Ergebnisse unseres Projekts 2023 (Auswahl)

Grenzen überwinden, Verständnis fördern

Seit 20 Jahren engagiert sich die gemeinnützige BJS Berliner Journalistenschule in internationalen Austauschprojekten mit dem Ziel, die Zivilgesellschaften in Ländern Osteuropas und des Kaukasus zu stärken. 2022 ging es in unserem vom Auswärtigen Amt und der Civil SocietyCooperation geförderten Projekt "Overcoming divisions through exchange and Research" darum, den Austausch zwischen Armenien und  Georgien, die nach dem Zusammenbruch der UdSSR verschiedenen Wirtschaftsblöcken angehören, und den Austausch untereinander zu fördern. Einige der dabei entstandenen Berichte stellen wir Ihnen hier vor.

War drives them away

Georgische und armenische Saisonarbeiter meiden Russland

This year, the number of people who left Armenia to work in Russia decreased by 20,000. The number of migrant workers leaving for Russia from Georgia has also decreased slightly. The main reason is war

07/12/2022 -  Armine Avetisyan

"It is the first year as an adult that I have not left for khopan (seasonal work, work abroad). It's unusual, but I'm not complaining, I missed my family and now I spend more time with them", says Karen Poghosyan, 35, who has been working abroad since the age of 16.

Karen lives in one of the villages in the Shirak region of Armenia. He says that in his family there is a tradition: as soon as the man of the house turns 16, he leaves for Russia to work in construction.

“My grandfather, father, and brother also worked in Russia. Most of the population of the villages of our region leaves for Russia, we build buildings there. At first we work as simple labourers, then we become experts and become masters. I'm already a master”, Karen points out.

According to the tradition formed over the years, the group of men who go to work abroad leave for Russia every year at the end of February, with the arrival of spring, and return in December.

Karen says they are used to working non-stop for 9 months a year, collect the money, then spend 3 months with the family and leave again.

"Already in January I had decided that I would not leave. The reason was the legislative change in the Russian Federation, which I didn't like. At that time relations between Russia and Ukraine were already tense. Although I didn't think there would be a war", says the man.

At the beginning of the year, due to the tightening of the rules governing migration in Russia, many like Karen were undecided whether to leave or stay. Since then, migrants heading to Russia have had to undergo the collection of fingerprints, photographs, medical tests (negative tests for drug addiction, infectious diseases, and HIV). After passing the necessary stages, the data must be uploaded to the database of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia. Health documents are issued to the migrant for a period of one year, while the fingerprint certificate is issued for a period of 10 years. The migrant has 30 days to collect all the documentation and everything is at their expense. The exam results and data are processed, after which the work and residence permit is issued. In case of non-compliance with the rules, the migrant worker can be deported for 5 years.

Karen had decided that he would not leave for Russia due to the high costs of this documentation. He had calculated that he would pay around 40,000 rubles, around 700 Euros. This was about 80% of a month's salary. Then came the sharp increase in the price of air tickets, the war, and the devaluation of the ruble. Today he works in farming. He still does not have a lot of income and he may think about working abroad again if peace returns.

A friend of Karen's, Hovhannes, who lives in the same region, instead decided to take a risk and leave. He says he calculated that the number of expatriate workers would decrease and that he assumed that the demand for specialists would increase due to the reduction in the workforce, resulting in higher wages. The calculations, however, turned out to be wrong.

"There was no salary increase. Also, the ruble depreciated massively. What's more, Armenian banks increased the percentage of foreign currency cash withdrawals. The money I had earned was no longer worth a cent. I came back and I looked for a job in Armenia, and I found it quickly. Armenia is now experiencing a construction boom. True, my salary is lower than in Russia, but if I subtract the expenses I would have in Russia, the result is exactly the same, and even more”, says Hovhannes, adding that none of those who used to go abroad every year to work with him have left for Russia this year.

“This year alone, 20,000 fewer people have left Armenia to work abroad than last year”, Armenia's Economy Minister Vahan Kerobyan announced in a recent meeting with reporters, adding that, regardless, there is a demand for manpower in Armenia today, particularly in the construction sector.

Many Georgian workers also preferred not to leave for Russia this year. The reasons are the same as for the Armenian colleagues.

Kakha, 45, lives in a Georgian village on the border with Armenia. He is friends with Karen and Hovhannes. They met at work in Russia.

