Future Waves Of Immigration To Russia Seen Coming From Africa And India – OpEd


Some Russians may not like the influx of migrant workers from Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan because they are culturally and linguistically distinct, but in the future, Marat Zharapov says, Russians may come to view such people as almost “native” because future waves of immigrants are likely to come from Africa and India.

Indeed, the Versiya commentator says, Russians are likely to refer to them as “Afro-Russians” and “Indo-Russians” to highlight just how much more different they are likely to be than any migrants from former Soviet republics (versia.ru/gastarbajtery-iz-uzbekistana-i-kirgizii-skoro-mogut-pokazatsya-rodnymi).

As migration from the Central Asian and Caucasian countries has slowed but Russia’s demographic decline continued, he says, Russian businesses are already preparing for a mass influx of migrant workers from Africa and Asia; and Moscow is already preparing a new visa regime that will allow up to 10,000 Africans to arrive in the immediate future.

But neither Russian companies nor the Russian government has publicized this, Sharapov says; and most of what one knows about it comes not from either of them but rather from African leaders who are thrilled that their citizens will have a chance to work in Russia and send home transfer payments.

That the Russian government has kept quiet about this is no surprise. On the one hand, the Kremlin certainly knows how sensitive the issue of immigration already is and the possibility that new migrants will be even more distinctive than current ones is not something it wants to advertise in this election season.

And on the other, the powers that be in Moscow undoubtedly hope that the new immigrants will come in relatively small doses and can be dispersed throughout the country, something that will limit the attention they’re likely to receive in the central media and thus the anger that some Russians may feel about this development.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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