization in Russia. However, this matter is beyond the regional government's jurisdiction. And the people of Kuban, too, no longer wish to tolerate the neighbors that live in a secluded manner and remain alien. The way out appears to be in the resettlement of the Meskhetian Turks to their historic homeland, to Georgia, or if they like, to Turkey."
October 13. (Regnum news agency). An analytical report on the subject "Systematic violation of human rights in the Krasnodar territory worsens Russia's investment attractiveness," drawn up by the Novorossiysk Committee on Human Rights for members of the economic forum Kuban-2003, over the day before, and other potential investors.
The Russian President on the Meskhetian Turks' destiny
October 3. (ITAR-TASS). In Krasnodar, President Vladimir Putin of Russia met with Great Patriotic War veterans and representatives of the Kuban Cossacks. The Russian president said the Meskhetian Turks living in Russia have the right to return to their historic homeland, Georgia. This issue had repeatedly been discussed with the leadership of that state. "However, they are not yet ready to solve that problem," said Putin, and he added that Tbilisi referred to domestic problems at that. "Yet, justice must prevail in this matter," observed the president. In this connection, he also reminded that Russia, in spite of many difficulties, was purposefully settling the issue of repatriation of compatriots. The head of state called on the Georgian authorities for solving their domestic problems to settle the matter in question. "However, as long as the Meskhetian Turks are living in Russia, they must live normally and observe our laws," emphasized Vladimir Putin.
Discussion of the Meskhetian Turks' destiny in Georgia
October 9, Tbilisi. President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan arrives on a two-day official visit to Georgia... Georgian analysts take special interest in the forthcoming discussion by Karimov and Shevardnadze of the issue of the Meskhetian Turks' return to Georgia. Last week, this issue was raised by Vladimir Putin; it is also considered by the Council of Europe.
October 16. (Regnum). On the threshold of parliamentary elections in Georgia, various political forces in the country again raised the issue of the Meskhetian Turks' resettlement. A special position on this matter is taken by Jumber Patiashvili, head of the Ertoba ("Unity") election bloc. Tamaz Gobedzishvili, a bloc representative, claimed in particular that compact residence of Meskhetian Turks at least in one settlement of the region will lead to centers of destabilization emerging in it, while in Javakhketi this will create "separatist moods. The demand to settle the Meskhetian Turks in districts neighboring Turkey gives reasons for thought. I don't think this demand meets national security interests," emphasized Gobedzishvili. He accused the Georgian authorities of shortsightedness and stressed that Georgia could lose part of its territory under such circumstances.
The Meskhetian Turks' problems with registration, granting of citizenship, and issue and renewal of personal documents
The issue of Meskhetian Turks' registration, even as temporary residents, is not settled in the region. Thus, no response has been received since late July 2003 from the Krymsk District Internal Affairs Authority (DIAA) to the addresses of a number of residents of Nizhnebakansky whose temporary registration expired in July 2003. At the same time, Krymsk district judges continue to evade considering Meskhetian Turks' applications for establishment of the fact of residence and overruling the Passport and Visa Service's refusal to issue Russian passports or register in permanent residence, in the houses they own.
In his annual report for 2002, the Envoy for Human Rights in the Krasnodar region mentions problems linked with citizens' registration, too. The registration procedure is regulated by regional law N460-KZ "On stay and residence in the Krasnodar region" and by the regional governor's decree N676 "On reinforcement of state control over migration processes and ensuring of protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens residing in the Krasnodar region." However, the two documents contradict federal legislation in a lot of provisions. The Envoy observes:
"The mentioned acts set tougher restrictions on stay and residence in the region. Unfortunately, they do not provide for distinct differentiation between Russian citizens and other migrants. Let's examine several provisions from them as an example.
Thus, article 6 of the law limits registration in the place of stay to six months, while federal legislation does not provide for such terms.
The decree and article 14 of the law provide for an institution which is not provided in the federal legislation - Regional Commission for Migration Control - which is set up to decide on questions related to granting the right to stay and residence in towns and villages of the Krasnodar region.
A vivid example of this is the application of Mrs. P. residing with her husband in the Krasnoarmeisky district; before her marriage and move, she had lived in the North. The owners of the house - her husband's parents - are not against her registration in their habitation. The Commission denied the applicant registration without good reason. In a conversation, she supposed the reason for the denial was her belonging to an ethnic minority.
Quite often, the Commission denies registration with reference to article 12 of the law which determines the living space standard for all rooms, which contradicts federal legislation.
There are other contradictions, which results in ungrounded restrictions on exercising of civil rights.
The law also sets rules that regulate residence of foreign citizens in the Krasnodar region in a way different from the new federal legislation."
On July 30, 2003, Ms. M., a Turk, lodged an application addressed to the head of administration of the Varenikovsky village circuit, in which she asked to issue her a reference as to the crops she had in her kitchen garden (such references are required to sell the products). As a rule, local government institutions deny Meskhetian Turks such references for some formal reasons. In this case, the denial was motivated by absence of registration.
The houses of the Meskhetian Turks that suffered flood in the summer of 2002 were not included in the reconstruction list. The motivation was: "In accordance to regulating documents, houses acquired through unregistered deals by stateless persons, including Meskhetian Turks, cannot be included in the reconstruction list" (from the September 9, 2002, letter of Mr. Rybin, head of administration of the Krymsk region, to the Novorossiysk Committee on Human Rights).
