Putin wants Russians to come home

Calling all compatriots, it is time to come home. That is the message from President Putin as last week he signed an executive order designed to make it more enticing for Russians to return home.

President Putin wants Russians living abroad to get on a plane, ship or train and come home. (Photo: Dmitri Mikshin)

The executive order, titled On Implementation of the State Programme to Assist Voluntary Resettlement of Compatriots Living Abroad to the Russian Federation, is the President’s hope to harness the potential and capabilities of compatriots abroad to return home and help with the development needs of Russia’s regions. The Programme is part of a series of measures meant to stabilize Russia’s population, especially in regions of strategic importance for the country.

Some may remember a similar call from Joseph Stalin who wanted to entice Russians who had fled prior to and during the Great Patriotic War (WWII) to come home to help rebuild Russia. Many Russians returned home, most to find themselves charged as traitors and many shipped off to the Siberian Gulag camps within months of their return.

We don’t really expect a repeat of Stalin era reprisals but it is funny how quickly Russians bring up that topic when asked if they plan to return. Many Russians have fled for reasons of wealthy protection, for opportunities to live without fear of a repressive government and private mafia involvement in business, or for political reasons. These folks will need more than a mere executive order if the government hopes to get their attention.

The Putin plan promises a comprehensive approach to facilitating the voluntary resettlement of compatriots abroad to Russia, offering them a choice of future place of residence, employment, and education and training opportunities, taking into account the Russian regions’ respective socioeconomic situations. The amount of state guarantees and social support provided to compatriots resettling in Russia will vary depending on the region of residence they choose.

The President has ordered an intergovernmental Commission on to work on implementing the programme under the guidance of the Federal Migration Service.

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