Russia Demographic Update VI

As we’re now approaching mid-2011, I suppose its time to give my traditional update on Russia’s demography. So here’s the lay-down:

1. In February, I predicted a population decline of c. 50,000 in 2010 (after a 23,000 rise in 2009). This was due to the excess deaths of the Great Russian Heatwave of 2010, and a substantial fall in immigration. The latest figures confirm it: population declined by 48,300. As of January 2011, it stood at 142,914,136 people (this is by the new Census estimates).

2. Three years ago, I predicted – going against 90%+ of “experts” – that the medium-term future of Russia’s demography is stagnation or small increase. In late 2009, I wrote that even under undemanding assumptions, “the population size will remain basically stagnant, going from 142mn to 143mn by 2023 before slowly slipping down to 138mn by 2050.” To give an example, the 2008 World Population Prospects of the UN Population Division predicted Russia’s population would fall to 132.3mn in 2025 and 116.1mn in 2050. As of their 2010 Revision, Russia’s population is projected to be 139.0mn in 2025 and 126.2mn in 2050 (High: 144.5mn in 2025; 145.3mn in 2050). What a difference two years make! In any case, “official” predictions are now beginning to converge with my own (not to mention Rosstat’s).

2010 UN population projection for Russia.

2010 UN population projection for Russia.

In large part, the pessimism of the earlier projections had a lot to do with the fact that the “experts” were slow to react to real-life trends, such as the improving healthcare and rising confidence that began reversing Russia’s demographic decline. For instance, going back to that same 2008 UN Population Division report – I’m not even going to talk of professional doomers such as Nick Eberstadt – note that they assumed a TFR of 1.47 for 2010-15 and 1.53 for 2015-20 (when it was already 1.49 in 2008, and 1.54 in 2009), and a life expectancy of 67.9 for 2010-15 (when it was already at that point in 2008, rising to 68.7 in 2009 and 69.0 in 2010). Though its effect was pretty minor, their assumptions for infant mortality were truly hilarious: they predicted it would only drop to 7.3/1000 by 2045-50, whereas in fact it is already below that level at 7.1/1000 for Q1 2011.

3. Speaking of 2011, the outlook is mixed. Net immigration in the first quarter slightly increased from 52,000 in 2010 to 61,000 in 2011 (but below 2009). According to the latest data for January-April, births fell from 572,000 to 557,900 (-2.5%) but deaths fell from 679,000 to 658,700 (-3.4%). This carries a number of implications. First, is the fall in births a blip or a trend? Quite possibly, it’s now the latter. The effects of the big post-Soviet fertility fall-off are now being felt in rapidly decreasing numbers of women entering their childbearing years – in 2010, there were 1.68mn 17-year olds, 1.84mn 18-year olds, 2.23mn 20-year olds, and 2.56mn 22-year olds which means that there will be a growing downward pressure on birth rates (though to some extent this is dampened by the rising average age of motherhood). OTOH, the continuing fall in mortality is encouraging; in fact, it will in all likelihood – barring a repeat of last year’s apocalyptic drought with its 44,700 excess deaths – accelerate in summer due to the effects of a higher base. According to my back of the envelope projections, it is basically a coin flip as to whether Russia will see slightly positive or slightly negative population growth this year.

4. A roundup of demography news from the rest of the former USSR (use this post as reference). Reflecting its economic crisis, births fell and deaths increased in Belarus for Jan-Apr. In Ukraine for Jan-Mar, deaths fell slightly and births remained stagnant (after falling in 2010). Those pundits who keep focusing on Russia’s imminent demographic apocalypse may find better targets elsewhere. The recent Lithuania Census indicated that the Baltic country’s population declined by about 10% in the past decade. But even that’s normal news compared to Latvia…

In the wake of its economic crisis, Latvia has seen a faster collapse in its demographic indicators than even in the years following the Soviet Union. In the first four months of 2011, a quarter fewer Latvians were born relative to the same period in 2008. That year marked the post-Soviet peak of its TFR at 1.45 children per woman, meaning that it is now at around 1.1 children per woman. In the meantime, deaths only fell by 5%. As a result, the rate of natural decrease rose from 7,100 in 2008 to 10,000 in 2010, and may register a small rise again this year. And that’s not all. Net emigration rose from 4,700 in 2009 to 7,900 in 2010, and has already reached 4,400 as of this April. From this February, more than a thousand Latvians have been leaving their country each month.