Miss A (b. in 1988), residing in the Krymsk district, applied for legal advice on the denial of a passport at the age of 14. The official reply of Mr. Shumitsky, chief of the Krymsk DIAA, to Miss A's application says it appears impossible to determine her status because no relevant legal acts have been passed.
On September 9, 2003, at about 10 a.m. three police officers came by a vehicle to the house of Ms. Yu. residing in Pokrovka, Krymsk district, and asked her to show her passport. They seized the passport on the pretext that she had no registration. One of the officers made out a writ without observing the established form. No document seizure statement was drawn up. Ms. Yu. was verbally prescribed to present herself on September 10 at 9 a.m. to the immigration inspection office in Krymsk. However, Ms. Yu. did not go to the police because other Meskhetian Turks whose passports had been seized had faced a demand of filling in migration card forms to have their passports back.
A complaint was lodged to the Krymsk inter-district prosecutor's office about the police officers' unlawful acts. The reply of the prosecutor's office on October 24, 2003, says: "An examination has established that in seizing the passport on September 9, 2003, the inspector of the Krymsk district immigration inspection office violated requirements of article 27.10 of the Code of Administrative Offences of the Russian Federation." It also says: "In connection with the mentioned violations of the law, a resolution has been filed on October 23, 2003, to the Krymsk district immigration inspection office on elimination of the revealed violations of the law and holding of the guilty persons accountable."
In September, some cases of psychological pressure were registered on the part of police officers when some Meskhetian Turks were stopped for checking of their documents, sent to a police station, and released from there in several hours; no charges were produced at that, and no reports were drawn up. Detainees often make no claims about that, because they think they "rather made good their escape."
The action for checking of migration cards began in early September. Brigades of two to eight people from among the police, migration service, and Passport and Visa Service were established in the Krymsk and Abinsk districts, Krasnodar region. People in uniforms visited about 20 Meskhetian-Turk families in Kholmskaya, Abinsk district. The brigades went round houses and checked documents in marketplaces and organizations, at workplaces.
Coming to a marketplace, the law enforcement officers demanded that the Meskhetian Turks who had no registration should stop trade. They also demanded that organization heads dismiss Meskhetian Turks without a registration.
When checking the house documents of a Meskhetian Turk without a registration, they drew up a statement and often seized personal ID. Having one's document back required paying a fine of 500 to 1,000 rubles, and in doing so, Meskhetian Turks were given deceitful promises that their residence in the region would be legalized, so they were forced to fill in migration card forms thereby. If they refused, brigade members threatened to seize their valuables or cattle.
A police unit was checking the house documents of Ms. L., b. in 1969, on September 23, 2003. Since she had no migration card, nor registration, they threatened to take away her TV set which it turned out was out of order, and her cow. The police drew up a statement and seized her passport, saying she would not have the document back unless she paid 500 rubles. Other Meskhetian Turks in Kholmskaya also heard such threats addressed to them.
In a personal conversation T.Svanidze had with the Abinsk prosecutor about the situation with illegal seizure of passports from Meskhetian Turks, it turned out the prosecutor had no such information, but he confirmed that such seizures were illegal and inadmissible. According to T.Svanidze, the situation in Kholmskaya with medical aid to Meskhetian Turks without medical insurance policies has worsened since September. At a personal meeting with a department chief of the Kholmskaya hospital, she said she had no right to provide medical aid without relevant documents. Because Meskhetian Turks basically have no registration, or at best the family head alone has it, it is women and children that are chiefly affected in their rights to medical aid.
Ms. Z., a citizen of the former USSR, was forced to leave Uzbekistan because of an interethnic conflict. She has currently permanently resided in Nizhnebakansky, Krymsk district, since May 1989, together with her husband, a Russian citizen, which is confirmed by references from the village circuit administration. In July 1990, the Krymsk vital records registered the birth of her child. In July 2003, Ms. Z. had to receive a migration card because of a need to make a trip beyond the Krasnodar region. After her following application to the Passport and Visa Service chief for renewal of her passport, Ms. Z. received this answer: "It is established that you are registered in the place of stay for three months from July 30, 2003, as a stateless person." On that basis, she was denied renewal of her passport and recommended application for a residence permit.
The circumstances and time of arrival of the M. couple to the Krasnodar region are analogous to the above-stated. The M. lodged applications for renewal of their passports to the Krymsk internal affairs authority and confirmed the fact of their permanent residence in Russia before February 6, 1992, with the birth certificates of their children issued by the Krymsk vital records on September 10, 1990, and March 21, 1992. They were denied renewal of their passports because the applicants had no supplements to their passports mentioning their citizenship or residence registration stamps as of February 6, 1992.
The Sh., a Meskhetian-Turk family of five, reside in Kubanskaya, Apsheronsk district. Migration service officers seized their passports without doing any paperwork, about which complaints were drawn up addressed to Captain Aushev, active migration affairs chief for the Apsheronsk district at the Krasnodar Regional Internal Affairs Authority. The grievances were also reported at a personal meeting with the mentioned official. After the report of the grievances and explanation of the consequences of the illegal actions, the applicants received their passports back.
The A., a family of six, are residents of Kubanskaya. With respect to these persons, migration affairs officers of the Krasnodar Regional Internal Affairs Authority drew up reports on the administrative offence provided by article 18.8 of the Russian Code of Administrative Offences, expressed in the fact that as stateless persons they reside in the region without registrations.
