Russia's officials claim that illegal immigrants may bring about the growth of the problem of diseases

Up to ten million illegal immigrants live in Russia today, Gennady Onishchenko, the country's chief epidemiologist and director of the consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor, told journalists in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

These people are effectively being treated as slaves, he said.

"As long as this slave-owning system stays profitable for Russia's construction business, we will continue encountering the problem of typhoid and other diseases," he said.

Immigrants do not undergo routine medical checkups and lack access to timely high-quality medical care, Onishchenko said.

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