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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Signs of End of Departure Spree




Although foreigners left Moscow by the thousands in the months following the August financial crisis, the exodus appears to have subsided with the new year.


"It was very busy for us from August until Jan. 1," said the Moscow manager of a large moving company. He estimated that 10 percent to 15 percent of the foreign business community had moved out.


"We have no idea of the numbers but we know that many have left," said Olga Nefskaya, human resources manager at the moving firm Sealand International.


No embassy or company has precise figures on how many expatriates have left, but observers agree that the signs of a large outflow - a boom for moving companies and a plummet in the high-end residential rental market - have subsided.


Foreign companies appear to have finished laying off staff, and apartment rents have stabilized since the beginning of this year. Real estate experts predict that as long as the economy does not get any worse, there won't be any surge in the number of expatriates entering or leaving Russia over the first half of this year. "It all depends on the Western companies and if they employ or dismiss more staff," said Olga Iovenko, manager of Barin's Realty.


A U.S. Embassy official believes Americans may even already be coming back. "I was really surprised to see people coming to work as consultants and brokers," said the staff member of the consular section. "You get the idea from the media that everything is dead, but that is really not the case."