Staunton, March 17 – Russians reacting with horror to the Kremlin’s plan to cover the country’s demographic losses by attracting ten million new immigrants over the next six years (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/03/kremlin-hopes-to-cover-russias.html). Some of them are convinced that the new arrivals will drive down wages and increase unemployment.
According to Leonid Fedorov of the URA news agency, the authorities hope that such arrivals will help compensate for the impact of the decline in the number of the indigenous population on the economy; but Nikita Maslennikov of the Institute of Contemporary Development says that is a false hope (ura.news/articles/1036277729).
Maslennikov says that Moscow will not be able to attract the highly skilled workers it hopes for but only more of those with fewer skills at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid. And Oleg Ivanov, head of the Center for the Resolution of Social Conflicts, says that the newcomers will create a dangerous “demographic imbalance” given that many won’t be able to fit it.
The immigrants who will come, he says, are going to be from Central Asia and the Caucasus, not Ukraine and Belarus as the Kremlin imagines; and the former know Russian less well and are significantly more culturally different. That is going to create potentially serious conflicts.
Leonty Byzov of the Moscow Institute of Sociology says that it will be extremely difficult to acculturate let alone assimilate these people. “We often see that they socialize us more rapidly than we do them. In a number of population points of Russia, migrants form a majority.” And there will be more such places if the Kremlin’s plan goes into effect.
Nikita Isayev of the Institute of Actual Economics says that that development will lead to the formation of ethnic enclaves and ghettos, isolated and at odds with the surrounding Russians who will have yet another reason to dislike such people: the new arrivals will push down wages still further, making the impact of the current economic crisis even more severe.