On October 6, 2003, Ms. R. was detained with no documents on her at a road patrol service post in Verkhnebakansky. She was kept at the local station from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. She was threatened delivery to the Sochi filtration point for deportation. They did not demand bribes from her and let her go without drawing up reports.
Changes in the regional migration legislation in 2003 and their consequences for the Meskhetian Turks
On August 30, 2003, Kubanskie Novosti newspaper published the Krasnodar regional governor's August 13, 2003, decree N787 "On measures for regulation of migration processes and ensuring of protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens residing in the Krasnodar region." This decree declared invalid the following decrees of the regional governor: of June 18, 2002, N676 "On reinforcement of state control over migration processes and ensuring of protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens residing in the Krasnodar region"; and of October 21, 2002, N1201 "On introduction of amendments and additions to June 18, 2002, decree of the Krasnodar regional head of administration N676 'On reinforcement of state control over migration processes and ensuring of protection of the rights and legitimate interests of Russian citizens residing in the Krasnodar region'." According to the new decree, migration control commissions are preserved in the Krasnodar region, and it is indicated that the Regional Commission is set up with a view to consider inquiries from the Krasnodar Regional Internal Affairs Authority in respect of foreign citizens and stateless persons on providing of information about the existence or absence of grounds preventing from issuing them permissions for temporary residence and residence permits, considering the opinion of district (town) migration control commissions. Mr. Sidorenko, deputy head of administration of the Krasnodar region, is appointed chairman of the Regional Migration Control Commission. The Approximate Provision on the district (town) migration control commission indicates that it is set up with a view to preliminary consideration within two weeks of inquiries produced by the Regional Migration Control Commission in respect of foreign citizens and stateless persons. The commission will also receive information about the existence or absence of grounds preventing from issuing permissions for temporary residence and residence permits.
Thus, from August 30, 2003, Russian citizens do not formally fall under the jurisdiction of this institution and issues of their registration in residence must not depend on decisions that prevented any "foreigner" from legal residence in the region. Nonetheless, Mr. R., a Meskhetian Turk, who owned a duly registered dwelling house in Nizhnebakansky, Krymsk district, as well as a note in his passport about his Russian citizenship, when he lodged an application to the Passport and Visa Service for registration of the mentioned house as his family's permanent residence, was sent to obtain agreement from the Krymsk district migration control commission. To his complaint with the Krymsk district prosecutor's office on September 11, 2003, Mr. R. received an answer signed by Mr. Shelkovnikov, acting Krymsk inter-district prosecutor, that the demand of the commission's agreement was lawful and based on article 14 of the Krasnodar regional law N460-KZ.
The Migration Control Provision of Krasnodar, approved by the Krasnodar head of administration's September 23, 2002, Order N1610, in spite of the amendments introduced by Order 2008 of August 20, 2003, still preserves some functions of the commission that contradict federal legislation and explanations of Russia's Constitutional Court. Such functions include: consideration of applications for registration in residence of Russian citizens arriving in Krasnodar from beyond the Krasnodar region when living space standards per person are not observed; consideration of applications for extension of registration in the place of stay to Russian citizens for more than 180 days and foreign citizens and stateless persons for more than 90 days; provisional consideration of issues related to the granting of the right to residence in Russia to foreign citizens and stateless persons having family members in the city and willing to live in their residence; provisional consideration of issues related to the granting of the right to permanent residence in Russia to foreign citizens and stateless persons that own accommodation in the city; finalization of alienation contracts for accommodation in Krasnodar with persons arriving from beyond the Krasnodar region.
The "Rules of registration of persons temporarily residing in the city of Krasnodar" attached to the mentioned Provision also preserve provisions that registration of Russian citizens is carried out by the Passport and Visa Service units of the Krasnodar City Internal Affairs Authority for no longer than six months at a time. Extension of registration for up to 180 days is carried out on the basis of the Migration Control Commission's decision. Foreign citizens, stateless persons, and Russian citizens arriving from Chechnya are registered in the place of stay for 90 days at a time by the Passport and Visa Service of the Krasnodar City Internal Affairs Authority. Extension of registration for up to 90 days is carried out only on the basis of the Migration Control Commission's decision. Mr. Khlevnoi, deputy head of administration of Krasnodar, was appointed chairman of the City Migration Control Commission.
Federal migration service units of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry have been shaped in the region. A migration affairs office has been established at the Regional Internal Affairs Authority, headed by Mr. Tsukanov. It is situated at 176 ul. Krasnaya, Krasnodar, 350020. An inter-district migration control office has been set up in Krymsk with jurisdiction over Krymsk and the districts of Krymsk, Abinsk, Temriuk, Slaviansk-on-Kuban, and Krasnoarmeiskaya. Lieutenant-Colonel Kuravlev is the chief, Major Volkova is the deputy chief. Captain Aushev is the chief of the migration control authority's office in the Apsheronsk district.
In September 2003, officers of the Krymsk migration service began actively reporting administrative offenses by Meskhetian Turks, provided by article 18.8 of Russia's Code of Administrative Offences - "Violation by a foreign citizen or a stateless person of the regime of residence in the Russian Federation." The violations consist in that Meskhetian Turks reside without registrations. They are currently denied registration even as temporary residents; it is demanded that they receive migration cards where the status of the recipient is already marked as "stateless person," and the date of arrival to Russia is marked as the date of registration of the application for issue of a migration card. When people who have received migration cards apply for Russian passports, they face a denial with reference to the application they signed when they received migration cards.
