Russian authorities will launch construction of a village outside Moscow for conservative-minded Americans and Canadians next year, the state-run RIA Novosti news agency reported Thursday.
Russia has for years positioned itself as a bastion of "traditional" values in contrast with Western liberalism as its relations with the West have deteriorated over its 2014 annexation of Crimea and 2022 full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Timur Beslangurov, a migration lawyer at Moscow’s VISTA Foreign Business Support, claimed that “around 200 families” wish to emigrate to Russia for “ideological reasons.”
“The reason is propaganda of radical values: Today they have 70 genders, and who knows what will come next,” RIA Novosti quoted Beslangurov as saying, echoing President Vladimir Putin’s frequently deployed grievances against Western countries’ comparative gender freedom.
“Many normal people emigrate and are considering Russia, but they’re faced with huge bureaucratic problems with Russia’s migration law,” he said.
He said the Moscow region administration has greenlit the construction of the expat village and that it will be financed by the relocating families.
The lawyer further claimed without offering evidence that “tens of thousands” of foreigners without Russian roots would like to move to Russia for similar ideological reasons.
The construction of a migrant village for Americans and Canadians has not yet been publicly announced by officials.
Russia, which has ranked among the worst countries for expats in recent years, experienced a major downturn in tourism and other foreign arrivals after the invasion of Ukraine.
Still, Federal Security Service (FSB) data recorded an uptick in visits for tourism, work, study and business to Russia in early 2023.