What do you think about migrants?(141)
Nikolai, construction worker, Tyumen Region
I think migrants come to Russia for the money, that's all.
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Dunya, philosophy and theology lecturer, Moscow
I have a negative attitude toward migrants. I think that people who say that there is no issue here and that all men are equal and all men are brothers are not being sincere. Because usually those who say that have never faced the migration problem. The problem, however, exists. First of all, the idea is being instilled in our minds that we cannot live without migrants. But in fact it is they who cannot live without us. However, in this particular case, the state does not protect the interests of its citizens. People who think that migration is a good thing are just condoning corruption. This is a big corruption scheme to launder enormous sums of money, and migrants are just part of this scheme. I have nothing against these people, and I think that this is a normal situation: after all, Russian people also move to different countries. But when people come to our country to work as slaves, this creates a bad situation both for slaves who are forced to live in inhumane conditions and for local residents. The only people benefiting from this situation are the officials who enrich themselves [at people’s expense].
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Anna, art student, Moscow
The quantity of migrants has increased, of course, and it is a problem. But our citizens don’t wish to work at the jobs that migrants agree to take: everyone longs to find a good job and earn good money. This means that there are vacancies and we need migrants. But for me, the main problem is that it’s just not nice when you walk down the street and hear many people speaking in their own languages. They should learn Russian, of course.
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Anastasiya, clown and ex-specialist in fraud detection, Volgograd
Everyone looks for a better place. Such behavior is only natural. So why should not people come to our country to earn money and live comfortably? I have no problems with that. There are no bad nations—only bad people.
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Malika, 46, janitor, Grozny
I feel neutral toward migrants. I respect working people.
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Roman, executive recruiter, Vladivostok
Migration is a standard process. As a whole, I’ve got no problems with it. But another matter is that migrants should follow the laws and behave according to the rules, norms, and traditions of the country to which they come. I mean, migration should be done legally.
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I, of course, despise my Fatherland from head to toe, but it vexes me when a foreigner shares this feeling of mine.

Alexander Pushkin
Yulya, 27, art-director at a night club, Sochi
I am very well disposed toward migrants. When we try to engage the local population in work, people prove to be lazy and slow. They do not want anything, they do need anything as long as they are warm and feel at ease and comfortable. Whereas people who come here from other Russian regions, especially from upcountry, are ready to go full speed ahead. They strive to achieve something. It is a pleasure to deal with them. However, there are of course exceptions. Migrants from Central Asia are all right too, provided there are no more than three of them and you do not meet them in a dark alley.
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Viktor Alexandrovich, cobbler, Kaliningrad
I just don’t like migrants, especially people from the Caucasus region. They are very dishonest people, very dishonest: they would look into your eyes and say something to you, and you believe them, but behind [your back] they are absolutely different—that’s it. If they loved us, they wouldn’t behave like that in front of us.
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Sergei, fisherman, Vladivostok
Migrants are different—there are good ones and bad ones. However, if they cannot succeed in their own countries, then in most cases these people are not really wanted here either.
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Ksenia, 33, restaurant manager, from Saint Petersburg, lives in Kiev
If migrants come, it means that the quality of life in their countries is even worse, I suppose. I’m not against them coming here, but there are just so many of them already. I think there are more of them than of the native population. When my friends—who are not racists at all, but, on the contrary, very intelligent people—tell me, “But what kindergarten should I take my child to? There are only Uzbeks and Tatars everywhere,” then a question arises of what should be done. All people are brothers, of course, and everything is fine, but they’ve got a Tatar girl as a teacher in a kindergarten, six little Uzbek girls, and all the other children are Koreans, and only two white boys. So my friend has to go all across Moscow to find a place for her kid in a kindergarten. So there’s something definitely wrong in this policy. They miscounted something, I think. But it’s all done on purpose; it’s big politics. It just can’t be like that.
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Mikhail, homeless, Saint Petersburg
As a human being, I can understand migrants. But they cause many troubles here, of course.
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Yuliya, 19, attends beauty school, Tolyatti
I have a negative attitude toward migrants. They are all bad people. I have no respect for them for some reason. They are all rude and behave themselves improperly. They should not be allowed to come to our country.
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Anna Ivanovna, 73, retired engineer, Vladivostok
I treat migrants on a case-toby-case basis depending on their objective and on what sort of people they are. There are decent people among the migrants. Some people come to Russia to earn some money, while others come to just visit the country.
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Patriotic acts are done during wars, especially against some foreign invaders. There can be no patriotic acts during civil war, because any civil war, any war within one country, is fratricide. Even a heroic act is a sin and a crime.

 

Grigory, aid worker, Saint Petersburg
Something makes those people leave their places, go away from their villages for a better life. But frankly speaking, I think that migration is a bad thing. The total lack of control over this process has caused the number of newcomers to become so large that their culture has begun to dominate a little bit. I honestly don’t want streets full of women in headscarves. I don’t like this.
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Movsar, neurosurgeon, Grozny
I am a very tolerant person, and I treat people according to their personality traits. It is important to me above all what sort of person one is, and I will be friends with those who share the same human values as I do.
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Ramazan, 26, chef, Yalta
I have nothing bad to say about them. Yet motherland is a person's soul. You can't betray your motherland. Even if you have to leave, you must come back.
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Valentina, graduate student, Saint Petersburg
Migration has ever been and ever will be here, because Russia’s development index is a lot higher than Central Asian countries. It’s just that people should be more tolerant of each other. And those who are guests in this country should behave better.
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Konstantin Iosifovich, 86, retired, Tyumen region
Let migrants work if Russians cannot do it. Nowadays, Russia does not produce anything. People have no jobs. Nobody knows how to homestead. People do not even know how to milk a cow.
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Amir, 18, student, Kaliningrad
How do I feel about migrants? It depends on who is meant: unskilled laborers or average people. Basically, people who come to Kaliningrad are normal; they are all adequate. My relative from Moscow visited recently and said that there are a lot fewer black faces here than in Moscow.
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Irina, 50, social worker, Simferopol
They probably don't have a good life back home. I think, life forces them to come here.
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My image of a real Russian is of a man who drinks vodka, works at a factory, and talks to a TV-set.

