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About 40 Georgians detained in St. Petersburg for immigration law violations will be deported Tuesday
About 40 Georgians detained in St. Petersburg for immigration law violations will be deported Tuesday, the Georgian Consulate in Russia said Monday. It is not unusual for police to detain people from the Caucasus area - millions have flooded into Moscow from the former "southern" Soviet republics in search of work in recent years, and many ignore the law requiring non-citizens to register within three days. President Vladimir Putin called for a review of immigration laws in the wake of an acrimonious spat with Georgia over an alleged espionage affair in late September. "There are about 50 Georgian nationals in a temporary detention center who have been arrested in the past few days," a Consulate spokesperson said. "Their visas expired, and consequently their have been residing in Russia illegally." The source said the Georgian consul arrived in Russia's second-largest city last week to resolve the issue, and that documents have been prepared to deport 40 Georgians. "The fate of the remainder will be determined later," the spokesperson said. The detainees will be sent to Moscow by bus Tuesday, and from there flown on to Georgia. Since four Russian officers were detained in Tbilisi for alleged spying and later released, Moscow has shut down transportation and mail links with Georgia and deported at least 300 Georgian for violations of immigration laws. The media has reported that Moscow police have instructed schoolteachers to identify pupils with Georgian surnames in order to check on the legality of their families' residence in Russia. Moscow authorities also clamped down on businesses allegedly related to the Georgian mafia, which resulted in the closure of a number of gambling outlets and restaurants.
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