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Thousands of settlers from the CIS countries in the Volgograd oblast, mostly Russians, cannot get the residence permit for years. Moreover, the local authorities confiscate the land from people and resettle them into deserted barracks.

To get an appointment at the Kamyshino Passport Bureau one needs to reserve the queue several days ahead. People spend their nights just outside the passport office. Applications for the citizenship or residence permit are accepted only twice a week. Police officers manage to check papers of only five persons during a day.

According to law, the residence permit may be obtained after living in Russia at least one year. However, many settlers are unable to legalize it even several years after they have resettled. "I haven't been able to get the residence permit for two years already, Raisa Komyakova, a settler from Tajikistan, complains. I have spent six days and nights at the passport office. They send me to other organization, or say that the certificate doesn't meet the format, or, they say, an extra word has been written in documents that is why they have to be rewritten".

Ruins are what have been left from once a prosperous agricultural cooperative "Volga". Forty Russian families from Uzbekistan decided to settle in the village. Money clubbed from selling of their apartments was spent to purchase agricultural machinery. And very soon 900 hectares of scrub have turned to the ploughed field.

According to Lyudmila Agafonova, a settler from Uzbekistan, people worked hard and with enthusiasm, not sparing themselves and giving all they have got. They hoped they would earn money, build a village and live in Russia well". Other settlers, mostly Russians, came all the way from Central Asia to Nizhnyaya Lipovka too. The cooperative decided to build a settlement, and even ordered the general plan. But the head of the region decided to take away the land from settlers.

"When I submitted documents to pay the land tax, Lyudmila Agafonova says, I was told by the tax office I had no land". It has been unclear so far, what caused this decision. Hundreds of hectares surrounding the lands of settlers were empty. The head of Kamyshino region has refused to comment on his decision. The oblast authorities prefer not to interfere. As Governor Nikolai Aksyuta of the Volgograd oblast pointed out, they had acted within the law. "They had differences. Certainly, they needed to make up everything all together, sit at the negotiation table", Maksyuta says.

The regional authorities started "solving" the problems of settlers again. They offer the deserted barracks with holes in the roof and rotting walls for migrants to live in. In despair, many began to return to Central Asia but most of them chose the different way. The first settlers who had established the cooperative, moved to Western Europe. The rest of the migrants followed them.

Over thousand people have already left the Kamyshino region for 17 countries of the world. People continue to leave Russia. There is no official statistics, but according to settlers, about 10 families leave for Europe every month. They don't hope already that justice will be attained from the regional or provincial authorities.


"VESTI" Program of Channel "Russia", 28.07.2003

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