Russia mulls fingerprinting its migrants
A top Russian security official called Thursday for the mandatory fingerprinting and DNA registration of all migrants who seek work in the country.
The comments came amid a rise in ethnic tensions and anti-migrant demonstrations that were sparked by the killing in early December of a Moscow football supporter by a Muslim man from Russia's North Caucasus.
The head of Russia's Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, announced Thursday that foreign nationals had committed nearly 49,000 crimes in Russia last year. He did not say how this compared with overall crime.
The official said the figure has been rising steadily as the number of migrants in Russia grows and that security concerns required urgent action.
"To solve this problem in this field, we must adopt special government programmes that provide for the full accounting of migrants," Bastrykin was quoted as saying by Interfax.
These measures should "include fingerprinting and genetic records-keeping," he said.
Bastrykin said crimes committed by foreign nationals were one of the main factors behind the recent rise in ethnic tensions.
"We have to be honest, and we have said this on many other occasions: one of the factors... behind the rise of the various incitements of ethnic hatred is the crimes committed by migrants," said Bastrykin.
At least 41 people were killed and 293 others injured in racist attacks tracked by Russia's For Human Rights non-governmental organisation between January and November 2010.
President Dmitry Medvedev in December identified xenophobia as one of the country's most fundamental problems, holding several Kremlin sessions aimed at addressing the rise of neo-nationalist groups.
© 2011 AFP