When choosing a new place for permanent residence, not all Russians prioritize the warm climate, the presence of the sea and low prices for basic goods and services. For many of them, the long-established stability in politics and the economy, social guarantees, as well as employment and business opportunities are of primary importance. Moreover, in some countries, emigration from Russia is not spontaneous, but systemic.
Among the countries with a long-established Russian diaspora is France, where the first stream of immigrants from Russia, numbering about 400 thousand people, poured after the October Revolution of 1917 and during the Civil War. One part of them subsequently assimilated, while the other retained the language, culture and even “old regime” manners. The symbol of that wave of emigration was the Russian cemetery in Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois.
Currently, Russians account for about 2% of the total number of immigrants (6 million) living in France legally, while the leaders in this regard are the Portuguese, Algerians and Moroccans (around 7-8%). For the most part, our former compatriots choose large cities to live: in addition to Paris, where the bulk of them are concentrated, these are Nice, Lyon, Bordeaux and Marseille.
Unlike neighboring Spain, to move and obtain a residence permit it is not enough to buy real estate in France and confirm your financial independence. Therefore, if you do not take into account family reunification, marriage with a French citizen or service in the French Legion, the main “paths” of emigration are official employment (both in blue-collar and highly skilled professions), studying at a university or opening your own business.
At the initial stage, knowledge of the French language is not always required – especially since Russian communities operate here, Russian shops operate, Russian lawyers and doctors engage in private practice, and on Russian-language portals on the Internet you can find all the useful information or advertise. However, in the future, language skills will be necessary, including in order to use various services and benefits provided to residents. This also applies to medical care, the quality of which has been recognized as the best in Europe for several years.
An even more impressive Russian diaspora lives in Germany, where emigrants also arrived in waves, the last of which began in 1989. As a result, there are now almost 4 million Russian-speaking immigrants from the former Soviet republics living in the country, including ethnic German repatriates. Russians account for 9% of all immigrants, which is the third figure after citizens of Turkey and Poland.
The Russian diaspora is dispersed throughout the country, and in some large cities – such as Berlin, Dresden, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, Dortmund, Cologne – there are entire neighborhoods with a predominance of the Russian-speaking population. Quite a lot of Russians settled in the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, but it is difficult to say in which urban settlement at least one of them did not live. Accordingly, there are no problems with finding a specialist in a particular field, and not a “private trader”, but one working in a government organization.
Quick adaptation to local conditions is facilitated not only by numerous German language courses, but also by a mass of public associations, associations and centers where newcomers can receive advice on almost all issues. In Berlin alone, there are more than ten such institutions, the main one of which is the “Russian House,” not to mention Russian radio, television, newspapers and magazines. Well, Russian grocery stores can be found in several districts of one city at once, and this is not the limit. In Germany, they have established the production of traditional Russian products (sausages, pickles, etc.) for export, and they can be found in other EU countries – in particular, in Spain.
At the same time, many immigrants strive to find a place of residence with a minimum number of similar people, thus trying to quickly integrate into German society. Moreover, the attitude of the overwhelming majority of Germans towards Russians can be called, if not friendly, then at least tolerant. Well, some German men deliberately look for brides from Russia, seeing in them more reliable, decent and economic life partners.
On the other hand, Russian women need to be prepared for many of the character traits of their partners (frugality, prudence, pedantry, following the rules), as well as the fact that their immediate circle will be wary of their foreign “other half” at first, and their favor will be conquer. However, as one of the “emigrant” songs says, “Russian weddings in Germany are a frequent example, and nothing simpler, in the German style,” which is completely true.
The number of Russian diaspora in the Czech Republic is about 35 thousand people, which is quite a lot, based on the 11 million population of this, one might say, mononational country. Of the foreigners, only Ukrainians, Slovaks and Vietnamese live here more. The first Russians to move to the Czech Republic were White emigrants, after which there was a break until the mid-90s. During this time, the friendly attitude towards immigrants from Russia managed to deteriorate somewhat due to the events of August 1968, but gradually the tension in relations at the everyday level practically disappeared.
This is evidenced by the fact that almost all Russians who have chosen this country as their permanent place of residence feel comfortable here – primarily due to the similarity of mentalities and languages, low prices with decent wages (on average 2-2.5 times more than in the Russian Federation), favorable environmental conditions, business opportunities, low crime rates, and the absence of the threat of terrorist attacks or hostilities. For the most part, Russian citizens prefer to settle in Prague (mainly in districts 1-3 and 5) and its closest suburbs, Brno, Karlovy Vary and other famous resorts.
It is possible that more immigrants from Russia would live in the Czech Republic if it were not for the difficulties in obtaining a residence permit. It is not provided to property owners in the Czech Republic, but only to persons opening a business here that is of interest to the country, students studying at local universities, and employees who have entered into a contract with a Czech company. A work visa can also be obtained “on the side” for a certain amount (a similar practice is common in Poland), but subsequently difficulties may arise with extending a residence permit or obtaining permanent residence.
For the first time, English is sufficient for communication in everyday life, despite the fact that representatives of the older generation have not yet forgotten Russian, and Czech can be learned in the process, fortunately it is not one of the difficult ones. Free courses are available not only for students at universities, but also for all legal immigrants at the so-called “integration centers” operating in large cities.