Russians were seen attempting to leave their country for Georgia to avoid a military call-up on September 28. Davit Kachkachishvili/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Scores of Russians fled their homeland following the outbreak of the Ukraine war.
Many resettled in neighboring countries such as Armenia, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan.
The growth of such countries surged in 2022 after the arrival of these Russians, a new report found.
Hundreds of thousands of Russians who fled their homeland following the country's invasion of Ukraine have resettled in neighboring countries — and are boosting their economies.
The exodus of Russians started after many highly educated professionals — such as academics, finance, and tech workers — left Russia in the early days of the war, Insider's Jason Lalljee reported in March 2022. About six months later, there was another wave of departures after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilization for the Ukraine war on September 21.
By October, about 700,000 Russians had left the country, Reuters reported, citing Russian media — but the Kremlin rejected those numbers, saying it didn't have this data.
Many of these Russians landed in neighboring countries, setting up new lives and businesses, and ended up boosting the economies of these nations, the independent Russian media outlet Novaya Gazeta reported Friday.
The GDP of the South Caucasus — a region comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia — grew by an outsize 7% in 2022, the World Bank found. This far outpaced the 5.6% growth that World Bank economists had predicted.
Armenia — once known as the Silicon Valley of the Soviet Union — saw its 2022 growth spike to 12.6%, the World Bank found. The institution's economists had forecast last year 7% growth for the country.
Suren Parsyan, a lecturer at the Armenian State University of Economics, told Novaya Gazeta that Armenia's growth last year was thanks to the newly arrived Russians, particularly those working in IT.
Russians transferred about $1.75 billion to Armenia in 2022, Martin Galstyan, the country's central-bank governor, said in January, Armenia's News.am reported.
Meanwhile, Georgia's GDP jumped by 10.1% in 2022, the World Bank said, beating an 8.8% growth forecast. Money transfers from Russia rose fivefold, from $411 million in 2021 to $2.1 billion in 2022, according to data from Georgia's central bank.
Even Kyrgyzstan's economy grew by 7% in 2022, outpacing a 4% forecast, the World Bank said.
Turkey, a hot spot for Russians fleeing the war, saw its economy grow 5.6% in 2022, outpacing a forecast of 4.7%, according to World Bank data.
Oleg Itskhoki, an economics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Novaya Gazeta that the GDP performance in such countries demonstrated that the newly arrived Russians had savings and were wealthier than the local residents.
To be sure, immigration hasn't had only a positive influence on the economies. The influx of Russians also contributed to a rise in inflation, such as a jump in hotel rates and rents in Kazakhstan and Georgia, Bloomberg reported in September.
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