Are ethnic Russians pure white

Latvia: Ethnic Russians stay

The emigration of Russians from Latvia reached its peak in the 1990s. In 1992, 30,000 people resettled in the Russian Federation. Ten years later there were only 1,300 and last year only around 600. Currently, only a few people leave the country every month. Above all, it is citizens of Russia and pensioners who have relatives in their historic homeland.

Illusions vanished

But why do people no longer want to emigrate? There are several reasons for this. The most important is that the illusion that Russia is waiting for the immigrants has long since vanished. Building a new life in Russia is usually more difficult than it appears from Latvia. The people are confronted with indifference and bureaucracy and in the countryside are often even viewed as enemies by the local population. Russian Latvians do not believe that Putin's program is capable of changing the way immigrants are treated. The program is fiction, because millions of emigrants cannot obtain legal status in Russia, say many Russian Latvians.

Ireland more interesting than Russia

Another reason why people from Latvia do not want to emigrate to Russia is purely material. The minimum wage in Latvia is the lowest in the EU at around $ 100, but the minimum wage in Russia is only $ 30. The average pension in Latvia is around $ 140, in Russia less than $ 100.

If you already want to emigrate, it is more likely to go to Ireland, where more than 30,000 Latvians already work. There they earn between 1,000 and 3,000 euros per month. Life is easier there than in Russia - easier than in Krasnoyarsk or Khabarovsk. You can't lure Latvians there with promises or cash benefits.

EU more interesting

In addition, non-EU citizens living in the EU and Latvian citizens will soon be able to travel across Europe without a visa. They will also be allowed to work within the EU. This opens up new opportunities, especially for young people, precisely those who the Russian returnee program is aimed at. The professor at the Baltic Russian Institute in Riga, Artur Prieditis, sees this in his students and graduates: "Young Russians go to the West to work or study. The new information options are helpful here."

Far East not tempting

The young people themselves say that the prospect of moving to a remote Russian province is not tempting. One student stated that none of her fellow students would go to the Far East, at best to Moscow or St. Petersburg, but more to the West.

But retirees are also not enthusiastic about returning to Russia. A 65-year-old man said he would not emigrate because he was receiving a pension in Latvia from which he could live normally.

Mutual acceptance

The third reason is that most Russian Latvians lead regular and stable lives. Many Russians have got used to the conditions in Latvia. In addition, according to Professor Prieditis, more and more Latvians would accept the Russians who immigrated during the Soviet era: "The Latvians have come to terms with the presence of the Russians and the Russians have come to terms with the politics of the Latvians. Everyone has found their place."

One of the chairmen of the United Congress of Russian Municipalities in Latvia, Mikhail Tjacin, agrees. In his opinion, another solution to the problems of Russians living abroad has to be found: "You don't have to emigrate, you have to solve the problems locally. And Russia has to act differently, support its compatriots abroad, as many developed countries do . "

Alexey Romanov, Riga
DW-RADIO / Russian, July 24, 2006, focus east-southeast