Libmonster ID: BY-2443
Author(s) of the publication: B. SKOROBOGATKO

B. SKOROBOGATKO, Chairman of the Board Primorye Regional Organization of Refugees and Displaced Persons "IDP"

THE PROBLEM OF CHINESE MIGRATION TO RUSSIA IN THE LIGHT OF THE DEMOGRAPHIC SITUATION IN SIBERIA AND THE FAR EAST

The problem of Chinese penetration into Russian Siberia and the Far East is one of the most discussed in our country. No matter where I went on a recent business trip to Moscow - to a research institute or a government agency, to a scientific conference, or to visit friends-the same question is everywhere: how are the Chinese doing there, will they soon populate Russia to the Urals?.. Many people seem to be concerned about the problem: even one very famous artist who starred in a film that has nothing to do with the issues of Chinese emigration, when presenting him with a prestigious award, devoted almost all of his speech to the "Chinese threat" and the fact that "...we will all soon have to learn Chinese."

As someone who has lived for a long time in the Far East, or rather in the Primorsky Territory, I want to reassure my compatriots: the majority of our population is still Russian. Although their numbers are" slowly but surely " decreasing: by the beginning of the new century, compared to the data of the 1989 census. it decreased by 0.8%. However, the number of Tatars decreased by as much as 8%, Ukrainians and Belarusians - by 14%, Germans-by 25%. At the same time, the number of Georgians increased by 8%, Azerbaijanis - by 40%, Koreans - by 70%, and Armenians - by 80%.

There are really a lot of Chinese people in our region - it immediately catches your eye. But, according to official statistics, they are not here... practically none, and in any case their number is not increasing. The fact is that, living in the Far East almost constantly, the Chinese for the most part are not among the residents who have firmly settled here. They came here to work, not to live. They are engaged in agriculture and small business, trade in markets, and sooner or later almost all intend to return to their homeland. The Far East is being "conquered" by Chinese goods, not by Chinese migrants. By and large, there were no problems with the Chinese in Primorsky Krai.

However, the mood among Chinese people living in Russia is gradually changing - there are more and more people who would like to stay here forever. First of all, because in Russia they feel much more comfortable in everyday life than in their homeland. Even in the most poorly equipped dormitories, it is always warm, as a rule, there is hot water, and medical care is not a problem. The Chinese do not have all this at home. In addition, our guests from China constantly see huge empty agricultural territories - fields and meadows, riverbanks and lakes. They openly say that they would like to take part in the development of these spaces. And they even suggest that if it is possible to establish agricultural production on these lands, then the Russians will return here, because the belief that the local land can bring profit and provide a comfortable life will return.

As for the mood of local residents, it is as follows: do not be afraid to transfer empty land on long-term lease rights to the Chinese. They are hardworking people, they have money (they earned it on the Russian markets), and they will do well. And we can't solve the agricultural problems of the Far East on our own. Moreover, the state does not have the money for this.

At the same time, rumors that a wave of dissatisfaction with Chinese migration to our country is growing in Russia reach, of course, the Chinese. And they react to it in their own way. If in 2000 200 thousand Chinese came to Russia "to earn money", then in 2004 it was 10 times less - only about 20 thousand. This immediately had a negative impact on economic results in agriculture, logging, trade, and consumer services. And it is no exaggeration to say that soon every Chinese visitor will be welcome in the Far East.

Because there is practically no alternative to Chinese migrants. The outflow of Russians from the Far East continues. Soon these places, once developed by immigrants from European Russia, will turn into an anthropo-desert, there will be no inhabitants here, with the exception of a few dozen cities, and the population in cities will sharply decrease. And then Grew up-

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this will face a different kind of problem: should we sell our Far East to someone (not necessarily to the Chinese-there will be buyers), as they sold Alaska in their time? In fact, for the same reason-there was not enough strength to develop these distant lands... Of course, this can only be allowed "in theory". Freed from the Far East, and thus from direct access to the Asia - Pacific region, Russia will immediately lose its status as a geopolitical power. Which, of course, should not be allowed, no matter what it costs us.

My position is as follows: Chinese migration to the Far East has not yet taken dangerous "mass" forms for our country. But it can become dangerous if we continue to be short-sighted and neglect the issues of settlement and economic development of the Far East. It is one thing when Chinese people come to our country to earn money, drawing up relevant documents under the control of the migration service and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. And it's quite another matter when we have to invite them, although, thank God, it hasn't come to that yet.

And it should not be achieved, for which there is only one way: to attract compatriots to the Far East, and not only from Russia and the CIS countries. In September 2001, Vladivostok hosted the Second Pacific Forum of Compatriots, which was attended, in particular, by representatives of public organizations of Russian-speaking diasporas from Estonia and Kazakhstan. In their speeches, they said that many of our ethnic compatriots from these countries are ready to move to Primorye if minimal conditions are created for employment, living and opportunities for children to get a decent education. More than 30 thousand people are ready to move to us from Kazakhstan alone.

What conditions are we talking about? At least those that were once. We still have the children and grandchildren of those Russian people who came from the center of the country a hundred years ago. By order of the emperor, each family was given funds from the treasury for the purchase of a horse, cow, building a house, lifting facilities and land-as much as you want,or rather, as much as you can lift. A forest plot was also allocated for harvesting on-site building materials for the construction of a house. Children of displaced persons were exempt from conscription (what a powerful incentive for moving to the Far East it would be now!). The Soviet government also created good conditions for migrants: a house already built for two owners, payment for travel expenses and guaranteed work in a state farm or timber industry.

Now there are no incentives to move to our region at all. And the bureaucratic barriers are such that even people who have the means to move to us and want to do so, there is no "desire to change places". Moreover, it is now easier and cheaper to move "for permanent residence" to the United States or to any European country than to Primorsky Krai. Not to mention that the CIS countries have assessed the damage to the economy caused by the departure of Russians, and, for example, in the Baltic States, their relations with local authorities are gradually improving, the standard of living there is higher than in Russia, and the emigration of Russian-speaking citizens to Russia has actually stopped. The same can be said about the Central Asian states, with the possible exception of Uzbekistan.

Soon it will be impossible to "lure" anyone to the Far East at all. A number of European countries are developing long-term programs to invite Russian citizens to work in these countries. In addition, the central regions of Russia are on the eve of a serious demographic and labor crisis.

That is why we should not be afraid of Chinese migration to the Far East, but think about making this migration more organized and necessarily combined with attracting Russian-speaking citizens from the center of Russia and the CIS countries to our regions. The Far East, which is filled with 100% Chinese, is not good, it is evidence of our helplessness in solving our own labor problems, and it is also a source of unnecessary talk that sooner or later this region can be ceded to someone or even sold. But the settlement of the Far East by Russians and Chinese in a well - thought - out ratio is more or less reasonable, it would solve many demographic, labor, and, by and large, economic problems of the Far East.

To do this, we need to continue improving the demographic policy and labor legislation, taking into account the accumulated domestic and international experience. It is necessary to create better conditions for legal migrants to move to the outlying regions of the Russian Federation, and for illegal migrants-opportunities to gain legal status and opportunities to work and live in decent conditions.

At the same time, I personally have high hopes for Russian - speaking citizens from the CIS countries to move to Russia, primarily to the Far East-this is the most realistic reserve for settling these places today.


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