The collapse of the Soviet empire, followed by the 90s’ political and economic chaos in Russia and people’s uncertainty in the future, has grown into a large crack in the country’s demographics.
Two decades after the fall of the iron curtain, Russia has faced decreasing native population and a one-way, west-oriented, migration – with Central Asian citizens replacing the native Russians who migrate to Europe and the United States. The changes have created national and cultural gaps, which move the rich and the poor, the white- and the darker-skinned further apart.
Most low-paid heavy work on building sites, in markets or on the streets is now done by workers from Central Asia - Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan – places, whose economies have never managed to get up and stand firm on their own feet after the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Official statistics put the total number of such immigrants to Russia at just under 1 million, although unofficial estimates say there are several million, mostly in and around Moscow.
Despised by most natives, immigrants keep coming, supported by the flourishing corruption in the country, which has made work permits easily obtained online or through bribes.
First, they come alone, and then with wives and children, only a few of whom manage to learn Russian, get education and use it.
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