Roma is an illegal immigrant, a migrant worker. He came from Tajikistan to work in Moscow about ten years ago. Since then he has already changed jobs many times, and eventually he ended up in Moscow’s suburbs. In his homeland, Roma worked as a lawyer in a notary’s office and lived with his family in a historic stone house in the center of the city. Here in Russia he has worked as a guard, an administrator, a plant manager, and a construction worker.
Roma has lived in an old building in the greater Moscow area for almost four years, searching for a full-time job, getting acquainted with the locals, and earning money by working part time on the construction of country homes for some “new Russians”—Russians who became very wealthy after the fall of the Soviet Union. Roma would like to marry a Russian woman, but right now he is single. He maintains his room, cooks, and does laundry. He shares his room with a few other countrymen. During the day they work, and at night they sleep.
Translated by Abby Preston