CHITA, EASTERN SIBERIA: Chita, which lies about 400 kilometers from the Chinese border, suffered during the 1990s economic turmoil just like many other Russian cities.
Yura said his mother, a single parent, made ends meet by buying clothing in China and reselling it in Russia, ‘like many other people” from Chita. Yura said his grandmother watched over him when mom was traveling.
Yura said his mom came to like China and Chinese language. She even took him on a vacation to China. That must have influenced Yura. The 22 year-old is now finishing a bachelor’s degree in Chinese.
He just took a job at a hostel in Chita to save money to continue his studies in China. He said the Russian economic crisis and subsequent ruble devaluation have made studying and living in China more expensive.
”China is the future,” he said. ”We live near China. It makes sense to learn the language.”
Like many students from Chita, Yura said he will look for work in other, bigger Siberian cities like Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk. ”There aren’t many jobs here.”