 

Igor, coach, Tyumen Region
I am comfortable with migrants. Everyone looks for a better place. If people think that this country is a better place for them, we will help them, and it does not matter where they came from. Many people came to our region from Kazakhstan. They got jobs, and they work as hard as we, Russians, do.
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Kirill, 14, Kaliningrad
If migrants do not disturb the peace and do not bother locals, if they behave properly and study the history of the country, then I have no problems with them.
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Anton, 18, student, Tolyatti
My attitude toward migrants is absolutely neutral.
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Tatiana, set designer, Volgograd
I have a positive attitude toward migrants. I like to see our country being populated by different nations. I think they also like it here. French people come to Russia too: they like our country very much and like living here. I am not a nationalist. I am comfortable with all nations.
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Yury Evgenievich, 76, retired, Tolyatti
I’m not a radical nationalist. I don’t want ethnic cleansing. I’m acquainted with Georgians, Armenians, and Moldovans. But there have been several cases when I risked getting punched in my face [by a migrant], so in some sense, I embrace nationalism.
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Elena, fish monger, Samara
I am comfortable with migrants. They come and go. I have no problems with that.
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Lera, fashion blogger, Vladivostok
If they live in Uzbekistan and earn $100 per month, then, of course, the $500 that they can earn when they come here is a huge sum of money for them. We all rebel against the fact that the jobs of janitors, builders, and post-office workers are occupied by citizens of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and other former Soviet republics who live poor lives in their countries. But Russians simply don’t want to work at ordinary jobs: we’ve only got lawyers, economists, promoters, designers, photographers, bloggers—anyone you like.
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Patriotism is too deep a feeling to depict in the posing for a photograph.

Charles Chaplin
Larisa, social worker, Kaliningrad
I treat migrants like any other people. In my opinion, they need help. I think that any migration is the result of difficult life circumstances, and a migrant is an uprooted person.
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Nikita, 12, Kaliningrad
have no problems with migrants. It is for them to decide whether to come or not. They look for a better place because for some reason, they feel uncomfortable in their native countries.
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Pyotr, advertising, Moscow
Some people come to Russia from developed countries—from Europe and the United States. Those who come from Asia are mostly uneducated. But in fact we cannot do without either. Theoretically, I support the freedom of movement, and I believe that if someone is more comfortable in a different country, he or she should be able to move there.
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Maria, 35, marketing manager, Yalta
When all of this happened, we were upset about loosing our connections. I still can keep up with my friends via social networks, but lots of people no longer want to visit us. That's sad. We can't communicate with friends of many years. But we hope that intelligent people from Moscow and St Petersburg will take their place. And actually, I think it's already happening. Yesterday I've met a man on a parking lot, who came from Russia, he and his family are very happy here and are looking for new friends. We started chatting and really enjoyed each other's company. We have decided to meet up soon for dinner, to introduce our children to one another. So I do hope we'll see more of these people, and not just beer drinkers on the beach.
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Grigory, 21, construction worker, Samara
I feel negative toward migrants, very negative. Especially toward people from the Caucasus—they come to us, and they disrespect our laws, disrespect everything. As soon as they came here, they began to set their own rules. If they come here, they should behave like guests. Russians should live in Russia, but not some visiting guests from Caucasus or Asia.
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Sultan, security guard, Grozny
If migrant workers could even earn enough for food where they live, they wouldn’t come here. They come here for a reason. I really feel sorry for these people. They leave their homes, their motherlands, and come to an alien country, not knowing the language; [they] come to an alien people and work, earn money. Their goal is to feed their families. Of course you pity these people sometimes.
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Kostya, 15, Tolyatti
I can’t stand non-Russians, darkies [people from the Caucasus region], churkas [people from Central Asia].
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I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood.

