Svetlana Gannushkina: Russia is not Ready to Introduce a Russian Language Exam for Immigrants

7 November 2012 

Source: (info)

· Refugees, Migrants

Russia’s infrastructure is not at all ready to bring in an exam testing immigrants’ knowledge of the Russian Language, according to Svetlana Gannushkina, chair of the Civic Assistance Committee . She made this declaration during a round table discussion which took place on the 6th November in the conference hall of International Memorial Society, according to Russian news agency Rosbalt

The expert fears that if the proper preparations for the introduction of these examinations are not made, the government initiative could turn into another corrupt scheme relating to immigration.

“Foreign workers’ Russian language examination certificates could join the list of documents, such as hygiene certificates for premises, that you can pick up in a subway,” the chair of Civic Assistance Committee warned.

Furthermore, it is almost impossible to stop corrupt processes once they have started, according to Gannushkina. “It would be like asking people who have got used to eating caviar sandwiches to give them up. If we rush into bringing in these examinations and create a breeding ground for corruption, stopping it will be difficult. Any attempts will only lead to an increase in the amounts of money demanded by corrupt officials,” she said.

Moreover, experts believe that it is illogical that the requirement to take the examination is not based on a person’s profession, but rather on the economic sector in which they are working.

Under the category of ‘housing utilities’, for example, are not only plumbers, for example, but also road sweepers, who hardly need any knowledge of the Russian language to carry out their work, participants of the discussion noted.

On 31 October the Federation Council approved a bill according to which foreign immigrants working in trade, service industries or housing utilities must pass a Russian language examination.