In Moscow-city, what migrant worker dreams of?
Portraits and stories from the Russian capital skyscrapers’ lower floors
«Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity», American President Obama said in a press conference at the beginning of August.
However, according to statistics published by FMS (Federal Migration Service), around 800 thousands of immigrants live in Moscow in 2014, this without considering the presence of unregistered foregneirs from CIS countries. As a matter of fact, Russia is the first country after the United States for number of foreign-born citizens living on its territory.
To go deeper in this story we have decided to spend an afternoon in Moscow-city, the Russian capital’s Central Business District, where among the skyscrapers, the elite, luxuries, shops, hotels, parkings, many immigrants are employed as builders, cleaners, waiters and other service occupations. In this particular corner of the city, we have spoken with people from CIS countries, asking them their stories, their dreams, and their views of Russia.
By collecting different life-stories we hope to contribute and to improve the controvercial relationship between locals and immigrants to help the mutual understanding of who these people are and how they live.
Anvar, Uzbekistan, a barista
I’ve been living in Moscow for over 8 years now. Back home I have studied in a college of communication and I have worked as a jeweler. When I was a child I wanted to become a boxer as my elder brother. But in 2005 my father died and two years later I had to move to Russia, I had to earn a living for my mother and a little sister. I tried many jobs: a loader, a cooker of doner, a baker, a saler, a hookah master, a typographist. Finally I got a job in a café, that gave me a lot of advantages, such as education of barista and participation in a contest of the art of latte. Now I get good money and I have found this nice job in Moscow-City. When people have no posibilities at home, they go to Moscow. Most of them want to stay here and get a citizenship, as well as me.
Nazigul, Tajikistan, a cleaner
“I couldn’t find any job in my country. That’s why I came to Moscow”
When I was a child I wanted to become a doctor, but I gave up that dream and I got the degree in the road-transport institute. However, I couldn’t find any job in my country. That’s why I came to Moscow two years ago, looking for a better life. To be honest, at home I wasn’t able to earn as much money as I do here, being just a cleaner. I like living here, I get enough money for leaving, most people are friendly with me, but work is really hard, I work practically without weekends.
Azim, Uzbekistan, a builder
“Life here is hard, I don’t have time to relax and I don’t even want to tell you where I live”
I made a decision to move to Russia, because here I can earn enough money to feed my family. I don’t remember my child’s dreams about the future, but I’m a builder by training, so it feels normal to me to build these skyscrapers here. Life here is hard, I don’t have time to relax and I don’t even want to tell you where I live. However, I like this place, this huge city, it gives a lot of opportunities.
Kurdash, Uzbekistan, a builder
“By cooking pies I couldn’t buy any other products to my family”
I was a baker. But sadly, by cooking pies I couldn’t buy any others products to my family. That’s why I followed my friends who moved to Moscow for working on this building. First it was hard, and still it is, yet I earn money which I can send home. The only thing which I really don’t like is people. Russians here are very cold and unfriendly with immigrants.
Maya and Zamira, Kyrgyzstan, cleaners
“We came to Moscow to earn money, because in Kyrgyzstan it was difficult to find a well-paid job”
— MAYA: When I was a child I used to dream about becoming a doctor, but in the end I got an agricultural education.
— ZAMIRA: I have always wanted to become a nurse, but I actually became an accountant. We came to Moscow to earn money, because in Kyrgyzstan it was difficult to find a well-paid job. Here we can’t use our qualifications, but we have found a normal job in this business center, and we can even rent shared apartments.
— MAYA: We don’t have much time to rest here, and basically we never go out. But I like to watch TV at home.
— ZAMIRA: And I like to go to the parks.
— MAYA: Even if we work a lot and hard, in Moscow we like pretty everything.