Russian Duma looks to resettle Ukrainian refugees in Siberia and the Far East

The Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East has supported the initiative of the Deputies of the State Duma.  The latter was asked to develop a federal target program on the voluntary resettlement of persons who were forced to leave Ukraine for territories of Siberia and the Far East.  On the 16th of February, Izvestia reported that more than 50,000 employment opportunities will be created for Ukrainians in the Far East Federal District by 2020.

The preferential mode of stay of Ukrainians in Russia, except refugees of the so-called Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, expired on the 31st of October 2015.  They now have to obtain a legal status on a common basis or they will face eviction.

According to the Deputies of the State Duma, Ukrainians who have not yet received their documents can resettle voluntarily in Siberia or in the Far East.  Approximately 6.284 million people were living in Russia’s Far East Federal District in 2011.  As at the 1st of January 2015, this number decreased slightly to 6.211 million people.

While the population seems to be decreasing, the state program “Social and economic development of the Far East and the Baikal region” reports that the population in the region will grow to 10.75 million people by 2025.  Given Russia’s demographic crisis, and the Far East’s in particular, this forecast is doubtful.

The state program on the Provision of Assistance in the Voluntary Resettlement of Compatriots Living Abroad, is active in the Russian Federation.  There are 59 constituent territories of the Russian Federation, including constituent territories that are part of the Siberian Federal District (SFD) and the Far East Federal District (FEFD).

Approximately 440,000 compatriots have resettled in Russia from 2007 to the 1st of January 2016 due to the state program.  More than 106 800 have been resettled in the SFD and the FEFD.  Over 106 000 people came to Russia on the state program in 2014, of which 41,700 were from Ukraine.  There were also 29,600 people, including 10,800 Ukrainians, who came to the SFD and the FEFD.  In 2015, 38,800 people, including 18 500 Ukrainians, were resettled.

According to data obtained from the Federal Migration Service by Izvestia, there are approximately 2.6 million Ukrainian citizens living in Russia at the moment, 1.1 million of whom originated from southeastern Ukraine.