First Russians to arrive on the Costa Daurada for fear of being recruited for war

«They arrive as the Ukrainians did, they are young people, men between 20 and 25 years old, who can be recruited to go to the army. They usually come from big cities, like Moscow or St. Petersburg, because in the smaller ones it costs more to leave," admits Alex Kornetsky, head of the real estate Wersal Property, in Salou. Some real estate agents on the Costa Daurada confirm that the first Russians are arriving decide to flee the countrypartly to escape the possibility of being recruited.

They do it with discretiontrying not to attract attention. «Rent flats or apartments and they are usually young boys, without women. Sometimes four or five come together, in little groups. And they admit that they come to avoid going to war. It doesn't mean they're against it, but if they force you to go to war, people don't want to, because they have their things, their family, and they prefer to leave. Some they recognize that they come for that», Kornetsky points out. Teleworking from here is one of the alternatives. In some cases take advantage of contacts or second residence. «Men up to 50 years old come, who do not want to be in their country for fear of being called. They have endured these months there but when they said they were going to mobilize, they have come, ”says David Janssen, manager of the Barnamar real estate agency in Salou.

At the moment it is not a massive diaspora – nothing to do, of course, with the more than 2,000 Ukrainians who have arrived in the province as refugees – but it is a trickle of individuals that, in some cases, they were previously dissatisfied with the war. “There are some who are against Putin, who recognize that they do not want to kill their brothers,” says another real estate source, close to these arrivals that have occurred in recent weeks.

«They rent flats or apartments. They usually come from big cities like Moscow or St. Petersburg," says Alex Kornetsky, head of the Wersal Property agency.

These flights began in September, when the Kremlin launched a partial and additional mobilization to reinforce the troops in the invasion of Ukraine. The countries closest to Russia noticed these arrivals more, which are also now reaching places like Spain, although to a lesser extent. "Some are installed here temporarilyuntil we see how things evolve, ”says another close source.

I know of at least two cases, of families who have their second home here and have been coming for more than 15 years but only in the summer. Now only the man has come and the family has stayed there. They leave everything behind for a while”, explains a resident of the Costa Daurada who knows these profiles well. "I also know that they are against the war, not since now, but since it started in 2014, because we have talked about it," he says. These citizens have something more than 40 years and come from the Moscow area.

Sell ​​or rent properties

Beyond that, the war has turned Russia's close relationship as a market on the Costa Daurada upside down. Nine months later, follow the Difficulties in managing real estate what they have here «There are non-payments of different types of quotas and delinquencywhy have not been able to make transactions. In some cases the situation has improved, because they have found it easier to pay, but in others they have not, and the non-payments are still there”, explains Fabián Huguet, president of the Col·legi d'Administradors de Finques de Tarragona.

The problems of non-payment of fees by Russians who have their second residence here continue

Hence, from the first moments of the conflict, many Russians will choose to rent or sell their properties due to the impossibility of being able to pay the installments. "We have made quite a few sales of properties, such as houses and apartments, in areas like Salou," says Alex Kornetsky, who also detects another trend: “There are also people who are interested in buyingto get for example the gold Visa, which is from when you spend 500,000 euros. This allows you to spend more time here and in a legal way ».

The two years of pandemic and practically one more of invasion have made it difficult for the Russians to arrive here. «We have had the case of a person who has been able to come for the first time since 2019, had delayed procedures, has been able to travel, has arranged the bank's things and has returned, because he also believes that maybe they will call him to go to the war”, recognizes Hanna Kanapliova, responsible for the real estate agency Finques Mi Sueño, in Salou. The arrival of profiles fleeing from a possible recruitment It comes to the end of a year in which the Russian market has practically disappeared, impacted by the invasion.

"Men come who do not want to be in their country for fear of being called to go fight," says David Janssen, manager of the Barnamar agency

The block credit cards and the impossibility of making transfers have compromised the liquidity of this community. There is a diversity of opinions and in general a lot of reluctance to show them, but there is a palpable a certain rejection of the armed invasion. “We are talking about people who have felt bad about all this, upper-middle class that has been severely affectednormal families, who are upset. In many cases they are liberal professionals," adds agent David Janssen. "Before you didn't distinguish, you served Russians, Ukrainians... or people of any nationality equally," says Kornetsky, who has specialized in the Russian real estate market for more than 20 years.

On the ground, it sometimes depends on the financial institution whether a transaction can be carried out or not, although the difficulties are many. «Unfair situations occur. Many periodically send money from there but their accounts are blocked and they don't know what to do, the banks don't clarify the situation either and a great uncertainty», reveals Janssen.

divest assets

Some of the families have entered into debt and the bank, in addition, penalizes them with the collection of commissions. All this, in general, complicates the stay of these citizens here. Getting rid of your assets is not easy either. "Some were considering selling the property they have here, because they don'tor they can pay the ordinary expensesbut they can't even do that, if transactions are capped," says Janssen.

The official data of the tourist balance in Tarragona show that crash of the Russian tourist market, and Eastern Europe, to be practically insignificant. Throughout the campaign there have been 28,000 overnight stays by Russians on the Costa Daurada, 97.7% less than in 2019the year prior to Covid and that serves as a reference for making comparisons, according to data from the Tourism Observatory presented a few days ago by the Tarragona Province Hospitality and Tourism Business Federation (FEHT).

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