As Western countries impose restrictions due to Vladimir Putin's actions in Ukraine, many Russians are finding a warm reception in Thailand, as reported by Bloomberg. The Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports revealed that from January to June this year, over 790,000 Russian nationals visited the country, marking an astounding 1,000 percent increase compared to the same period last year. Phuket, in particular, welcomed more than half of these visitors, making Russians the primary group of tourists to the island, according to the Phuket Tourist Association.
Yuri Vorona, a restaurant manager in Phuket, described the atmosphere as wonderful and peaceful, with many Russians seeking relaxation and tranquility
Besides the general Russian influx, Thailand is witnessing the presence of its ultra-wealthy. Russian oligarch Alexander Svetakov's superyacht was spotted in Phuket during Christmas, and billionaire Igor Rybakov held business-coaching classes on the island in January.
To accommodate this growing Russian population, Thailand and its locals are adjusting accordingly. Phuket's airport now makes announcements in Russian, and the cuisine has expanded to include Russian delicacies like borscht and blini, alongside traditional Thai dishes like pad thai and tom yum soup. Russian bathhouses, rock concerts, and the recent opening of a Russian consulate further signify the adaptation to the increasing number of Russian expats.
With the ongoing migration of Russian elites to Thailand, Phuket might soon be recognized as the "Little Russia" of the East.