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Hundreds of Russians drawn to Swedish town

TT/The Local · 29 Jul 2010, 09:06

Published: 29 Jul 2010 09:06 GMT+02:00

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The Local reported in May how the town of Sorsele, population 2,800, was hoping to reverse decades of depopulation by tempting young, highly-qualified Russians to move in.

Two months later, the initiative has been a success - 700 Russians have expressed interest after widespread media attention in Russia. The Local received dozens of emails from Russians looking for contact details for the Sorsele authorities.

"There has been a huge interest in our initiative in Russia. It’s even been reported on Russian television," said council leader Göran Wikström.

Much of the municipality's focus has been on attracting immigration from Sorsele's twin town Apatity, on the Kola Peninsula in northern Russia, which borders with Finland and Norway. Municipal leaders believe that people from Apatity will adapt well to life in Sorsele, as both towns are remote and have similar climates.

The council now plans another trip to the Kola Peninsula, after which they will discuss their plans with the Swedish Board of Migration. If all goes to plan, the first Russians will move in late 2011 or 2012.

Story continues below…

Without migrant labour, Sorsele will face a shortage of qualified workers, particularly in the public sector. Around 35 percent of the council's employees are expected to retire in the next 10 years.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:19 July 29, 2010 by voiceofreason
The population of the city is 2,800, and the most important work force seems to be the public sector. I guess all they do in this town is spend tax money and in order to preserve the status quo, they want to the immigrants to run the town.
10:40 July 29, 2010 by gclass
Bad idea. Russians claim that violence and drunkenness is part of their culture.
11:28 July 29, 2010 by just a question
then it will be easy for them to integrate
11:37 July 29, 2010 by christo
pplse govt,,,,, there alot of immigarnts here down already in the country who have skills in that sector and they are looking for jobs but they cant find them . they also dont care even if they shift to a new place but as long as they have work. so why dont u first encourage such pple who r already in the country than going to russia and bring in more pple wen those who r here are already suffering to get jobs but cant find them.

get a team which can go around encouraging them pplse than bringing in more russians who u will over look wen they come to u for help
12:04 July 29, 2010 by kenny8076
lol ya christo this is absurd, so many immigrants looking for work here that would move up there for a good living and atleast a paycheck. I have a russian in my SFI class that would!! this gov. it very odd and silly at times.
13:45 July 29, 2010 by Kaethar
@kenny8076: Oh please. The vast majority of immigrants lump together in the major cities. Swedes do this as well. For many people living in a small rural town is simply not an option, no matter how much employment is available. Which is also the danger with these Russians - that once they get permanent residency they will move on to a bigger town. Your friend is free to search for work in a small town - job opportunities are vast there. Why hasn't he?
14:13 July 29, 2010 by insect
Chances are, they will go to Sorsele and move to bigger cities as soon as they have gotten permission to stay indefinitely. Then Sorsele will still be right back where it started. All they need to do is to identify a service that Sorsele can provide which can create jobs. This will attract all those jobless people who are already in Sweden.
14:45 July 29, 2010 by daveandrews
"they will go to Sorsele and move to bigger cities as soon as they have gotten permission to stay indefinitely"

This sounds like a good idea to me, if i was moving to a new country i would want to spend some time in a small place to get used to it before moving to a city. It would make me more comfertable with my host country and would helo integration
15:04 July 29, 2010 by Mr. Puppy
Christo, all of those people who are already in Sweden looking for jobs can go and apply for jobs in Sorsele. It seems, though, that nobody who has already 'made it to' southern Sweden wants to move to Sorsele to work. Thus Sorsele's only option is to get foreigners for whom moving to Sorsele would be a step up the ladder to work there for awhile, until like others have said, they will keep moving up the ladder to the large Swedish cities as soon as they are able. Then Sorsele will have to get more immigrants.
15:20 July 29, 2010 by eddie123
they don't even have any jobs available up there. check the employment agency site and Sorsele has just four part time positions advertised. this idea of asking russians (or immigrants of any kind) over is ludicrous and a scheme to waste the council's scarce resources on aimless trips to Kola Peninsula.

it will be a worthy cause if the council decides to seek investors to move into their community and establish businesses. this might help but they will have to advertise the investment potential. they've got a web page but it is only in swedish, not even a russian page to help with their target group.
15:23 July 29, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Look our Sorsele, all of a sudden all those "russian immigrants" will suddenly come into possession of russian passports from unknown sources and Vladdy will proclaim your little burg as part of mother russia...
17:00 July 29, 2010 by planet.sweden
Very sensible. This small commune has realised what national governments throughout Europe have failed to realise, namely that it is far better to import migrants from compatible cultures and religions which can effortlessly integrate into your society with the minimum of fuss and bother. This contrasts sharply with the multiplicity of trouble associated with immigrants from African and muslim countries.

Within a generation it will be impossible to tell these Russians and their offspring from the Swedish locals. They will think, talk, dress, work and play like Swedes. Now what will it take to get national governments to act so sensibly?
19:02 July 29, 2010 by Michael Whitfield
Great idea. The Russian immigrants will blend in quite well with the homogenous population. Not all Russians are drunks. Also Russia & Sweden share a smiliar food culture.
22:48 July 29, 2010 by komhem72
This chance should be given to international students from non european background who are unable to settle here permanently. This will save lot of money on behalf of Swedish government
23:04 July 29, 2010 by wxman
Look, somebody has to take the rest. Ever since the fall of the USSR, the US is crawling with them. The influx of Mexicans is the only group that exceeds the Russians.
00:02 July 30, 2010 by Isabel Carneiro
Do you accept brazilians?

