SYKTYVKAR, October 20 (RIA Novosti) – Investigators in the northern Russian town of Syktyvkar have launched a criminal case against the owners of two private homes who illegally registered no less than 429 migrants at their premises, a local policewoman said Sunday.
The cases have been launched into suspected “organizing of illegal residence by foreign citizens in the Russian Federation,” punishable by up to five years in prison, local procurator’s assistant Natalya Spiridonova said.
“There are no foreigners living at these addresses; their actual whereabouts in Russia is unknown,” she said.
All foreigners living in Russia have to be officially registered at their place of residence. Some sidestep the system, for a variety of motives including avoiding the bureaucracy inherent in the system, and to avoid contact with the authorities if they are present illegally.
Last year, President Vladimir Putin called for tougher penalties for those registering foreigners in properties where they do not live, or so-called “rubber apartments” that stretch to fit in non-existent people.