Albert Camus. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
Lyudmila Andreevna, 58, street cleaner, Birobidzhan
I personally think, if they work, let them work. My husband and son are both builders, and they are not pleased that many Chinese workers came, so there are no jobs. But I tell them, “My dear, if Russians would work like they used to work when I was young! I began to work at fourteen, but look at the youth now: there’s no one to work. So migrants come.”
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Khan, 29, migrant worker, Tyumen region
There are migrants all over Europe. Some work, others study, still others just take it easy. Life made me come here to earn money. If I had work at home, I would not have come here.
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Sergei, 49, unemployed, Kaliningrad
I haven’t got such barriers as nationality. Maybe it’s because when I served in the army (when I was young), I communicated with guys of various nationalities coming from every corner of our country. I had friends amongst people from the Caucasus region, and even Tadjiks. That’s why nationality is the last thing I pay attention to. For me, the most important thing is the man himself. If you possess the qualities of what is usually called “a man,” if you are decent, respect others, follow the laws and some customs of the place where you are—then, I think, you’ll find peace with the others who live there.
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Maks, 31, entrepreneur, Alushta
They are hostages of the current situation: nothing to do at home and looking for easy money.
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Vladimir Alexandrovich, engineer, Volgograd
Why do migrants come to Russia? They come because somebody has an interest in having them here—be it the authorities, businessmen, or the government. Migrants are employed because they represent a low-cost labor force compared to Russians. Migrants work while Russians have no jobs. I am opposed to migrants coming to Russia. Let them live as they choose in their own countries.
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Emma Vasilievna, geologist, Khabarovsk
I feel sorry for migrants: their life at home is hard, and so they come to our country, poor, desolate people. If they like it here, let them come and work, let them unite into communities, because this is easier than trying to manage one by one. I do not think this should be a problem. If there are extra jobs, let migrants take them. On the other hand, I am concerned about employers—they should only hire migrants if they have a surplus of jobs. The unemployment rate in our country is low, but it still exists. Russians, however, do not want to accept low-wage jobs: they know their worth.
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Maxim, furniture magnate, Kaliningrad
I feel very well toward migrants. If they achieve something good here, something efficient, if they manage to stand on their own feet, I’m only glad. Yes, we could blame everything bad that’s happening on migrants. But there would be the same thing without them. People would steal from each other, fight each other, and stand in each others way, etc., just the same. It’s just that with the flow of migrants, the population increases, naturally, so there occur more fights, etc. The main thing is to overcome nationalism within yourself. I came to the conclusion that nationality plays no role for me and my family. Because I understood that nationalism settles very firmly in a man’s mind and doesn’t want to leave.
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Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant. My Uncle Sosthenes
Kirill, banker, Moscow
What can one think about migrants? One can only wish them luck. Migrants are ordinary people who come to Russia in the hope of a better future. Some people leave Russia in the same hope.
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Madina, nurse, Grozny
I feel fine about migrants.
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Galina Petrovna, teacher at a village community center, Tyumen region
It depends. Before jumping to conclusions I would need to communicate with this person.
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Nadezhda, flower vendor, Tolyatti
I feel absolutely neutral toward migrants. What was it like in the USSR? All people were friends; they weren’t divided, weren’t afraid of each other, and were calm. I’m for it.
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Maria, painter and art teacher, Moscow
Migrants come to Russia because they were not comfortable where they lived before. I do not think they represent an issue, because second-generation migrants are already all Russian. That is, second-generation migrants learn the language, go to Russian-language schools, in some way or other interact with the Russian culture, and consequently they are already Russian Kazakhs, Russian Kirghiz. So I do not think this is a problem. The only danger might come from migrants living in small ethnic enclaves where they cannot learn the Russian language.
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Aleksei, 37, delivery driver, Kaliningrad
I feel neutral toward those who came legally and work, for many [Russians] don’t agree to work the jobs that migrants get—so this means there are vacant jobs. But there are also many who come illegally and leave others without a job—and that is bad. If only the Federal Migration Service worked well, illegal immigrants would be caught. But what we’ve got here: I myself have witnessed police arrest illegal migrants, who then just bribed the policemen and were released at once. This is what our police are like, and our politics, too.
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Alexander, entrepreneur, Moscow
Humans have an average lifespan of 60 to 80 years, and they deserve to spend this time well and wherever they like. As I see it, there are no borders left—they only exist in people’s minds.
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Real Russians are from Saint Petersburg—with such delicate intelligence, a couldn’t-care-less attitude, light consumption. And the second type of real Russian is someone from beyond the Urals—tough silent-type guys who've got a gun under the floorboards, and they’ll sort it all out if necessary.

Sergei, retired engineer and taxi-driver, Kaliningrad
I feel neutral about migrants. I understand these people. I understand that it’s not a good life that forces them to come here for work. People come to earn money; they need to feed their families. At his home, he receives $200, and he’s got a family of five people. Of course he’d go seek something better, somewhere he could earn more. But it doesn’t mean that he comes here forever: he comes, makes money, and goes. The same thing happens in America and in all other countries. Take Germany: blacks and Turks and others come there and earn money. It’s a normal thing, so to speak.
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Alexander, 29, unemployed, homeless, Saint Petersburg
You should chase migrants away from here! They are so annoying. We are living here like we are their guests already. We, Russians, live like guests in Russia now!
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Olga, retired foreign trade expert, Pionersk
Migrants are mostly people who come here with some mercantile interests, and that’s why they are not trying to become citizens of this country. One should put some effort into this, but they mostly live on their own and think that they can live here by their own laws and rules. But this might be an issue for the whole world now, not only for Russia. Germany suffers from the same problems, and Europe as a whole, and America, too. I mean, migrants lock themselves in, form their own communities, and live like that. It is easier to live like that, in your own community. But when a person comes to a foreign country, he must understand that there are its own laws there, its own culture and traditions, so if he desires to become its citizen, he must follow its laws and not try to set his own.
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Vlad, hip-hop dancer, Volgograd
Theoretically, I feel comfortable about migrants, but I think that in order for Russians to get along with them, they should behave as guests in our country. I haven’t come to this conclusion at once. At first I did not make any ethnic distinctions, but in time they have become evident. We too should behave as guests when we visit other countries.
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Vera, 33, manager, Samara
I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be easier for me if migrants would sort of “attune” to us. But subconsciously, I understand that they are not obliged to do that. That is why it is hard for me to comprehend them, but I still think that we need them, that we can’t be without them. This might be our future.
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Ilya, software engineer, Vladivostok
On a case-by-case basis, I do not care if someone comes to Russia. But in general, I do not much like it when you come along the street and see more migrants than locals. I have nothing against migrants, but in general I do not really like this picture.
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Nata, neurosurgeon, Grozny
I feel very positive towards newcomers. I’d like to work with intelligent people, because we lack such.
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What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