"I worked abroad for exactly 20 years, constructing buildings. When the war started, I didn't leave for Russia either. I still haven't found a job in Georgia with a salary equivalent to the job in Russia, but the important thing is that I am safe”, says Kakha, adding that many in his region, Akhalkalaki, usually work in Russia but, like him, preferred to stay in Georgia.

The inability to go to work abroad has caused financial problems for the family of another Georgian citizen, 60-year-old Lasha. He has worked all his life in Russia and it is now difficult for him to find a job in his homeland. In Russia he was involved in asphalting and is now trying to start a small business in his homeland in the same sector.

"I've been doing the same job for 40 years. Today it's tough. It seems like I have to start a new life, but I have no alternative. Now I go back and forth to Armenia from time to time, study the local market. I want to do business with my Armenian friends. I'm not alone: there are many, like me, who have lost their jobs. We, ordinary workers, are victims of war. We have suffered in all times", says Lasha, adding that they must resist, because every war ends.

Published by Osservatorio Balcany e Caucuso Transeuropa:

Consequences of the Russian exodus

The economic impact on Georgia and Armenia

Injection of new money into local economic systems, inflation of the real estate market, inaccessible rental houses: the Russians on the run are already changing the Armenian and Georgian economies

07/10/2022 -  Armine Avetisyan

Tens of thousands of people have moved from Russia to Armenia and Georgia in recent months, with the inflow increasing in the last 10 days. There is already a measurable economic impact on the two countries.


In recent days, Yerevan's Zvartnots International Airport has handled an overload in flight scheduling. After the mobilisation announced by Russia, hundreds of Russians have hurried to move to Armenia.

“My family has already been in Armenia for several months, I have always postponed my own departure, but I had no other options”, says Pyotr, who arrived in Yerevan a few days ago.

The first anomalous flow of Russian citizens into Armenia was recorded in March of this year, driven by the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. According to data provided by the Armenian Migration Service, 372,086 Russian citizens arrived in Armenia between January and June. For comparison, in the same period of 2021, there were 159,466. Not everyone comes to stay but, from one year to the next, the number of those who remained has also increased considerably.

At the moment the Armenian authorities provide the data only for the first half of 2022, but it is now clear that the second half will mark a further increase.


In 2022, when compared with 2021, the prices of apartments for sale in Armenia increased significantly. Over the course of a year, the price per square metre of apartments in the centre of the capital rose by an average of 109,000 drams (about 273 Euros).

Rental prices have also risen. In the down-town administrative district of Kentron, if last year a furnished two-room apartment could be rented for around 500 Euros, now the price has increased by at least 50%.

According to economist Samson Grigoryan's estimates, it was the Russian-Ukrainian war that had a major impact on Armenia's real estate market.

"Each human flow contributes to price fluctuations. It also has its positive side – it contributes to the development of the regions – because Yerevan cannot accommodate everyone, so others will also go to other regions of the country", wrote Grigoryan.

After the capital, the Russians' favourite city is Gyumri, in the Shirak region. It is the second largest city in Armenia with around 100,000 residents. As in Yerevan, inflation has already hit the real estate market here.

“I used to live in a two-room apartment on the outskirts of the city and paid 100 Euros. It was a common figure for Gyumri. Today, there is no longer any house at that price, or even available houses at all”, says Karen Sahakyan, who has been looking for an apartment in Gyumri for a month.

Karen had recently moved from her previous apartment due to the increase in the rental price. A month ago, the owner told her to pay twice the rent or leave the house.

“The homeowner came and told me I should be grateful to him for not raising the price since last March, as many have. I couldn't pay at that time, so I left the house. But this new influx of Russians shows that I won't find an affordable apartment for a long time”.

"Real estate inflation is, of course, negative, but this influx of people also has its positive effects", says Liza Gasparyan, Gyumri’s tourism specialist.

According to Gasparyan, the guests have increased the city's activities. She notes that if Gyumri was crowded on public holidays, today the bars in the city are full every day.

“Gyumri is a tourist city, but it is the internal tourism that is developed here. However, the image of the city has changed in recent months. There are guests from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. We all love peace. We will welcome anyone, so that peace reigns”.


A similar situation can be found in Georgia. A large number of citizens of the Russian Federation have arrived and there has been significant inflation in the real estate market.