On September 11, local administration and police representatives seized the passports of the tenants of four houses in Varenikovskaya, Krymsk district, where more than 800 Meskhetian Turks live, promising to give the documents back when the Turks fill in migration cards. About 20 people were detained in Apsheronsk, their documents seized from their houses. Two people were detained in the Anapa district and two in Novorossiysk. The ground for detention was residence without registrations and a refusal to fill in migration cards. The detainees were fined 500-1,000 rubles. The leaders from Nizhnebakanskaya, Messrs. Teodorov and Mamadaliev, were detained, too. Mamadaliev was fined 1,000 rubles, Teodorov 500 rubles. The leaders lodged complaints with a court. Fifty people filed statements about similar detention by police officers to the public organization Vatan.
Justice Kopaeva, Krymsk District Court, ignored on August 22, 2003, Ms. G.'s statement that she disagreed with the refusal of the Krymsk Passport and Visa Service to renew her passport; in doing so, Kopaeva demanded that G. provide "evidence that the stated grievances are well-grounded," in particular her permanent registration in the Krymsk district and Russian citizenship. All this was in spite that G. had enclosed a copy of her passport with the stamp of the Krymsk DIAA's Passport and Visa Service about her permanent registration in the Krymsk district. The Board of Justices on Civil Cases at the Krasnodar Regional Court left this obviously unlawful decision unchanged and the complaint disallowed.
The R. couple lives in Nizhnebakansky where they own a house, the ownership being duly registered to the R. Both can provide evidence of their Russian citizenship (the husband has a note in his passport of 1974 about his citizenship in accordance with article 18 of the Russian law "On citizenship" of 1991-95; the wife has a Russian passport issued on September 25, 2001, by the DIAA of Mtsensk, Orel region). However, when they applied to the Krymsk Passport and Visa Service for registration of the mentioned house as their permanent residence, they faced a violation of the federal law in the form of a demand of permission for registration from the Krymsk district migration control commission. The R. lodged a complaint with the Krymsk District Court against these actions of the Krymsk DIAA chief. However, Justice Gusikhin refused to consider the R.'s complaint and turned it down. His statement indicates this: "You have not produced evidence (a document) to the court that would confirm observation of the pre-trial settlement procedure. The letter of the Krymsk DIAA chief contains no direct refusal to register, but indicates recommendations to fulfill the procedure to obtain permission for registration which you did not observe. Permission from the Krasnodar regional migration commission is required for registration because as a husband and wife you are registered in different regions of Russia (Orel region and Khabarovsk region)." The R. appealed against this decision. When the case was heard on September 4, 2003, by the Board of Justices on Civil Cases of the Krasnodar Regional Court, without any arguments the mentioned decision was left unchanged, and the appeal was not allowed. Upon receipt of the duly attested copies of the trial acts on this case, they plan complaints - by way of review proceedings - with the Presidium of the Krasnodar Regional Court.
Legal practice in 2003 provides for an example of positive settlement in court of Meskhetian Turks' complaints against being illegally held accountable. Thus, Justice Pironkov, Krymsk District Court, having considered files from the Krymsk DIAA on an administrative offence by A. under article 18.8 of the Code of Administrative Offences, on July 21, 2003, terminated proceedings on the case because A.'s actions did not provide for the offence. In doing so, the judge indicated the following in his resolution: "In spite that A. is really a stateless person as this notion is defined by Law of the Russian Federation N115-FZ of July 25, 2002, 'On the legal status of foreign citizens in the Russian Federation' - he is not a Russian citizen and has not confirmed a foreign citizenship - the judge believes it premature to apply the above-mentioned law to him as a stateless person, in particular to demand that he receive a migration card. The matter under discussion - the legal status of the Meskhetian Turks - is currently being settled at federal and regional levels, and it has not been resolved completely." The resolution also says that since the trial proved that A. presented himself to the Passport and Visa Service to obtain a registration in the place of stay, i.e. he was fulfilling his duty, he is not guilty of residence without a registration. The judge even recommended that the Passport and Visa Service of the Krymsk DIAA extend A.'s registration in the place of stay without charging him to receive a migration card before the Meskhetian Turks' status was determined federally. The resolution in question was not appealed and came into legal effect.
Mr. I.'s five underage daughters together with their parents, citizens of the former USSR, had to leave Uzbekistan, and since 1989 they have permanently resided in Nizhnebakansky, Krymsk district. They never made statements about their unwillingness to be Russian citizens. Their father has a Russian passport and owns a house with a duly registered ownership in which he is registered as permanently resident since May 15, 1989. The fact of permanent residence in Russia as of February 6, 1992, is confirmed by a reference from the village circuit administration and references from Nizhnebakansky's school where his daughters studied from September 1, 1989, to May 25, 1996. In spite that they all came of age, no passports were issued to them. Having filed an official statement to the chief of the Krymsk DIAA, they received a standard answer that indicates a refusal to recognize them as Russian citizens because the applicants together with their mother were not registered when the November 28, 1991, law "On citizenship of the Russian Federation" came into effect. Their status is defined as stateless persons, and it is recommended that they receive a migration card and settle the question of permission for temporary residence.