Lin Yutang
Dmitry, theater directing student, Volgograd
There can be no unambiguous attitude toward migrants. In fact, Russia has always depended on so-called “fresh blood.” Russia cannot be a self-isolated country, because this would result in the decay of the nation, as is happening in today’s Europe. How has the United States been pulling through, for example? People have always come to the United States: Italians, Germans, the Irish, Russians, Jews. There has always been some fresh blood. It is the same with Russia. The Russian people have recently started demonstrating such strong animosity toward natives of other countries—one day it is natives of the Caucasus, another day [people from] some other nation. This is, however, understandable: the majority of natives of the Caucasus conduct themselves improperly in Russia, as they never do in their own countries. My acquaintances who have visited the Caucasus always say that people there are hospitable, welcoming, and never rude to anyone. But when they come to Russia, they do not consider this country their home, and so they think that they can be rude, take whatever they fancy, and resort to violence.
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Aleksandr, audio salesman, Tyumen
I have absolutely no problem with migrants, because they have no work in their countries, and it is obvious that we lack a labor force. On the other hand, it should all be regulated, legalized, so that there are no incidents between locals and newcomers. We got used to how it was in the 1990s and in the early 2000s when everyone entered Russia freely. But we are moving forward, and I wish that things concerning migrants could be regulated as well so that people would not simply come whenever they feel like it. Because, judging by Europe, nobody is waiting for us in other countries either.
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Alexei, 33, construction worker, Birobidzhan
I feel fine towards migrants; we are all people. Just like them, we go somewhere, earn money just to survive—so why not [them too]? The important thing is to keep everything within the limits of the law.
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Aleksei, artist, born in Moscow, currently in New York
I have no specific attitude toward migrants. But I do not think they should be banished from the country. I think this is a natural process: people migrate from one part of the world to another. I am, so to speak, a labor migrant myself in the United States, and I know what it feels like to be a migrant. Moving from one county to another is very hard, especially considering that people do that because life is not a bed of roses. They have to work for peanuts while feeling despised by everyone around them. This is why I sympathize with migrants.
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Andrei, sailor, Vladivostok
I have a positive attitude toward migrants who really come to our country for work. But if they come for other purposes, we have enough people as it is.
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Elena, brand manager, Sevastopol
Why not? This is their chance for a better life. It's important that people come with good intentions. If they are ready to respect traditions of this county and not to impose their own traditions, they are welcome. If they come here with good intentions – to live here and work, we will treat them nicely.
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Indira, make up artist, born in Chechnya, living in Sweden
I understand migrants very well. This is why I have no problems with them. I think that migrants come to Russia not because they want to but because they have to, and if they can build themselves a better life in Russia than they had in their native countries, then why not? They are welcome to come. However, much depends on where migrants come from and what the purpose of their coming is.
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Let migrants work if Russians cannot do it. Nowadays, Russia does not produce anything. People have no jobs. They don't know how to take care of their land. People do not even know how to milk a cow.

 

Aleksandr, 19, law student, Tolyatti
I have no problems with migrants. I treat them like any other people. A person’s nationality, his or her sexual orientation, and other such things make no difference to me. This is simply none of my business. To each his own. One should just try to put themselves in migrants’ shoes and understand what made them come to Russia and what the situation in their native countries is. As far as I am concerned, there is no such thing as “borders.” Both their native country and Russia can be their home.
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Andrei, 32, unemployed, Samara
I have nothing to say about migrants. I have no problems with them.
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Shamil, 19, studies interior design in China, Grozny
I don’t know how I feel towards migrants. But I disagree with those who leave Russia. Today is not like in the 90s. When people say that it’s impossible to achieve anything in Russia now, it’s all crap. I was sixteen when I opened my business, and at eighteen I got married. It might be difficult to achieve something here, but I don’t understand those people who can easily leave their motherland and move to another country for life. This shocks me.
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Frida, retired, Tyumen region
Migrants are just unfortunate people, driven away by a poor life at home. They, too, have their motherland, families and children. But to survive, they need to earn money. For as long as I’ve lived, life has always depended on money for some reason.
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Asya, 16, Saint Petersburg
There’s nothing to like about migrants. Well, it doesn’t have a direct impact on me personally yet, and I don’t care about it. But when I walk down the street and someone grabs my hands, saying, “Hey, girl, let’s go somewhere,” it is disgusting, of course. A Russian man could hardly afford to do something like that to me—well, at least I haven’t experienced it. So yes, there are reasons to treat them with disrespect, maybe even with some anxiety. I know that I’m not secure with them. On the other hand, there are people who come here to study, to work—so why not? If I go somewhere, others will also tell me, “Russian, ew! What a mess. What are you doing here? Get out.”
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Lyudmila, retired librarian, Volgograd
If migrants choose to come to Russia, they should accept our traditions and love this land as we do. They should try to make it richer and more beautiful.
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Ksenia, 16, Saint Petersburg
I think migration should be strictly limited, because there are so many people who come without registration, who just bribe the police and commit illegal and unacceptable things.
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I do not know who a real Russian is. This is a difficult question. I think the most important thing is that he isn't a Nazi.

