MOSCOW, May 4./TASS/. Over 25,000 people returned to Russia from abroad last year within the framework of the state program to assist the voluntary resettlement of compatriots living abroad, Director of the Foreign Ministry’s Department for Relations with Compatriots Abroad, Alexander Nurizade, said in an interview with TASS on Tuesday.
"Assistance in voluntary resettlement to the Russian Federation is a major trajectory in work with our fellow countrymen living abroad," Nurizade said, adding that a state program to assist their return has been in effect since 2006.
"As many as 25,084 participants in it returned from abroad in 2020," the diplomat specified. "This is fewer than in 2019, when 59,600 people came back to Russia," he pointed out.
This decline is attributed to the spread of the novel coronavirus and difficulties with organizing resettlement within the state program, including the acceptance of applications and issuance of certificates for participants in the program. Consular services were suspended or restricted in numerous countries, he went on to say.
"Difficulties had arisen in resettling already coordinated participants in the state program and their families to Russia due to the suspension of regular transport service between the Russian Federation and foreign states," Nurizade explained. "That is why, they were offered the possibility to return on repatriation flights organized for Russian nationals," the diplomat said.
"We expect that once the sanitary-epidemiological situation normalizes, we will be able to get back to pre-pandemic figures of the state program," he noted.
The state program to assist the voluntary resettlement of compatriots living abroad was approved in a presidential decree dated June 22, 2006.