Illustration from the guide, published on
A 50-page guide distributed to migrant workers in Saint Petersburg has ruffled quite a few feathers among Russian human rights activists. While the text appears well-meaning – offering advice on legal matters, local customs, and health care – it’s the illustrations that have attracted criticism.
Migrant workers are depicted as anthropomorphised tools: a broom, a paint bush, a trowel, and a paint roller, all with big smiling faces. In contrast, local residents are depicted as humans.
The guide was issued in four languages: Russian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek, and Tajik. Outside of Russia, it garnered the most attention in Tajikistan, where several journalists wrote pieces criticising it as insulting.
Though the guide was published on the city’s website, Saint Petersburg authorities denied responsibility for its content, saying it had been designed by a nonprofit organisation. However, they have promised to stop its distribution.