Ilya was among a few Ukrainians that packed their bags in January 2014 and headed to XX in the UAE to serve at new, luxury hotel catering in large part to Russian speakers from the former Soviet Union. It was good timing…a few weeks later, the Ukrainian President was overthrown,
She was smoking a cigarette with a middle-aged red-haired woman outside the Mall of Dubai. They were speaking Russian and I figured that she was probably from Central Asia and her friend from Russia. The next day, as I passed the mall again, she popped out for another cigarette break and I walked over to find out where she was from. She said she grew up in Kyrgyzstan and worked in Afghanistan before coming to Dubai. ”Afghanistan??,” I asked in disbelief.
Dmitry, 36 and a father of two, is among many from the former USSR that have moved to Dubai – at least temporarily – in search of new and better opportunities. Go into any major hotel or shopping center and you have a good chance that a Russian-speaker will service you.