Russians are running
By the beginning of the 1990's, the position of the Russians in the former Soviet republics became frankly dangerous. In Tajikistan, in 1989 there were about 400 thousand Russians, 2000 thousand remained to 68. How many left for Russia, and how many became victims of the civil war is unknown. It is full of evidence that Russians were massacred by whole families only for their nationality. In Uzbekistan, the heads of "colonialists" paraded on the market. “Do not buy an apartment from Masha, it will still be ours” - it was written on the fences throughout the former Union. Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova - until now, the Russian authorities have not even disclosed the estimated data on how many compatriots died as a result of ethnic cleansing. Especially in the midst of events, the leaders of the country did not dare to demand protection for the Russian population from their CIS colleagues in order not to spoil relations.
Cases of Russian pogroms were noted even within the country: in Yakutia, Tuva, Bashkiria and throughout the North Caucasus. According to human rights activists, only in Chechnya in 1991–1994. 20 thousand Slavs died and 250 thousand left the republic. And although in the end Moscow threw at Grozny Tanks, this was due to "restoring constitutional order." Politicians spoke only in passing about the protection of Russians in the Caucasus, and the fact of genocide has not yet been officially recognized. Although in 2005 a group of former residents of Grozny turned to the President of the Russian Federation with just such a request.
“It’s hard to imagine a more disregarding attitude towards one’s own people,” says lawyer and human rights activist Boris Alexandrov. - They were even embarrassed to create a ministry for refugees. In Uganda or India, in such situations, government advertising was launched to help people left homeless, religious leaders encouraged nationwide fundraising. In Russia, refugees did not receive either apartments, elevators, or employment assistance — at best, they gave land in the open field and helped to assemble old houses on it.
In foreign countries, Russians could only count on themselves. The Foreign Ministry did not always systematize the information in which countries the citizens of Russia were in prison.
“In the nineties, we tried to fight international trafficking in human beings,” says Elena Bolyubakh, coordinator of the Crisis Center for Women. - I remember two young Russians fled from an underground brothel in an Arab country, appealed to the Russian embassy. Diplomats only recommended a couple of hotels where they could earn money for a ticket and fake documents. In European countries, a foreigner without a passport is imprisoned and made a request to the authorities of his country. The Russian tourist, from whom the documents were stolen, could have sat for half a year - no one in the Foreign Ministry was in a hurry to help him.
After major natural disasters on television screens, EMERCOM planes flash for the victims. But Russian citizens did not always care.
“I miraculously escaped during a tsunami in Thailand,” says the St. Petersburg-based citizen Mikhail Sokolov. - When we were taken to Bangkok airport, there were diplomatic workers from all countries of the world except Russia. The embassy staff helped two divers, who had only one swimsuit left from their property: they gave me a call to Moscow to send money. We were taken to Moscow by the transport board of the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Before the flight from each took a receipt that we do not pretend to plane meals. A fly 10 hours.
At the end of 1990, the State Duma adopted a law on compulsory insurance for citizens traveling abroad. In case of injuries or illnesses, the insurance payment must be at least 1,2 million rubles. But, in fact, the law is written in the interests of insurance companies, not tourists. The latter pay for treatment from their own pockets, and then getting insurance compensation is very difficult. The reason for failure may be force majeure like a tsunami. There is nothing to expect if the vacationer drank beer, was engaged in extreme sports (skiing or cycling) or went outside the hotel without a representative of the travel agency.
Motherland is calling
But for some reason the authorities have always believed that the people sincerely love her, and she leaves only by a misunderstanding. By 2005, when oil prices beat all records, and the federal budget was swollen with money, the Kremlin had ambitious plans to return compatriots from abroad. In Ukraine, there are more than 8 million Russians, in Kazakhstan - 3,8 million, in Uzbekistan - 1,1 million, in Latvia - 0,6 million. There were 22 million people in the world who noted their Russian origins during the censuses, and the Foreign Ministry’s estimates of the real number of Russians abroad reached 30 million. During the polls before 90,% of them noted that the authorities were responsible for their departure, but the government did not embarrass them. The media has become fashionable to talk about the Russian diaspora in Australia or Paraguay, formed before 1917 year. Finally, they started talking about tourists abandoned abroad and developed a package of measures.
