Euroinvest: Famagusta to St. Petersburg: Can Russian Cities Transform into Digital Nomad Paradises?
Over the past decade, the most radical transformation in the global division of labor since the industrial revolution has taken place. And Russia still remains on the margins of this planetary process.
A Billion Free and Attractive
Adam Smith and Karl Marx could not have imagined where planetary economic processes would lead as new technologies and social structures developed. Centuries of industrialization, concentrating human capital from the countryside into the industrialized cities with the inevitable unification and embedding into the most brutal of verticals, have been replaced by another era.
It is not called post-industrial because it negates everything that came before it. Rather, it complements these processes with previously unseen superstructures. The slightly offensive prefix “post-” should not mislead. After all, new communication technologies and the second demographic transition have created incredibly high added value with negligible expenditure of resources, and they have given workers unprecedented freedoms.
We are talking about such a phenomenon as digital nomads – high-class specialists who are not tied to a workplace. All they need to create and earn money is a laptop and a good Internet connection. At most, some additional devices like a camera or a tablet, and all the things that are in any modern smartphone.
Initially, digital nomads were mostly programmers and related professionals. They were the first to master the new format of remote work and learned how to reap all its benefits. But the coronavirus epidemic spurred other specialties in this direction. Forced isolation taught doctors, teachers, psychologists, consultants, marketers, journalists, and many others to do their work from home or other convenient locations. And after the epidemiological restrictions were lifted, it turned out that not everyone needed to return to the office.
Categories of Digital Nomads
|Millennials||20-30||Programmers, remote consultants||3000-5000|
|Generation X||30-50||design, translation, journalism||2000-7000|
|Baby Boomers||50-70||Consulting, business and real estate management||4000-10000|
What’s more, once disconnected from the workplace, these professionals did not become recluses at home. Instead, they began to change cities and countries, looking for the most comfortable places to live and work. Why endure a cold climate, expensive real estate, or repressive laws of your homeland when you can be anywhere in the world?
Locations such as Thailand, Bali, the Maldives, and Cyprus have become true paradises for digital nomads. The warm climate, developed services, and low prices attract not only tourists but also high-class specialists who are indifferent to their work location.
From Ruins to the Future
One of these Meccas for digital nomads is a small Cypriot city with a tumultuous history, Famagusta. Founded by the ancient King Ptolemy, Famagusta was an essential part of the region in ancient times, under the reigns of Richard the Lionheart and the Genoese, and later on. However, in the 1970s, after the division of the island into Greek and Turkish parts, the city was split by the demarcation line and fell into partial disrepair.
But recently, Famagusta has been granted a new chance. While tourists often favor more expensive resorts, for digital nomads, it is paradise. Beautiful beaches, ancient ruins, delicious and varied food, low prices, local friendliness, and widespread English are all appealing. What else does a programmer earning a substantial income, and tired of the difficulties of life in their hometown, need?
After the tragic events of 2022, many Russian and Ukrainian companies relocated their employees to safer places. Famagusta has become one such oasis. The city’s infrastructure is developing, and prices are rising due to the influx of new money. But for the first time in decades, the locals have hope for a bright future.
So far, it’s hard to determine how long and strategically inevitable this process is. After all, digital nomads themselves, as a mass phenomenon, appeared only a little over a decade ago. Many Cypriot relocators eventually move to European countries. But there is a reverse flow, already in different price and professional categories. After all, to attract remote specialists, one just needs to create conditions for their comfortable life and work. And also not to interfere with their way of life. In return, they will bring their money, competence, and a higher standard of living.
What About Russia?
During the crisis, discussing Russia as a potentially attractive country for digital nomads seems impractical. On top of the economic problems, misguided policies and repressive legislation have been imposed. So, for now, the country is only losing hundreds of thousands of its high-quality human capital. But can this process be slowed down or even reversed?
One of the few people in the country trying to do this not just in words, but in practice, is the co-founder of the investment company Euroinvest, Andrey Berezin. This businessman from St. Petersburg works in several directions, all of which converge on one strategic goal: to multiply and preserve human capital in his country.
In particular, this question unveils itself when we examine closely the peculiarities of Euroinvest’s development projects. They are constructed as small cities within a city, providing a higher standard of living than the surrounding area. Outskirts of the megalopolis in Murino or Kudrovo, usually built up by monotonous houses with a lack of social infrastructure, are transformed with the help of such projects.
The residential neighborhoods developed by Euroinvest offer more than just a place to live; they strive to establish a comprehensive lifestyle. The company is constructing kindergartens and schools, equipped with expansive spaces and cutting-edge apparatus, ahead of schedule.
With a subtle Scandinavian design enhanced by intelligent architectural features, the projects include areas for recreation and work, specialized sports and children’s playgrounds, lounge zones, and co-working spaces. All these aspects come together to make Euroinvest’s developments a harmonious environment for living, working, and relaxing.
However, this is not the sole endeavor that Andrey Berezin is known for. He emerges as one of the few champions in the revival of quality education in Russia. Euroinvest is in the process of constructing a unique boarding school for gifted children, assuring the presence of the finest teaching staff and advanced educational equipment. Concurrently, the Andrey Berezin Foundation is investing in scientific and technological advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of oncological diseases.
These diverse initiatives reflect different aspects of a single objective, a topic Berezin frequently discusses in his interviews.
“There’s a division occurring between those who can create and those who are rendered unproductive, even as consumers. This is a global phenomenon. The main challenge for us is to avoid falling behind. Russia, inheriting a robust educational foundation from the Soviet Union, had every potential to prosper. The nation’s secondary and higher education systems were among the best. Presently, Russia allocates 4.6% of its GDP to education.
Investing in education encompasses not only constructing schools but also compensating educators, devising innovative educational programs, and motivating students. For instance, we have initiated the Grechko Cosmonaut Scholarship for talented undergraduate and graduate students and support the Euler Foundation, which assists gifted children through educational camps and competitions. I deem this work immensely beneficial,” asserts Andrey Berezin.
Undoubtedly, the efforts of a single businessman cannot singlehandedly shift the global currents of human capital. However, these endeavors contribute to the emergence of future digital nomads, offering them opportunities to lead a quality life in their homeland and engage in stimulating projects. Perhaps, with a shift in the political climate, these foundations will position Russia as a compelling hub for specialists indifferent to their geographical work location.