 

Bakhotyr, 64, unemployed, Sochi
People are all the same. Who cares where they come from? We all walk under the same moon, regardless of nationality. All people should get along. There is only one God—only faiths are different, and this is it.
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Dmitry, 44, dental technician, Samara
I have no problems with migrants, but I am not particularly fond of newcomers from former Soviet Central Asian republics. Many of them do not work here, act like hoodlums, and impose their traditions on us.
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Sergei, 35, activist, Saint Petersburg
I’m really happy about migrants. I always think how great it is that someone else wants to come to Petersburg.
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Ksenia, 26, waitress, Alushta
People want to earn money, it doesn't matter whether they do it in one country or another. I am absolutely fine with them. It's cool when a person works.
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Anastasia, 22, studies international relations, born in Moscow, living in Tallinn
I do not see anything bad about newcomers. The European Union and the United States are full of migrants. This is an absolutely normal situation, especially since these people are close to us culturally, because they come from the former Soviet republics, from our beloved “near abroad.” Migrants should just be required to pass the Russian-language test and make sure they have all the necessary legal presence documents, and that should be it. The problem is not in migrants, but in cops, the government, and corruption.
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Rukiya, nurse, Grozny
I feel fine towards migrants. Everyone lives and works where he’s destined to.
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Lily, photographer, Moscow
Migrants are necessary because of an economic imbalance, when there are not enough people who are ready to work physically hard or low-paying jobs. I think it is necessary to create some legislation that would regulate their work, living conditions. I mean, it’s necessary to create some programs for migrant workers or something like that in order to make it legal, and not some chaotic “black market.”
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We were supposed to spend a month in Vietnam, but after the first two weeks we longed for those Russian birch trees and for the language. We found Russian TV channels and watched them, although I never watch those at home. I felt so warm at heart, and I realized that it would probably be hard to emigrate.

 

Andrei, 31, hostel manager, Sevastopol
I think migrants come here because it's difficult in their countries. So they think that they can come to Moscow, earn money and feed their families. Of course, as long as they don't drink all of that money away nor succumb to Moscow's temptations. So that's what they do, and so many of them come to Moscow that their labor becomes even cheaper. But I think it's okay, let them come. I think the government should regulate migrants. If they are needed, then they should be encouraged, if there are too many of them then it should be banned. Especially considering that Russia is a police state: if the government wants to, it can bring order into any issue.
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Tatiana, entrepreneur, Vladivostok
I do not care what race people are provided that they work well. My kids’ nanny, a Filipino woman, is doing a good job. What difference does it make what language she speaks? The same can be said about any Tajik who is a good construction worker, for example. Thank goodness he came! I will be very glad if he obtains a residence permit, because these people want to work, they are doing their best for their families in order to provide educational opportunities to their children, as well as opportunities to have a holiday and work decently. And when a government or a people start a genocide of newcomers because migrants provide quality work for less money, the only reason for them doing this is laziness, because they just do not want to get off their asses, if you’ll pardon the expression.
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Alexander, 18, architecture student, Samara
I treat newcomers differently depending on where they come from. I have a negative attitude toward Uzbeks and other such nationalities. I have, however, no problems with those who come from civilized countries such as the United States. They are just tourists.
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Olga Mikhailovna, retired high school teacher, Jewish Autonomous Region
We’ve got migrant workers in our village of Priamursky. Those are ordinary people who’ve got very low incomes and who wish to support their families, so for God’s sake—let them work! As long as they don’t violate the law, as long as they stay tolerant towards others, I feel fine about them. The only question is why we give out our job vacancies to migrants. But I think that if a person, an ordinary Russian, possesses a desire to work, he’ll always find a job and earn some money.
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Sergei, 32, from Saint Petersburg, lives in Tallinn
I don’t think anything bad about migrants. I don’t communicate with them, so I can’t say anything about them.
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Zarima, works in the Akhmad-Hadji Kadyrov museum, Grozny
There are different newcomers in our country such as the Vietnamese and the Chinese. But I do not really care for them. We can manage on our own. Things are improving. They are probably not fond of us, Russians, in their native countries, just like we are not fond of them here.
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Galina Nikolaevna, 83, retired, Samara
I feel bad toward migrants. They are so rude—so rude! Heaven forbid, heaven forbid!
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In other countries, you either agree with the government and dig the ditch, or you disagree and don’t dig the ditch. In Russia it's different: you disagree with the authorities but you still dig the ditch—not because you are told to do so, but out of spite.

