Uzbek Migrant Appeals To President After Brother's Tragic Death

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011

An Uzbek migrant worker in Moscow has asked Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev to help out families living abroad who have lost a loved one.

Bokhodir Akhmedov issued the appeal in video shot while he drove his deceased brother in a makeshift coffin to Moscow's Vnukovo Airport.

"Our people come to Moscow not by choice but by the need to make money. They don't have wads of money," Akhmedov says in the video published by Current Time.

Between 2 and 3 million of Uzbekistan's more than 33 million people work abroad, mostly in Russia, to provide for their families back home.

In the video, Akhmedov said his 32-year-old brother had traveled often to Moscow over the years to work. On January 5, he said, his brother Otabek was sent out to clear snow from the roof of a three-story building.

His brother, however, slipped on the roof and fell to the ground where he died.


The 40-year-old Akhmedov said it would have cost him money he does not have to transport the body of his brother from Russia to Uzbekistan.

He said he contacted Uzbekistan's national airline and the Uzbek Embassy in Moscow for help but got none.

Uzbekistan Airways, Akhmedov said, insisted he would have to pay 18,000 rubles ($270), the standard rate to transport a corpse, which is described as "cargo-200."

If he wanted a discount, Akhmedov was told to contact the airline's headquarters in Tashkent.

Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoev (file photo)

At the Uzbek Embassy in Moscow, Akhmedov said, a staff member coldly asked "What do you need?"

Explaining he needed help to send home to Ferghana in Uzbekistan his brother's corpse, the staffer said, according to Akhmedov, "We don't help anyone," before handing him a business card for a funeral service business.

"I told him I had already reached out to such services, but they are too expensive," Akhmedov said in the video.

"He said: 'Who will help you for free? No one does anything for free.'" Akhmedov recounted.

Eventually, Akhmedov did find help.

"Thankfully, the people at the company where my brother worked helped. They collected the money, and now I'm heading to Vnukovo Airport," Akhmedov said in the video.

Akhmedov then issued his plea to the Uzbek leader:

"If people find themselves in such a situation, at least help them out," he said. "Make the transport of cargo-200 free."
Uzbek Migrant Appeals To President After Brother's Tragic Death

Migrant laborers from he various -stans of ex-Soviet Central Asia do so much work for Russians.

They do most of the construction work

and that includes most of the Olympic venues in Sochi and also the stadiums for the recent World Cup

They clean the streets, year round

And plenty, like this Bokhodir's brother, are also dispatched to the rooftops of Moscow or St Petersburg in winter to clear snow and icicles (work seen as too dangerous to risk the lives of white Slavic workers up there, even if they try not to say so openly...)

They take away and sort the trash at the garbage processing and recycling plants

They drive most of the taxis too, at this point

Especially in Moscow (less so in other cities) if you call for a plumber to fix your pipes (it is a municipal government service there, they don't really have private plumbers in Russia), chances are a guy from Kyrgyzstan or Uzbekistan will sow up too

In the southern regions, one may also see lots of them working on the farms too

Plenty of their women working as cleaners, in offices and residences, in Moscow and other cities

and stuff most fast food restaurants, especially in, again, the bigger cities

And at this point, even most Russians, xenophobic and nationalistic as they may be, have basically accepted that, whether they like it or not, they need these people...

With all the dangerous jobs they do, plenty of these people are killed every year; some Central Asian countries, like Kyrgyzstan, for example, have their national airlines repatriate their people's remains free of charge for their families

"Cargo 200" is what the various militaries of ex-USSR refer to for bodies of troops being brought back from war. But, for these countries, this is same, they regularly ship back their dead from Russia... Price of business for them. Their economies depend on their workers in Russia and their remittances. For Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, at least 30% of their GDPs come from their migrant labor in Russia. Uzbekistan is right up there too. But, unlike the others, so far, they refuse to pay to bring back their dead bodies. A big pain for the relatives... :(