Many Leaving Russia To Come To The U.S.

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The rivalry between the two contrasting ideologies of the East and West peaked right after the Cold War, but it has never really gone away. Despite the fall of communist governments in the 1990s, communism did not disappear and now after almost two and a half decades, former communist powers are reemerging as global powers.

In 2000, with Vladimir Putin becoming president, things started to change for Russia with high economic growth rate, where unemployment and poverty was reduced by 50% and salaries were doubled. Putin’s popularity was increasing rapidly due to his more open policies. Russia was on course towards remodeling itself as a capitalist economy.

However, around 2010, Moscow’s policies started to change back again to old Soviet policies, together with an aggressive agenda to increase its influence globally.

The White House has always kept a watchful eye on Russian activities, and in a bid to ensure that Moscow’s return with their old ways doesn’t leave their borders, the U.S. tried to shore up democracy in countries neighboring Russia. However, Moscow decided to flex its muscles this time, and attacked Ukraine and annexed Crimea, sending major reverberations around the globe. Although the Kremlin’s actions were heavily criticized by the West, Russia persisted and has also begun to expand its influence in Middle East.

Russians leaving the country

In a recent survey issued by the independent Levada Center polling group, about 71% of the Russian population believes that America has played a negative role in the world, which is notable proof of the popularity of Putin’s policies.

However, according to statistics from the U.S. State Department, so far in 2015, the total number of Russians applying for a “green card” to immigrate to the U.S. stands at 265,086, an all-time high. This revelation has led to a new debate in the media – if the Russians hate US so much, then why are a huge number of them are applying for green cards?

Furthermore, the State department stats show that about 245,638 Russians gained permits to study or work in U.S. last year, and 3622 were given permanent residence, which is almost twice the average number over the last ten years.

Putin to blame for exodus?

This uptick in immigration to the U.S. can be seen as a sign of the failure of Putin’s governance, as his policies have resulted in poor economic conditions and ultimately people are suffering, forcing them to migrate to other countries in a hope of better life.

A former Russian citizen, Marina Fooksman, highlights the main reason behind the current influx of Russians in North America. She migrated to U.S. several years ago and is currently working as an immigration lawyer in New York. Marina says that, “People I spoke to a few years back, who were happy with Moscow, are now looking for an exit strategy”. According to her, Putin is favoring people close to him in Moscow, and other less wealthy Russians are left with no other option except but to apply for a visa for U.S. to move and try to earn more money, knowing that not being close to Putin will never give them a fair chance to enjoy finer things in Russia.

On the other hand, Putin has been voicing his criticism of organizations as they are hunting down Russian talent and skilled people which is leading to a brain drain in the country. Apart from U.S., a large number of Russians are also immigrating to Europe these days.

Russia’s policy of isolation

According to another analyst, Putin’s policy of isolation, confrontation and hunting down opposition groups has forced many to migrate to other parts of the world in search of better opportunities. However, the general preference has been migrating to the U.S., due to better work opportunities and higher pay.

Keep in mind that the annexation of Crimea came at a steep price to Russia in the form of economic sanctions that have ground down the country’s economy. These are tough times to Russia no matter what the state-run channels claim. The reality is that with an economy that has taken such a severe hit, it;s inevitable that a sizable number of people are looking to emigrate to the U.S. or other parts of the world with greater economic opportunities.

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9 Comments on "Many Leaving Russia To Come To The U.S."

  1. Some true, mostly false.

    First, look up the word “fascist”. You can get the Moscow Times (an anti-Putin paper) all over, and Echo of Moscow radio (not a friend of Putin) is available all the time. In the west, anyone who disagrees with the media/government narrative is labeled a “troll”, so not much difference, and just as childish as labeling somone a “traitor” in Russia. I know there are good people who criticize Putin who are definitely not, but there is still a mistrustful mindset, as there is here.

    Secondly, look at a map of the world and see who has by far the most military bases. Look at the NATO bases surrounding Russia, and the push of NATO into countries such as Georgia, after the fall of the USSR. Thirdly, what was the State Department’s role in Maidan (see Victoria Nuland), why was a US senator with a military/naval background whipping up the crowds there, why was Joe Biden grinning like a cat as he presided over Poroshenko’s inauguration? Why was Svoboda discussing revoking Russia’s lease on its strategic naval base at Sebastopol, and why try to eliminate Russian as one of the official languages? I watched Maidan on French TV, and they clearly showed men with swaztikas taking over government buildings in Kiev, but to my stupefaction, this was denied on CNN by the State Dept. If there was no intent to pull Ukraine away from Russia, it was the stupidest series of decisions ever made, that could only seem like an attack on Russia’s vital interests.

