In 2017, the migration increase in the population of Russia was due mainly by Belarussians who arrived in the country. This data was provided by the Russian Institute of Demography. The authors of the study “Migration in Russia. Preliminary results of 2017 ” refer to the operational data of registration of foreign citizens arriving in Russia.
As noted, in 2017, compared to 2016, “the migration growth in Russia’s population increased due to migrants from Belarus (4.5 time increase), then in decreasing order, Kyrgyzstan , Tajikistan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia. At the same time, migration decreased significantly from Ukraine – as opposed to 2014-2016, due to the conflict in the East at the time. Experts also draw attention to the fact that between 2011-2017 the number of citizens who come to Russia from Belarus has been constantly increasing.
It should be noted that the tendency of Belarussians to move to Russia is aided by Belarussian business unions. Chairman of the Belarussian Union of Entrepreneurs Alexander Kalinin drew attention to this during a press conference in February 2018. “The trend is mostly among young people, who we support in their business ventures if they choose to start a business there. Eventually they get citizenship too. ”
Russia, 145 million people, is a much larger economy than Belarus, 10 million, so it makes sense for entrepreneurs to be supported in this way – however what about the potential for a ‘brain-drain’ in Belarus itself? Belarus prides itself on being a neutral country in the Eastern block, and tends not to take sides in the Ukrainian conflict, or disagreements with NATO and the EU.