Are most crimes in Russia committed by migrants?

“Such Cases” and the Civic Assistance Committee continue to dismantle the myths about migrants. One of society’s most common fears is that many migrants are criminals. Anthropologist Andrei Yakimov explains whether the majority of crimes in Russia are committed by foreigners.

“Such Cases” and the Civic Assistance Committee continue to dismantle the myths about migrants. One of society’s most common fears is that many migrants are criminals. Anthropologist Andrei Yakimov explains whether the majority of crimes in Russia are committed by foreigners.

The myth of increased crime as a result of migrants is one of the easiest to debunk. On the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation website there are statistics on the number of registered crimes, and those who were convicted is available on the website from the Arbitration Department of the Supreme Court.

In 2017, 2,058,476 crimes were registered in Russia. Foreign nationals committed 41,047 of those crimes. That is about 2% of the total number of registered crimes.

Foreign citizens constituted about 3.4% of total convicts in Russia in 2017 (23,974 out of 697,054). 343 were convicted of murder under article 105 of the Criminal Code, out of 8028 convictions. That is only 4.3%.

Moscow, Moscow region, and St Petersburg have the highest number of migrants in Russia. In Moscow there is the highest rate of crime. In 2017, 140,134 crimes were committed. 6873 of those, or 4.9%, were committed by migrants. In St Petersburg in 2017, 52,138 crimes were committed, 2607 of which were committed by foreign citizens, or exactly 5%. Of the 84 307 crimes committed in the Moscow region, 5805 were committed by migrants, or 6.9%.

According to the prosecutor’s office of St Petersburg and the human rights ombudsperson of St Petersburg, a third of migrant crimes are minor crimes, namely the theft of food and clothing from hypermarkets (theft of 2,000 rubles or more is considered a criminal offense). Another third of crimes committed by migrants is related to knowingly using false documents, for example a fake patent for work.

According to the website of the Prosecutor’s General’s Office of Russia, 80% of crimes in Moscow are committed by men with secondary education, citizens of Russia aged 30-49 years old, without permanent sources of income.