Rich Russians flock to Dubai to escape sanctions

Photo: Reuters

News Desk: Dubai has become a safe haven for rich Russians to escape the effects of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.

Business leaders have told the BBC that an unprecedented influx of Russian millionaires and entrepreneurs has taken place in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In the first three months of 2022, Russian property purchases in Dubai rose 6 percent, according to a report.

The emirate has not imposed any sanctions on Russia since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He did not even criticize Russia.

Although many Western countries have imposed travel restrictions on Russians, the UAE is offering them visas. Although exact figures are not available, an estimated several thousand people have fled Russia in the past two months.

A Russian economist says at least 200,000 Russians have fled the country in the first 10 days of the war in Ukraine. Virtuezone, a Dubai-based business aid company, has also gained a lot of Russian customers in recent times.

“Since the start of the war, we’ve had five times more Russians than ever before. They’re worried about the impending recession, so they’re here to keep their assets safe,” said George Hodges, the company’s chief executive.

With the arrival of wealthy Russians, the demand for luxury villas and apartments has increased across Dubai. Real estate buyers are predicting a rise in the price of Russian homes in Dubai.

In the first three months of 2022, Russian purchases of assets in Dubai increased by two-thirds, according to the Dubai-based real estate agency better homes.

Another real estate company, Modern Living, told the BBC they were hiring a number of Russian-speaking agents to meet the growing demand. Thiago, the company’s chief executive, said they were receiving numerous calls from Russians seeking immediate relocation to Dubai.

“The Russians who are coming are not only buying property for investment, they are also planning to make Dubai their second home,” he said.

Photo: Reuters

Intellectual trafficking

Many Russian multinational companies and Russian start-ups are relocating their employees to the UAE.

Fouad Fatullev is the co-founder of Weiwe, a blockchain technology company with offices in Russia and Ukraine. He and his allies have sent hundreds of workers to Dubai since the start of the war in Ukraine.

Fouad, a Russian citizen, said: “The war has had a profound effect on our work. We have not been able to operate. So hundreds of people have been evacuated from Ukraine and Russia.”

He added that the UAE had decided to send its staff to ensure a secure economic and political environment.

“As sanctions make it harder to operate, the Russians are moving out of business. Particularly, the companies that deal with international customers and brands are facing more challenges because most Western companies have severed ties with Russia-based enterprises,” Fouad said.

International companies such as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, and Google are also closing their Russian offices and sending some workers to Dubai. Fouad said, “Talent is definitely being trafficked here. Many people are leaving the country now that there are more trade restrictions in Russia. ”


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