Why don't Eastern European countries accept immigrants?
It’s not at all clear that “Eastern European countries” do not accept immigrants. Many, in fact, do.Even ignoring countries which make provision for the resettlement and naturalization of co-ethnics, like Hungary does for Magyars outside of its frontiers, and population movements which occurred between states now independent but once part of a common state, like migration from the rest of Yugoslavia to Slovenia, substantial cross-frontier migration is a real phenomenon. In the Czech Republic, for instance, 5% of the population is of post-1991 immigrant background, with Ukrainians and Vietnamese featuring prominently in a cosmopolitan mix. In neighbouring Poland, meanwhile, a recent surge in Ukrainian numbers bringing totals up to around one million people has played a critical role in helping to alleviate labor shortages. Immigration is less significant but still real in other countries, with relatively well-off countries generally receiving in-flows from worse-off countries often mediated by historical ties: Macedonians have taken up Bulgarian citizenship by the tens of thousands, for instance, while Moldovans have done the same in Romania in even larger numbers, and net migration from Russia to the Baltic States is positive.Post-Communist Europe is not especially different from southern Europe, in that both regions have only recently become relatively wealthy and have only recently started to be destinations as well as sources of migrants. In both cases, the first immigrants have come from countries that the region has close ties to: Latin Americans are particularly numerous in Iberia but are common throughout the region, joined by Romanians and Moroccans. In eastern Europe, meanwhile, old ties of geography have facilitated similar flows, with poorer Yugoslav successor states being sources of migrants for Slovenia and Croatia, Ukrainians becoming common in central Europe, and old Communist-era ties facilitating Vietnamese settlement across the region.Particular sorts of immigration are unpopular. The resettlement of refugees entering the European Union—most famously, Syrian refugees—has been famously unpopular with central Europe. In this, post-Communist Europe does not actually stand out from the rest of Europe in its skepticism of Muslim refugees. (Christian refugees from Syria, in contrast, have sometimes been given welcome.) In this as in other sentiments, both positive and negative, eastern Europe is finally normal.