The applicants appealed against this refusal to the Krymsk District Court. However, Justice Gusikhin, without even holding a pre-trial hearing, did not allow the action to proceed on the ground that the applicants had not produced evidence of their Russian citizenship and permanent registration in residence in the Krymsk district. This resolution obviously violates requirements of article 131 of Russia's Civil Procedure Code which directly indicates that the applicant must enclose with his application to court only the documents that confirm the circumstances from which he proceeds in his demands; in the matter under discussion, this requirement had been met in full. Besides, articles 149-150 of the Code provide for the duty of the court at the pre-trial stage to obtain on demand, as solicited by the party, additional evidence which the party cannot obtain independently. So in this connection, lawyer Gaidash prepared 5 appeals to a higher court.
The F., a Meskhetian-Turk family of five, residents of the Apsheronsk district and citizens of the former USSR, had to leave Uzbekistan because of an ethnic conflict, and since September 1989 they have permanently resided in the Krasnodar region. The F. have notes that their registration in the former residence was terminated. They have never made statements of their unwillingness to be Russian citizens. They live in a house which they own.
On June 24, 2002, the F. applied to the chief of the Passport and Visa Service of the Apsheronsk DIAA for issuing them documents confirming their Russian citizenship and for registration of the address at which the house they own is situated as their permanent residence. However, they were denied those requests on the ground that the "applicants had no documents that confirmed their Russian citizenship and permission from the migration control commissions of the Apsheronsk district and the Krasnodar region." The F. appealed against this denial to the Apsheronsk District Court.
On July 30, 2002, the Apsheronsk District Court resolved to disallow the F.'s complaint against the unlawful actions of the Passport and Visa Service chief. As the motive, the judge argued that the F. are not Russian citizens, while the Passport and Visa Service chief's denial of registration in the chosen residence to the family in question does not belong to actions that can be appealed in court. To resolve their demands, the F. were recommended application to the Regional Migration Control Commission. This resolution was not appealed to a higher court. On August 16, 2002, in response to the complaint by way of review proceedings the chairman of the Krasnodar Regional Court lodged a protest to the Presidium of the Regional Court which was allowed. The Apsheronsk District Court's decision was canceled and the case was sent for a new hearing to the same court. On February 19, 2003, the Apsheronsk District Court, having considered the case, resolved to disallow the F.'s complaint. The appellate authority of the Krasnodar Regional Court on March 27, 2003, left this resolution unchanged and the appeal disallowed. The judge (April 22, 2003) and chairman of the Krasnodar Regional Court (July 9, 2003) refused to demand the case and transmit it for consideration to the reviewing court. A complaint was lodged on this case with the Supreme Court of Russia.
The X., a Meskhetian-Turk family of five, forced migrants from Uzbekistan, have permanently resided in the Krasnodar region since October 1989. All the family members, citizens of the former USSR, terminated their registration in their previous residence and never made statements of their unwillingness to be Russian citizens. They have documents that confirm that they have worked at facilities in the Apsheronsk district since 1990. They live in a house they own. On November 71, 2001, and May 31, 2002, the X. applied to the chief of the Passport and Visa Service of the Belorechensk DIAA for issuing them Russian passports. However, they faced a denial because they had no permanent registration in Russia as of February 6, 1992. On July 8, 2002, the X. complained against the Passport and Visa Service chief's decision with the Belorechensk District Court. However, the court's July 22, 2002, resolution disallowed their complaint on account that they had allegedly failed to lodge the complaint within a month and to "produce evidence confirming their residence in the Belorechensk district as of February 6, 1992." Complaints by way of review proceedings on this case, lodged with the chairman of the Krasnodar Regional Court, were left disallowed. On June 27, 2003, they faced a refusal to transmit the case for consideration to the reviewing court, signed by the chairman of the Regional Court, after which they lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court of Russia.
The D., a Meskhetian-Turk family of five, residents of Tverskaya, Apsheronsk district, appealed against the actions of passport and visa officials at the Apsheronsk DIAA that had denied them registration in residence and issuing of documents confirming their Russian citizenship. The Apsheronsk District Court's July 30, 2002, decision turned down the applicants' complaint on account that the Passport and Visa Service chief's decision to reject the applicants' demands does not belong to actions that can be appealed in court. The complaint by way of review proceedings raised the issue of canceling the Court's ruling on the ground of a significant violation of procedural law norms. The Regional Court's ruling of April 4, 2003, demanded that the files be transmitted to the Krasnodar Regional Court, and a decision was made on September 18, 2003, on transmission of the case for consideration to the Presidium of the Krasnodar Regional Court.
Complaints have been lodged by way of review proceedings with Russia's Supreme Court: against the Passport and Visa Service's denial of passports and registration in residence to the five members of the F. family and the five members of the X. family.
