Several thousand foreigners from all over the world are now permanently living in the Russian republic of Karelia.
Interestingly, most of them were brought there by love – for their family, for their work and for the distinctive natural beauty of the north.
With the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, tourists and emigrants from the former USSR became a relatively common sight in Europe and America. However, there was also movement in the other direction too, with foreigners coming to discover Russia.
Most of them, of course, came as tourists, but there were also those who moved to Russia for good. The majority, especially in the first years after perestroika, preferred large cities, mainly Moscow and St. Petersburg. However, by the late 2000s, expats were no longer a rarity in the Russian provinces either.
There is a particularly high number of foreigners living and working in Russian regions near the borders, like Karelia, the large forested republic adjoining Finland. According to the local directorate of the Federal Migration Service, several thousand foreigners from all the world’s continents are either permanently resident in Karelia or currently studying or working there.
The majority are, of course, from neighboring Finland, but the region is also a temporary or permanent home to nationals from Germany, the U.S., Canada, Japan, China, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America. . . .
Read the full article here: Karelian dream: The foreigners who have made their home in Russia’s north