On February 24, 2022, Russian troops invaded Ukraine and began an occupation of its territory. The invasion sparked an anti-war movement in Russia and also led to international sanctions, causing a severe economic crisis across the country. Over the following months, hundreds of thousands of Russians had left their homeland due to their disagreement with the state agenda combined with the risk of persecution and inability to continue working in Russia.
Armenia became one of the centers of Russian emigration. Many Russians relocated together with the companies they had been working for. Others left already after they lost their jobs. Members of opposition parties and human rights activists chased for speaking out against the war were forced to emigrate. For many emigrants, Yerevan turned out to be a transit point for moving further to Europe and the USA. Some of them could not adapt to life in Yerevan and had to return to Russia. However, many decided to stay in Armenia for a long time.
Now Russian emigrants are trying to integrate into the everyday life of Armenia: they’re working in street cafes and restaurants, open schools and educational courses, hold volunteer community service days, organize exhibitions, put on performances, help Ukrainians refugees and keep up their activism against the war with Ukraine.