Attacks by extremists
An attack on young people of non-Slavic appearance was carried out in Kholmskaya and Akhtyrsky, Krasnodar region, at 11-12 p.m. on April 25. About 30 people suffered. The disorders began in Akhtyrskaya on April 25 and continued in Kholmskaya. According to one version, the thugs came to Akhtyrskaya at the request of a guy of "Slavic ethnicity" who had suffered from a person of "Armenian ethnicity." The arrivals did not find the offender and began to beat other "non-Slavs" that happened to be near the Malibu bar. Three people lodged statements of assault and battery to police, although informants claim at least six people had suffered. The thugs came to Kholmskaya in a PAZ bus and another four vehicles from Abinsk and Akhtyrskaya; most vehicles had no license plates. The key events in Kholmskaya occurred at the disco and near the Natalie cafe. The way they acted indicates the action had been planned beforehand. Everything was over in 20-30 minutes. The attackers were organized in groups: those that came in cars stopped at the disco where they attacked, while the group that came by bus went on foot towards Mira Street. The arrivals were dressed in sportswear and armed with truncheons, metal sticks, and knuckledusters. The pogrom involved about 50 people at the age of 15 to 25; some representatives of the Abinsk district Cossacks were noticed among the attackers, while local Cossacks from the stanitsa did not take part in the attacks. Victims say they beat everyone who looked like a Caucasian. Some Russians were beaten among others because the attackers took them for "blacks." One young man in the shop at a LUKoil filling station avoided beating only because he showed the thugs his passport with the "Russian" record in the "[ethnic - trans.] nationality" column. In connection with the attack, the Novorossiysk Committee on Human Rights sent a letter to the Krasnodar regional prosecutor and Russia's Prosecutor General in which they expressed concern with regard to the events in Kholmskaya and Akhtyrsky. The Krasnodar regional prosecutor's office replied that legal case N300313 was instigated. The criminal case is being investigated. Specific persons are being examined as to their participation in the crime.
Professor Savva, Kuban State University, notes in his interview with Regnum on September 6, 2003, "a significant, groundbreaking increase in the organizational potential of the groups that carried out pogroms in the Krasnodar region." To illustrate this view, he quotes events of mid-December 2002 in Afipsky, Seversky district, and in Severskaya, "which were not given newspaper coverage or even mentioned in police reports. This is what happened: a PAZ bus pulled up in the daytime at the cafe and billiard room of the settlement, not far from the railway crossing. The people in the bus wore bright orange jackets, and each of them had a narrow red strip on his left sleeve. The bus stopped and one of those people stood up and began to explain something to the rest right in the bus. This lasted no longer than five minutes, after which he distributed newspaper rolls among them, and the group went out of the bus. They fell in and unfolded the newspapers showing metal sticks and chains. The people then unfolded their armlets which turned out to be red bandages with a white circle and a black swastika in the middle of the circle. The militants next started to thrash everyone on the billiard room's porch and those who came out or tried to go in. The slogans and shouts were fitting, the main one 'Beat the blacks.' Everything lasted no longer than 15 minutes. As a result, two people remained on the ground (they were put to hospital later), and a few more suffered seriously. In describing all this, I quote a victim of the pogrom, a student at the Kuban State University. I would like to emphasize some points providing evidence of a significant increase in the organization of the pogrom group: firstly, there are vehicles; secondly, there is a single uniform; and thirdly, there are developed disguise techniques, i.e. the metal sticks in newspaper rolls and the folded armlets (those people did not want to demonstrate their ideology beforehand, and they unfolded their bandages with Nazi symbols only before the very start of the action). It should be mentioned the swastika was usual, without any additional elements. Literally in a day after those events, there were corresponding inscriptions on walls in the settlement, i.e. Nazi appeals. Several days later, something of the kind occurred in a park in Severskaya. Judging by the descriptions left, it was the same group."
The Novorossiysk Committee on Human Rights sent letters to the Krasnodar regional prosecutor and Russia's Prosecutor General on May 15, inquiring about the attack in Shkolny, Krymsk district, on November 30, 2001. Eighty people in camouflage uniforms who called themselves Cossacks attacked the Meskhetian-Turks that gathered in a house in Magistralnaya Street to celebrate the religious holiday of Uraza-Bairam. The assault involved gas guns and led to five victims delivered to the hospital with various degrees of bodily injuries. The Krymsk DIAA took legal action on this fact which was soon closed, although the victims said the attackers had been identified and all information about them had been reported to the investigation. After repeated requests to investigate the ethnic-based attack, they received a response on June 16, 2003, from the Krymsk city prosecutor's office, which said about an examination of case N48481 instigated under a charge of hooliganism in Shkolny on November 30, 2001. The examination resulted in the district prosecutor's office overruling the resolution on suspension of the pre-trial investigation, and the case was filed to the Krymsk DIAA for additional investigation.
An international commission on ethnic minorities visits the Krasnodar region
The Krasnodar Center for Ethnic Cultures uniting 32 regional ethnic-cultural organizations hosted on October 15 a meeting with a representative international delegation that included: Neil Melvin and Mihai Gribincea, senior advisers to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities; Jean-Paul Cavalieri, head of the law department at the UNHCR office in Moscow; Yuri Bortnikov, a UNHCR officer in Moscow; Maria Arioli, adviser with the COE Directorate General of Political Affairs; Mark Brown, a program manager with the International Organization for Migration (IOM); Alexander Shcherbakov, adviser to the Chairman of Russia's Governmental Migration Policy Commission; Mikhail Tiurkin, deputy chief of the Federal Migration Service of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry; Svetlana Gannushkina, a member of the Human Rights Commission for the Russian president; Vladimir Yakovlev, adviser with the Humanitarian Cooperation and Human Rights Department of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry; Timothy Richardson, coordinator for refugees affairs with the US embassy in Russia; and John Tancredi, an immigration and naturalization representative from the U.S. Department of State. The visit will last until October 17; the international representatives plan to meet with the regional leadership and public and visit the areas of Meskhetian Turks' compact residence.