 

Viktor Petrovich, 68, retired, Saint Petersburg
What have migrants left to do when things are so hard in their motherland? They come here to work for pennies. They work here, but, of course, they bring their wives and children with them. They want to stay here, but the matter is complicated: registration, etc. Tadjiks, Uzbeks now work building houses here. They are all good workers and they try to survive. Let’s imagine that we, Russians, come to their countries without knowing the language or the traditions. We believe in Christ; they believe in their Allah. There’s just one God, but that’s not the point. It’s not easy for them, either. Why do they come here? Because they’re in a hopeless situation.
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Vera Ivanovna, retired nurse, Kaliningrad
To some extent, I feel for migrants, because they live a difficult life here. Maybe they cause some harm, but they also bring a lot use. They work jobs that our people don’t wish to work.
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Nadezhda Grigorievna, retired engineer, Tolyatti
I feel neutral toward migrants. There are all sorts of people you have to deal with at your country house. Sometimes I even feel sorry for them—when they build something at my dacha, for instance. But I like foreigners: Germans, Balts. They are much like Russians, but they think differently.
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Aziz, 21, fast food worker, Kaliningrad
Migrants come to Russia to work so that they can provide for their families.
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Siyavush, 24, taxi driver, Tolyatti
I am sort of not Russian myself. I have a very positive attitude toward everyone—both Russians and non-Russians—provided they do not offend either me or my family or my nation. I help migrants myself when needed. I have no doubt that there are many bad people among non-Russians just as there are many good people among Russians. I just ignore those moral morons who call newcomers blockheads or chinkschurkas. These people do not respect themselves, their families, and other people.
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Alexander, 31, sailor, Kaliningrad
I have nothing bad to say about migrants.
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Alexander, 39, geography teacher and botanist, Khabarovsk
What is my attitude toward migrants? They are welcome, our country is big. What else can I say? I wish all to work out for them here.
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I, of course, despise my Fatherland from head to toe, but it vexes me when a foreigner shares this feeling of mine.

Alexander Pushkin
Olga Pavlovna, pediatrician, Tyumen region
I have no problems with migrants. Sometimes I feel sorry for them: before they moved, these people’s life used to be stable, and now they have to adjust to new living conditions, to a new way of life. I think it must be hard for them, at least in the beginning. Of course, people gradually get used to their new life—they adapt, accept some things, and put up with others because what else can they do? They moved, so now they have to adjust both their everyday life and their way of thinking to new circumstances.
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Aishat, studies in a community college and works at a travel agency, Grozny
I feel fine about the newcomers. I really enjoy it that many foreigners come to us, and from [other parts of] Russia, too. It is interesting to talk to them sometimes, to know what they think about our city, our religion, our people. I find out many interesting things about them, too.
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Nikita, 8, Yalta
They are just refugees, because stupid Ukrainians are bombing their own people.
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Ismail, 61, construction worker, Bakhchysarai
We always had lots of migrant workers here, before the war – from Ukraine. And many would leave too, to the West, Turkey. When life's difficult, a person tries to improve it, because it's short, everyone wants to live, to have a family, a house, and so much more.
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Alexander, 50, mayor, Tyumen region
At all times, starting [as early as] Peter I, newcomers have brought [to Russia] an inflow of new ideas, different cultures. This is all useful. There should be intercommunication and mutual enrichment.
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Said, street cleaner, Saint Petersburg
People living in St. Petersburg are normal human beings—they respect me and treat me decently. This is why I work here. I live here alone. My family is in Uzbekistan.
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Konstantin, 23, human rights activist, Tolyatti
Migrants are people who cannot make it work in their native countries, sometimes because of circumstances over which they have no control. In my opinion, the attitude toward migrants that is currently brewing in society is xenophobic. A person is still a person whether or not he or she is a citizen of any particular country. In other words, first of all we need to understand that this person has the same rights as any of us, and only then can we talk about whether or not he or she has a registration, a residence permit, citizenship, a passport, and so on. These are separate questions altogether.
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Patriotic acts are done during wars, especially against some foreign invaders. There can be no patriotic acts during civil war, because any civil war, any war within one country, is fratricide. Even a heroic act is a sin and a crime.

 

Ivan, entrepreneur, DJ, Saint Petersburg
How do I feel about migrants? It depends on what they are. If they are Europeans who come and start marketing companies here or, let’s say, automobile plants, thus giving people ways to earn money, then I feel good about that. But I feel strongly negative toward migrants from our former Soviet republics.
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Zinaida, cook, Grozny
I have a very positive attitude toward migrants. I feel only gladness when people come to our country and even settle here, because Russians are peaceful people—they are fundamentally benevolent and hospitable.
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Vyacheslav, 53, homeless, used to work in construction, Saint Petersburg
Migrants are politics; it’s not our business. It’s the government that makes it possible for migrants to work here. They pay them little money.
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Stanislav, 42, entrepreneur, Moscow
I try to understand migrants and treat them with respect. Except for those cases when they cross the line of decency.
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Anatoly Yevgenievich, doctor, Saint Petersburg
I have a good attitude toward all people, regardless of nationality. I don’t care much about it. But if newcomers behave rudely, force natives out, or gather together to beat up others, then I’ve got due cause to care about them. All in all, if you are a guest, we’ll accept you with love and peace; but if you’re an enemy, you’d better go away.
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Aleksandr, 23, barista, Moscow
I think our cultural differences hinder [migrants]. Russia is a multicultural country [and has been] from the very beginning, of course. But in their countries, there are some accepted social guidelines that are not appropriate here, and vice versa. Migrants can hardly follow our customary rules, and that is what makes it difficult for them here.
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Anastasia, theater student, Volgograd
Migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia flee the problems in their native countries and come to Russia because in this country, they are offered the opportunity to make a better living. Russian people, however, do not always have the same opportunity to earn money, and this is a problem. But in general, if migrants like our country, they should be allowed to live here on the condition that they accept our laws and traditions. In other words, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
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My image of a real Russian is of a man who drinks vodka, works at a factory, and talks to a TV-set.

