By Robert Zargarian and Artak Khulian
YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Thousands of Russians, many of them tech professionals, have migrated to Armenia since the start of Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing tightening of Western sanctions against Moscow.
The unprecedented influx is particularly visible in the center of Yerevan where mostly young Russians can now be seen not only walking the streets and dining at restaurants but also queuing up in local banks or outside ATMs.
Virtually all migrants randomly interviewed were information technology (IT) or finance specialists. Most of them gave economic reasons for their decision to leave Russia. Some said they decided to get out in protest against the Russian military assault ordered by President Vladimir Putin.
“I have come here to avoid problems with work and to make sure I’m in a calm state of mind,” said Ilya Kornienko, an ethnic Ukrainian from Moscow who arrived in Yerevan on Monday morning.
“Of course I’m upset,” he said when asked about the conflict in Ukraine. “It’s sad. I have relatives on both sides.”