According to Georgian NGO IDFI  , from the start of the war in Ukraine up to June 49,505 Russian citizens settled in Georgia: they rented apartments mainly in large cities, obviously including the capital Tbilisi and then Batumi, Kutaisi, and Rustavi.

Almost all of Georgia's universities are located in these cities.

Lika comes from the Imereti region and started her studies this year, but she cannot find an apartment to live in with her friends.

"This year I was admitted to the University of Business and Technology, but I cannot find an apartment. Many students have this problem. Some homeowners say they do not want students. Given the increase in prices, we have decided to get together, in 4, but some people do not want to rent to so many people. We have been looking for a month and we have not found anything. I am not losing hope yet, but I even thought about taking a 'gap year' and continuing my studies later", Lika says.

The increase in rental prices is confirmed by data from the National Statistical Institute of Georgia, according to which, in August, compared with the same period of the previous year, state revenues from rent taxes increased by 22.5%.

What will be the effect of the recent new influx on prices in the coming months? How and how much will housing availability change? For now, the experts are not making any predictions.

Published by Osservatorio Balcany e Caucuso Transeuropa:

"Niemand fragt mehr nach Geld"

Georgiens Studenten leiden unter massiv steigenden Mieten Makler: Russische Migranten zahlen fast jeden Preis.

Es handelt sich hier um einen Ausschnitt aus dem Originaltext, der auf georgisch erschienen und hier abrufbar ist. 

 Von Zura Menagharishvili 


... „Ich weiß noch nicht, wie sehr ich Studium und Beruf gleichzeitig vereinbaren kann. Letztes Jahr konnte ich viele Fächer nicht beenden, ich habe ein Jahr verloren. Ich werde dieses Jahr wohl auch arbeiten müssen. Wenn es mir zu schwer ist, muss ich meinen Job kündigen, aber dann wird es wahrscheinlich noch schwerer“, sagt er.


Ein anderer Student, der aus Kvemo Kartli stammt, musste sich aufgrund der Mieterhöhung eine andere Wohnung suchen. „Vorher haben mein Freund und ich 600 GEL (rund 210 Euro, d.R.) für eine Dreizimmerwohnung bezahlt. Dann machte es 660 (232 Euro) und schließlich 750 (264Euro). Auch jetzt zahlen wir 600 GEL, aber nur für ein Zimmer“, sagte Orkhani im Gespräch mit Netgazet. Orkhan sagt, dass er gezwungen ist zu arbeiten, um die Miete zu bezahlen, was sich jedoch negativ auf seine Ausbildung auswirkt.


„Meine Familie kann mir nicht helfen. Weißt du, wie schwierig es ist, zusammen zu arbeiten und zu lernen?! Ich lerne morgens, ich arbeite nachts. Dies wirkt sich sehr negativ auf das Lernen aus. Ich muss nachts zur Uni", sagt er. Die Fälle von Lika, Nana und Orkhan sind da keine Ausnahme. Viele Studierende mussten ihren Wohnort verlassen oder sich eine neue Wohnung suchen.


Wie und warum wurden Wohnungen teurer?


Laut Gela Gigineishvili, einem Immobilienspezialisten, hängt der Anstieg der Wohnungspreise mit der Migration russischer Bürger in die großen Städte Georgiens zusammen. „Niemand fragt mehr nach Geld. Sie zahlen einen doppelten, dreifachen Preis, den sich ein Bürger Georgiens nicht leisten kann" . ...


Aus diesem Grund sei die Miete einer Studentenwohnung teurer geworden. „Studenten finden keine Wohnungen und sind eigentlich auf der Straße. Sie können nicht den Betrag bezahlen, den russische Bürger zahlen. Wenn ein Student 500 Dollar für eine Zweizimmerwohnung zahlen kann, zahlt ein russischer Staatsbürger 1000 Dollar. Deshalb bleiben die Studenten auf der Straße“, sagt er. Ihm zufolge haben sich die Preise auf dem Markt in der letzten Zeit verdoppelt und teilweise sogar verdreifacht....


Der Originaltext in georgischer Sprache wurde im September 2022 veröffentlicht von netgazeti:


Green energy and Georgia's potential

Chances, missed opportunities and the EU

Der Film von Salome Chaduneli (georgische Sprache) ist unter folgendem Link abrufbar:გამოუყენებელი_ენერგია/15101


Published 11.12.2022, Droeba/Formula TV