 

Dina, 34, event planner, Volgograd
My attitude toward migrants is ambivalent. My friend who is an ethnic Armenian and has long assimilated—her parents came to Russia in the 1950s—once told me that she is sometimes ashamed for those whom this new immigration wave is bringing to Russia nowadays. Our city being cosmopolitan, we socialize with all sorts of people. And people are widely different—some are easy to get along with, some are not. I do not have this “Away with wogs!” attitude. Everything should be within the limits of legislation, except that in our country, legislation does not work.
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Galina, executive recruiter, Vladivostok
I think it would be hard without migrants because they are an objective necessity. These people find themselves on the labor market and do work for which we have no hands. Besides, qualified people come as well.
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Oksana, 33, lawyer, Samara
Migrants don’t differ from Russians. There are bad people amongst Russians, as there are amongst non-residents.
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Aleksei, aid worker, former soccer player, Saint Petersburg
I’ve got a solid opinion toward migrants: I’m against illegal migrants because there are too many of them, and too much criminal activity. My family has suffered from them, unfortunately, so I feel very emotional about it. My father was beaten up severely, and the doctors said that he didn’t have any nerve cells left. He became a vegetable and finally hanged himself. So I feel negative toward illegal migrants. But if they are the people who study here—why not? And it doesn’t matter what country they are from: Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, or Italy.
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Anna, interior designer, Saint Petersburg
Migrants come to earn a living. They haven’t got any other choice, so they come here. How do I feel about it? Well, it’s a process that has already been started; it can’t be stopped. But we should live with it somehow and try [to see to it that] everything goes peacefully and friendlily. Migrants bring additional color; maybe it’s even a good thing.
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Alina, event planner, Moscow
I feel sorry for migrants. To be more accurate, if it doesn’t impact me directly, and if I’m just talking about it, I feel sorry for them in the moment. But there are other moments. For example, when you become a mother and understand that your kid will go to the same school with people who don’t speak Russian, because their parents luckily came here and managed to put their kid in a Russian school—I understand that I don’t want my child to study with those children. Thus, it happens that they force me out of this situation and make me look for another school and spend my money on an education for my child, although he’s got a right to get it for free.
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Igor, 49, unemployed, Simferopol
I respect, I have learned to respect the choice of other people and their right to choose their own path in life. So if a person comes to earn money, why not? It's good for the economy. As long as everyone's friendly. When I started my first prison term, it was still Soviet Union, and there were different people there – Belorussians and even foreigners. And no one ever said, you are not from here. So I look at the person from the perspective whether he's kind and considerate. If a person comes here with good intentions, people will only notice his personality, but if a person comes with bad intentions, he will have dishonest and wicked people around him.
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Patriotism is too deep a feeling to depict in the posing for a photograph.

Charles Chaplin
Natalia, singer, Vladivostok
If people need to survive somehow, and it’s better for them here, then I feel fine about it. There is no way to prevent this, and I don’t even know if one should.
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Sergei, 53, TV repairman, Kaliningrad
One should punish those who give work to migrants. Cheap manpower is what that is.
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Evgeny, 24, unemployed, Simferopol
They are okay people. We've got 5 guys from Donetsk living with us, so we hang out together, and party. They've got no money so we help out. They like it here, there's no war in Crimea, and they have brought their families here now. They are very happy here, and happy with food prices and our society.
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Sergei Alekseyevich, 78, heating engineer, Samara
I respect all peoples.
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Nikita, 49, actor, Moscow
All people are different.
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Anastasia, 18, student, Tolyatti
Owing to migrants, our population grows. Many are disappointed with the fact that the number of us natives is decreasing because we leave the country and others come. Probably where they come from, it’s even worse.
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Yulia, trader, Moscow
My attitude toward migrants is ambivalent. I think it is necessary to attract people to jobs that are being performed by migrants who lack skills. There is also probably a need for migrants. On the other hand, this creates cultural issues, because large groups of people sharing the same cultural values find it hard to integrate into society. Latvia’s example, where about half of the population speaks a different language and shares a different culture, proves this point, because the two cultures existing in the country simultaneously have not yet integrated with each other.
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I should like to be able to love my country and still love justice. I don't want just any greatness for it, particularly a greatness born of blood and falsehood.

Albert Camus. Resistance, Rebellion, and Death
Nadezhda Aleksandrovna, 76, retired, Sochi
Migrants are ordinary people who want to make a living. They probably cannot find any work in their native countries, and Russia offers them ample job opportunities. Migrants come to Russia because they get well paid here. They are happy. They work for me too. I have no problems with them.
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Aleksandr, 43, unemployed, Samara
I feel neutral toward migrants. If needed, I might help them out with something.
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Evgeniy, 27, forest ranger, Samara
In general, I have a positive attitude toward migrants. They do not bother me. For example, my wife herself is sort of a migrant from Ukraine.
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Yury, 12, Volgograd
Some migrants know how to build houses,houses; others know how to build roads. They have a stronger inclination for work. They are human beings just like we are. The only difference is that they belong to a different people.
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Khristina, 30, financial analyst, originally from Saratov, lives in Kiev
Migration is usually work-related. I can understand migrants since I myself moved from Saratov to Moscow because it was hard for me to fulfill myself and have a decent salary in Saratov. I have a positive attitude toward migrants. I respect them because moving to another country is a serious step that is not easy to venture.
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Tamara Alexandrovna, retired merchandiser, Volgograd
I am comfortable with migrants.
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Natalia, art director, Tyumen region
I do not care much for migrants. When Russian people go somewhere, they are oppressed and humiliated there, whereas migrants have jobs and everything, and they order us about in our country. Average Russians have no say in the matter, even in their own country. This is why I would ban migrants from coming to Russia. But that is not for the people to decide.
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Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched.

