Dubai has emerged as a haven for wealthy Russians fleeing the impact of western sanctions over the war in Ukraine. Russian billionaires and entrepreneurs have been arriving in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in unprecedented numbers, business leaders told the BBC.
Property purchases in Dubai by Russians surged by 67% in the first three months of 2022, a report said. The UAE has not put sanctions on Russia or criticised its invasion of Ukraine.
It is also providing visas to non-sanctioned Russians while many Western countries have restricted them.
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people have left Russia over the last two months – although exact figures are not available. One Russian economist said as many as 200,000 Russians had left in the first 10 days after the war began.
Virtuzone, which helps companies to set up operations in Dubai, has seen a huge surge of Russian clients. “We are receiving five times more enquiries from Russians since the war began,” said chief executive George Hojeige.