- Russia is building a village for US expats who are tired of liberal ideology, a lawyer told state media.
- The project is approved, and slated to house some 200 American and Canadian families, he said.
- Russia has in recent years sought to position itself as a bastion for “traditional” moral values.
Russia is floating an idea to build a village for hundreds of American and Canadian families who want to run away from the cultural climate in North America.
The village, slated for construction in Moscow’s suburbs in 2024, is meant for conservative families who want to “emigrate for ideological reasons,” said immigration lawyer Timur Beslangurov on Thursday, according to RIA Novosti.
Around 200 families have expressed interest in the project, Beslangurov said in a speech at a legal forum in St. Petersburg, the state outlet reported.
Many of these families don’t have Russian roots but are tired of “the inculcation of radical values” in the US and Canada, Beslangurov said.
“Today, they have 70 genders, it is not known what will happen next,” he added, per RIA Novosti. The same rhetoric has been used frequently by Russian Vladimir Putin as US-Russia relations worsened over the last several years. In December 2021, he compared gender nonconformity to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of the expats who want to move to the village are Catholics and “strongly believe in the prediction that Russia will remain the only Christian country in the world,” Beslangurov said.
The village project has been greenlit by authorities, and the new settlers will pay for the construction, Beslangurov added, per state media.
Insider could not independently verify Beslangurov’s claims. The lawyer and the Russian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment sent outside regular business hours.
Putin has, in recent years, sought to portray Russia as a country that stands for “traditional” moral, social, and religious values.
He signed a decree in September that warned of a “battle for cultural supremacy” on the global stage and cautioned of “the aggressive imposition of neoliberal views by a number of states.”
It said Russia was in a “unique position” to defend and spread conservative views, which the decree called “traditional Russian moral and religious values.”
The village project also comes as Moscow’s war on Ukraine and resulting international sanctions have sullied Russia’s reputation among tourists and expatriates. In February, tourism agencies reported business slumping lower than pre-pandemic levels since the invasion began.
The Federal Security Service, however, claimed on May 3 that more foreigners are entering the country this year. The influx of foreign citizens to Russia increased by 17.6% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same time period in 2022, it said.
People from China and Central Asian nations, such as Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, contributed to the most significant increases in trips to Russia, the state agency added.