Russian association set up to support growing population
A recent immigrant says Saint John alone has 200 Russian families
The founders of the Russian Cultural Association of New Brunswick are hoping to offer support to the growing population of Russians in the province.
Korneyev says when he and his wife arrived in Saint John two years ago, they didn't know where to buy groceries or basic items like cutlery and bedding.
"If we met someone to explain how it was, how to live here, in Saint John and Moncton, that would save us lots of nerves, lots of emotions," he said.
Korneyev was a university professor in Russia but since arriving in Canada, he has been unemployed.
He says he isn't the only Russian he knows of having trouble finding work that fits with their skills and experience.
"I know for sure people in Saint John — two doctors — a surgeon with 15 years experience from Russia now cutting pizza in pizzeria so that's not good, that's not good for him or for Canada, so we have to help people somehow," Korneyev said.
He says there are about 200 Russian families in Saint John alone, and better integration into Canadian society would help them.
There is nothing now for Russian-speaking residents and we know that there is more and more of them in three big cities but also in different regions of the province.- Victoria Volkanova, Russian Cultural Assoc. of NB
Volkanova, who has been in New Brunswick for nine years and works in IT, hopes the association will be able to help with everything from shopping to finding work.
"If those things will be happening, New Brunswick will become an interesting place to consider and live and people who will come will not have the same experiences as Vitaly and his wife have."
The New Brunswick Multicultural Council says about 2,000 immigrants move to the province every year. About 20 per cent of them return to their homeland, or move to other provinces where there are more jobs.
Volkanova says she met Korneyev by chance and quickly started talking about building the association.
"There is nothing now for Russian-speaking residents and we know that there is more and more of them in three big cities but also in different regions of the province."
The next event of the Russian Cultural Association is April 12 when the group will celebrate Cosmonaut's Day, a Russian holiday dedicated to astronaut Yuri Gagarin who circled the earth aboard a spacecraft in 1961.