The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 №4

Back to the list Download an article

The labour market of Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave amid Covid-19



The Covid-19 pandemic, which has swept across the globe, is a serious challenge to the Russian labour market. This article examines the consequences of Covid-19 for Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave and how its territorially isolated and lockdown-affected small labour market responds to drastic changes in employment, income, and consumption. Another question is how the immigrant-rich labour market will rebalance the supply-demand equation. Official statistics from the regional government and its subordinate bodies shows that the Kaliningrad regional labour market has been severely battered by shutdown measures. This particularly applies to organisations operating in the most sensitive industries: manufacturing, hospitality, tourism, estate, transport, and warehousing. The unemployment has gone up, reaching a level above the national average; the number of vacancies is dwindling. Keeping the proportion of out-of-the-region workforce at the usual level may aggravate the situation. Although effective, the measures taken by the regional authorities seem insufficient for an isolated regional labour market.


1. Brada, J. C., Marelli, E., and Signorelli, M. 2014, Introduction: young people and the labor market: key determinants and new evidence, Comp. Econ. Stud., vol. 56, no. 4, p. 556—566. doi:

2. Fadda, S., Tridico, P. (eds.) 2016, Varieties of Economic Inequality, NY, Routledge.

3. Liotti, G. 2020, Labour market flexibility, economic crisis and youth unemployment in Italy, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, no. 54, p. 150—162. doi:10.1016/j.strueco.2020.04.011.

4. Verick, S. 2011, The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Labour Markets in OECD Countries: Why Youth and Other Vulnerable Groups Have Been Hit Hard. In: Islam, I., Verick, S. From the Great Recession to Labour Market Recovery, p. 119—145. doi:

5. Sharma, S., Winkler, H. 2018, The labour market effects of financial crises, Economics of transition and Institutional change, vol. 26, no. 1, p. 35—60. doi:

6. Elsby, M. W. L., Shin, D., Solon, G. 2016, Wage Adjustment in the Great Recession and Other Downturns: Evidence from the United States and Great Britain, Journal of Labor Economics, vol. 34, S. 1, Part 2, p. 249—291. doi:

7. Doris, A., O’Neill, D., Sweetman, O. 2015, Wage flexibility and the great recession: the response of the Irish labour market, IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, vol. 4, Article № 18. doi:

8. Galasso, V., Foucault, M. 2020, Working during COVID-19. Cross-country evidence from real-time survey data, OECD Publishing, Paris. doi:

9. Zubarevich, N. V., Safronov, S. G. 2020, Regions of Russia in the acute phase of the COVID crisis: differences from previous economic crises of the 2000s, Regional’nye issledovaniya [Regional studies], no. 2 (68), p. 4—17. doi: (in Russ.).

10. Hodgson, G. 2020, Migration And The Platform Economy. Policy Brief, Vienna, Prague Process Secretariat.

11. Bahar, D. 2020, The Gig Economy: A Lifeline For Latin American Migrants — Or A Dead End? Americas Quarterly, The Migration Issue, no. 14 (2), available at: (accessed 22.09.2020).

12. Mau, V. 2020, Shok Sprosa I Shok Predlozheniya, Vedomosti, available at: (accessed 25.09.2020) (in Russ.)

13. Hodgson, G. 2020, The possible impact of COVID-19 on the EU’s demand for high-skilled migrants, Webinar, April 16, 2020, available at: (accessed 26.09.2020).

14. Triandafyllidou, A., Nalbandian, L. 2020, Covid-19 and the transformation of migration and mobility globally — “Disposable” and “essential”: Changes in the global hierarchies of migrant workers after COVID-19, Geneva, IOM.

15. Kuznetsova, O. V. 2020, Vulnerability of Regional Economies’ Structure in Crisis Conditions, Federalism, no. 2, p. 20—38. doi: (in Russ.)

16. Kapelyushnikov, R., Gimpelson, V. 2020. Karantinnaya Ekonomika I Rynok Truda. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 September 2020] (in Russ.)

17. Kapelyushnikov, R., Gimpelson, V. 2020, “Covidization” of the Russian labor market,, available at: (accessed 13.09.2020) (in Russ.).

18. Lyashok, V., Burdyak, A. 2020, Rynok truda v usloviyakh koronavirusa, Monitoring ekonomicheskoi situatsii v Rossii: tendentsii i vyzovy sotsial’no-ekonomicheskogo razvitiya [Monitoring the economic situation in Russia: trends and challenges of social and economic development], no. 15 (117), June, p. 138—148 (in Russ.)

19. Meardi, G., Artiles, A., Remo, O. van den Berg, A. 2012, Migration & Labour Market Uncertainty in the Light of the Crisis Segregation and Social Sustainability in Three European Countries and Two Sectors, ILERA World Congress 2012, Track 1. Transnational Movement of Labour & Growing Diversity in the Workforce, available at: (accessed 15.09.2020).

20. Ryazantsev, S. V., Vazirov, Z. K., Garibova, F. M. 2020, Stranded on the borders’ between Russia and the homeland: migrants from Central Asia countries during the covid-19 pandemic, Nauchnoe obozrenie. Seriya 1. Jekonomika i parvо [Scientific Review. Series 1. Economics and Law], no. 3, p. 45—58. doi: (in Russ.).

21. Denisenko, M., Mukomel, V. 2020, Labour Migration During The Corona Crisis,, available at: (accessed 22.09.2020).

22. Ryazantsev, S. V., Bragin, A. D., Ryazantsev, N. S. 2020, Situation of labor migrants in the regions of the world: challenges of the covid-19 pandemia and the response of governments, Nauchnoe obozrenie. Seriya 1. Jekonomika i parvо [Scientific Review. Series 1. Economics and Law], no. 3, p. 7—21. doi: (in Russ.).

23. Shevtsova, E. 2020, Segodnya I Zavtra Migratsionnogo Obmena Mezhdu Rossiiskimi Regionami I Stranami EAES V Usloviyakh Pandemii [Today And Tomorrow Migration Exchange Between Russian Regions And EAEU Countries In A Pandemic], Analitical report, Expert club ‘Sibir-Eurasia’ (in Russ.).

24. Yeoh, B. S. A. 2020, Temporary migration regimes and their sustainability in times of COVID-19, Geneva, IOM.

25. Anderson, B., Poeschel, F., Ruhs, M. 2020, COVID-19 and systemic resilience: What role for migrant workers? Geneva, IOM.

26. Poletaev, D. 2020, Migration Consequences of the “Perfect Storm”: What Effect Will the Coronavirus Pandemic Have on Migration Issues? The Russian International Affairs Council, available at: (accessed 21.09.2020).

27. Lialina, A. V. 2018, Interregional and cross-country flows of labor resources in the Kaliningrad region: factors and vectors in the contemporary Eurasian context, Vestnik BFU im. I. Kanta. Seriya: Estestvennye i meditsinskie nauki [VESTNIK IKBFU. NATURAL AND MEDICAL SCIENCES], no. 4, p. 47—64 (in Russ.)

28. Lialina, A. V. 2020, Migratsionnye protsessy v Yugo-Vostochnoi Pribaltike. In: Tarasov, I. N., Fedorov, G. M. (eds.) Kaliningradskaya oblast’ v novykh koordinatakh Baltiiskoi geopolitiki [Kaliningrad region in the new coordinates of the Baltic geopolitics], Kaliningrad, IKBFU Publishing, p. 189—221 (in Russ.).