Link to military recruitment suspected as Russian official suggests applying “language clause” to jobs for migrants

By bne IntelIiNews November 15, 2023

A measure that would restrict work opportunities in Russia for migrants from countries that have not designated Russian as a state language has been suggested by Deputy Chairperson of the Russian State Duma Pyotr Tolstoy.

The move was likely part of an ongoing effort to coerce migrants into Russian military service, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed on November 14.

ISW said: “Tolstoy proposed restricting migrants from working in service sector jobs if they are not citizens from a country that designates Russian as a state language at a Federation Council meeting on state policy in the field of preservation, protection, and development of Russian language on November 14.

“Tolstoy claimed that post-Soviet countries are teaching English and “trying to supplant Russian with their national language.” If Tolstoy’s measure is officially proposed and passed, it would allow Russian authorities to limit work opportunities for migrants from Central Asia and the south Caucasus, potentially making it easier for Russian authorities to coerce migrants into serving in the Russian military due to a lack of other labor alternatives.”

Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan designate Russian a state language while the titular languages are their state languages. In Tajikistan, the law designates Russian as a language of “interethnic communication.” The Russian language does not have a legally designated status in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, or Armenia.

Russian authorities may also be attempting to pass laws restricting migrant work in Russia in an effort to placate Russian ultranationalists who are often critical of migrants working in Russia ahead of the Russian presidential elections in 2024, ISW added.

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