Guy de Maupassant. My Uncle Sosthenes
Tatiana, chef, Pionersk
I feel quite good about migrants. There are humans and sub-humans anywhere. What difference does it make whether a person is a migrant or not? If he’s OK, then it doesn’t matter where he came from.
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Natalia, janitor, Birobidzhan
Migrants are choked here. Police, the courts, just won’t let them live here. That’s why I think it would be better for them to stay where they were born, where their roots are.
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Peter, editor, New York City
I believe, people can be patriots of Russia as well as their own country's patriots. Of course, one still has to look at their actions and their motives. When I lived in Moscow I didn't oppose migration. Every country needs these working people. And it's the government's responsibility to make sure these people are integrated into the society.
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Evgenii, entrepreneur, Tyumen
On the one hand, migrants come to our country because life was not so easy at home. Life is rather hard where they come from. On the other hand, I think there are too many migrants in Russia now. And this process is out of control. The rabble and the ragtag, and all sorts of wrong people have been coming along with people who really want to work and earn their living in Russia. They cannot work things out at home and so they come to our country to hide from their authorities.
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Farhat, 40, driver, Tyumen
I have a positive attitude toward those migrants who work and behave decently. Migrants come to Russia for a reason and not because life was so easy at home. Living conditions are apparently harsh in their native countries. They, however, have to take care of and provide for their families, raise their children.
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Maxim, financial advisor, Vladivostok
The inflow of migrants is a natural process. Slave-owning economics is rather unprofitable for a country but very profitable for a slave owner, because slaves always work badly and produce little product, but at the same time, you can do anything you want with them. Russia has become a real slave-owing, feudalistic country with the arrival of Tadjiks, Uzbeks, and other migrants. I feel really ashamed around these people for what is happening to them here because, like I said, I’m ready to leave for a smaller piece of steak, in order to remain a man with human dignity. It bitters me to see how people sell their dignity, turning into actual slaves, just because they can eat and dress better here or because they can drink alcohol here. And it bitters me to know that their children also will be slaves, and their grandchildren, too, because a slave’s psychology outlives slavery itself for many years. But I really desire for Russia to become a country of free, worthy people who are capable of joking about the government and themselves, capable of building and creating. Slaves are a torn-away piece for many generations.
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Valentina, retired construction worker, Tolyatti
I do not want to talk about migrants. Too many of them have come to our country.
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Real Russians are from Saint Petersburg—with such delicate intelligence, a couldn’t-care-less attitude, light consumption. And the second type of real Russian is someone from beyond the Urals—tough silent-type guys who've got a gun under the floorboards, and they’ll sort it all out if necessary.

Leonid, 34, industrial alpinist, Saint Petersburg
Someone creates artificial tension in order to distract people and earns big money on cheap labor. It’s so obvious.
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Aleksei, 33, construction worker, Pionersk
I wish there were no migrants. We might have more jobs then, and more order.
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Roman, medical equipment supply, Saint Petersburg
Migrants can be different. If they come to Russia to work, let them work, I do not mind—they will not take my job. But if they come to sell drugs, then that is a different story. Then, of course, they should be fought against.
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Marta, photo retoucher, Saint Petersburg
I don’t think anything about migrants. They don’t bother me—well, maybe only sometimes. It all depends on parenting: if one behaves well, then what’s the difference what country he’s from? A person from Europe can also behave like a savage.
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Andrei, 13, Pionersk
I have nothing bad to say about migrants.
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Natalia, 38, entrepreneur, Sevastopol
I don't really think about them. They come to work. I think that overall, the person should work where he was born. And in an ideal world, every country will have such living conditions that people won't need to leave seeking work elsewhere. I know that in my motherland, in Western Ukraine, lots of people leave to work abroad. Even my parents have left for Poland, they work there. Of course, they are not your typical migrant workers. My father has a good position at a factory in Gdansk. If they have an opportunity to earn much more than at home, why not? Lots of my fellow countrymen go to Russia, Moscow, or to Europe, for better pay. There are no jobs back home. Yet I remember when everyone had a job, everyone lived prosperous. That was the time. I just don't like people who leave their homes to look for work, I'd rather see them find what to do at home.
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Valerii, taxi driver, Sochi
Let the government decide what to do with migrants. I’m not a nationalist. A migrant is the same person as we all are. If he comes here from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, or Armenia, it means he is in need of something. I think if everything became well there, no one would come here, to Russia.
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What is patriotism but the love of the food one ate as a child?

Lin Yutang
Dmitry, retired, Kaliningrad
What is my opinion about migrants? No opinion. So they came here, what’s so special about that? I’m calm about it, anyway.
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Sergei, bartender, Vladivostok
I share Angela Merkel’s opinion, who once said about migrant workers: “If you work decently, learn the language, then you are welcome. But if you rely on social welfare and do not accept our country’s way of life, then you are not welcome.” These people are guests in our country, and if they live according to our way of life without trying to impose their traditions, I am absolutely tolerant of them.
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