The first year of an extended program to repatriate ethnic Russians living abroad has failed to produce the wave of immigrants that proponents touted ahead of its approval.
Kremlin officials were bullish in 2006 when President Vladimir Putin unveiled the ambitious plan.
Early backers had predicted that tens of thousands of people would resettle in Russia in the first months of the six-year project, helping curb Russia's staggering demographic crisis.
They said some 100,000 repatriates would be lured in short order to the 12 pilot regions spearheading the repatriation program. But within months of the January 2007 launch, first-year estimates fell to 50,000, and then to 25,000. By year-end, just 143 ethnic-Russian families had picked up stakes and made the move to Russia. ///
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Repatriation plan appeals to few ethnic Russians