Russian expats come back to grab new opportunities


Russia is making changes to its migration policy trying to entice more emigres to come back.

Desperate to boost its dwindling population, Russia warmly welcomes its former citizens who have earned experience and qualifications abroad and are now ready to give something back to their homeland.

“Strengthening relations with compatriots is a key area of the Russian migration policy,” Vitaly Yakovlev, an official from the Federal Migration Service, told RT. “It’s not our goal to resettle all our compatriots to Russia. Rather it is to provide help to those who make a conscious decision to move back to our country, to enter its economy and labor market and so on.”

Grigory Trusov, just named Russia’s Person of the Year, left Moscow for Florida, got a degree from an American university and was granted US citizenship. However, in 1994 he came back, attracted by new opportunities.


“Russia today is like the Wild West of the 19th Century of the US,” Trusov said. “It’s perfect if you want challenges or a less stable life, as stability sometimes can be boring. Good things, in my opinion, overweigh the bad things.”

Although Trusov left Russia the second time after the financial crash in 1998, he came back again and now runs a consulting company.

18,000 former Russian citizens have returned since 2007. The government is spending $10 million a year in the hope of enticing more.

The program currently operates in 20 regions, matching job vacancies to applicants’ expertise.

However, resettling in Russia is far from easy.


Dmitry is a violin-maker whose family moved to Central Russia from Moldova in 2009 because the Russian-speaking population was declining.

“At times the law didn’t work here. We faced problems slowing down our own document processing. You need financial support when you’re solving these issues. And you only rely on yourself to provide the expenses. It’s impossible to get settled and start working immediately,” Dmitry said.

Like Dmitry, most emigres come from the CIS counties, but even those living in Germany and Israel have started to come back. The government will welcome 5,000 more.

This trend could be especially important for Russian regions such as Chechnya, which many fled after the start of counter-terrorist operations 10 years ago.

“A lot of people are returning now. 76 per cent of people returning from Europe are those originating in the Chechen Republic. It means the situation in the republic has stabilized,” Zoya Kravchuk, from the International Organization for Migration, told RT.

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