5. Check out Russian Demographics – Something Stirring in the East by Claus Vistesen at demography.matters and related discussion.

6. The past two years have been good ones for censuses. India’s population rose to 1.21bn in 2011 (181mn increase since 2001), with a worsening in the child sex ratio to 109 boys per 100 girls and a rise in literacy from 65% to 74%.

China’s population rose to 1.34bn in 2010 (74mn increase since 2000), a less than expected increase that implies its fertility rate has shrank to about 1.4 children per woman in the last decade. Furthermore, the continually big child sex disparity – there are 118 boys to 100 girls – means that the effective fertility rate is even lower. Literacy is now practically universal at 96%, the share of the population with a college degree doubled to 8.5%, and there is now an even divide between rural and urban inhabitants.

The 2010 US Census had no surprises or matters of particular interest, you can read about it here.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Yalensis says

    I saw in a Russian news source a few days ago that more drought and wildfires are predicted for this summer (in Russia). However, I cannot find that source now, I should have made a note of it at the time.

  2. Nice post.

  3. Anatoly, back in 2009/10 I expressed skepticism about your estimate of 300,000 immigrants per year. You based this on a figure of ~240,000 immigrants in 2007-8; I said that I suspected this was near the top of plausible figures for the near and medium term. Since then, we haven’t come close to 300,000 per year.

    Based on the last few years, I would expect immigration to be in the range of 180 – 250k for the next little while. The bulk of immigrants are from Central Asian countries whose economic growth rates have been more or less keeping pace with Russia’s (albeit from a much lower base). So, the relative economic differential isn’t growing. Barring catastrophe, I’m not seeing what else would cause a sudden surge in the number of immigrants. Sure, 300,000 immigrants per year could still happen… but it’s looking less likely with each passing quarter.

    Doug M.

    • You’re right, good call.

      I agree that the new normal seems to be the 180-250k range. Still, that’s no more than one million plus a bit (due to immigrant fertility) difference over a decade. The main effect is to somewhat increase the probability that Russia’s demography to 2020 will be one of “stagnation” as opposed to “slight increase” (or raise the probability of “small decline” from low to medium-low).

      I think immigration predictions more than 5 years out are very unreliable. Policies can change cardinally in that time-frame (there is a debate: Russia’s demographers and technocrats call for loosening them; nationalists the opposite); a sustained boom could draw immigrants from further afield (the opposite with low growth); climatic disasters, whose incidence is increasing, may also affect the picture (Central Asia is poor and not self-sufficient in grains even in good years; a prolonged drought there, like the one in Russia in 2010, may displace many people).

      • I’d agree with all your points.

        That said, these things cut both ways. Russia has had unusually low *em*igration over the last 20 years compared to other post-Communist states and the rest of the fUSSR. Unlike Moldovans, Ukrainians, or Armenians, Russians have been mostly moving around within Russia. Emigration has certainly been happening (there are neighborhoods in Tel Aviv and Brooklyn where you could walk around all day and not hear anything spoken but Russian) but the relative rates have been low. Quite possibly this will continue to be the case — but it should be noted that Russia is the odd anomaly here, and there’s no particular reason this should continue forever.

        — No, I’m not seriously arguing that Russian emigration is likely to surge any time soon. Rather, I’m arguing that, while unlikely, it’s not less unlikely than a surge of immigration. Either would be driven by factors that are largely imponderable just now.

        (There’s no particular reason most of the ‘stans should be net food importers. Kazakhstan, for instance has 17 million people in an area three times the size of Texas. Even if you take out the deserts and mountains, there’s still more than a million square km of perfectly good rangeland and prairie. With fairly modest investment, it could be a major food producer. It’s not happening, but that’s because Nazarbayev is an old Brezhnevite who’s all about fossil fuels and heavy industry.)

        Doug M.

        • Doug,

          emigration is to a significant degree determined by its expected benefits, mainly income differences, and costs, or difficulties involved. In Russian case, costs are rather large – no EU membership, country can’t participate in US green card lottery, no visa-free travel with richer countries, etc. – but benefits are lower than for most CIS countries, as the absolute level of income per head is so much higher than in Central Asia or Ukraine.

          So, until a genuine visa-free regime with the EU is established, and GDP per head growth rates drop to developed country levels (<3%/year in good times), there won't be any pickups in out-migration. I can't see either of the two happening within the next 5 (definitely) or 10 (probably) years, and thus emigration should largely stay where it is right now.

