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Russia Needs an Immigration Policy: A Prose Poem

Sparked by a recent article published on The Worker’s Struggle: The Site of Real Trade Unions, the freewheeling debate about the condition and treatment of migrant workers in Russia and elsewhere continues on Chto Delat’s e-mail platform. Tempers have been flaring, and words have been flying. One of the most thoughtful contributions to the debate, however, has come from Vadim Lungul, a poet based in the former Soviet republic of Moldova, a poor country that supplies (along with Uzbekistan and Tajikistan) many of the migrants who work in the Russian construction trade and other unregulated industries. Here is the prose poem he sent to the platform a few days ago, with an inter-stanzaic translation into English:

Вадим Лунгул / Vadim Lungul
Россия нуждается в миграционной политике / Russia Needs an Immigration Policy

Положение дел таково.
Рабочий класс практически уничтожен внутри страны
или рассеян по ближнему и дальнему зарубежью.
Как таковой класс интеллигенции
также практически уничтожен.
Вместо них народился новый класс – торгующий всем,
но с другой стороны
класс который ничем не владеет.
Это класс, состоящий из нанятых продавцов на рынке
до менеджеров в крупных магазинах и диллерских контор.

The situation is like this:
The country’s working class has practically been destroyed
Or dispersed throughout the near and far abroad.
The intelligentsia as a class
Has also practically been destroyed.
In their place a new class has been born: traders of everything.
On the other hand, however,
This class owns nothing itself.
This class consists of hired sellers in the markets
And managers in department stores and dealerships.

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