There are practically no states left in the world where immigrants from Russia have not settled, although not all of them have steadily growing and developing diasporas. The choice of a new place of residence is influenced by many factors, and for different countries they can have completely different meanings.
The world’s most impressive Russian-speaking diaspora was formed in the United States, where the first settlers went back in the 18th century to explore new lands. The next three waves occurred during the Soviet period, when most emigrants left for ideological reasons: in search of freedom and the “American Dream,” being deprived of the opportunity to realize themselves under the existing communist system.
The fourth wave of emigration – the most massive one, rushing to the “Wild West” after the fall of the “Iron Curtain” – is often called “sausage”, since most of its representatives came for an incomparably higher quality of life, tired of shortages, unemployment, low wages and others.” delights” of the transition period. Finally, the fifth wave, which began in the mid-2000s and continued until recently, was completely heterogeneous both in composition and in the goals pursued.
As a result, as of 2019, there were more than 390 thousand people from Russia in the United States, and over 3 million people of Russian origin. The bulk of immigrants live in the states of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, California and Florida, and in Alaska there are even two entirely Russian settlements: Nikolaevsk and Aleneva.
The main symbol of the diaspora continues to be the Brighton Beach area in New York, where to this day you can live and work peacefully without being able to connect two words in English, although outside this “reserve” you simply cannot do without knowledge of the language. This primarily concerns employment and studying at American universities – currently the two most common reasons for moving, followed by marriage, obtaining political asylum and purchasing real estate in the United States. In recent years, trips to local clinics for childbirth have become quite common, since a child born in the United States is automatically entitled to a US passport.
Hundreds of books and songs have been written about the life of Russians in America, many films have been made – both documentaries and films, representing this country from a variety of sides and points of view. The same applies to immigrants: some of them are happy with everything and do not experience any problems, some are happy, despite all the difficulties, and some are disappointed in their dream, clearly suffer from nostalgia, but for some reason return to their native land. he’s in no hurry. However, if the flow of those wishing to go overseas in search of a better life still does not dry up, it means that the majority of Russians find in the United States what they were unsuccessfully looking for at home.
Not too few Russians believe that in search of a “non-illusory dream country” it is not at all necessary to go far away, especially if the border with the European Union is just a stone’s throw away. First of all, we are talking about Latvia, where at the beginning of 2021 the share of the Russian-speaking population exceeded 25%, and another 2.5% were immigrants from Russia.
The choice in favor of Latvia is explained by a number of circumstances that make this country attractive in the eyes of Russian citizens who have decided to start life from scratch in a new place. However, considering that people have been coming here on vacation since time immemorial and repeatedly, almost all Russians who decide to move do so completely consciously. By that time, they are already well aware of the climate, the price level, employment and business opportunities, and also have a more or less clear idea of medical care, education and attitude towards visitors.
For some potential emigrants, the last point raises certain concerns, and for good reason. However, if you do not give a reason for the indigenous population to actually remember the “occupiers,” then the likelihood of this problem arising will be minimized. At the same time, those who intend to connect their lives with Latvia in the future are recommended to learn the Latvian language; those who really wanted to do this completed the task without much difficulty.
An undoubted advantage is the opportunity to obtain a residence permit in Latvia when purchasing real estate for an amount of 250 thousand euros, although previously it was only 70 thousand euros – less than anywhere else in the EU. The fact that, firstly, an investor can take out a mortgage to partially pay for the chosen property speaks in favor of purchasing housing in Latvia; secondly, he does not need to stay in the country for a certain period of time; thirdly, during his absence he can rent out housing.
A relatively new destination for Russians choosing a place for permanent residence is Turkey, which as tourists they have already managed to, if not travel far and wide, then at least visit all the resorts. This was also facilitated by the implementation of a program under which one can obtain a residence permit in Turkey or citizenship of this country for investments in real estate. The conditions for this are more than favorable compared to EU member states – in the case of a residence permit, there is no price threshold as such (the main thing is confirmation of financial independence), and for those who expect to receive a Turkish passport, it is 250 thousand US dollars.
One way or another, the phrase “I don’t need the Turkish coast…” from the once popular song began to be repeated much less frequently, but more and more often on the streets of local cities – such as Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, Denizli – you can hear Russian speech . It is difficult to name the exact number of immigrants from Russia permanently residing in Turkey, but, according to unofficial data, it is at least one and a half times higher than in 2015 (35 thousand people).
With all the advantages lying on the surface (mild climate, geographical location, low prices, business opportunities), there are also “pitfalls” that people who do not see the difference between tourism and emigration usually stumble over. First of all, this is a difference in mentality, which is determined, among other things, by religion. And no matter how much the Turks strive to join the EU, they will still remain true to their traditions, so lovers of wild parties with a “sea of beer” will find understanding only in their own circle. The quality of alcoholic beverages will match the all-inclusive programs of 3-4-star hotels, and pork dishes will have to be excluded from the usual snacks.
Russian women who feel relaxed on vacation in Turkey will also have to dress and behave much more modestly – especially those who are going to marry a Turk. However, those who are ready to accept such restrictions are unlikely to regret their choice.