By Celestine Bohlen
October 24, 2007
KHOTKOVO, Russia: Slapping a coat of paint on the pedestal of a bust of Lenin in a provincial Russian town may not be much of a job, but Kuram, 49, says it beats making the equivalent of $16 a month back home in Uzbekistan.
“If things were better there, I wouldn’t be here,” said the tractor driver, at work in Khotkovo, 60 kilometers, or about 40 miles, northeast of Moscow. He declined to give his last name for fear of running afoul of the Russian immigration authorities.
Russia’s booming economy is luring more and more people like Kuram, who are willing to take jobs its own citizens can’t or won’t do. The country’s increasingly capitalistic society is creating greater wealth and aspirations, forcing Russia to confront a problem more familiar in the West: integrating foreign workers who often face discrimination and harassment.
A shrinking work force complicates the situation….