Unfortunately, most of them have come down to PR. Various international ratings fixed: the image of Russia in the world is unimportant - better than Turkey, but worse than Egypt. In response, they created the international TV company Russia Today, the content of which in 2011 — 2013. It was planned to allocate 6,4 billion rubles from the federal treasury. However, in the draft budget for 2013 Russia Today, 11,2 billion was allotted, and President Putin personally named the TV company among the three media outlets, which cannot be reduced. It is not excluded that it will still increase, although since 2006, the project has already “eaten” about 30 billion rubles.
By 2009, Russia Today’s European audience amounted to 7 million, but the outlined improvement in the country's perception was eradicated by the war with Georgia, the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the new trial of Khodorkovsky, the scandals with Putin’s palace and deputy hunting in the Altai nature reserve. But the Russian passion for window dressing has already multiplied by the possibilities of the federal budget.
Since 2007, a state program has been launched to facilitate the resettlement in Russia of compatriots living abroad, which in the first year spent 8 billion rubles. Six months later, victorious reports began to sound: allegedly 300 thousand Russians from the Baltic states, Ukraine and the republics of Central Asia are ready to come to the Kaliningrad region alone. True, by July, 2009 actually moved all 1811 people to all of Russia. It turned out that every half-drunk kolkhoznik from Moldova treated the country at the price of transfer of the Premier League player. For comparison, according to the Chamber of Accounts, only in 2009 – 2011. 1,25 million Russians emigrated from Russia. In 2011, VCIOM announced the data of a survey conducted in 46 subjects of the Federation: 20% of Russians would like to go for permanent residence abroad.
“Mainly specialists who know foreign languages are leaving, and the majority of visiting compatriots are far less qualified,” says sociologist Sergey Prozorov. - Emigrants point out the impossibility of developing a business in Russia legally, lack of property guarantees and corruption. Due to kickbacks, real estate prices in our country are inadequately high. And it is profitable for the middle class to sell a one-room apartment in Moscow and buy a whole house near Munich. Russian housing prices scare potential migrants. Instead of solving these problems, the government works “like an idiot”: it is promoting the Russian language, arranging holidays with treats, and distributing beautiful booklets.
The situation began to improve only when they began to pay the lift: from September 2012, when moving to “priority territories” (Far East, Transbaikalia), was given 240 thousand rubles at a time. They come mainly from Kazakhstan, Russians among them are 70%, with higher education - 37%.
It is significant that immigration to Russia from the Baltic republics is minimal. Although pro-Kremlin mass media regularly talk about discrimination against Russians in Latvia and Estonia. However, in these countries there has never been ethnic cleansing: they simply do not belong to the CIS and are ideological opponents of Moscow.
- In Latvia, perhaps the highest percentage of immigrants among young people in Europe. But they are going to the west, not to the east, - says the historian Pavel Moshkov. - The average per capita income in Latvia is significantly higher than the Russian. Because of the propaganda in Russia, the impression was that the Russians in Latvia were not given citizenship. This is nonsense - just many people do not need it. “Non-citizens” do not serve in the army, it is easier for them to travel to Russia, and for many it is connected with business. Older people do not want to learn the Latvian language and take an exam on it. They celebrate 9 May and keep Soviet flags in the house, but you can't lure them to Russia in any way.
Especially in Russia compatriots living in the wild, who returned 20 years ago. If the authorities still have not solved their problems, then what should the newcomer hope for? For example, in Borisoglebsk (Voronezh region) in 1992, Russian refugees from Uzbekistan and Tajikistan settled. Their village is popularly called "Barrels". It consists of 30 garden garden houses - plywood, upholstered in iron. The shape of the house really resembles a barrel. They built it in an open field, and for 20 years no roads, no lighting appeared, and even the well freezes in winter.
Some "Diogenes" have not received housing certificates, laid down by the forced migrant, that is, even the "barrels" do not belong to them.
