Monday, February 22, 2021

Despite Fall in Number of Immigrant Workers, Their Transfer Payments Home Remained Stable during Pandemic

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 22 – In 2020, the year of the pandemic and a time when many immigrant workers from former Soviet republics left Russia, those who did remain sent home 6.2 billion US dollars, only a slight decline from the year before although significantly lower than in 2017 and 2018, banking statistics show (

            What this means is that those who were able to remain in Russia worked more hours and made more money than the average of a year earlier, an indication of just how much demand there is for their labor and how few of the positions left vacant by the departure of others were filled by indigenous Russians.

            The pandemic in Russia is easing in most places, and today officials reported the lowest new death figure in months –337 for the country as a whole – and with only 12,604 new cases of infection being registered ( and

Officials are lifting restrictions and returning hospitals to normal operation, and many of them are talking about the approaching end of the pandemic ( But that is leading to two things the powers may be less than pleased about: an assessment of Russia’s real achievements in the pandemic and dire predictions about the future.

One commentator said it is all very well to proclaim victory over the coronavirus, but Russia has suffered grievous losses and despite having been the first to come up with a vaccine lags far behind in inoculating its population, conducting tests, and providing adequate statistics (

Turkey has immunized just under twice as many of its people as Russia has, the UK four times as many; India, three times; and the United States, 15 times the number Russia has despite having a population only slightly more than twice as many. Moreover, the Americans have tested for the virus 350 million times, more than the US population, while Russia has made only 100 million, far less.

Consequently, the commentator says, American statistics are far more reliable than Russian ones; and those who are now proclaiming victory should be far more modest. That is especially so because the situation in the Russian economy is obviously far worse than officials are admitting (e.g,

And if the past wasn’t enough to make Russians depressed, the present and future look dark as well. Online fraud has gone through the roof as many Russians have turned to the internet for the first time (, and infectious disease specialists say an even worse pandemic arising from avian flu may be ahead (

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