Kozyrenko hasn’t lived in Russia since the Soviet era. But she got her passport two years ago as part of the Kremlin’s push to grant citizenship to hundreds of thousands of ethnic Russians living in former Soviet countries, including Georgia, Moldova, Estonia and Ukraine.
“All our hopes are with Russia,” said Kozyrenko, as she hawked an old black coat at a flea market in Tiraspol, the capital of Trans-Dniester. “We hope that Russia will protect us.”
Russia has given passports to nearly 2.9 million former Soviet citizens since 2000, according to the Federal Migration Service. It does not break down the numbers between those who returned to Russia and those who still live abroad.