Perhaps the real wonder – with low wages, strict new permits and openly racist apartment listings – is that any of the millions of Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks who power Moscow’s huge economy are staying at all

For 12 years, Akbar has worked 12-hour shifts stocking shelves in a basement supermarket in central Moscow. Originally a chef from a small city in Uzbekistan, he would work most of the year in Moscow, then go home to visit his wife and five kids over New Year’s. But this year, the money’s got so bad that he plans to head back to Uzbekistan for good when his work permit runs out in August.

“I’ll work until it expires, then go home. What is there to do here?” Akbar said as he stocked cartons of juice from a stepladder. “I’ll find work there. What else can I do?”

Most apartment rental listings in Moscow ask for Russian or ‘Slavic’ people only

Kyrgyz immigrants, in particular, live in a ‘parallel city’ – their own hospitals, ticket-sellers and nightclubs

Related: Guardian Moscow Week / Московская неделя Guardian – live

Continue reading…