Does Russia need the young and energetic?

Does Russia need the young and energetic?

A story about expulsion of ex-USSR citizens from Russia to the USA

On December 15, 2011, a family of stateless individuals who came from Georgia and failed to obtain a legal status in Russia in more than 20 years left for the USA.
In November 1992, Tamara Khasmamedova and her underage children, Billura and Shakhmardan Gusseynovs, came to Russia from Georgia where her husband and brother were living. The family was registered in the brother’s room and was living with him in Pushkin.
in August, 2000, the brother sold the apartment and bought a real estate in St. Petersburg. Khasmamedova with the two underage children was de-registered from the place of permanent residence. The officials of the registry of Federal Migration Service (FMS) of Nevskiy district of St. Petersburg refused to register them in the new private apartments, motivating the decision by the fact that their passports was of the old USSR form from 1994 that they had received in Georgia were invalid.
The rejection to register was illegal as until December 31, 2000, the individuals who failed to obtain a citizenship from one of the former Soviet Union states were granted a special status of ‘a citizen of former USSR’ and all they were entitled to equal rights and obligations as that of the citizens of Russia (see the decision of the European Court of Human Rights for “Tatishvili vs. Russia” case of February 22, 2007, complaint No. 1509/02).
The family kept living in the brother’s apartments without registration and permanent residence. The fact of their residence in Russia since November, 1992, had been established legally. They received documents stating that they were not citizens of Georgia. However, all of their requests to submit the documents to obtain permission for permanent residence and Russian citizenship for the children were rejected by the FMS bodies. The decline was motivated by the notion that Georgian citizens must return to Georgia.
In November 2009, the prosecutor of Nevsky district of St. Petersburg brought an action on eviction of Tamara Khasmamedovova’s family from her brother’s apartments. The court accepted the prosecutor’s claim, and the family with the underage children was thrown out in the street without having been provided with another residence. Their wanderings started, Khasmamedova had been repeatedly detained, humiliated. They tried to put her in detention center. Tamara spent a number of nights in the militia offices, from where her lawyer would release her. The children were forced to hide, to live at their classmates’, in the school, at the railway station. However, they managed to finish school well and received certificates.
Lawyer of “Migration and Law” Network of Human Rights Center “Memorial”, Olga Zeytlina, observing the deplorable position of the family and having had exhausted all the possible national legal procedures of appeal, appealed to the embassy of the USA for relocation of the family.
Even though there is no special programme for relocation of the stateless individuals, the officers of the embassy of the USA took into consideration the fact that the people couldn’t obtain legal status in Russia due to illicit rejections by the officials and institutes, failed to obtain adequate protection in our country, and admitted them as refugees.
The family was rewarded for their sufferings and injustice from the Russian officials, and received residence permit by the Pacific Ocean in San Diego (California, the USA).
The story hasn’t finished there, however. The missing Russian documents, that the Khasmamedovs had been refused all these years, were the obstacle to leave Russia even though they could legally enter the USA. Ironically, that’s when the FMS bodies refused to expulse them, threatening them with detention at the Center for detention of foreigners having violated the regulations of staying in the RF. One could assume why wouldn’t they just let them go using the documents issued by the Red Cross? But no, it was necessary to multiply the pleasant memories after all.
Only due to the work of lawyer Olga Zeytlina and the support from International organization for Immigration and “Civic Assistance” Committee the family of Tamara Khasmamedova obtained the permission from the court to be expelled by the means of self-departure, which implies five years of inadmissibility to Russia.
Due to this absurd inadmissibility the Khasmamedovs have finally left Russia today.
We hope that they will find happy and colorful life at the Pacific Coast, albeit we regret that Russia has left intelligent young people who could work and live for its good prosperity.

Olga Zeytlina, lawyer

December 22, 2011


Human Rights Center Memorial, 127051, Russia, Moscow, Maly Karetny, 12
tel: +7 (495) 225-3118, fax: +7 (495) 624-2025, email: memhrc@memo.ru