NEWS:Russians lured by promise of US servitude

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Subject: NEWS:Russians lured by promise of US servitude
From: Jyothi Kanics (
Date: Fri Jan 15 1999 - 09:29:54 EST

The Times (UK)
January 12, 1999
Russians lured by promise of US servitude

  DISENCHANTED with the worsening economic situation in Russia, many of the
country's newly unemployed are fleeing to America to work as servants for
rich, expatriate Russians.
  Lured by newspaper advertisements promising well-paid work abroad,
hundreds of highly qualified people have parted with the hefty fee demanded
by the illegal
agencies and have accepted jobs as housekeepers, nannies and gardeners
thousands of miles from home.
  Wealthy Russians who have established themselves in America are notoriously
loath to employ the Filipino staff favoured by their US counterparts,
according to Segodnya newspaper. They are also keen for their children to be
cared for by Russian speakers. Although the agencies take a 70 joining fee
and the first four weeks' wages, the work, at around 150 a week plus bed and
board, is far more lucrative than anything available at home, where the
average wage is less than 50 a month.
  "I have two children and my husband can't find work," says Olga Tarasov, who
has just signed up with an agency that she hopes will find her domestic work
not too far from New York. "My cousin is a nanny for a Russian family in New
York and the agency promised me that I wouldn't have problems getting a visa
if I was leaving my children behind."
  Segodnya cited the case of woman, identified only as Irina, who earned
thousands of dollars working as a housekeeper for a Russian-American family
and returned to Russia to start her own employment agency. The newspaper
described Irina's light workload and heavy pay packet with awe. It said the
family she served always ate ready-made food which needed only to be heated up
and that they owned so many hi-tech domestic appliances that Irina barely had
to exert herself.

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