At the meeting, special attention was paid to find out how the leaders of the ethnic-cultural unions viewed the Meskhetian Turks' problems. Discussion showed everyone admitted there was a problem, but approaches to its solution were different. Thus, Oleg Georgizov, leader of the Assyrian community, believes Meskhetian-Turk leaders "behave in an isolated manner"; Tatiana Morozova, chair of the Kuban Cossack Women Union, believes the leaders of Meskhetian Turks compactly residing among Cossacks oppose their community to the native population of the region: "We received them, and they must not forget that more than 120 various ethnicities live in the Kuban area. The native population is disposed unfavorably to them, and it can raise the issue of their deportation. They should behave more modestly." Khaji-Murad Nagaev, a representative of the Chechen-Ingush community in the Krasnodar region, accused the Meskhetian Turks of blowing up the problem: "People have come to power in the Meskhetian-Turk community that want confrontation. The trouble is their position." Many speakers noted the problem had to be considered in a wider context, without confining it to the Meskhetian Turks alone, and they said the approach should be objective. People in Russia have always lived in peace, while ethnic problems are incited from the outside. As for obstacles in getting Russian citizenship, not only the Meskhetian Turks face them, but also other migrants, including Russians coming to Kuban, for instance, from the republics in Middle Asia.
On October 16, Kubanskie Novosti newspaper reported a meeting of the international commission on ethnic minorities with representatives of the regional government, public organizations, and the Cossacks. "It was emphasized that usual matters of everyday life were grading into an interethnic conflict. At the negotiation table, Ataman Gromov summarized: 'The situation in Kuban is incandesced.' The Cossacks are sure the Meskhetian Turks problem is not an issue in the regional or even Russian jurisdiction. The community should be returned to its historic homeland in Georgia on international level. As for human rights groups, their opinion was this: each of the Meskhetian Turks has the right to choose where to live. As a result, everyone remained of their own mind. However, the commission still has a chance to change its mind, as they will visit a residence of Meskhetian Turks this weekend."
October 17 (Regnum). "An authoritative international commission of 12 has visited the Krasnodar region on problems of Meskhetian Turks. The commission members met with the authorities, the Cossacks, human rights advocates, and Meskhetian-Turk leaders. The meeting in Varenikovskaya was special. The administration hall was cram-full of people, mostly in Cossack uniforms; the press was requested to go out. In the street, a Cossack crowd put up placards saying 'Kuban is no thoroughfare.' The atmosphere in the street was so incandesced that sometimes it was impossible to hear the speakers in the hall, and police was not able to calm down those most militant for a long time. The air in the hall, too, was thick with malice. Victor Deika, local head of administration, linked an increased death rate over the past five years to the Meskhetian Turks saying the doctors were unable to cure the local population through because of them. The people in Cossack uniforms constantly interrupted the speakers with lines such as "we are not Russians, but Cossacks," "Damn Jew" (addressed to the Human Rights Commission member), "we don't need human rights, we have our own rights," "shut up the Meskhetian Turks." Cossack ataman Ivan Bezugly, threatening a "local armed conflict," expressed readiness to escort the Meskhetian Turks to the border, help them get in carriages, and say thanks to America if it received them. Sarvar Tedorov, a Meskhetian-Turk leader, said the armed conflict discourse was yet another provocation; he also said he believed the authorities wanted to pin the blame for the Turks' having no rights on Georgia. Liudmila Kann, head master of the school in Nizhnebakanskaya where Meskhetian-Turk children study in so-called "Turkish classes" without their parents' consent, told about the children's life. She said teachers refused to work, so the school was so pressed for staff. There are no conflicts between the pupils, and all children study at the school. On behalf of the teachers, Kann asked the commission to help the Meskhetian Turks find a new homeland. Mikhail Tiurkin, deputy chief of the Federal Migration Service, arranged an interrogation of Meskhetian Turks and human rights advocates and accused the commission members of empty talk and of having drawn the report on the visit to the region beforehand. Meanwhile, he never answered to the question of the UNHCR representative what the Russian authorities intended to do to solve the Meskhetian problem. Vladimir Okhrimenko, chief of the migration processes monitoring department at the regional administration, complained that the position of the commission members did not change because they talk about human rights without taking specific steps. Maria Arioli reminded that Stalin had deported the Meskhetian Turks in 1944, so there is a need to do everything for moral rehabilitation of this people. However, those present wanted to hear Timothy Richardson most; he said his government was considering the possibility to resettle the Meskhetian Turks. Yet the resettlement cannot provide a complete solution, because someone will not want to leave, after all, or will not meet definite requirements; besides, the resettlement should be voluntary. At the end of the discussion, the local authorities made an attempt to adopt an address to President Eduard Shevardnadze of Georgia, requesting him to settle the issue of repatriation of the Meskhetian Turks, but the commission members, surprised at this demarche, claimed this was beyond their jurisdiction."
Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper published on October 22 some coverage of the international commission's visit to Varenikovskaya, one of the places of Meskhetian Turks' compact residence. "...The ethnic minorities experts faced a placard saying 'Turks! The motherland calls home!'... 'They don't respect our traditions,' Cossack ataman Ivan Bezugly told the officers of international organizations. 'This is a time bomb. The confrontation can develop into an overt conflict.'... Whatever human rights advocates say, the Turks constantly add trouble to authorities. There are four Turkish and two Russian sixth classes in Varenikovskaya school N11. The situation is the same in the fifth classes. The management was at one time forced to introduce separate studies. Turkish children come to school without any knowledge of Russian, so teachers have to teach them the language to the detriment of the remaining pupils. Last year, the Turks went on hunger strike at the moment when there was a flood in Kuban and people were dying in flows of raging water. Logically, international organizations' attention to the Meskhetian Turks problem should be expected to facilitate the resolution of the situation that has lasted for decades. However, each of the commissions 'performs its show, but nothing is changing,' as Mikhail Tiurkin, deputy chief of the Federal Migration Service of Russia's Internal Affairs Ministry, remarked... 'About 500 Turks received migration cards out of the more than 12,000 living in the region. The rest ignore the chance to obtain Russian citizenship. Their good will is required to go to Georgia. However, the leadership of the country so far does not intend to fulfill its international commitments. The USA has been said lately to be ready to receive the Meskhetian Turks. The involvement in the commission of representatives of the U.S. embassy and Department of State indirectly confirms that the White House's intention is serious. Timothy Richardson, coordinator for refugees affairs with the US embassy in Russia, said the Americans were considering resettlement of the Turks... But where would the Turks themselves like to live? A poll carried out at the request of [Nationalities Policy - trans.] Minister Vladimir Zorin shows that 2.6% hope to go overseas; 65.8% of the Meskhetians in Kuban would like to go to Georgia'."
Closing of a human rights organization
July 17. The Novorossiysk-based human rights foundation Peace School which in particular handles migration problems is under threat of closing. Two people for various reasons quit as founders of the organization in 1999. However, the justice authority recommended in 2000 that Peace School continue operation. The situation has changed presently, apparently because of some events a year ago. Peace School took part in highlighting Meskhetian Turks' hunger strike in Kievskoe, Krymsk district, in June-July 2002. When covering this event, regional television said the following: "The hunger strike in Kievskoe was organized by extremists from the Meskhetian-Turk society Vatan with the assistance of Mr. Karastelev, leader of the Peace School foundation, on foreign states' money, and this is a rude interference in the Krasnodar region's affairs." It was made clear to foundation leaders they could count on support of the regional authorities given they agreed to exert pressure on the international community to make Georgia take in the Meskhetian Turks.
November 14. (Regnum). Peace School's complaint was considered concerning a refusal to register a new charter. After two people had quit in 1999 and 2000 as founders of the organization (founded in 1998), a situation arose when the remaining founder could not independently introduce amendments to the charter or involve new founders. The Main Justice Authority on the Krasnodar region was notified of this fact, and it allowed the foundation to continue operation. However, in spring this year, after the Krasnodar regional Security Council's decision on a check of human rights organizations advocating Meskhetian Turks' rights, the justice authorities became actively involved in elimination of human rights advocates... To get the chance to introduce new founders and eliminate the authorities' formal claims against them, foundation representatives applied to a court for registration of the new charter. However, without giving due study to either the charter or the operation of the foundation, Justice Nagorny nonetheless ascertained that its activity was not legitimate. The regional Board of Justices on Civil Cases validated the judgment. Mr. Nasonov, a Moscow lawyer, candidate of sciences in law and an expert of the Independent Expert Legal Council, who attended the trial, said: "There is an obvious violation of article 11 'Freedom of assembly and association' of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and we will lodge a complaint with the Strasbourg Court."
Amnesty International's actions advocating the rights of the Meskhetian Turks residing in the Krasnodar region
Amnesty International delivered a new report in Moscow on March 22, titled Racial Discrimination in the Russian Federation. The report mentions a series of problems related to racial discrimination: the passport system, attitude to foreigners, discrimination against the Meskhetian Turks, persecution of Chechens, Asians, and Africans. This most authoritative international organization concludes that the key blame for racial discrimination in Russia should be put on the state. The least known problem of the mentioned ones is discrimination against the Meskhetian Turks. Under Stalin, they were forcibly deported from Southwest Georgia. There are presently about 70,000 Turks in Russia. By the law, the Meskhetians are Russian citizens. Some of them, however, the 16,000 living in the Krasnodar region are denied recognition of their citizenship.
September 19 (Grani.Ru). Amnesty International activists held an action before the Russian embassy in Chisinau, Moldova, in support of the Meskhetian Turks living in the Krasnodar region. The activists collected signatures for the protection of the Meskhetian Turks and suggested sending symbolic passports of those people to the Russian government. Amnesty International held similar actions in Sweden, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Ukraine. The action in Moldova will be followed by actions in Belarus, Russia, and the Baltic states.
On October 13, Amnesty International held in Moscow an action advocating the rights of the Meskhetian Turks in the Krasnodar region. The organizers demand granting the Meskhetian Turks Russian citizenship. Amnesty International's bus stood in the square of the Belorussky railway station where those willing could sign a postcard with an appeal to the Russian president. Mr. Nikitin, director of the organization's center in Russia, said in a broadcast of the radio Echo of Moscow: "We have already collected about 16,000 such postcards in different countries. At 4 p.m., when the action is over, those who have taken part in it will deliver the postcards with petitions to the presidential administration."
Print media and news agencies:
- Rossiiskaya Gazeta
- Vremia Novostei
- Kubanskie Novosti
- Komsomolskaya Pravda Kuban
- Prizyv (Krymsk, Krasnodar region)
- Elektron (Krymsk, Krasnodar region)
- Izvestia Yug
- Kuban Segodnia