  4. Sergey, emigration is actually much more complicated than that. Economic differentials and ease of migration are certainly important, but there are many other issues as well. I’ll mention a couple.

    One, some groups are just much more ready and willing to migrate than others. If you look at European colonization, back in 17th and 18th centuries, you’ll notice that the British sent far more colonists overseas than the French or the Dutch. Why? Because the British were, for various reasons, pre-adapted to long-range migration. And within Britain itself, there were huge internal differences; Scots-Irish emigrated from Ulster at nearly 50 times the per capita rate that Yorkshiremen left Yorkshire. (And this is why the Anglosphere is full of people named Jackson, Brown, Stewart, Wilson and Hughes: those are typical Scots-Irish names. Names like Marmaduke, Aberle, and Stansfield, not so much — those are common in Yorkshire, but not anywhere else.) Quebec sits on some of the planet’s best farmland and is rich in ore as well, but the Kings of France simply could not get enough French to leave France to make it competitive with the British colonies to the south. (It wasn’t the climate. Lower Quebec is no colder than Massachussetts or Maine, and has far better soil.) They had to put settlers on board at swordspoint — while the English were filling ship after ship with willing settlers for Boston, New York and Virginia.

    Similarly, today, Moldovans and Armenians are far more likely to emigrate than Russians — even Russians from the very poorest parts of Russia, where incomes are comparable to Moldova and Armenia. (Note that emigrants from these countries have the same problems as Russians, viz., no EU membership, no visa-free travel, etc. In fact, it’s quite a bit harder for a Moldovan to reach, say, Canada than it is for a Russian.)

    Two, it turns out that one of the determinants for external mobility, it turns out, is *internal* mobility. That is, families who have migrated within the last generation or two are more likely to migrate again, and people who have been mobile in their own life are much more likely to emigrate. That goes a long way to explain the differentials mentioned above; most 18th century French peasants were extremely sedentary, and so were the yeoman farmers of Yorkshire. Scots on the other hand, were seminomadic right up to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and Scots Irish were the recent descendants of colonial settlers.

    Three, there’s something called the “founder effect”. Basically, a few brave emigrants arrive, find good jobs, and then send back home saying “it’s great — come on over”. This is why emigration tends to be clumpy. If you look at the US, for instance, there are a million Hungarian-Americans in Cleveland but hardly any in Chicago; half a million Serbs and Croats in Chicago, but very few in New York. Washington, DC has a disproportionate number of Ethiopians and Salvadorans. Boston has a huge colony of Portuguese while Philadelphia has basically none. Winnipeg is the second largest Finnish city in the world after Helsinki. This still works today — you can look at very recent emigration flows, Hmong and Somalis and such, and they’re clumpy in the same way. (Lots of Hmong in Wisconsin, some in Alaska and Texas.) This makes emigration somewhat chaotic and unpredictable. You might have guessed, 20 years ago, that nearly a million people might emigrate from Russia to Israel — but would you have guessed Brooklyn? London? Brazil? All of those have pulled a lot of emigrants based on the founder effect.

    Anyway. The takeaway point is, it’s a complicated topic, and you could plausibly forecast any number of things happening.

    Doug M.

    • Doug,

      interesting points all, thanks. I’m not sure your Irish example shows exactly what you are saying – Irish were historically very poor. I’m not that deep into Yorkshire history, but a city which in 20th century had important coal mining and steel production probably in 18th was better off than rural Ireland or Scotland. That’s not to deny existence of national differences in attitude towards movement abroad.

      Armenia and Moldova don’t quite work out, IMHO. As you have noted, migration is lumpy. Armenia has a huge diaspora relative to home population, and those people do consider themselves Armenians for several generations afterwards. Why this is so, it’s not the place to discuss. The pull effect is very strong. For Moldovans, the road through Romania is an easy starting channel, including by first getting Romanian passport. In contrast, significant number of Russian ethnicities doesn’t have a convenient passport-changing country close by (and for those who do – Germans and Jews in particular, the emigration rates have been very high), and ability of Russian speakers to maintain closely knit communities abroad is very limited (again, Russians of Jewish origin are an exception). The third immigration wave was dominated by Jewish emigration, again, no communities formed to attract others.

