Are remittances made by migrants back to their homeland a huge financial drain on Russia?

“Such Cases” and the Civic Assistance Committee continue to dismantle the myths about migrants. Sergey Abashin, a professor at the anthropology department of the European University at St. Petersburg, considers how much money the migrants send to their homeland and whether these figures really are large.

“Such Cases” and the Civic Assistance Committee continue to dismantle the myths about migrants. Sergey Abashin, a professor at the anthropology department of the European University at St. Petersburg, considers how much money the migrants send to their homeland and whether these figures really are large.

In 2017, individuals sent almost $ 13 billion from Russia to the Commonwealth Independent States (CIS) countries. The largest recipients (more than 1 billion dollars): Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. Not all of these transfers relate to the earnings of migrant workers, part of the funds comes from the support of relatives among Russian-speaking compatriots.

The amount is rather big. It is equal to the expenditures of the regional budgets of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, taken together, for the same year. Before the economic crisis that started in 2014, this amount was one and a half times more and amounted to 19 billion dollars, and Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova were added to the listed countries.

Migrant transfers account for 2.4% of the total expenditures of the consolidated Russian budget. For comparison, in 2017, individuals sent the amount of two and a half times more to foreign countries – almost $ 31 billion (in 2014 – about $ 50 billion). The main recipients were European countries, primarily Switzerland, as well as the United States and China. This is not to mention the money that Russian legal entities of various kinds are withdrawing from the country, using offshore companies and other semi-legal schemes.

Thus, migrant transfers constitute only a small part of the total outflow of funds from Russia and do not have a significant impact on its financial and economic well-being. And most importantly, it is important to take into account that the money earned by migrants is not from corruption or theft of natural resources, but in exchange for labor invested in the Russian economy, houses and roads built, services rendered that have and will benefit Russians.
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For over 30 years, Committee of Civic Assistance has been helping migrants who find themselves in difficult situations. At the end of 2011, human rights defenders launched the Hate Crimes project where the organization provides free legal and humanitarian assistance to victims of violent hate crimes.