Thursday, December 7, 2017

Moscow Now at Risk of Ethnic ‘Ghettoization,’ Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 7 – The Soviet registration system prevented the emergence of ghettos in Moscow like those which exist in many cities around the world, but the breakdown of that system after 1991 and the arrival of large numbers of gastarbeiters from Central Asia and the Caucasus points to the ethnic “ghettoization” in the Russian capital, real estate experts say.

            The Russian real estate company, Income-Property, says that over time, the outskirts of the Russian capital are likely to become “a type of ghetto” in which a significant share of the population will consist of migrants” who will thus remain separate and distinct (

                Sergey Shloma who heads that company’s secondary market department says there is now a risk that Moscow in the foreseeable future “will be subdivided into prestige, low prestige and non-prestige districts,” a development that will lead to ethnic ghettoization as newcomers move to the least expensive parts of the city and the ones where there are others like themselves.

            The first such ghettos, he continues, are taking shape in Karacharovo, Tekstilshchiki, Lyublino, Staroye Marino, Eastern and Western Biryulevo, Meetrogorodok, Golyanovo, Korovinskoye chaussee, and Angara Street, but others may join them as gastarbeiters seek inexpensive housing not too far from their places of employment.

            Such a development, although Shloma does not talk about this aspect, will likely also lead those in such ghettos to retain their national languages and cultures more than would be the case if they were living among ethnic Russians and that in turn will keep them apart from the Russian majority in the city.

            Moreover, this ghettoization – and it is likely to spread to other large Russian cities as well – will almost certainly give rise to what is called “the second-generation problem” among immigrants in Western Europe. That term refers to the fact that the first generation of immigrants tends to adapt to get ahead, but its children are angry that their identities are held against them.

            Russia like the Soviet Union before it has not had much experience with that development, something Russian scholars and commentators have often pointed to with pride. But if the Income-Property assessment is right, Russia is about to experience what many Western countries already have – and with even fewer resources to address those problems. 

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