“Novaya gazeta” reports: “You aren’t from Paris”, or Who benefits from the sales of medical insurance policies to foreigners

This story started when an honorable consul of Kyrgyzstan in Saint Petersburg Taalaybek Abdiyev contacted “Novaya gazeta”. He informed the press that citizens of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan are met at Saint Petersburg Pulkovo-1 airport by the police and are forced to buy medical insurance policies. If they refuse, they are threatened with being forcedly stay at the airport, in spite of the fact that they have already entered the territory of Russian Federation and have a valid migration card with them.

After a correspondent of “Novaya gazeta” has contacted the staff of federal state unitary enterprise in charge of passports and visas affiliated with the Russian Federal migration service (FMS) at the airport and asked to quote legal documents which are the grounds for this practice, police officers stopped asking people arriving to the airport from these countries to buy insurance policies and stated that there are no obstacles for the latter to enter the country. “Novaya gazeta” has also contacted Rosgosstrakh, part-state insurance company, but were told that the company doesn’t have an office in Pulkovo airport. Press service of the company operating the airport, “Air Gates to Northern Capital Ltd”, replied that the company is not aware of this situation.

On December 7, 2013 Saint Petersburg city court has ruled to deport an Uzbek citizen, Mirzovokhid Aslonov, from the Russian Federation, because when his documents had been checked on arrival he had lacked a medical insurance policy. The court ruled that he should pay a fine of Rb5,000 and leave the territory of Russia within a week. Law enforcement agencies quoted Article 27 of the federal law No.114 “On the entry to and departure from the Russian Federation”, which stated that a foreign citizen can be denied entry to the Russian Federation if he lacks a medical insurance policy valid for the territory of Russia. In case of violation of the rules for entry to the Russian Federation, i.e. lack of medical insurance policy, a person can be fined and deported from the country.

Human rights defenders of ADC “Memorial”, who had provided legal support for Aslonov, made an appeal, which stated that people having the right to enter Russian Federation without a visa were not legally required to have a medical insurance policy. Whether that’s a proper practice or not is a separate issue, but the requirement to have an insurance policy when entering Russian Federation for citizens of the CIS countries is in contradiction to the inter-governmental agreement signed by the CIS countries, which was not annulled. Moreover, Russian Ministry of foreign affairs has earlier confirmed that in accordance with the inter-governmental agreement medical insurance policies are not required for movements between the two countries.

You aren’t from Paris” – article in “Novaya gazeta” (In Russian):

Legal appeal concerning illegal charges against labor migrants for lack of medical insurance policies