“Russian IT specialists relocate to work in Belarus”
Alexey Tuzhikov, Lead Engineer
SK hynix memory solutions Eastern Europe
The lack of chitchat about where to move “caught my ear”
In Bishkek, I studied at the Faculty for Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Graduated. Attempts to find employment proved fruitless. Dared to work outside of my domain. Bishkek has a jewelry chain well-known throughout the country. I came there for a job in Sales, but it so happened that I was offered to prove myself as a developer at their IT Department. They pointed out the topics that I needed to cover at the interview and invited me to come back in a couple of months. As a result, I was hired as member of a jewelry store’s software development team. I worked with databases, Delphi.
Two years later, my responsibilities included development and support, resolving local issues of all stores in Kazakhstan; I also helped with Moscow branches and was responsible for the stores on the Arbat. Then the chain’s management got accused of smuggling—and we were all fired. I had to go work at a bank for a lower salary. A year later I quit that one, too—this time it was about politics and the 2010 revolution that happened in Kyrgyzstan. There was another revolution in 2005; Russians started leaving the country way back then. The second wave of moves occurred in 2010. For a while there I used to sleep with an ax under my bed.
Every day folks at work raised the topic of who’s gonna move where. It was very depressing. Negativity in the air. I knew I wanted my child to live somewhere else. Thoughts of moving were inevitable.
I initially planned to move to Kazakhstan. Eventually got disappointed, though. One must not confuse tourism with permanent residence.
“I wrote to Moscow, Alma-Aata, Kiev and Minsk. I was surprised to see so many vacancies in Minsk”
That was in 2011. Back then, Belarusian IT companies didn’t want to talk over Skype and invited to come to an interview in Minsk. So I came here to do some interviews. Didn’t get hired at once, and we returned to Kyrgyzstan. But I resumed my search. It was decided to move to Minsk even if work wasn’t immediately available. Some time passed, and I was invited to a .NET company. We moved.
At an ISsoft interview, I had a bit of scrap with my current colleague—we’re on very good terms now. But then I was really angry and literally rushed headlong out of the office. The HR persuaded me to come again. That time I was interviewed by ISsoft’s CTO and DevOps Department head. The conversation turned out to be a very pleasant and interesting one, and I felt like working on any projects with folks like that. I was hired by the company on the terms I had offered—no attempts to bring down the price. I even felt bad about having not asked for more.Check out currently open positions at ISsoft now
What immediately “caught my ear” was the lack of chitchat about where to move. I realized that the guys here intend to work in comfortable conditions. The second thing that hooked right in is the team. There’ll always be someone who knows more than you, has the answers to your questions. And most importantly: changing the project doesn’t require changing the company.
Now I have my own apartment in the Pervomaisky district. As soon as I arrived in Belarus, we settled at my relatives’ in Borisov; every day I took a train to Minsk from there. Actually, I only slept in this transport because I was still outsourced. In 2011, I was shown the map of Minsk and told which districts I may want to avoid living in: Kamennaya Gorka, for instance. I had been looking for an apartment for quite a long time: finding one was more difficult for family with a child than, for example, for someone with pets. On top of this, cheap good housing got sold out literally within an hour.
“I feel comfortable in Minsk, and it means a lot. Yes, people are not as friendly as they seem at first glance, and not every street is clean. But Belarusians are generally very open and naive”
There is a lot of competition in our domain, and as long as the Belarusian youth is as spoiled as it is, people like us are gonna keep playing them up.
Relocation actually expands the boundaries.
The city is changing, growing and developing.
It’s hard to get citizenship.