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August 21, 2006 -- The ITAR-TASS news agency today quotes a Russian immigration official as saying that more than 9,000 ethnic Russians have applied for repatriation from Kyrgyzstan.
Yury Yermolayev, who heads the Bishkek branch of the Russian Federal Immigration Service, also told the agency some 10,000 people living in Kyrgyzstan have already moved to Russia during the first six months of this year.
Slavs -- mostly Russians -- account for an estimated 10 percent of Kyrgyzstan's 5.3 million population.
President Vladimir Putin recently unveiled a national program under which all those ethnic Russians who live in former Soviet republics and beyond and who would be willing to move to Russia would get cash, social benefits, and citizenship.
The plan, which aims at steming Russia's dramatic population decline, will begin in 2007.