Exclusive: Russian President orders to halve country’s migrant labor fleet in less than a decade

A group of stray dogs outside of Kornaikski in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze) On Jan. 23, 21 Russian constructors died in a landslide while building an airport in Azerbaijan. This was not the first…

Exclusive: Russian President orders to halve country’s migrant labor fleet in less than a decade

A group of stray dogs outside of Kornaikski in Ukraine. (AP Photo/Misha Japaridze)

On Jan. 23, 21 Russian constructors died in a landslide while building an airport in Azerbaijan. This was not the first time Russian workers have died on the job abroad, but the circumstances surrounding the incident were particularly egregious and an investigation was launched.

Since the release of that shocking report, eight more people died on the job in Russia. Some of those deaths may have been related to faulty construction practices, but most appear to have been caused by hunger, disease, and inadequate medical care.

Now, today, President Vladimir Putin announced that he had ordered the Russian government to implement a plan to halve the number of laborers working abroad by 2030. According to Putin, “The primary reason for the decision is due to the alarming situation of the majority of our migrant workers returning from foreign lands sick, including to Russia, with disease and misery. The State Council will advise officials to focus on the construction sector, for example, to find out how to better coordinate work and constructions projects on time and within budget.”

Projects that have received the most attention from the President are those in nuclear power and oil and gas. He said that “the Ministry of Emergency Situations, on the territory of Russia, conducted inspections on 23 construction projects which had lots of Russian workers in them, and recommended that, in order to improve the health of our people, they be removed from these projects,” the TASS news agency reported. The government is also trying to build more housing in Russia for the country’s economic migrants.

Construction fatalities remain exceptionally high in Russia, despite the Department of Health keeping statistics since the 1920s. In 1990, 33 percent of all construction workers died on the job. By 2009, that number had fallen to 13 percent. In 2015, it had climbed to 19 percent. Most recently, in August of last year, 32 construction workers died.

Read the full story at the Washington Post.

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