Polit.ru published an interview with Roman Kiselyov, head of legal programs at the Moscow Helsinki Group, about the situation of Ukrainians stuck in Russian Centres for the Temporary Detention of Foreign Nationals (CTDFN) because of the war.
Expulsion and deportations
Kiselyov notes that the exact number of Ukrainians placed in the CTDFN throughout the country is unknown. Firstly, these are people who were sentenced to deportation on administrative grounds, for example, for violating the migration regime. There were at least several hundred of them across the country: at least 113 in Moscow, 40 in Saint Petersburg and many in the regions bordering Ukraine.
Secondly, these are those awaiting deportation – they are recognized as undesirable in the Russian Federation (these are, in particular, those released from penitentiary institutions). There are more of them in regions where there are many prison colonies. There is even less data on them, but probably hundreds of people.
The majority of people in CTDFN are Ukrainians
Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians have become the object of close attention of the security forces, which has led to an increase in the number of Ukrainians placed in the CTDFN pending expulsion. “Several people were caught because a district police officer called them to the police station. They come, and they find problems with documents,” which becomes a reason for persecution under administrative “migration” articles and placement of a person in the CTDFN. Since it is impossible to expel these people because of the hostilities, “it turns out that there are more Ukrainians in the CTDFN than anyone else.”
The placement of many Ukrainians in CTDFN is not legally justified
Since 2020, a decree has been in force in the Russian Federation to extend the periods of stay of foreigners due to Covid. According to the decree, the return to a normal migration regime occurs within three months after the restoration of transport links with the country. Communication with Ukraine was restored only in May 2022, and not at all in full due to the war. Thus, the decisions to expel Ukrainians and place them in the CTDFN contradict the “Covid” decree.
Many have been released, but some are not allowed out by the FSB
Since May, human rights activists have managed to change the situation. The courts practically stopped placing new Ukrainians who were deported to CTDFN and began to release those who were already in CTDFN due to violations of migration rules. However, despite all efforts, citizens of Ukraine who have records in their personal files from the FSB that they are suspected of involvement in extremist and terrorist activities on the territory of Russia are still deprived of their liberty. It is not possible to release Ukrainians sentenced to deportation from the Russian Federation – these are the people automatically recognized as “undesirable” after being released from prisons.