Moscow authorities have announced the creation of a volunteer squad to help track down illegal migrants, a move human rights advocates say opens the door to abuse and violence.
Hours later, as dusk settled on February 12, a dozen volunteers donning dark-red vests with the inscription "immigration patrol" were dispatched into the streets.
Aleksandr Kislitsky, a former policeman, told Russian television Channel 1 he was eager to assist migration officials.
"They detain citizens or check documents. Volunteers help them accordingly. They also help explain things, or [help] if the person tries to run away," Kislitsky said.
More than 300 people have already applied to take part in the patrols. Moscow authorities say they are aiming for a total of 600 volunteers.
Officials insist that squad members are carefully screened and undergo compulsory training. Aggressive individuals and ultranationalists, they say, are rejected.
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS CAN GO TO HELL THEIR ARE NOT THE ONES WHO HAVE TO LIVE IN AND WATCH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS MUSLIMS DESTROYING THIS ONCE BEAUTIFUL CITY! DEAR MUSLIMS BETTER START PACKING YOUR BAGS BECAUSE NOW THAT PUTIN IS OPENLY TRYING TO TAKE RUSSIA BACK INTO SOVIET TIMES,YOU DAYS OF LIVING ILLEGALLY IN RUSSIA ARE ALMOST OVER.