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Oct. 06, 2006
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War Now Has Child’s Face
// Police looks for Georgian migrants in the schools of Moscow
Kommersant learned that police began a new stage of struggling against illegal immigrants from Georgia. It now discovers people living in Russia illegally via their children studying in the schools of Moscow. Such initiative shocked Moscow’s education department, and Georgians called such actions “fascist”.
Regional police departments sent telephonograms to some of Moscow schools, asking to provide a list of pupils with Georgian last names. After receiving the list, police officers are to check the parents of these children – whether they are registered in Moscow, where they live in fact, what they do, and whether they pay taxes. According to the law “About general education in the city of Moscow”, children without registration in Moscow have the right for education in Moscow’s schools as well. Thus, the easiest way to find Georgians is through their children.

“The initiative is coming from the Internal Affairs Ministry,” a high-placed source in law-enforcement bodies told Kommersant. “Last week, every regional police department received a code telegram demanding to discover illegal migrants from Georgia living in Russia.” The source added that “the easiest way to do it is through the children who go to school no matter if their parents are registered in Moscow or pay taxes.” Several ways to discover illegal migrants were prepared. “Police officers were supposed to come to schools and talk to principals. However, minor police departments flaked on and only sent telephonograms to schools, due to which the story became public,” the source said. Thus, police officers might be expected soon to those schools which received no telephonogram.

School principals try to keep back the fact that they have received some instructions from police departments. Kommersant correspondents telephoned nearly 50 schools of Moscow. However, only a few confirmed that the check is going on. When school #658 was asked about the telephonogram from the police, they replied “there was something like that”.

“We did not receive a letter, but a police officer visited the school today,” said Valentina Voshina, secretary of school #554 of Moscow. However, Voshina refused pointblank to name the purpose of the officer’s visit, being afraid of publicity. Deputy principal of educational center #1847 Ekaterina Gromyko does not deny having received the telephonogram. The school’s administration said that police used to collect information on foreigners’ children before, but suggested to ask Aeroport police department about the yesterday’s request. An employee of the juvenile section of that department told Kommersant that “police has the legal right to demand any information from schools.”

Head of Moscow’s department of education Lyubov Kezina turned out to be informed on the check. “It was initiated by the police. Yet, it is not Georgian children who are to be checked, but their parents—illegal migrants,” she said. Kezina promised “not to allow ethnic discrimination against Moscow schoolchildren, because war against children is impossible.” “I’ll do everything in my power so that all children in Moscow can study here, regardless the nationality and registration of their parents,” Kezina said. Besides, she added that she “has already obtained the promise to stop humiliations of the children” from Moscow’s deputy mayor Yuri Roslyak who said, according to Kezina, that “he knew nothing of the incident”.

Two years ago, after Beslan tragedy, Russian police was looking for “Chechen trace” in Moscow’s schools, directing inquiries about pupils of Caucasus origin to school administrations. Kezina stopped those checks then.

Current actions of the police scandalized Georgian diaspora and the parents of school kids who got on the black list. “When I learned about it, I felt scared. I immediately thought that if my child is humiliated here like that, we’ll have to move away from Moscow,” said Maya Shoshitashvili, mother of a little girl of third grade of a Moscow school. She learned about the black lists from the school’s parent committee. Maya Shoshitashvili’s daughter was born in Moscow, and is registered in Moscow just like her mother. “It is another ethnic cleansing, just like of Jews and Poles during the times of fascism. People are again divided into first and second class,” believes Shoshitashvili.

Head of Georgian community in Moscow Teymuraz Sturua considers police’s actions inadmissible. “It is immoral to act by means of children! Why involving kids, there are other ways! Perhaps, they’ll start questioning children?” Sturua was outraged. He said that “if this story moves on, Georgian diaspora will complain to the embassy and demand decisive measures.”

Ekaterina Savina, Ivan Buranov, Yulia Taratuta, Alexander Zheglov

All the Article in Russian as of Oct. 06, 2006

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