29 Oct 2019 10:42

Eight communities of Old Believers granted Russian citizenship, planning to move from Brazil, U.S. to Primorye

VLADIVOSTOK. Oct 29 (Interfax) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to eight communities of Old Believers from Brazil and the United States, the press service of the Agency for Human Capital Development in the Russian Far East said in a statement.

"The Old Believers decided to ask for naturalization and to move after having paid a fact-finding visit to the Far East, the Republic of Buryatia, and the Republic of Karelia in fall 2008. Community leaders examined the living and farming conditions in various Russian regions, spoke with local farmers, and asked questions to representatives of the regional authorities," the statement said.

The Old Believers are due to move to Primorye under the state program for voluntary resettlement of compatriots to Russia.

Avraam Kalugin, the leader of a community from Brazil who was granted Russian citizenship by Putin's order, said he would move to Primorye together with his family in 2020 and would be a farmer.

"We have always been farmers. We grow soy and corn here. There are other options in the Far East. It is close to Korea, China, and Japan, so we will see which crops are profitable to grow there," the statement quoted Kalugin as saying.

According to the Agency, the number of compatriots participating in the state program for voluntary resettlement to Russia grew 30% year-on-year, to almost 3,000 in the first half of 2019.

The program involves all regions of the Far East but the Chukchi Autonomous Region. Far Eastern territories are the priority settlement areas, which offer expanded support for compatriots. Settlers are given a 240,000-ruble benefit, and each family member receives 120,000 rubles.

Settlers receive assistance on the orders from Putin. Following his meeting with the public on the Far East development that took place in Vladivostok on September 6, the president tasked the government with providing additional support for settlers who choose to move to the priority settlement areas and plan to be farmers or carry out other activity in rural areas within the framework of the state program for voluntary resettlement of compatriots to Russia. The list of instructions given after the meeting with the Far East public was published on the Kremlin website.