Adventures of a foreigner in Russia

His story is not unique and very similar to many other stories of the people who come to ADC Memorial for help.

In 2006 a foreign from exotic Bolivia came to Krasnoyarsk at the invitation of a Russian company. Let us call him Anhel. He had two degrees in farmaceutics and cooking. He was also an experienced chief cook of the national quisine. His cooking skills and experience interested the employer. Until 2008 Anhel was working in the restaurant in Krasnoyarsk. When his visa and work permit were about to expire, he had to return home.

The employer bought Anhel a ticket from Krasnoyarsk to St Petersburg and promised to transfer the salary for two months and dismissal wage. He also promised to buy an electronic ticket from St Petersburg to Santa Cruz (Bolivia).

Sirprisingly for Anhel, he never received either money or a tciket. His former employer did not answer the calls. His visa was expired and he had no money to go home… He had to stay in Russia illegaly. He lived at the places of his country fellows and other good people who let him live in their apartments for him cooking food for them and cleaning theis flats.

Anhel decided to go home for sure after two illegal years in Russia. He came to ADC Memorial where was given a consultation and possible help to return home.

First of all, he had to prolongue his passport in the Bolovian embassy in Moscow. There were no problem with this, and a few days later Anhel came to ADC Memorial with a new document.

Then he came to the Migration department in St Petersburg. The workers of the Federal mgration service wrote an incident report on him. The sanction for this violation is a fine and possible deportation from Russia. While writing the document, the foreigner who does not speak Russian was not offered an interpreter. This is a violation of his right to objective process. The FMS worker promised that in the court they would ask only for a fine and then they will isue him documents to return to Bolivia.

The FMS gave the documents of the administrative case to the Nevsky district court of St Petersburg where Anhel was inflicted a fine and the deportation from the Russian Federation.

Anhel asked the FMS worker: “Didn’t you promise not to deport me from the country”? The worker came to the judge and some time later returned to Anhel with a new decision which now had one more paragraph: fine, depiortation and putting in the Detention centre. “Why?” asked the foreigner. “To calm you down”!

Although the migration servce could just issue him needful documents after administrative punishment, the naïve foeigner was put in the Detention centre. For the workers of the migration service it is important to make people feel the punishment. And who cares about promises?

While Anhel was discovering the “pleasures” of being in the Detention centre for foreigners, the lawyers of ADC Memorial tried to free him. They appealed the decision in the superior court as significant violations took plave during the tiral. As a result, the decision of the first court was disaffirmed and Anhel was libertaed from the detention centre. The case was sent for reconsideration to the same court.

During the new trial all conditions of the case were taken into account: that Anhel was cheated by his employer which led to the illegal state; that Anhel did not speak Russian and did not know Russian laws; that he regrets and wants to return home on his own. The court set a penalty to Anhel.

After Anhel paid his fine, he came to the migration department at place of stay to receive travelling documents.

And now you think it was the end of the story – the foreigner will leave the country and come home where his family and friends will welcome him. But it is our opinion – the FMS workers think differently. The “adventures” took another spin.

The FMS worker asked why he came and what his family name was, then she left Anhel in the waiting room. Time was going by, the work day was about to end, but Anhel was still waiting for the worker. When he asked about the documents, he was answered that everyone is at the meeting with the director.

Half an hour before the end of the work day, the director of the migration control service came to him and said that there is a court decision prescribing Anhel to be put into the detention centre and then deported from the country. So now Anhel was supposed to go to the detention centre where he will be waiting for deportation. Luckily, the ADC Memorial law consultant was with Anhel and showed the new court decision disaffirming detention and deportation. But the Federal migration service wanted “stricter punishment”.

They refused to talk to Anhel via interpreter who did not have a state diploma to translate from Spanish into Russian. Besides that, FMS required that the host of Anhel would come to the department. They wanted to prosecute him for organising illegal migration to Russia.

Although the workers agreed that Anhel was punished enough and cannot be prosecuted again, and that he did not make any violations of the law as he is staying legally in Russia, the FMS workers still wanted a professional interpreter and the “host”, although there could not be such a person in the case. As only 15 minutes left, Anhel was told to come on the next day with these two persons. Then the documents will be issued.

The next day did not give any results, although a professional interpreter came to the department. The host could not come because he lives in Krasnoyarsk and there was no contact with him. Anhel spent the whole day in the department and then left with nothing.

The lawyer and law consultant discussed the case and decided to go to the district migration department which arrested Anhel and filed an administrative case against him.

After two days Anhel came to the district migration service where his documents were accepted, and he was promised that the documents will be issued on time before his registartaion is expired.

P.S. A few days later, Anhel called and said that he is fine. He was at the airport getting ready to leave. He thanked for the help. The biggest pleasure was to here the word “amigos”.

Dmitry Poltavsky

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