Is immigration to Russia becoming more common and acceptable?

I can recall people moving to the Soviet Union made news headlines and were labeled as defectors. Lee Harvey Oswald made headlines as a defector long before assassinating JFK.

How much has changed? If an American got a job offer would it be a big deal to move to Russia, Ukraine, or the other former Soviet bloc countries ? Is it it any more difficult than moving to Europe or Japan for a job?

An American living in Russia won the Gold for the Russian team in Snowboarding and it got me curious how common it has become for immigrants to live and work in Russia.

I suspect it’s easier for a world-class athlete to emigrate to many countries than for the average person.

One of my husband’s college buddies now lives and teaches in Kiev and is married to a Ukrainian woman. I don’t know how easy or hard it was for him to do, but he’s a regular guy and not a world-class athlete and he did it. Probably being a teacher and a native speaker of a desirable language helps.

In the first years after the fall of communism, a lot of American businessmen went to the former Soviet countries to seek their fortunes.

Before Putin’s cronies took over the country, it was considered a more business-friendly environment than many Western countries.

I don’t know if they intended to emigrate permanently, or if they just wanted to make a quick buck and then return home. (Then again, a lot of America’s immigrants never intended to stay permanently. Funny how life meddles with your plans.)

Shouldn’t be a big deal. I know a few Americans and other expats living in Moscow, and it didn’t seem to me to be any more difficult than working and living legally in Europe. It might actually have been easier. One was a journalist who worked for the Moscow Times and then went on to work in some think thank (he settled down with a Russian wife in Moscow), and another one was a publishing businessman/entrepreneur who moved there to work for various companies involved in developing business in Russia. Plus there’s your usual crowd of English teachers and the such.

This is disgusting. Second thread on Russia that I viewed in the last 10 minutes, and not one “In Soviet Russia…” joke. There may as well not be a Russia if we can’t do better than that.

It is not at all unusual for American athletes to emigrate to other countries, if their skill level isn’t quite up to the level at which they can be remunerated professionals in the USA. There are even some former major league baseball players playing in the Dutch and Italian baseball leagues, and there have always been a smattering of them playing in Japan and Mexico. There is an entire industry of recruiters bringing American basketball players to many European countries.

In Russia, Russia emigrates to YOU!