The Russian Foreign Ministry recently established an organization which will examine the economic situation of Russians who have moved to Israel, the US, Germany, Lithuania, Moldova and Armenia.
The body has made a number of recommendations to the government on how to persuade them to return to Russia.
The project, which costs $51 million, aims to ascertain the main determining factors influencing those emigrating from Russia and, crucially, how they can be convinced to return. The body has been asked to compose a detailed report about the social and economic situation, along with the status of, those who have left Russia, including the million-strong Russian community who in Israel.
Since 2006 Russia has embarked on a governmental program to encourage people to return from the various countries to which they immigrated. Over the last decade the project, dubbed “fellow countrymen” has succeeded in returning half a million Russians. Moreover, last year saw 61, 000 immigrants return to Russia, several thousand of whom were Russians living in Israel.
As part of the program, the government has pledged assistance which will include help finding work, finding places to live and even offering acclimatization grants. Until recently such grants were in the amount of $1, 800. However, it has now been doubled to $3, 600.
The grant is not given to every returning citizen but rather only to those who choose to live in the Russian periphery in one of the 47 remote localities such as Siberia and Birobidzhan (the administrative center of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast).
Alex Tenzer, an expert in Russian media, said that Russia is going through an extremely serious demographic crisis and is seeking to increase its influence over Russian-speaking citizens of Israel.