Kazakhstan takes on a wave of migration

The authorities of Kazakhstan on Tuesday released the first preliminary statistics regarding the unprecedented flow of Russians who rushed into the republic after the start of partial mobilization. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, since September 21, 98 thousand citizens of the Russian Federation have crossed the border. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that most of them were forced to leave “because of the current hopeless situation” and promised all kinds of help, albeit without any preferences. For the leader of Kazakhstan, the situation becomes a new challenge before the early presidential elections scheduled for November.

Kazakhstan, which has the largest land border with the Russian Federation (from the Astrakhan region to Altai), has become one of the main places of attraction for Russians who are afraid of partial mobilization. Recall that Russian President Vladimir Putin announced it on the morning of September 21, after which queues of cars lined up at many checkpoints, and railway and air tickets were immediately sold out.

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan reported that since September 21, “about 98 thousand Russians have entered” the republic, and 64,234 Russians have left it.

In addition, during the same period, “slightly more than 8,000 IINs of non-residents” (individual identification numbers; needed, in particular, for issuing bank cards) were issued during the same period. At the same time, Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry of Kazakhstan Asset Turysov on September 27 gave other data: “uh”). Approximately this amount was accepted by us for a whole month.

Even taking into account the fact that a large part of Russians use Kazakhstan only as a transit country, President Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev was forced to comment on the unprecedented situation. “The most important thing is that we maintain agreement with neighboring countries. We won’t lose anything from this. In recent days, many people from Russia have been coming to us. Most of them are forced to leave because of the current hopeless situation,” he said. “We must take care of them and ensure their safety. This is a political and humanitarian issue. I have instructed the government to take the necessary measures.” Mr. Tokayev noted that “visitors from abroad will be assisted, but they will not receive any preferences.”

What next can wait for visitors is not yet completely clear. “We will hold talks with the Russian side and will solve this problem in the interests of our country. I repeat again: in this difficult period, we need, first of all, unity and prosperity,” the President of Kazakhstan said.

Words about “negotiations with the Russian side” caused concern among many Russians who left the mobilization.

Against this background, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Kazakhstan, Marat Akhmetzhanov, was forced to reassure: the extradition of citizens of the Russian Federation to their homeland will be possible only in one case – if criminal cases are opened against these people and they are put on the international wanted list.

“We have contractual relations with Russia on the provision of legal assistance, on the exchange of convicts and on the extradition of criminals. The most important principle here, both in our country and in the Russian Federation, is a criminally punishable act,” Mr. Akhmetzhanov said. And he stressed that the search for conscripts by military registration and enlistment offices is by no means a basis for extraditing these people.

The Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that “as part of the partial mobilization” they did not send and do not plan to send appeals to the state bodies of Kazakhstan, Georgia and other countries on the forced return of Russian citizens.

There are no grounds for declaring the vast majority of the Russians who left the international wanted list. Almost all of them went abroad without waiting for a summons, which means they are not subject to any criminal prosecution.

But even if someone has already been called up, but chose to run, it still will not lead to such harsh measures. “In order for a person to be put on the international wanted list, he must be accused and wanted (be on the federal wanted list.— “uh”) under articles of medium severity and above, – explained “Kommersant” lawyer, expert of the Eurasian Analytical Club Alexandra Egorova. – The article for evading conscription for military service (Art. an administrative offense at all.

As Yevgeny, an IT specialist who took off on Tuesday night from Sheremetyevo Airport to Karaganda and further to Almaty, told Kommersant, Kazakh border guards asked even more questions than Russian ones. “Our border guard asked when I took the ticket and the purpose of the trip. I honestly said that I bought a ticket on September 22, and called tourism a goal – a trip to a friend. I didn’t notice any pressure,” he said. “The Kazakh border guard had more questions. He asked the target, then specified where my friend lives. Then he found out whether I served when I took the ticket, and whether there is a return ticket. But it was enough to say that there is, he did not check. According to Yevgeny, “six or seven more guys” flew with him to Karaganda, in which one could recognize potential dodgers.

Russian and Kazakh experts interviewed by Kommersant are sure that the influx of Russians has become a serious challenge for the authorities before the early presidential elections on November 20.

This issue worries the residents of Kazakhstan in the context of their own well-being – for example, prices for renting apartments or the situation on the labor market. “Society is waiting for meaningful political and economic reforms and at least prompt solutions to current problems with housing and rising prices,” political scientist Dimash Alzhanov told Kommersant. “Of course, during the elections, all these issues will be politicized and can polarize society even more.” The expert noted that now “a variety of people are coming from Russia” and “therefore, the attitude towards them is wary.”

Another Kazakh political scientist, Marat Shibutov, in a conversation with Kommersant, assured that in solving the problem with the influx of Russians, President Tokayev will be guided only by the law, and not by his attitude to the decision of Russian citizens to avoid mobilization. “There are only two positions: to keep the law and not to keep the law. Tokayev will get more sympathy if he abides by it,” the expert is sure.

Director of the Information and Analytical Center of Moscow State University, an expert on Central Asia Daria Chizhova, in turn, drew attention to the fact that Kassym-Jomart Tokayev will still not have strong competitors in the presidential elections, so the problem of the influx of Russians will be solved with an administrative, and not from a political point of view. “Do not let citizens of the EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) country into the republic.— “uh”), if there are no personal restrictions on them, the Kazakh system cannot. Therefore, they operate within this framework, but such a volume of people requires some kind of regulation. All recent statements are based on this logic,” Ms. Chizhova said. “The main thing for the authorities is to prevent social negativity and calm the situation inside the country.” At the same time, according to Kommersant’s interlocutor, “there are factors of destabilization”: “Someone is now distributing memos addressed to Russians, where they are required to admit guilt for the “colonization of Central Asia” and famine in the 1930s. And someone completely voluntarily helps these people, organizes food and lodging for them.”

Kirill Krivosheev

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