I would love to live in Sorsele!!
00:39 July 30, 2010 by Pittbull77
I am an American and I too would be more than happy to learn Swedish and move to Sorsele! I don't drink, am a pacifist, and have a college degree...
01:00 July 30, 2010 by Norrlands Turk
No wonder Sverige keeps getting only unskilled or low-skilled immigrants and asylum seekers instead of skilled people like US, Canada and the UK. You can't expect anything else after having this kind of ridiculous strategies and solutions (!).

Just do these three things:

1- Create funds and tax incentives for entrepreneurs who are willing to invest and open businesses in kommuns like this one. Like providing inexpensive office spaces etc.

2- Let them know that you offer incentives. Advertise etc.

3- Watch the business plans of skilled immigrants together with their resumes and bank letters rolling in.

It is that simple.
02:06 July 30, 2010 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Norrlans Turk: I like your suggestion! Sadly swedish tax wedge plows any kind of entreprenurial activity right into the ground.
02:36 July 30, 2010 by waffen
I agree with Planet Sweden.

Accepting immigrants with compatible cultures and religions, when the country is becoming over-run with cultures otherwise, is a wise move.

Hopefully, the Russians will leave their vodka behind, and take up skiing instead.
05:02 July 30, 2010 by Norrlands Turk
You don't really think that those Russians will stay in Sorsele, which has virtually no jobs to offer. Do you?
07:46 July 30, 2010 by Rebel
You know, there are two other options:

1) Actually start having babies. I know, it is a revolutionary concept for Swedes, but that is the traditional way populations were maintained since humans began.

2) Seems that in the USA fundamentalist (polygamist) Mormons are not treated nicely. Why not give them an invitation to move to Sweden -- they would help maintain the population, would certainly convert a few Swedish girls and get them going on raising families, and they aren't known for causing too much trouble.
09:56 July 30, 2010 by vaninaheuser
How to apply? Where do I sign?
09:58 July 30, 2010 by saar
Whoever says that Russians are more or less like Swedes is delusional. At best. The mentality is totally different. Sure not all of them are drunks but many of them lack basic moral values. And I agree with others who says that Russians are not going to stay in Sorsele.They won't. You think I'm full of s***? I wish I was. I know Russians very well, I speak russian and I lived in Russia.
13:08 July 30, 2010 by americanska
terrible idea. First try to make Sorsele an attractive place to do business. What is the unemployment rate in Sweden anyway?

Even making it an attractive place to do business may not be enough to overcome the location. Now that poeple have the abvility to easily move in modern times they don't want to live in a miserable place in the arctic. People want to live where it's enjoyable to do so.
13:13 July 30, 2010 by vaninaheuser
Sorsele can be a "miserable place in the artic", but still can be better then other places, and it is in Sweden.
15:04 July 30, 2010 by Rebel
saar, since you want to take the Russians to task on morality one could say the basic difference between Russians and Swedes is that Swedes are ammoral while Russians are immoral. One might wonder what difference that makes -- plenty! A Swedish girl can (in the words of a controversial green party lady last year) do a woman in the morning and then do a man in the evening. They can then booze it up with friends, throw up all night, and brag how good a time they had on Facebook. No guilt, no reflexion.

A Russian girl would liukely not get drunk, and if she did have sex she would at least feel bad about it and wonder if she did the right thing. Russians seem to have a moral compass, although they may not stay very focused.

And on other issues, Russians don't go around apologizing for their past and they respect their heritage -- unlike PC Swedes. Also, the typical Russian man and woman have a sense of gender differences. Guess they know more about biology than Swedes.
16:58 July 30, 2010 by Icarusty
Planet.sweden and similar folk, you guys are racist idiots. What you're basically saying is "well at least they're white, so let them in". Incredible.
18:27 July 30, 2010 by americanska
Lcrusty - does sweden not let everyone in?? is that not the problem??
20:39 July 30, 2010 by Icarusty
No American, the problem is that a lot of people are creating two tiers of "Swedish" - the ones with "similar cultures and languages", "talk, look and act like Swedes" and "in a couple of generations will look no different" to native Swedes... and the rest i.e. non-whites. We are seeing it from the comments and from the stories around this site - that white foreigners are welcomed whilst non-white foreigners - or even those born here - are still ostracised. That is the problem.
21:30 July 30, 2010 by saar
Rebel,it seems like all your knowledge about Russians comes from newspapers,TV and Facebook. The reality is a bit different.
07:33 July 31, 2010 by Rebel
saar, been to Russia quite a few times. Seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of society there. However, overall I have found Russians to be quite nice, spiritualistic and hospitable.
20:24 July 31, 2010 by Michael Whitfield
I agree with Rebel. Have also been to Russia and find the same qualities. Of course I am biased. I have a Russian wife, as do many American men in the USA. In Colorado there is a large Russian & Ukrainian population. They have adapted quite well and have contributed to the community. I have also been married to a Swede and I can say that I have positive feelings on both situations. The Russians have immigrated to the US legally by the way. That is not the case with some visitors from south of the border. Can you say 'Illegal?
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