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Ukraine: media, 'invasion' of Russians continues in Serbia

Blic, more than 100,000 arrived since the beginning of conflict

30 October, 18:11
(ANSA) - TRIESTE, 30 OTT - It would now be more than a hundred thousand Russians who have arrived in Serbia since the beginning of Moscow's military intervention in Ukraine. In breaking the news, the daily Blic reports that the protagonists of this peaceful 'invasion' are largely young professionals and entrepreneurs, many from the IT and IT sector, alone or with their families, who basically stop in Belgrade with the intention of founding new companies and continuing their work activities, which have become an obstacle course for so many in Russia due to heavy Western economic and financial sanctions.

Some 2,300 new companies have been set up in Serbia by Russians in recent months. The flow, writes the Belgrade newspaper, has intensified further after President Vladimir Putin proclaimed partial mobilization. It is hard to say whether these are genuine and convinced opponents, what is certain is that they want to avoid the call to arms, and let this warlike and tumultuous period pass, before perhaps returning home in better times.

And the choice of Serbia is motivated by several factors - it is a country traditionally friendly to Russia and the Russians, who are not viewed with suspicion or open hostility as is the case in so many other European countries (Putin himself enjoys great acclaim and admiration in Serbia, and T-shirts with his effigy remain for sale in tourist kiosks downtown); a unique country in Europe along with Belarus that has not joined Western sanctions, that is connected by direct flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and that Russians perceive as close in language (including Cyrillic), religion, traditions.

In practice, Russians feel almost at home here, although all this has caused a sharp rise in prices in the real estate market in recent months, both for rentals and apartment purchases. In fact, Russians arriving in Belgrade are mostly from the upper-middle classes with considerable money, accounts in foreign banks, credit cards, large cars and expensive SUVs, and designer clothing.

"As soon as they disembark, Russians go straight from the airport to real estate agencies to rent apartments, and prices have shot up in many cases by as much as 100 percent," writes Blic, according to which in central districts of the capital a one-room apartment that a year ago rented for 300 euros a month now costs 600 euros. Under current regulations, Russian citizens can stay in Serbia without a visa for 90 days; those who wish can later apply for an extended stay citing work and business reasons. From restaurants to supermarkets, from banks to cab stands, to posh fashion stores and downtown shopping streets - Russian is increasingly becoming a second language in Belgrade.


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