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Company Applies to Trademark Logo for Migrant-Free Products

A St. Petersburg company has applied to trademark a logo that would indicate a product was made without migrant labor, RBK daily reported Friday.

The logo by the Intellectual Design Bureau, or IKB, an intellectual property protection company founded by the nationalist political party Rodina, would feature a white swan floating on a lake in the shape of Russia.

Andrei Petrov, head of the Rodina branch in St. Petersburg, told RBK that using migrant labor was not only a blow to the Russian economy, but also "sharply lowers the quality and the patriotic component of goods." The logo would therefore be a sign of excellence, he said.

The swan was selected as the symbol for migrant labor-free products because it represents purity and loyalty, he said.

IKB would send an inspection team to businesses wanting to use the logo to check for evidence of migrant labor, Petrov said, and permission to use the mark could be withdrawn if a company is ever found to employ migrants.

Asked whether a hypothetical restaurant headed by a French chef could use the logo, Petrov said the no-migrant rule applied only to illegal immigration.

If "the essence of your business, your use of services, is provided by the use of migrant labor, then of course you will not get it [the logo]," the lawmaker said. "If your chef is just a trademark, setting the tone … but [the restaurant] uses Russian cooks, waiters, your service is domestic, definitely."

Petrov reportedly said some companies are already using the logo, but did not specify which ones.

Interethnic tension has swelled in recent years alongside a massive influx of foreign workers into the country.

Though the main thrust of nationalist sentiment is directed at internal migrants from the North Caucasus region and external migrants from Central Asia and former Soviet nations, hostility has also been directed at other non-Russians.

According to an October survey by the independent Levada Center pollster, 73 percent of Russians and more than 80 percent of Muscovites favor the deportation of migrant workers.

The center's director Lev Gudkov said that based on the pollster's research, he estimated that 70 to 80 percent of Russians are xenophobic in some way.

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