Russia » Economics
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Chinese emigrants to conquer Siberia

The problem of the Chinese emigration is becoming more serious for Russia 

It seems that migration is supposed to happen at the expense of highly-qualified professionals, not poorly-educated citizens as it happens in the US. Russia is currently experiencing a rather serious situation with the Chinese unemployed. There has already been more of them saved than the entire Russian population. Furthermore, it looks like Russia is forced to deal with this issue, otherwise it will not become a WTO member. No one can guarantee that millions of Chinese unemployed will not go to labor exchange to ask for the unemployment allowance instead. It is an open secret that smart people go to California and silly people go to Siberia.

Historically, the Chinese called Siberia “the land of hunger.” The primary development of the region was over many years ago. At present time, one could do it in the Kamchatka region only. China is not likely to take care of Russia's WTO membership or the development of Siberia. If they wanted to develop the Far East, they would invest money in it, not the unemployed. However, they prefer to invest money only in saw-mills.

The last century of the oil history of humanity is drawing to its end. However, they have found oil in the “hungry country.” One may not say that Russia is strongly against the Chinese emigration. Yet, it would be more reasonable to follow the example of the American practice – to introduce special tests on history or the Russian language, for instance.

Dozens of Russian traveling agencies have been deprived of their licenses to accept tourist groups from China this year. A lot of other agencies had to pay fines too. However, spokespeople for the Russian Federal Border Guard Service say, the situation is almost out of control at the border with Kazakhstan. The Chinese population there doubles every year. They even publish several newspapers in Chinese, they have paging companies, there are even hotels and hospitals.

In Russia's Far East the Chinese make about eight percent of the six million strong population. It is 480,000 people. The Russian population is gradually becoming the minority. Small vendors introduced a special term there – a ‘100 percent flaw.’ The term is used when they buy defective goods at factories and then sell them in Russia. Such an activity is strictly prohibited in China. Furthermore, the Chinese mafia in Russia is growing very fast too. In 1994 the Chinese committed 431 crimes only in Primorye region alone. The figure increased tenfold in 2004.

It is obvious, the problem has already become serious. Former Foreign Affairs Minister Andrey Kozyrev wrote a letter to then Vice Prime Minister Anatoly Chubais: “Esteemed Mr. Chubais. According to your regulations, we have considered the letter from the Primorye region Governor Yevgeny Nazdratenko addressed to Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. We would like to express the following thoughts about the visa-free exchange of tourists between Russia and China. The Foreign Affairs Ministry shares the concern of the law-enforcement bodies. However, it is early to say that the tourist exchange should be based on visas now.”

There are Chinese dormitories in Moscow. In the dormitories there are dirty trade halls filled with computers and sacks. One can find even small hospitals there. It goes without say that the criminal environment for such emigrants in Moscow is absolutely natural. It is hard to come across a Chinese at markets or in the street. They usually do not show up in public. They hire Russian children to work for them.

Several generations of Russian people have tried to develop Siberia. The Baikal-Amur Railway, known as BAM, may serve a bright example for it. It has recently celebrated 30 years, but it is still not finished. Attempts to turn Siberia to the penal servitude, or a camp for prisoners of war did not bring any good.

Russian people flee back to Russia from other CIS countries now. The majority of them prefer to settle somewhere closer to the center. The Kamchatka region, for example, is totally ignored. The difficulties of living in the region made it equal with living conditions on the mainland. President Putin often visits Kamchatka now, although he does not hurry to retrieve privileges for citizens of the north.

Russia's first Prime Minister Sergey Vitte used to say that Russia needs to defend itself on the west and to advance in the east. It does not concern only the military policy, it can be said about the demographic and migration policies too.

Valery Davydov