“The wording of the refusal shocks us:“ In Tajikistan, nothing threatened your life, ”says Larisa Astakhova. “Although before our eyes the Russians were pulled out of the bus, turned on for stopping and shot.” In Borisoglebsk, at first, we were also not very happy to meet - they say, we came here. From such a life, people die, barely alive before 40 years.
Among the foreign countries, of course, the former republics of the Union are leading in terms of the number of the Russian population. True, estimates of their numbers sometimes differ by half: for example, in Uzbekistan there are Russians from 600 to 1,2 million. In Kazakhstan - from 3 to 4,7 million. Among the far-abroad countries, the United States leads from 3 to 4 million Russians. But the fastest growth occurs in new directions.
In Finland, the Russian diaspora in just a few years has grown from 10 to 70 thousand people. In Venezuela, there were only a few Russians in 2000, but a visa-free regime, a favorable climate, low-cost flights and moderate prices did their job: now here from 5 to 10 there are thousands of compatriots. In general, the South American direction is the fastest growing: Argentina, Ecuador, Chile. There are data that 200 thousand live in Brazil.
Russians, but such a scope of the “dream of Ostap Bender” raises great doubts among demographers. Among European countries, the Russians bought a huge amount of real estate in Cyprus, Montenegro and Croatia, but few live there permanently. More and more countries are discovering the benefits of abolishing visas with Russia. For example, the paradise island state of Saint Lucia. And even in the poorest and most dangerous Ethiopia, there are about 1 thousand Russians.
Despite the inability to solve the elementary problems of immigrants within the country, Russia continues to spend billions to improve its image abroad. Although the image itself seems to have deteriorated compared to 2006 year. The logic is simple: for Russians abroad, no free holidays, conferences and booklets will replace the normal business climate, reasonable prices and loans. Similarly, in the eyes of an ordinary European, PR of the Russian language, ballet, Dostoevsky and Gagarin will not wash away the sediment of dirty elections from Russia, harassing human rights activists and sentences of Navalny and PussyRiot. It cannot be said that spending on the image does not bring the country any benefit. But they are cynical against the background of the closure of rural hospitals and schools. With them, Russia resembles a peasant fool who watered the entire inn, and brought one hard gingerbread to the family.
From the middle of 2012, the country's foreign policy course has been called “soft power”, and former Soviet republics should be its priority. The Federal Agency for CIS Affairs, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation (Rossotrudnichestvo) has been appointed the main image-maker of the country. The agency is represented in 77 countries of the world 59 by the Russian centers of science and culture (RCSC), 8 by their branches and 18 representatives in the structure of diplomatic missions.
The report, published on the official website of Rossotrudnichestvo, reports how much success was achieved in 2012. For example, agreements were reached on the creation of cultural centers in Nicaragua and Syria, “the work on harmonization” was continued in Romania and Singapore, and the center in Laos was solemnly opened. In 2011, a presidential decree timed the Day of the Russian language to Pushkin’s birthday, in connection with which more than 400 thematic events took place on the basis of all the RCSCs. The language contest "My Russian" was held in 25 countries, its winners will be taken to Russia. With the active participation of Rossotrudnichestvo, the II Congress of teachers and educators of the CIS countries was held in Yerevan. And in November, 2012 was held in Moscow III World Forum of foreign graduates of Russian (Soviet) universities. In his footsteps, they decided to create an association of Afghan graduates, which will work in Kabul "with the support of Rossotrudnichestvo." And although it strongly resembles Soviet gatherings of weavers and milkmaids, the agency’s budget will grow from 2,3 billion rubles. in 2012 to 9,5 billion.
Nevertheless, the report states that the major problems of “expanding the geography of Rossotrudnichestvo and its adequate financing, major renovation and modernization of the RCSC abroad, and the location of the Agency’s headquarters” are still not resolved. With geography it is gradually being adjusted: although the budget does not contain funds for the normal burial of the Great Patriotic War, but it has done “significant work” to restore the Russian section of the Testaccio cemetery in Rome.
