How Ukranian refugees survive without passports, hotels and welfare

A third of the citizens of Ukraine left Tatarstan last year

The period of stay of majority of Ukrainian refugees in temporary accommodation centres in Tatarstan expired a year ago. Since that time, some displaced persons have left the Republic, the other part decided to stay in the region. Some of them were even lucky to get a job officially. About the fate of Ukrainian refugees a year after — read in the article of Realnoe Vremya.

6.000 rubles for a bed

After the outbreak of the armed conflict in the South-East of Ukraine, 10 temporary accommodation centres were arranged and opened in Tatarstan. Most of them were in Kazan (six of them), two — in Naberezhnye Chelny, one — in Zelenodolsk, and one — in Laishevsky region. Some of the refugees preferred to remain in Tatarstan even after the expiry of the period of stay in a temporary shelter, albeit on a commercial basis.

''As far as I know, in the hotel Strela (a former temporary accommodation centre in Kazan — editor's note), a bed cost 6.000 rubles per month. Pensioners who remained there, they pay for the accommodation in the same hotel. There were a couple of disabled people, but I don't know about them anything,'' said Irina Minchuk, the head of the Tatarstan Association-community of displaced persons from Donbass.

Many former guests of Strela, according to Minchuk, were forced to return home. ''Mother of three children, Anya Tyulyaeva, moved back to Ukraine with her children. The city extended the stay for a while, but they still had to return to Donetsk region in the city of Maryinka, where are attacks are taking place,'' continues the interviewee.

An opportunity to stay in a former accommodation centre that once existed on the basis of the Naberezhnye Chelny hotel Kamazzhilbyt was presented to a mother of three children Valentina Malykhina. The woman is renting a room in the hotel. She says that the hotel is taking a large part in the fate of her family, where the youngest child is barely two years old.

''I'm not complaining, the management (of the hotel — editor's note) meets halfway. Sometimes I have a debt for rent, but she understands my situation: I am not eligible for any benefits since I'm not a citizen of the Russian Federation, people help as they can.''

Mother of three children, Anya Tyulyaeva, had to move back to Ukraine, to Donetsk region in the city of Maryinka, where attacks are taking place. Photo:

How much has the government spent on accommodation?

The analytical service of Realnoe Vremya reviewed the tenders on the site of the state order.

In 2014, Kazan spent 33.5 million rubles in total for hotel services for displaced persons from Ukraine. The services included accommodation and meals. The money was distributed among 14 orders. The largest contractors were Hotel Strela (11 million rubles in two orders), Kazanorgsintez OJSC (5.3 million rubles in one order), Kvart JSC (4 million rubles in one order), Regina Skoblionok (3.17 million rubles in two orders). Also, among the contractors there are Express PLC, Kazan state gunpowder factory, the health and recreation resort of the Kazan State Technical University, Vladimir Gavrilov. The customer is municipal public institution Management of civil protection of Kazan. During the same period, Naberezhnye Chelny concluded 7 contracts at 25.9 million rubles. They all were concluded with Kamazzhilbyt CJSC.

In total, thus in 2014 in the two largest cities of Tatarstan it was spent about 60 million rubles for the placement of refugees from Ukraine. We failed to find the information on the placement of refugees in other cities. In 2015, only Naberezhnye Chelny spent more than 57.8 million rubles. The whole sum of money, as well as in the previous year, was directed to Kamazzhilbyt. They were distibuted for 11 orders. The customer was the Executive Committee of municipal formation Naberezhnye Chelny. In 2015, Kazan spent the amount less than Naberezhnye Chelny — about 40 million rubles. Like in the previous year, there were a total of 14 orders between the same contractors.

In 2015, in Kazan and Naberezhnye Chelny there were allocated a little less than 100 million rubles for accommodation of refugees from Ukraine. In 2016, we didn't find the similar contracts in Kazan, but in Naberezhnye Chelny for these purposes there were allocated only about 3.5 million rubles. In total in 2014-2016, for the refugees they spent slightly less than 165 million rubles. The cost of accommodation and three meals a day by the largest Kazan order in 2015? with Hotel Strela, amounted to 800 rubles per day. The same amount was specified in the order of Naberezhnye Chelny with Kamazzhilbyt.

