Apr 14, 2007

Markets Suffer After Russia Bans Immigrant Vendors

The April 1 government decree banning immigrants from working as vendors in Russian outdoor markets resulted, as predicted, in shortages of food products and higher prices.

New York Times's Andrew Kramer reports that as a result of the decree, only 68 percent of the market stalls in Russia are occupied, according to government figures, while shortages and price increases are becoming acute in some regions. In one market in Chelyabinsk, in the Ural Mountains, prices for nonfood items rose 16 percent, according to the government, which surveyed 14 markets earlier this month. In Moscow, some 10,000 of the estimated 60,000 market stalls were vacant, according to the city government.

As the figures above are presented by the very same government that ascribed the price increases on the markets following the decree to inflation, it is probable that the problem is more acute.

This decree is the second part of the law designed to reduce the influx of immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus. On January 15, a law was passed reducing the number of foreigners allowed to work in the markets to 40 percent of the total workforce.

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