DUBAI IS ONE OF THE MOST MODERN CITIES IN THE WORLD. AND ONE MORE - ONE OF THE MOST QUICKLY DEVELOPING. HIS “FACE” IS CHANGING DAILY. And WHAT WAS IT 20-30 YEARS BACK? HOW HAS LIVED HERE LOCAL AND EXPERIENCES WHEN WHEN THE DESTINY OF MARINA OR DOWNTOWN EXTENDED THE DESERT, AND THE ARRIVAL FROM FAR ABROAD WERE ALREADY IN A WONDERFUL? WHEN IT WAS BETTER: THEN, 20-30 YEARS BACK, OR NOW?
DONATELLA, ITALY. IN DUBAI Since 1990
I have always been attracted to the Middle East - its people and Muslim culture as a whole. And so, having arrived in Dubai alone, I decided to create a new life for myself here. Dubai at that time was one large construction site, and therefore most of the expatriates were men - architects, engineers, builders. Those few women who began to come here at that time were, as a rule, the wives of those very engineers. Deira at that time was not Hindu-Pakistani, as it is today, mainly indigenous people and western expats lived there. And local families also lived in villas on Jumeirah Road - the very villas that today are considered old and demolished. All life was concentrated on the coast and around the bay. Beautiful and expensive cars, as today, were not, because there were no normal roads. There weren’t all of these 5 star hotels. One of the first that we built and where we all went to eat and drink was the Hyatt Regency in Deira - not the most beautiful by today's standards, in those days it seemed chic. Since the numerous new skyscrapers and hotels that they were starting to build had to be equipped with home appliances and furnished, I quickly found a “niche” in the new and ever-expanding market - representing Italian companies exporting home furnishings to the UAE. At that time, developers like Emaar were much more affordable than today.
Then they needed everything. Today, they practically do not need anything - they have everything. And I, as a working single woman, stood out from the mass of men, which I managed to make my advantage and achieve some success. Today there are a lot of people like me in Dubai, and then it was a curiosity. The conditions of existence were also difficult. If today in the hot season we are all hiding in malls, then they were not there. One of the first built Burjuman, in 1991, then - Deira City Center. But before that we literally swallowed dust and sand. And about entertainment, such as today, there was no question at all. But we met more with each other, went to visit, organized dinners and parties. And the relations between us, the visitors, were different - closer and less superficial. I’m missing these relationships now. Dubai has become for many just a transit point.
IGOR KAMBAROV, UZBEKISTAN, IN THE UAE Since 1996
The first thought after I landed in Sharjah was: "Where did I come? And these are the famous Emirates? And where are the skyscrapers?" I was expecting a landscape, as in Hong Kong, and I saw sand and small homely little houses. Then, having arrived in Deira and seeing the first decent buildings, I slowly began to recover. In 1996, when I came here, there were very few of us Uzbeks here. I guess I was one of the first. It was not a problem to get a visa - everyone was admitted until 1998. Then they introduced restrictions for girls from some CIS countries. And if earlier during a physical examination they checked only for AIDS, now, as you know, they check for sexually transmitted diseases, for tuberculosis, and for the presence of narcotic substances in the blood. At first, I spoke more with the British and Americans, telling them what life really was like in the former Soviet republics. After all, they did not have normal information about us, as, incidentally, we had no information about them. The locals also at first received us very warmly. Then, over time, the attitude towards us, citizens of Uzbekistan, worsened. Frankly, we "inherited" here ...
It’s hard to say about your own business when it was easier: then or now. It’s like someone. I started in several directions at once: real estate, spare parts, cargo transportation, consulting, tourism business. Worked first for someone, then slowly began to work for himself. With the advent of the Internet (by the way, at first it was very expensive - 1 dirham per minute) began to unfold. Opening a business at that time was very simple and relatively inexpensive, especially in free zones and outside of Dubai. Or there was the opportunity to work as a freelancer, without any license.
Let's just say that there was no law that forbade this type of activity. But in many sectors there were legislative omissions. For example, the Federal Law on Real Estate was adopted only in 2001. And before that, you bought real estate and did not know what would happen to it, what your rights were, what obligations the developers had - in this regard there was complete lawlessness. The regulations on the escrow account were introduced only in 2007, and before that, investors lost a lot of money, enriching dishonest developers who simply disappeared from the country. Now they are putting things in order, and for me personally, in terms of business, things are better than 90s.
VALERY SHMAKOV, RUSSIA, IN THE UAE Since 1994
I came here with the first wave of emigrants when, after the collapse of the Union, mass relocations began. The locals welcomed us very welcome, since we were a curiosity. After several years, in the second half of the 90s, the attitude towards the Russians deteriorated sharply. The second wave of emigration from the former USSR, which brought not only money, but also crime, unfortunately emanated from the Emirates. And we began to row under one comb. "Russian" - it was like a negative stamp in relation to both men and women. Therefore, local authorities thoroughly took up the purge. Someone was imprisoned, someone was deported, and many left after the 1998 Russian crisis. Since in the mid-90s there were many so-called shuttle traders who bought something and then resold it in Russia, when the dollar sharply tripled in the second half of 1998, this “transshipment business” simply died.
In the early 90s, crime was almost zero here. We left open both houses and cars, and nothing ever happened. And just last week, I broke a glass in a car and stole everything that was inside. Well, at least they began to hang video cameras everywhere to restore order. And I also welcome strict entry control into the country, because all crime is only visitors. Although compared to even Russia in terms of order in the Emirates, it is certainly much calmer.
As for earnings, here, unfortunately, the trend is the same. In the 90s we made good money here, because we were few and the market favored us. And now we just spend everything that we earned in those golden times. Prices over the past 20 years have risen 6-7 times. But, in spite of everything, my family and I are so rooted in this land that it will be very difficult to leave if necessary.
MOHAMMED AL SAYAH, INDIGENOUS DUBAI
I must say right away - now we are living much better than 20, 30, 40 years ago. Those who say the opposite, in my opinion, are deeply mistaken. Look around: Dubai is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with a level of service that other countries have never dreamed of. Yes, prices have risen, but people continue to come to us because they continue to earn good money here. Everyone has a chance to live well here, both locals and visitors. Here you are, Russians - you brought us your knowledge, skills and, of course, money. You improved our life, and we helped you improve yours, right? Let's be honest - we used to live in the desert and ride camels. Now, not least thanks to you expats, we live in chic skyscrapers or villas and drive expensive cars.
As they say, "we had bread, but had no teeth," and you and I mutually helped each other. The emirates did not want to stop at the level of the 60-70s, not going beyond the borders of Deira and Bur Dubai, as happened in some neighboring countries. And as a developer, I believe that the more expatriates come to our country, the better for my business. Some of us locals complain that they have reduced benefits and that the government gives, that is, gives, now much less than before. And why should the state give something? It spoiled many too much, and people stopped working. Nevertheless, the state still provides us with free education and medical care. Salaries in government are higher than in private.
They give us land for housing. What else does? Is there more crime? This is normal - when a country has a small population, as it was 20-30 years ago, then crime is also small. With the increase in the number of residents and especially visitors, the number of crimes increases proportionally. We invest a lot in internal security, and our police are very strong. And most importantly - there is a law for the violation of which there is a punishment, as it should be. It is difficult to find a level of security like ours in other countries. And before the law, we are all equal. As for the proportion "you are many, we are few," we do not feel ourselves in the minority. We are here at home, and we are grateful to those who came to us and improved our lives, whether in the field of education, medicine, technology, art, sports ... So keep coming, we will be glad to see you!
Text: Elena Grunitz