10M Migrants Live in Russia

26.Dec.01,  first published by Associated Press: read the original article here.

MOSCOW (AP) - About 10 million foreigners are living illegally in Russia, evading taxes and civic duties such as military service, a top police official said Wednesday.

Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin said that a census planned for October and the replacement of old Soviet identification papers with new Russian ones - a process scheduled to be completed by 2005 - should help ``bring most immigrants out of the shadows and establish an internal labor market,'' the Interfax news agency reported.

Many of the illegal immigrants are from former Soviet republics, drawn to Russia by opportunities to work, or in the case of some ethnic Russians, to avoid having to learn another language to get ahead.

Chekalin said that some illegal immigrants were taking billions of U.S. dollars out of the country each year without paying taxes. The Interior Ministry is considering taking mandatory deposits from foreigners upon entry to Russia, which would be used for their trip home if they are deported, Interfax reported.