      Given huge regional differences in Russia, one would expect large migration flows. In fact, that’s what has happened – population in Far East, and partially Siberia, dropped, while that of the Central and Southern district has increased since 1990. If one could go to Moscow region, Stavropol, or Novosibirsk (all are well known magnets of within Russia migration), why would one move abroad?

      Brooklyn emigration was easy to predict – NY is a very Jewish city. London is a different story – a playground for rich and powerful, with good laws which make extradition almost impossible. Both are English-speaking cities. I have no idea how many Russians are in Brasil, beyond those in symphonic orchestra in Brasilia and random professors at universities who could be found almost anywhere in the world.

      So, in summary. Yes, there are many determinants of migration, and cultural and historical reasons could be as important as economic ones. However, the post-1990 (and especially post-2000) migration was almost exclusively for economic reasons, and one should expect economic determinants to prevail. In the medium run, I don’t see these economic determinants turning to increased out-migration from Russia.

      • Sergey, just a couple of historical notes. Scots-Irish aren’t “Irish” in the sense you’re probably thinking. They’re the descendants of Scottish colonizers who moved into Ireland in the 17th and 18th centuries, after the violent removal — basically, genocide and ethnic cleansing — of most of the previous, Irish inhabitants. Calling them Irish is sort of like calling a white South African an “African” or an Israeli a “Middle Easterner” — it’s technically true, but can lead to confusion.

        Northern Ireland, aka Ulster, was historically a colony of Britain in Ireland. It was very different from the rest of Ireland socially, religiously, and economically; although the Scots and Irish are ethnic cousins, in religion and culture they’re very different. During the period in question, Ulster was /not/ a particularly poor part of Great Britain; the Scots-Irish generally had much higher incomes than the Irish.

        (One consequence of this was that, over time, Irish drifted back into the north — there was an income differential, and they could get better jobs up there. Northern Ireland in 1800 was almost entirely Scots-Irish and Protestan. By the early 1900s, after a century of peace and political union, between a quarter and a third of the population was irish and Catholic. That would be the engine of the subsequent Troubles.)

        Yorkshire: coal and textile didn’t become significant until the late 1700s, near the end of the period I’m talking about. In, say, 1750? Yorkshire and Ulster had almost exactly the same income levels. But Ulster sent ship after shipload of emigrants to the New World, while Yorkshiremen mostly stayed home.

        Also, coal doesn’t deter emigration. Quite the opposite! Several of Europe’s coal centers — most notably Wales and Silesia — were also major exporters of people. Historically, miners have been a lot more mobile than peasants.

        Doug M.

        • Doug,

          OK, I consent that you might be much better informed than me on 17-18th century migration from what’s now UK. I definitely don’t have time to become a specialist in this area.

          Coming back to our days – in your reply to Anatoly you mention Poland, Baltics, Croatia, and Hungary – all the countries that are either in the EU, or are going to enter soon. Croatians are also familiar with pendulum migration to the Western Europe – which is so close – from Tito times. My cost story in full flower. Between costs and expected benefits of migration, you could explain a variation in who goes where. Add to that presence of co-religionist and ethnic communities, and you get a very good picture.

          (Don’t forget to add unemployment rates to the Polish story. It’s not just the income differential, you also need people without good positions in their home countries. Eurostat gives just a few years with Polish unemployment below 10% )

          I still think your Brazil example isn’t very revealing – 100,000 since 1990, for a country that’s almost 200 million now? And with some previous communities, starting in late 19th century? I’d say it’s not extraordinary at all.

    • Good discussion guys. Few points I’d like to make.

      1. I haven’t heard of any modern Russian emigration to Brazil either (though I do know of one White Russian family that came there after the Revolution and later migrated to the US).

      2. From the statistics, by far the most popular destinations in the 1990’s (when emigration was big) were just three countries; by net migration, in 1997 and 2009, they were Germany (1997: -45984; 2009: -1530), Israel (1997: -11247; 2009: -33), and the US (1997: -8419; 2009: -865). I don’t think we can expect any major “clumping effects” because for the most part, these migrations were either of ethnic minorities whose outflows have largely exhausted themselves (e.g. Volga Germans; Jews – much like Near Abroad Russians back to Russia) or they were specialists with very dispersed destinations (e.g. academic researchers who didn’t exactly create Little Moscows in the university towns they emigrated to).

