Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Over 4 Million Central Asians Flood Fast-Renewing Cities In Kazakhstan, Russia, And Ukraine Seeking Larger Dreams In Uneven, Globalizing World Economy

"Dressed in ratty sport coats and dirty T-shirts, Uzbek men clutching yellow job contracts squeezed recently into packed buses heading for cities to the north in fast-urbanizing Kazakhstan and on up to Russia.

The flood of immigration is emptying swaths of Central Asia of young men. Kazakh officials say that approximately 4,000 Uzbek migrants cross each day to the Kazakh side of this tiny frontier town. In recent weeks, the number of migrants has spiked sharply, border guards say, in response to the economic vitality in Kazakhstan and Russia and the worsening economic and political conditions in the rest of Central Asia.

Russia’s Federal Migration Service estimates that up to 2.5 million Uzbeks, a million Tajiks and 800,000 Kyrgyz nationals are working legally or semi-legally in the country. Those numbers include seasonal workers.

The surge of workers to the north this spring has surprised many Central Asian analysts, who say the increase in migrants in Jibek Joly is just one stream in a broader flood of immigration that is emptying whole swaths of Central Asia of young men.

“This is a new problem for Kazakhstan and to a lesser extent for Russia, and so they have been unsure how to deal with it,” said Khadicha Abysheva, the director of a private agency in Shymkent, a sprawling city on Kazakhstan’s southern border, that is dedicated to campaigning on behalf of migrant workers and victims of human trafficking." ...

Ilan Greenberg "Central Asians Chase Jobs, and Endure Exploitation" New York Times May 15, 2007


Above, Uzbek workers at a construction site outside Shymkent, a sprawling city on Kazakhstan’s southern border. Below, the blighted West Oakland 16th Street Railroad Station awaits renewal in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, another sprawling 21st Century city attracting migrants from poorer regions to the south of California and the United States, as well as from the rest of the world.

Photo credits: (c) Abdujalil Abdurasulov for The New York Times and Devon Williamson for the Daily Berkeleyan. All rights reserved. With thanks.


"Tens of thousands of international migrants from areas not traditionally associated with Ukraine began to arrive in Kyiv in the mid-1990s. Largely from South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, many of these new, "non-traditional' immigrants have settled in Ukraine's capital Kyiv. The city's Troeshchyna district subsequently became home to the burgeoning community of international migrants. Afghan, Vietnamese, and African merchants and traders have established the neighborhood's vast "informal' market on abandoned industrial land along the city's boundary after police raids had closed down the Ukrainian capital's primary market at Republican Stadium in April 1996. [Troieschyna (Ukrainian: Троєщина) is a historical neighbourhood, part of the Desnianskyi Raion, on the left bank of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.]..."

"Kyiv's Non-Traditional Immigrants," Blair Ruble, Director, Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Lecture February 5, 2003 at the Watson Institute for International Studies, Brown University.

Economic Potential of Regions of Ukraine


About 16th Street Oakland, California Train Station

"This is a group for photos of the historic 16th Street Train Station in Oakland Ca. The station, designed by architect Jarvis Hunt, was completed in 1912. In 1971 Southern Pacific leased the station to Amtrak, which continued passenger business until the Loma Preita earthquake in Oct. 1989 damaged the building, causing it to be 'red tagged' as unsafe for occupation.

In 1984 the Oakland City Council had declared the station an official landmark. The station's connection to the Pullman system, and its function as one of the main terminals of the transcontinental railroad, meant that the 16th Street Station was instrumental in bringing African Americans to Oakland, many of whom settled in West Oakland to be close to where they worked.

Even prior to the earthquake, the station's future was uncertain, as local developers had purchased the property with plans to develop housing on the site. Concern began to grow as the plans appeared to call for the razing of at least part of the Train Station structure. There was intense opposition to the proposal, and a local group calling itself "the 16th & Wood Train Station Coalition" formed to fight the proposed development plans. In 2005 a compromise was reached that included renovation of the station structure as part of a larger urban development surrounding it."

Source: Flickr 16th Street Train Station discussion thread.


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