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Expert polls conducting

February 17, 2011

Does the humanitarian disaster threaten Ukraine in consequence of migration from Middle East?

After the recent statement of the government of Italy about approaching threat of humanitarian disaster in consequence of inevitable migration from Middle East to the European countries, the Institute of Human Rights and Prevention of Extremism and Xenophobia (IHRPEX) carried out the expert poll about the fact whether such humanitarian disaster threatens Ukraine and whether it may lead to creation of radical Islamic organizations. 

Anatolii Grytsenko, the Head of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security and Defence: “I do not think that there will be the wave of migration or, all the more, a wave of any displays of extremism from the Middle East. Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia are geographically closer to Italy, and, of course, being neighbours across the sea they had the flows of migrants before. But Ukraine is located in a completely different region. And, in fact, the majority of illegal immigrants entering Ukraine, do not seek happiness in our country but behind our western border, in the European Union. Therefore, I do not see the direct connection between the threat of humanitarian disaster and the events in the Middle East.”  

Sergii Grynevetskyi, the First Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security and Defence: “When the decision on readmission was taken, there were also concern in the public that the wave of migrants will rush, and as the result about 140 people during the year return to Ukraine. Now if there's a tendency of a humanitarian disaster, then it is in European Union countries, in rich countries, where the population of the Middle East have any tried and tested relations - ties of relationship, business. I do not think that it threatens Ukraine. Today, the European Union is so weak that migrants will rush there directly, passing any buffer zones, including our country. Therefore, there is no threat of creation of radical Islamist organizations in Ukraine. The first necessity for Ukraine today is to eradicate poverty.” 

Dmytro Vydrin, political scientist: “Perhaps it is typical for Italy, as well as for other EU countries, which are excessively open, and where the ethnic composition of the population is long ago not in favor of native civil nationality. Migration, of course, threatens Ukraine as well as all other countries because it is a total phenomenon for the world, and Ukraine is not an exception. Today, many countries with the more advanced systems of protection and self defense experience discomfort from migration. The humanitarian disasters, according to my subjective evaluation, does not threaten our country in the near future, because such disasters do not occur for no special reason, they need the ground prepared for years. The humanitarian disaster is the result of the whole complex of incorrect actions of both central authorities, and law enforcement agencies, as well as the people. It can occur when there are large areas of poverty, when the population is alienated from the government. I do not see the global symptoms yet, which can lead Ukraine to a humanitarian disaster. Regarding the possibility of amplification of any extremist currents, I do not see here any connection with illegal migration. It should say that I do not know any country, where at least one of the confessions would not have a radical wing. If Islam exists in Ukraine, as it is, I do not exclude the appearing of its radical wings. But it also does not occur suddenly, it is the consequences of many years and incorrect attitude of authorities to confession, and long-term work within the confession in establishing of a radical religious schools and others. I do not see yet any such striking displays in Ukraine.” 

Volodymyr Fesenko, Head of the Board of the Centre of Applied Political Researches “Penta”: “I will try to suggest that there are no direct reasons for the humanitarian disaster. Because, unlike Italy, we do not border upon any of the countries in the Middle East. The channel of access of migrants from the Middle East region into Ukraine is mainly by air. This is the rather seriously controlled channel to use which it is necessary to have sufficient funds. Therefore, I see no reasons for the situation, as in Italy, where it is possible to get into the country from the Middle East by sea. But I think that migratory pressure in semi-legal forms, may increase. I’ve heard that many residents of Arab countries are already probing the ground and question their Ukrainian friends about the possibility of coming to our country. To sum up, I would say that the migration pressure may increase, but the scale of the problem will be much less than in the countries bordering the countries of the Arab revolution. There is the risk of radical extremist organizations, particularly Islamic, and the security forces periodically say about them. Of course, Ukraine risks not so much, as many European countries, where there are large communities of Islamic immigrants. And we are not involved in conflicts such as the Afghan one. But the Islamic extremism tends to spread, and sooner or later in some way we will be affected by this. But the scale will be quite different than in Russia or European countries.” 

Ivan Popesku, Deputy Head of the Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations: “The humanitarian disaster does not threaten Ukraine, unlike Italy, because a lot of people from Tunisia are trying to get Italy across the sea. And there were always problems with illegal migrants. Ukraine has no such problem, because in order to get to our country from the Middle East by air, it is necessary to have documents, i.e. legal reason for crossing the border. As regards external borders, due to the fact that we have signed with the European Union action plan on the introduction of visa-free regime for short-period trips, and among the mandatory conditions is contains the condition of border security and prevention of illegal migration. The authorities have every reason, every opportunity to prevent it. There are no grounds to speak about the humanitarian disaster in Ukraine yet, that may happen in Italy, Spain and other Mediterranean countries. As for radical Islamist organizations, they can be created regardless illegal immigration. It is enough to have own citizens, relevantly targeted. For this purpose, there are the appropriate authorities, which must carry out preventive work. If there are no necessary measures, then theoretically it is possible in the future. At the moment, I think the threat is unreal. In the context of agreements signed with the EU, we need to toughen the struggle against illegal migrants.”