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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


Last year saw a nearly 30-fold increase in the number of crimes committed by foreigners, largely as a result of a huge wave of refugees from the former Soviet republics and other Asian countries, a senior Interior Ministry official said Tuesday. Vladimir Kolesnikov, head of the ministry's investigation department, said 15,000 crimes committed by foreigners had been recorded in 1993, compared with 530 in 1992. "The main cause of the constant increase of crime against foreigners as well as crimes committed by foreigners is the openness of Russian borders," Kolesnikov said, adding that the openness had led to a growing influx of refugees from the former Soviet republics and Asian states. Kolesnikov singled out Vietnamese, Mongolians and Chinese as the most common offenders. However, representatives from these communities have in the past complained that the police pick on them. Vietnamese street traders, for example, say they face harassment from police who ignore Russians plying a similar trade. According to police statistics, the number of crimes against foreigners more than doubled from 1989 to 1993, Kolesnikov said. Over the first six months of this year there were 4,500 crimes committed against foreigners in Russia. The most frequent victims in 1993 were: Vietnamese, 450 incidents; Finns, 311; Germans, 304; British, 109. The Interior Ministry statement said 40 percent of crimes against foreigners occurred in apartments and hotels, 30 percent in the streets, 7 percent in motor transport. Kolesnikov said only 0.6 percent of the crimes against foreigners were murders. According to police statistics there were 63 such murders in 1993, compared with 52 in 1992. He said the vast majority of the crimes against foreigners were thefts and robberies. Yury Arkhipov, head of the external migration department of the Federal Migration Service, said there were 500,000 illegal foreign residents in Russia, 200,000 in the Moscow region. "On average 200 illegal foreigners arrive every day in the Moscow region," Arkhipov said. Vasily Katryuk, head of the Interior Ministry passport and visa department, said outdated legislation was another obstacle. The authorities were still applying 1981 rules of residence for foreign citizens in the USSR, he said. Katryuk said the new draft law about foreigners in Russia had been sent to the State Duma and the parliament would consider it next month.