      3. Finally, we also have to consider not only Russians and Russian communities abroad in considering future emigration, but also the attractiveness of the countries in question. Russia itself is now at around 60% of the GDP per capita of the European Union, and – thanks to its oil wealth – it has a strong fiscal position despite low taxes. OTOH, the West is now characterized either by high taxes, or fiscal unsustainability. It is increasingly questionable why Russians, without a very good reason for it, would want to emigrate to the West even if there were far fewer restrictions to it.

      Interesting historical factoid. Back in 2000, Putin was asked in an interview how much he’d pay young specialists (within reasonable bounds). He said, “In the West, they get paid around $5000. What if we pay, say, $2000?… I would estimate at that level that the vast majority won’t go anywhere. To live among people speaking the same language, close to your relatives, friends, your countries, getting paid a bit higher than the others – it’s even more profitable.” Well, salaries are approaching those levels in quite a few professional fields now. And net emigration is dwindling to countries like the Big Three continues to dwindle (in fact last year the migration balance turned positive relative to Israel).

  5. Anatoly, there are a couple of hundred thousand Brazilians of Russian descent — about half from White Russian days, about half from emigration since 1990. Brazil and Russia signed a visa-free travel agreement in 2008.

    Attractiveness of the countries in question: no offense, but picking out a single factor (“Russia has lower taxes!”) is kind of silly. Sure, Russia has lower taxes than, say, France. Absolutely. On the other hand, France has a nicer climate, better food, better public services, less corruption, more amenities, cleaner air and water, better health care, better roads, lower crime rates, and women who keep their looks past thirty. Which is a better place to live?

    Income: dude, go back and look at that list again. Russia is right in the middle of a group of countries, all around the same income level, that are major exporters of people. Poland, Hungary, Croatia, the Baltic States… all those countries have roughly the same income as Russia, and they’re all major net emigrators. Poland — which has almost exactly the same PPP-adjusted income as Russia — has lost about 300,000 people to emigration since 2001, mostly to the EU.

    I’m not saying income doesn’t matter. Of course it does! But it’s just one factor out of many.

    Doug M.

    • Re-Brazil. That’s good, and in line with Russia’s attempts to conclude reciprocal visa-free travel agreements with other countries. But I can only see it being used for eased tourism or business trips. Why would a Russian want to emigrate from one middle-income country to another on the other side of the world whose language he (most likely) doesn’t speak??

      Re-taxes. My main point about taxes was that Russians’ effective incomes – especially for the higher-earning professionals who would otherwise be most likely to seek employment opportunities abroad – are higher than the figures on paper because of the 13% flat tax (whereas in most West European countries their tax rates would effectively be c.40%). But I included it as an important factor because of its application to fiscal issues, whose importance far exceeds other factors like climate or cuisine. Most European – and indeed developed countries – are facing a choice between high taxes and insolvency (majorly cutting spending is politically suicidal and leads to disastrous social outcomes where it is implemented, e.g. Latvia). Thanks to no particular effort of its own, Russia’s mineral wealth allows it to escape this predicament (comparable countries include Norway, and to a lesser extent Canada and Australia). I don’t see these issues being resolved in the foreseeable future (do you?); to the contrary the trends indicate they are going to get worse before they get better. Meanwhile, with (probable) peak oil and continued rise in Chinese demand, mineral prices can only go in one direction. Not only will Western Europe be decreasingly attractive for Russian emigration, but the current flows may even reverse – especially if Russia succeeds in improving its institutions, social services and amenities, etc. (This reversal, BTW, seems to have already happens between Russia-Israel).

      Re-Poland. In addition to Sergey’s point about high Polish unemployment during the mid-2000’s, I’d also like to make a few other observations. First, with the exception of the Baltics, the other countries you mentioned – Hungary, Croatia (and Slovakia, Czech Republic) – aren’t “major” people exporters, in fact they all have a positive migration balance. Second, in recent years – and in line with its excellent post-crisis economic performance relative to the rest of Europe – Polish emigration is also ebbing away; in the UK, the numbers of employed Polish-born people in employment has been flat since early 2008. So your points don’t even hold up that well to the EEC countries let alone Russia.

      Furthermore, you’re a good demographer, so this will be a point I think you’d appreciate. As you know many EEC and East European countries had mini-baby booms in the 1980’s followed by crashes in the following decade. (I don’t know the research, but I’d hazard a guess that Poland’s high unemployment in the 2000’s was partly linked to this). Obviously, this demographic history is true for Russia too. One of its consequences is that the numbers of new people entering its workforce is beginning to plummet. This will exert upwards pressure on wages and employment, further diminishing the relative benefits of emigration.

