War in Ukraine | Moscow puts pressure on the Russian diaspora

02/01/2023 at 07:40


Duma Deputy Speaker Anna Kuznetsova proposes using the properties of those who left to foster orphans

“the boys they leftthe men they have stayed“. With a gesture of contempta Russian woman watches two young Muscovites, introduced as ‘hipsters’ and urbaniteswith well-paid jobs, getting into a luxurious car with a chauffeur and announcing that they were leaving for Georgia, leaving Russia forever. Suddenly, an old woman slips next to the vehicle about to start and two other boys, dressed in simpler clothes and belonging, visibly, to a different social class, help the woman to get up, which motivates the derogatory comment of the lady

This is the content of a propaganda video broadcast by Telegram to discredit those citizens of the Russian Federation who have left the country and refuse to fight in a conflict they do not consider theirs. alphabankone of the major russian banks estimates that 1.1 million citizens left the country last yearmainly in two waves, in February-March, at the start of the offensive in Ukraine, and in September, when partial mobilization was announced. The Russian diaspora, settled preferably in neighboring ex-Soviet republics, must face numerous problems, in addition to pressure from Moscow to discourage this human bleeding and even encourage return.

One of the favorite destinations for Russians is Kazakhstan. This central asian country, border with Russiawhich allows entry without a visa and with extended use of the Russian language, is one of the best options for those who fled the country. At first, the population received with the open arms to russians who were fleeing the mobilization and the political situation, as demonstrated by unusual hospitality gestures, which allowed the new arrivals to sleep in public places such as cinemas, since all the hotels were full, as well as offering them food and drink. After a while, the problems began.

Hardening of requirements

Kristina, one of the exiles, explains that it was her own company that proposed that she leave Russia. “I immediately agreed,” she says. She was lucky to “enter a company” that was willing to expatriate all of them and take them to another country instead of fire them “like many other international companies.” The Kazakh authorities wanted to capitalize on these outings to improve their own economy, giving facilities to companies like Kristina’s. However, recently, they changed the visa-free stay regime for all foreigners, and currently, you can only stay 90 consecutive days without a visa in Kazakh territory. When leaving it, the citizen in question will have to wait twice as long, up to 180 days, to be able to re-enter, a measure that mainly harms the Russians.

Viacheslav, a young man who fled because he they tried to recruit for the Armyrelates that upon arrival he found “a warm reception and the locals were friendly”. Despite the initial good feelings, he regrets that he also saw distrust and greed in some owners. “Prices have risen drastically. rent and sometimes they ask you to pay three months in advance,” he denounces. This is an unusual condition in Russia, a country where a single month’s deposit is usually requested.

The boy believes that it will take him a while to return to his country and, of course, he does not even consider returning until “the end the war” and know for sure that “the return is safe”. He remembers that they tried to take him away on one occasion, and he is afraid that his name will be “in some database”, so they could restrict you from leaving Russia in the future. He also criticized the conflict in networks, and knows that this “is enough for arrest someone“.

Russians in the South Caucasus

On February 24, 2022, the date of the start of the Russian offensive in Ukraine, many ghosts from the past woke up in Georgia. Currently, two territories of this Transcaucasian country are considered unrecognized and controlled by allies of Russia. Tbilisi fought to regain control in 2008 but Russia supported the war South Ossetia Y Abkhazia and the Georgian Armywithout any support, was forced to capitulate.

Despite this, throughout 2022, thousands of Russians arrived in that former Soviet republic. The high point occurred in September, when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization. Then the Russians came to collapse the Russian-Georgian land border and they even came to leave the cars behind to cross the customs crossing on bicycles and scooters, since it is not allowed to do so on foot. During the month of September alone, more than 200,000 people in Georgiaa country of only four million inhabitants.

Arkadi, a Russian who arrived in 2022, explains that in general he perceived “a totally normal attitude among locals (and the Russians)”. “The people are people everywhere”, he assures, although he regrets that on a couple of local occasions they stopped talking to him when they found out his nationality. Georgia continues to be one of the favorite countries for Russians who want to leave the country, although now entering by land is difficult because the car traffic in border regions it is restricted.

Those who crossed the Russian border in a southerly direction encountered the additional difficulty that a part of the population he doesn’t want them in his countryas evidenced by graffiti or stickers present in the streets, where slogans such as “don’t buy russian products” or “Russians come home.” The flood of Russians – also some Belarusians and Ukrainians – caused the price of life to rise in Georgia, especially those rental prices of the big cities.

In addition to the problems that any citizen forced to leave their country in a hurry and running must face, Russians abroad must face the battery of measures that the authorities are preparing to approve to sanction their attitude. Duma Deputy Speaker Anna Kuznetsova has just proposed to confiscate the property of the Russians who left the country, and give it to orphans, since from his point of view “they have betrayed the country”.