The amount is fixed, allocated for residing in temporary accommodation. Monthly accommodation of a refugee from Ukraine cost the federal budget approximately 24.000 rubles. Besides, in 2014, FMS of Russia across Tatarstan allocated 3 million rubles to the Republican clinical dermato-venerologic dispensary to provide medical services to refugees from Ukraine. For the similar purpose in Nizhnekamsk there were allocated 225.000 rubles (Nizhnekamsk Central district hospital), in Almetyevsk — 348.000 rubles (Almetyevsk city hospital № 3). Also, in 2015, 350.000 rubles were allocated to the FPC JSC from the Federal migration service on the railway passenger transportation in long-distance trains for refugees. In 2016, the Ministry of Communications RT allocated 1 million rubles for the maintenance of the information system ''Unified database of citizens who were forced to leave the territory of Ukraine and arrived in the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan''.

Many former residents of Strela Hotel were forced to return home. Photo:

''It is a knife in the heart for Ukraine''

None of our interviewees is planning to return home. Each of them has their own reasons, fear for their children unites them.

''I can't return home because my husband is in the militia, and my city, Konstantinovka, is under Ukrainian military. I'm not worried for myself as much as I'm worried for my children. We can even fail to reach the house. Children study in a cadet school, it is like military school, but for Ukraine it is a knife in the heart. There was a tacit announcement — without a trial....,'' Malykhina explains her reluctance to return to Donetsk.

The woman notes that her son was transferred to the cadet school, where her middle daughter studied, after he failed to adapt to a regular high school.

''I'm not going (to return — editor's note), I have a son. I can't go back there, I came here for my son,'' says Minchuk.

The common problem — difficulties with official employment — brings together many of Ukrainian refugees in Russia, according to Minchuk.

''By law, the migration service takes the passport on custody, they issue a temporary ID instead. It is considered to be an equivalent document, I don't know why it is very difficult for Ukrainians to get a job here. I hear a lot that when they know that you are from Ukraine — they all deny. I think it's a secret order, why is it so? When we first arrived, they gave us a job, offered.''

''I can't return home because my husband is in the militia, and my city, Konstantinovka, is under Ukrainian military,'' said Valentina Malykhina. Photo:

Workforce wanted

According to the Society of Russian culture in Tatarstan, nine of ten displaced persons in Tatarstan are working unofficially. They are mostly employed in the service sector, they also work in warehouses, as packers, on the construction sites, including women, few — in public service.

KAMAZ officially employs refugees from the South-East of Ukraine.

''Year and a half-two years ago, the refugees were actively employed at the plant. Then many returned, but some remained to work at KAMAZ,'' said the head of the press service of the company Oleg Afanasiev.

However, we couldn't specify the exact number of refugees residing in Kazan either in city hall or in the Ministry of Interior Affairs of the Republic. According to RT Ministry of Labour, since the beginning of the armed conflict in the South-East of Ukraine, about 9.000 displaced persons arrived in the Republic.

At the same time, the study of analytical service of Realnoe Vremya found out that Ukraine ranks third among the countries from where most labour migrants come to our Republic.

KAMAZ officially employs refugees from the South-East of Ukraine. Photo:

The flow of Ukrainians to the Republic rose sharply in 2014. If in 2012, 382 citizens of the fraternal country came to our Republic, then in 2013, they were 370, in 2014, after the aggravation of the situation in the Donbas — 1.149. In 2015, the Republic officially accepted 1.291 people. In 2016, 975 citizens of Ukraine came to Tatarstan, and then 324 left the Republic.

Thus, in comparison with 2012, the share of Ukrainians in the total flow of official migrants to Tatarstan increased four times from 5% to 20%. According to the official statistics, in contrast to the Uzbeks and Tajiks, Ukrainians prefer not to return home: only 14.616 people left the regions of the Volga Region. However, in Tatarstan they do not settle down — 3.650 Ukrainians out of 4.167 left the Republic.

By Damira Khairullina, Maksim Matveyev, Fail Gataulin