Russian migration service official fired for “racial” statements

The Kremlin has supported the dismissal of the service’s press secretary Konstantin Poltoranin who said the survival of the white race is under threat.

­Poltoranin was dismissed as the spokesman for the Federal Migration Service on Wednesday after he shared his views on interethnic relations in an interview with the BBC. “The survival of the white race is at stake,” Poltoranin said, adding that this problem is “palpable in Russia.”

The official said he did not understand policies of Western European countries which promote immigration from the Middle East and Africa. The situation in Russia should be different, he noted. Poltoranin said migrants use Russia as a transit on the way to the EU countries, and are not willing to integrate into Russian society.

To add fuel to the controversy, the interview was made on April 20, the birthday of Adolph Hitler.

Poltoranin’s dismissal was “a logical and necessary act,” a source in the Kremlin told Interfax. The official’s statements “attracted attention” in the presidential administration, he said.

Konstantin Romodanovsky, the head of the migration service, explained that the spokesman was fired for the statements that “are unacceptable for any state official in Russia.” This rule especially concerns a representative of the Federal Migration Service, he added.

Poltoranin, a graduate of the Moscow State Law Academy, worked as the service’s spokesman since 2005. In 2003-2005, he was a press secretary with the Interior Ministry’s Internal Security Department.

The dismissed official said he was neither nationalist nor racist and, while speaking about “the white race,” he meant Europeans. Russia should not repeat the mistakes of the EU states, he noted, suggesting that “race mixing should be carried out in the right way.”

Vladimir Volokh, chairman of the public board of the Federal Migration Service, described Poltoranin’s statements as “mistaken.” Russia should continue with a selective migration policy, inviting people the country needs, he told Russian News Service radio.

“We have foreign workers and quotas for them,” Volokh explained. “Citizens of all states have equal rights.”