      • 1) A correlation between population and wages exists, but it’s mushy. There are plenty of countries where wages have risen sharply even while the number of working adults was growing; there are also countries where wages have stagnated despite a shortage of labor. (See, for example, the country I’m writing this from, Moldova.)

        2) Hungary and Croatia: My points hold up just fine, thanks. I said they were major exporters, not net exporters. They’re not net because both of them are also importing large numbers of people from further east.

        In the case of Hungary, it’s a steady trickle of ethnic Hungarians immigrating from Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia. Two of those countries are much poorer than Hungary, and the third is under an asshole nationalist regime that’s actively trying to make life unpleasant for ethnic Hungarians.

        The case of Croatia is even weirder: Croatia is counting ethnic Serb refugees, returning to Croatia, as “immigrants”. These are Serbs who were ethnically cleansed out of Croatia after Operation Storm in 1995. They’re still slowly trickling back, though most of them will never return. (Croatia doesn’t really want them back, and so is placing a range of different economic, social and administrative obstacles in their path.) In addition, Croatia has picked up a couple of hundred ethnic Croats from Herzegovina (in Bosnia) in the 16 years since Dayton.

        So, while /net/ emigration from those countries is low or negative, they are both exporting large numbers of people into the EU.

        3) Poland has seen emigration drop sharply in the last couple of years as labor markets have crashed across the EU, drying up demand for immigrant labor. That’s why I said “300,000 over the last 10 years”. I’m looking at medium- and long-term trends. Do you think the last 2-3 years are good indicators for the next decade? Well, neither do I. I wouldn’t be surprised if the period 2011 to 2020 saw less Polish emigration than the previous decade — but I’d be very surprised if it was much less. Anything less than 200,000 over the decade would be pretty weird, and IMO unlikely barring economic near-catastrophe in western and central Europe.

        4) Taxes: worldwide, there is indeed a correlation between gross tax burden and emigration! But it’s a *negative* correlation. At the macro level, emigration tends to flow from countries with low taxes, to countries with high taxes.

        Why? Well, here are some countries whose total tax burden is over 35% of GDP: Germany, France, the Netherlands, Norway (41% — they’re putting most of the oil revenue into the sovereign fund), Finland, Sweden, and Denmark (with a whopping 48%). (OECD numbers — do not use the Heritage Foundation figures, they’re bogus.) Almost all of these countries are net importers of people; none are major sources of emigration.

        Meanwhile, Romania’s total tax burden is around 29%. Mexico’s is about 19%. The Philippines, about 17%. Tanzania, about 12%.

        Very broadly speaking, rich countries tax themselves at higher rates than poor countries. There are of course exceptions, but the correlation is pretty strong — graph GDP against tax/GDP, and you get a scatterplot with a nice steady rise from left to right. So, since immigration tends to flow from poor to rich, immigration tends to move from low tax to high tax: strange but true.

        This is not to say that taxes can’t affect immigration — but the direct effect seems to be pretty marginal. The indirect effects (i.e., on public services) may be significant, but at that level it gets very hard to sort out taxes from other issues (debt, efficiency of administration, etc. etc.).

        5) Brazil: the existence of large numbers of Russian-Brazilians makes emigration much easier; there’s already a community of people who speak your language, share your religion, etc. If you move to Sao Paulo, there are Russian restaurants and clubs, Russian schools and kindergartens, a Russian music scene, and not one but two Russian Orthodox cathedrals — one for each side of the schism.

        As to why, I’m guessing that “weather”, “food”, “weather”, “lifestyle”, “weather”, “women who still look good at 35 or even 40”, “better booze”, and “weather” may have all been factors.

        Doug M.

        • Immigrants will often be the poor in the receiver country. The poor often don’t pay taxes or only marginal. And high taxes lead to a black economy with has a big cost advantage to the taxed economy. Something which is good for illegal aliens

  6. Brazil’s most famous Russian at the moment is probably Danielle Winits. Outside Brazil, she’s relatively unknown beyond a few Playboy pictorials, but inside Brazil she’s a major, major star. Drop her name into Google Images and you’ll get the idea (NSFW).

    Doug M.