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27 Mar, 2024 18:06

Migrants must respect Russia – Christian leader

Those who come to the country must comply with its laws and respect its customs, Patriarch Kirill has said
Migrants must respect Russia – Christian leader

Russians have the right to demand that migrants respect the country’s culture and traditions, as well as acquiring knowledge of the Russian language, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, has said.

The hierarch was addressing an extraordinary meeting of the World Russian People’s Council on Wednesday when he observed that some migrants showed no signs of wanting to integrate into Russian society. This could lead to various problems, according to the patriarch, including the emergence of closed ethnic enclaves and the growth of organized crime.

“Many consider migration a threat, but the threat lies not just in migration, but in the reluctance of some migrants to respect the culture of the country where they came to work. Around us live fraternal peoples, with whom we have always strived to build good neighborly relations, understanding the difficult economic situation that has developed in a number of countries of the former Soviet Union,” said Kirill, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

He underscored the importance of the Russian people in preserving the multinational Russian state, saying “Let no one scare us with Russian nationalism. Russian nationalism does not exist in nature, everyone knows that.”

The patriarch has also commented more directly on last Friday’s terrorist attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue in a suburb of Moscow, which claimed lives of 140 people and left thousands injured.

“The atrocity is shocking in its cynicism and cruelty,” Kirill previously said, adding that those behind the attack “tried to use internal problems with the migration situation, to aggravate interethnic relations in our country, including with the help of the radical Islamist factor.”

Russian authorities arrested several suspects over the weekend, including four alleged to be directly involved in the Crocus City Hall shooting. The latter, all of whom are nationals of Tajikistan, had attempted to escape by car. The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has said that they were expected in Ukraine, and that the Ukrainian side may have been preparing to open a “window” to allow them to cross the border.

Many people from former Soviet republics in the Caucasus and Central Asia have flocked to Russia in search of work over the past two decades. Official statistics put the number of migrant workers at six million, not counting those who live and work in Russia illegally.