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German industry representatives have warned against a “massive exodus” of companies from Russia in light of compulsory medical examinations for managers and other foreigners.
According to the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK), the number of German companies in Russia has declined by 8% in 2021 compared to the year before.
In addition to the introduction of mandatory medical tests for foreigners, the experts trace this trend back to the threat of new sanctions by the West against Russia in the Ukraine crisis and the fear of war.
According to the AHK, 3,651 companies with German capital are currently still active in Russia. This is down from 6,300 in 2011, meaning some 42% of firms left in the past 10 years.
Under a new law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreigners with long-term residency must undergo elaborate medical examinations in order to work in the country, including regular testing for drug use and infectious diseases such as HIV, syphilis, tuberculosis and COVID-19.
In addition to blood and urine tests, children over the age of 6 and spouses also have to undergo X-ray tests every three months.
According to the AHK, outrage over the new rules has been growing among German expats, with some reporting “conditions like in movies from Gulag times.” For instance, the expat community reported long-waiting hours and lack of compliance with COVID-19 regulations at an overcrowded test center not far from Moscow, in letters to the AHK.
Other foreign business associations have also criticized the new law as harmful to investment. The United States Embassy in Moscow has called the new rule “xenophobic.”