Author`s name Ольга Савка

Thousands of Chinese Run Illegal Business in Russia

Chinese businessmen takeover the Russian market

Fifty-year-old Chinese man Lu hung himself. His dead body was found in a small farmer house in the settlement of Schukino, which is on the outskirts of the city of Birobijan. According to his documents, Lu left back to China a month and a half ago. This was officially confirmed by Mr. Shubin, the farm's owner. He particularly said that all Chinese wage laborers left Russian in connection with their visa expiry.

As a matter of fact, Chinese workers did not go anywhere, they just kept on working in the farm, sorting out several tons of potatoes. However, they had to watch roads very carefully: as soon as they saw a truck or a car that was approaching the farm, they had to run and hide somewhere. It is not known, how long they would stay on the Russian territory illegally, if the team leader Lu did not commit suicide.

Chinese worker Lu and Russian farmer Shubin cooperated for ten years. Lu became a business partner of the Russian farmer, and a team leader for all his country-fellows, who came to the settlement of Schukino to work. Lu's obligations included purchasing seeds, fertilizers and spare parts in China. His son and nephew helped him in the cultivation of potato fields. Some problems appeared with potato sales in winter: it was about time the Chinese workers should return to China, although about 200 tons of potatoes remained unsold. Lu, his family, their interpreter, and several workers decided to stay in Russia illegally, until they sold everything. Shubin repeatedly warned them of possible problems that might appear on account of that. The Chinese failed to extend their visas, so the team had to do underground work.

Lu was not a lucky man, when it came to money. He tried to purchase cheap fertilizers from a Russian firm several years ago. He paid $50 thousand, no fertilizers arrived, and the money vanished. In addition to that, the team leader was a card gambler. He lost a lot of money in casinos, as well as two apartments in China. Last year, he lost all of his money in a casino - the money was meant to dispatch all Chinese workers back to China. Lu came back home early in the morning, woke Shubin up and told him that he made up his mind to leave. The Russian partner did his best to calm his Chinese friend down. However, Lu took some poison anyway. Shubin managed to save him at that time. The story repeated this year, and there was no happy end to it. In his note he wrote that he had lost all of his team's money in a casino, so he decided to commit suicide.

Chinese workers concealed the incident from everyone, buried their leader and kept on working, hoping to earn some money to buy tickets to China. At the end of the day, Shubin had to report them to the police.

Chinese people have a great wish to work in Russia, particularly in the Far East. They try to achieve this goal by means of every legal and illegal ways. For example, a group of Chinese nationals left for Russia as tourists, but then stayed to work at a Russian timber company. The Chinese come to the Jewish autonomous region of Russia, although this problem is actual for other Russian regions too. Fake Chinese tourists store up tons of caviar and other sea food, they smuggle tree-frogs to China (a tree-frog is a very expensive delicacy there). It seems that the process is not going to stop.

Russia and China have serious problems regarding the issue of the Chinese labor force expansion in Russian regions. Up to 350 thousand Chinese people cross borders to the Primorye, Khabarovsk, Amur region every year on an illegal basis. About one million illegal Chinese citizens live in Siberia and in the Far East in total. An enterprise is supposed to pay the tax of about $100 for every foreign worker. Of course, Russian businessmen try to use visa-free tourism in order to gain as much profit as possible with the help of the cheap Chinese labor. So do Chinese workers. Russians often leave eastern territories and move over to the center, while Chinese people take their places.

Russian economic experts come to conclusion that China will become Russia's major economic partner in the 21st century. Well, we wear clothes that are made in China, we have Chinese TVsets and fridges, we go to eat to Chinese restaurants, and so on and so forth. You can see this "made in China" label everywhere you look. We do not really care that all those things are low-quality goods. A cheap price is far more important.

However, the statistics of the economic development in the Far East region of Russia shows that the economic cooperation between Russia and China is beneficial only to China. The trade cooperation, joint ventures' activities help regional Russian authorities to solve certain social and economic problems, although those activities are aimed at taking the Russian market over, pumping raw materials and money out of it. Chinese businessmen smuggle ferrous an non-ferrous metals, as well as titan-alloys that are used in the defense industry. Chinese companies buy those goods at very cheap prices and then resell them in China. Certain Chinese commercial companies evince greater interest in catching rare animals and expensive fish.

Border territories of China develop alcohol businesses, producing high quality beer and vodka sometimes. The underground vodka production is organized very well as well. Cheap low quality vodka is delivered to Russia secretly in passenger trains, buses and vans. Some firms deal with exporting Russian girls to China too. Such firms act as legal, official organizations. They offer Russian girls official jobs in China, arrange all necessary documents. There is nothing to pick such firms up, taking into consideration the fact that no girl filed a complaint or anything. This means that women were aware of what they would have to do in China.

Russian authorities struggle with Chinese nationals, who stay in the Far East of Russia on an illegal basis. However, this struggle leaves much to be desired. Inefficient sanctions and imperfect laws pose a serious obstacle in this respect. Chinese can move on the Russian territory almost without any difficulties. Far Eastern law-enforcement bodies registered 25 thousand foreigners (including North Koreans and residents of former Soviet republics), documented over 43 thousand administrative violations, and 40 percent of those crimes were committed by Chinese nationals. More than 3000 Chinese were ousted from Russia, almost 600 of them were called into criminal account. Needless to mention, that it is like a drop in the bucket.

There are 87 checkpoints in the Far East of Russia. This is a half of what is supposed to be in such a large region. Moreover, they experience absurd problems, which impede them from efficient working. For example, there is a strong lack of immigration blanks, necessary equipment, experienced personnel, and so on.

On the photo: Chinese team-leader Lu

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