    Lastly, anyone can read the post cold-war “Wolfowitz Doctrine” of perpetual war with Russia, as well as Brzezinski’s “Grand Chessboard” strategy for Ukraine. People can decide for themselves.

  2. Anthony Clifton | Oct 21, 2015, 1:46 am at 1:46 am |

    So we are seeing a rather familiar trend in that Russia’s best and brightest now see that they can no longer hope for any positive change in a Russia ruled by a corrupt fascist dictator like Vladimir Putin and his corrupt cronies and oligarchs and have given up and left. They are being followed by other Russians, usually those that possess highly advanced skills and are highly educated. They are seeing that they have no hope for a better future in Russia as it is now and are leaving. Quite a few of them if the press reports of the great Russian brain drain is accurate.

    Why should they waste their time working for meaningful change and a better life in Russia when their fate is sealed just like it was during Soviet times when all they have to do is leave and come to the west “And bring their educations and skills with them” and have a much better and more productive life. We in the west should actually be thankful to Vladimir Putin that his repressive policies and despotism are driving so many highly skilled and educated Russians to the west. Our economies benefit from this influx of educated Russians while Putin’s economy shrinks and slowly goes broke, down $700 Billion dollars in GDP in just the last year alone. Good work Vlad.

  3. Anthony Clifton | Oct 21, 2015, 1:45 am at 1:45 am |

    “It’s true, there is more political repression now and probably a feeling of growing insularity which is reminiscent of the USSR, but this was a predictable reaction to attacks by the West”

    The repressive policies of the Russian fascist dictator Vladimir Putin have nothing to do with attacks by the west. Vladimir Putin like all despots uses imaginary external threats such as the pathetic belief that the west is orchestrated “Color” Revolutions and sows the seeds of suspicion and fear by demonizing those who oppose him by labeling them “National Traitors” as Putin has done to what is left of the political opposition in Russia and uses agitation Propaganda to prevent ordinary Russians from being able to decern the truth. Nothing new actually as dictators with familiar names from the past have done the same thing. The only difference is the Putin has brought these methods into the 21st Century using the Internet, global satellite communications and social media.

  4. So we are seeing a rather familiar trend in that Russia’s best and brightest now see that they can no longer hope for any positive change in a Russia ruled by a corrupt fascist dictator like Vladimir Putin and his corrupt cronies and oligarchs and have given up and left. They are being followed by other Russians, usually those that possess highly advanced skills and are highly educated. They are seeing that they have no hope for a better future in Russia as it is now and are leaving. Quite a few of them if the press reports of the great Russian brain drain is accurate.

    Why should they waste their time working for meaningful change and a better life in Russia when their fate is sealed just like it was during Soviet times when all they have to do is leave and come to the west “And bring their educations and skills with them” and have a much better and more productive life. We in the west should actually be thankful to Vladimir Putin that his repressive policies and despotism are driving so my highly skilled and educated Russians to the west. Our economies benefit from this influx of educated Russians while Putin’s economy shrinks and slowly goes broke, down $700 Billion dollars in GDP in just the last year alone. Good work Vlad.

  5. Anthony Clifton | Oct 21, 2015, 1:25 am at 1:25 am |

    It looks like our “Russian” friends from St Petersburg are upset by the truth. Nothing new there as they usually are. Their anger only confirms that the story is true. Thanks for the confirmation Putinbot.

  6. Sorry, but in a reversal of roles, Russia is today less marxist than the US (flat tax and little if any property tax), and it has become much more religious than the US, with new churches being built all over and many filled to capacity. This is what ticks off neo-liberals and neo-conservatives alike who have been thrown into confusion. As to the visa numbers, there are probably a good number of fiancee visas since the proliferation of the internet, skype, etc. where people meet internationally, as well as a number who are hoping to escape the economic effects of the sanctions, and same-sex couples wanting to get married civilly in the US. Putin may favor those in his circle, but he doesn’t know tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of people. It’s true, there is more political repression now and probably a feeling of growing insularity which is reminiscent of the USSR, but this was a predictable reaction to attacks by the West. It didn’t spring up by itself, and I suspect if things smooth out internationally, it will gradually subside again.

  7. one more lying BS from Yank media pleasing yank govt.In reality about 13% Russians are feeling like NOT BAD to GO but about 3-4% REALLY READY TO GO.

  8. Boy, are they going to be disappointed.

  9. Yep, the people are leaving b/c of the ideology in Russia and for that reason since I truly believe everything I read in the US media I hate, totally despise Mexican ideology! I wonder when the US will start taking care of it.

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