Belarus and neighbouring states: emigrants and immigrants

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“I am one of those people who do not care
about leaving the country. Surprisingly, such people are offered an opportunity
to do so. I left because I was constantly given opportunities to do it,"

says Alyaksandr Kuznyatsou, a programmer from Minsk who has lived and worked in
London for three and a half years.

121128_pilecki_emigranty.mp3

Alyaksandr was one of the seven people who officially
left Belarus for Great Britain in 2010. On the whole, 7 thousand Belarusians
left the country that year. It is not much in comparison with our northern neighbour
- Lithuania. Lithuania "is losing" 4 thousand people every month.

34 thousand people left the country in the first
9 months of 2012. Lithuania had 3 million citizens in 2011. Now it doesn't.
Even the population of Vilnius keeps reducing by 2 thousands a year.

The situation in Poland is similar - there
are more emigrants than immigrants: 17 vs. 15 thousands in 2010.

The situation is Russia is completely different.
191 thousand people came to the country last year and only 34 thousands
left.  The situation in Belarus is
similar. 8 thousand people left the country last year. And 18 thousand came.

Programmer Alyaksandr says that he did not
have any major adaptation problems. There is a huge Russian-speaking community
in the UK and the association of Belarusian emigrants was created in the
post-war time. It is so successful that even the Belarusians who used to be indifferent
to their national traditions and culture start visiting Kupala parties in
London.

“Who does it in Belarus? Almost no one. Why
would you go to traditional events in Belarus? However, it is something exotic
here. Even for us. You cannot resist coming."

The programmer does not want to come back.
At least in the next few decades. He wants comfort for his children.

 “I
do not want to come back now. And not because of myself. It would not be good
for my child and my future children. It is much better to be born and grow up
here. There is no pressure exercised by the state or the society. The Belarusian
society is poisoned."

Whether the society is poisoned or not is a
disputable issue. Maybe the Belarusian "poison" does not matter
for the 18 thousand people who came to our country last year. Almost 10
thousands came from Russia and 2500 - from Ukraine. Lithuania is in the third
position with 900 people.