The Russian Association for International Cooperation (RAMS), which includes around 100 friendship societies around the world, is also called the tool of “soft power”. In 2012, new societies were created in Tanzania, Nicaragua and, most importantly, in the Seychelles. The Russian World Foundation, the Foundation of St. Andrew the First-Called, the Library - the Russian Abroad fund, the Russian Culture Fund, the International Council of Russian Compatriots, the International Association of Compatriots Youth Organizations, the International Association of Cities, and the Moscow Union of Societies friendship, St. Petersburg Association of International Cooperation, etc. All these organizations have their own PR tasks and budgets, the lion's share of which is made up by government funds. But, apparently, this bloc is not enough: Rossotrudnichestvo is trying to recreate the Russian Union of Friendship Societies (RSOD) and resume in Moscow the House of Friendship with the Peoples of foreign countries. But so far it does not meet with “sufficient support”. Also in the agency's report, it is regretted that he is not allowed to spend money on advertising the Universiade in Kazan, the Olympics in Sochi, the World Cup and the World Exhibition in Yekaterinburg in 2020. So far, only limited series of photographic exhibitions, presentations and round tables in India, Great Britain, Italy, Finland, Ukraine, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Argentina and Brazil have been devoted to this topic.
In the autumn of 2012, the 4th World Congress of Compatriots was held in the Tauride Palace of St. Petersburg, which brought together 500 delegates from 94 countries of the world. That is, holding such an event was hardly cheaper than an economic forum. True, billion contracts were not concluded here, and a rational balance was hardly formulated. The head of Rossotrudnichestvo Konstantin Kosachev said that in the CIS countries Russia should have 3 – 5 centers of science and culture. Even loyal media gave headlines: “There were no sensations at the convention.”
“Professional compatriots appear for representation at hundreds of events to the glory of Russia abroad,” says lawyer Andrei Vorobyov. - In some funds, the board of trustees numbers from 20 to 40 people. They prefer to communicate with their journalists, who also carry on events for budget money. Although in the world there has long been no lack of information, and the discrepancy between word and deed always negatively affects reputation.
To improve the image of the country, you need to be, and not seem. For example, everyone will immediately notice the real fight against corruption. This is when the cheapest Tajik workers in the world do not build the most expensive roads in the world. And the asphalt does not leave them with the snow. This is when the examination of state contracts. And if a flower bed on Tverskaya Street costs the budget 8 million rubles, then the official who signed such an agreement immediately finds himself behind bars. When masters of science know at least the school curriculum. When the ruinous window-dressing for the country turns into outrage of the society that the authorities will have to reckon with. In this country, people are more likely to want to live - without any advertising, round tables and video conferencing.
The sudden concern of the government over the situation of Russian tourists abroad was expressed in the creation of the association and the Turpomosch Foundation. The fund was obliged to replenish all tour operators: for 100 thousand rubles of the entrance fee plus 0,1% from the company's turnover (but also not less than 100 thousand). About 2 thousand tour operators entered the association, which means that only contributions made it possible to accumulate 200 million rubles. Some market players called such conditions predatory: small firms were forced to retrain from operators to agents, which lobbyists allegedly wanted to create “Turpomoschi”.
Will the position of tourists improve? In 2009, a student from Chuvashia Renata Vinogradova, while in the UAE, lost her passport. She appealed to the police and was accused of “violating the rules of stay in the country”. The Dubai Emirate Court acquitted Vinogradov, but it turned out that it was impossible to release it: the Russian consulate could not prepare an outpass for several months (a temporary certificate of return to its homeland). And without it, it is impossible to move around the UAE and you can’t buy a plane ticket. The prison governor in Dubai twice gave Renate a car with security to go to the Russian consulate. But caring compatriots said: “Why did you come? Sit and wait for us to contact you. ” According to a resident of Volgograd, Galina Kurapova, after her daughter was detained in Spain because of visa problems, the employees of the Russian consulate tried to get money from her “for legal assistance”. And when businessman Peter Makaykin was kidnapped in Iraq and attempted to blackmail his family in Russia, Russian diplomats refused to travel in Iraq in this connection, because the country is very restless.