Russian companies and individuals are looking to move to Armenia to avoid sanctions and mobilization, according to Gayane Markosyan, a contributor to the Institute for War & Peace Reporting. Markosyan writes:
Business and private individuals hope to escape the consequences of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Yerevan faces uncomfortable choice between political and diplomatic alliances.
Armenian officials report growing interest from Russian citizens interesting in relocating to Armenia following the invasion of Ukraine, amid concerns that Western sanctions will soon impact their ability to work and travel.
Armenian minister of economy Vahan Kerobyan announced that “many [Russian] companies have applied and about a dozen companies have already relocated their businesses to Armenia” in the wake of the February 24 invasion.
Kerobyan explained that most of these businesses were from the IT sector.
“These are the companies that are directly linked to Western markets and due to current restrictions they are unable to work from their own country,” he said, adding that his department had set up a working group to support their relocation.
Staff.am, Armenia’s largest Armenian employment platform, reported receiving enquiries about relocation from about 300 individuals and over 20 companies in recent days. Most applicants were from Russia and also worked in the IT sector.
IT developer Ivan Grebenshchikov is one of those who have already left Russia to move to Armenia.
“It’s been [nearly] a year since Russia started building up its troops along the border [of Ukraine],” he said. “We have been following all the developments since December and actively discussing moving to other country since mid-February.”
Fearing that the new sanctions against Russia might include travel bans for its citizens, Grebenshchikov and his wife left for Armenia on March 1.
“The situation was changing fast, flights to many countries have already been banned,” he continued. “There were only a few countries left where we could fly. And if they banned travelling to these countries too, it would be a disaster, we would feel trapped.”
Grebenshchikov said that he also opposed the war, explaining, “It’s completely wrong and not worth all the lives that [are being] lost.”
Grebenshchikov said that both he and his wife continued to work remotely and that Armenia had so far been a pleasant experience.
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