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Nov 7, 2012
The governmental programme of St. Petersburg “Tolerance” (http://spbtolerance.ru/) published a brochure, where Central Asian migrants are portrayed as a spatula, a roller, a brush and a whisk. It includes tips for various situations faced by migrants.
In the story, the guests of the city – the spatula, the roller, the whisk and the brush – go through all the stages of labor migration in St. Petersburg from landing at the airport, medical testing (including HIV) and visiting museums to “right” communication with the residents of St. Petersburg, which were of course represented by and shown as people in the brochure.
The brochure is available in four languages: Russian, Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz. NGO “Looking to the future” has developed the brochure with the support of St. Petersburg Migration Service and City Centre for Prevention and Control of AIDS and infectious diseases. The brochure is divided into three thematic blocks: the rights of migrants, HIV and “Useful tips”, which include such xenophobic pieces of advice as “they should not squat outside in the streets”, “Do not wear national cloths. It attracts a lot of attention”, “Do not always wear sportsuits, especially with classic shoes (sport costume is only for sports)” and “In St. Petersburg people take off a hat indoors.”
The initial purpose of the brochure was to help labor migrants from Central Asia to adapt into the new environment of St. Petersburg. However, in fact this xenophobic brochure dehumanizes the migrants from Central Asia, labels them as stupid and infantile, as unwanted people, as people, who bring HIV to Russia. Moreover, it can cause interethnic hostile.