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Central Asian Migrants, Trapped In Russia Amid Pandemic, Pushed Back At Border

A photo from May 14 shows Central Asian migrants in Russia's Samara region.
A photo from May 14 shows Central Asian migrants in Russia's Samara region.

Dozens of Central Asian migrants trapped in Russia amid the coronavirus pandemic were pushed back by guards when they tried to cross the border into Kazakhstan.

A one-minute video posted on the Mash Telegram channel shows a line of migrants in the Samara region, which borders Kazakhstan, walking down a road where they are met by Russians in uniform.

The migrants, cheering and screaming, try to break through, but are pushed back by the guards as more officers in helmets come to help.

A Samara government official told RBK news agency the video is likely from August 3 and that no one was detained or hurt.

The migrants, from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, currently live in a makeshift camp near the border and want to return home via Kazakhstan.

The Russian border with Kazakhstan remains closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Russia’s Interior Ministry on July 25 accused migrants of carrying out unauthorized mass protests during the pandemic.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, on August 3 raised the issue of migrants during a council meeting, saying many are now unemployed due to the pandemic and are turning to crime.

Medvedev said about 40 percent of migrants in Russia have lost their jobs.

“This, of course, creates a breeding ground for the growth of crime, potentially, in this area,” he said.

Most migrants in Russia come from Central Asia, with many working in construction or cleaning city streets and buildings.

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