The publication for the numerous Uzbek community and residents of the city will be edited in Russian and Uzbek.
The editor-in-chief of the “Petersburg Uz” newspaper, Ravshanbek Kurbanov:
This newspaper is probably a call of the times. Many migrants with a lack of knowledge about local traditions arrive in St Petersburg. This information vacuum caused us to create a newspaper in order to explain the guests that they are only guests here and must adhere to the rules of hospitality. If they came to work they should work but not make crimes.
The newspaper contains many columns about culture, history and traditions of Uzbekistan. We should explain to the Russians and the residents of St Petersburg that we used to have common home. Nobody writes anything on Uzbekistan. Only when the president arrives, some deputies and summits are shown on TV.
The commercials in the newspaper will be bilingual as well. We will publish the phone numbers of certain service one should call on questions of work migration. In the case of violence or if migrants are forced to go for a crime, they can call these services and ask for a consultation. Many people call our editorial office asking for help. A large number of cheating companies live on issuing fake migration cards. The police recently arrested a representative of such a company. He had several hundreds of passports, including the ones of Uzbek citizens. I heard many migrants cannot receive their passports back when they want to leave for home. Three-four months may pass, but they cannot leave. The newspaper is aimed at fighting against our common problem which is lawlessness.
The director of programmes of the Anti-Discrimination Centre Memorial, Stefaniya Kulayeva:
There is no doubt that migrants need accessible information. A radio station or a newspaper would be a way out. Though I am not sure that publications will be accessible to all migrants. Many of them arrive with wrong information from work agencies. The two things are very important – to make the information accessible and to make it correct. It is also very important to know what the documents should be, how to find a job and sign a work contract.
There are many pitfalls here. Most people who come to us knew how to get a registration in the Federal Migration Service (FMS) or that they had to require a copy of a work contract but broke the rules anyway. They had no time to queue for several days and nights in the FMS so they, consciously taking a risk, asked mediator companies for assistance. I think everyone knows about work contract. But when you look for a job and have nothing to eat, you agree for a job without a contract. It is absolutely understandable. We should think of the conditions they lived before accusing migrants for working without a contract. What can you require in terms of poverty and lawlessness?
For instance, the work agency “Megapolis”, located between Yegorova and 4th Krasnoarmeyskaya streets, employs migrants. Some of them try to require a work contract and even sign it, but “Megapolis” never hands the contract. Once a worker of our centre was present at signing a contract and said to them: “You are violating the law right now! You have to hand a copy of a work contract!” the manager of “Megapolis” replied: “I know I am violating the law but show me who would stop me.”
I hail growth of information and its accessibility but I would like to wish this information be correct and adequate that it would help to solve the problems legally.