Russians looking for a safer place to live outside their home country are looking to Bulgaria, which offers easily attainable long-term residency permits. Reports suggest that about 400,000 Russian people have purchased properties in Bulgaria, with many more arriving to apply for long-term residency.
Similarities in language and culture makes Bulgaria the perfect home outside of Russia for Russian nationals, with several middle-class citizens making a move to the country to make it their second home. In addition, a Bulgarian residency allows for visa-free travel throughout the countries in the European Union.
“Russian construction companies, travel agencies and supermarkets have carved out market niches here. Some people even run businesses in Moscow from Bulgaria…They commute by plane every few weeks,” says Mihail Chobanov of Bulgarian Properties.
The ability to send their children to EU universities is also a big factor behind many Russians making the move to Bulgaria. “We came mainly for my eldest son’s sake – he wants to become a neurosurgeon and work in the US or France. Getting his degree at an EU university is a necessary first step,” says Sergei Gubov, who moved to Sofia four years back.
In the Black sea Resort of Pomorie, many Russians have purchased sea-side houses with an intention of permanently settling there. One such family is that of a fitness instructor Leonid Kozlov, who moved to Bulgaria from Moscow a couple of years back. “We have a more relaxed life. I have work throughout the year, my wife has a job in the tourist season and our daughter goes to the Russian school here. We plan to stay permanently and set up our own business managing holiday home,” says Kozlov.