Sunday, October 29, 2017

Without Gastarbeiters, Russian GDP Would Decline Ten Percent, Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, October 29 – Russia’s demographic situation is such, former Federal Migration Service deputy head Vyacheslav Postavnin says, that “if migrant workers were completely excluded from the Russian economy, the country’s GDP would automatically fall by ten percent” (

            “Russia is currently losing a million workers each year: people are dying or going on a pension,” he says, “but we don’t have young people in sufficient quantities” to replace them.  The only way the country can compensate and not suffer economically, Postavnin says, is to make use of gastarbeiters.

            Other Russian experts agree. Sergey Boldyrev, a specialist on migration at the Trade-Industrial Chamber, says that “any immigrant who in Russia produces a good for five rubles takes only one for himself; the remaining four remain in the country” and benefits the Russian people and Russia as a state.

            And Anatoly Vishnevsky, the director of the Institute of Demography of the Higher School of Economics, adds that no one should forget that “migration is a very important demographic resource without which we will not even be able to keep at a stable level the numbers of our population."

            But polls show that overwhelming majorities of Russians want to restrict immigration. One recent survey by VTsIOM, for example, found that 78 percent say that the government should place severe limits on the number of gastarbeiters allowed to come into and work in the country.

            The authorities are responding: the labor ministry has called for reducing the quota of gastarbeiters next year by 20 percent, and Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin has called for increasing the registration payments such workers must make in hopes of reducing their number and the burden he sees them placing on the city.

            The conflict between what the country needs and what the country wants highlights a troubling reality, the URA news agency concludes: Russia can’t live without immigrant workers but it doesn’t want to live with them either. 

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