After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Julia Pepeliaeva noticed the sales of her how-to guide about living in Argentina suddenly exploded. “My clients have been growing nonstop ever since,” she told Rest of World. Pepeliaeva says her Instagram reach almost doubled in three months. Several of these new followers, and customers, were fellow Russian people arriving in Buenos Aires, where Pepeliaeva is based. She eventually realized she might have far more in common with them than she’d previously assumed.

Back in 2017, a then-pregnant Pepeliaeva moved to Buenos Aires, where she delivered her twins and settled down for good. Because of the language barrier, the 28-year-old was unable to continue working as an engineer, and instead started a blog, set up an Instagram account under the name Julia Lav, and launched a Russian-language website to share tips on moving to Argentina. Unbeknownst to her, the experience of having children in Argentina as a Russian would become an unlikely — and lucrative — asset.

Fast forward to February 2023, and Argentina has become a desired destination for many pregnant Russian women. The Argentine migration office confirmed to Rest of World in a statement that more than 18,500 Russian migrants have entered Argentina since the war on Ukraine started a year ago. A significant number of these have been pregnant women specifically looking to deliver their babies in Argentina. Last month, over 30 such women entered Argentina every day, according to the migration office.

This trend has led some from the earlier wave of Russian émigrés — many of whom, like Pepeliaeva, were new mothers — to become “momfluencers.” Rest of World traced the rise of four such influencers to understand how they’ve become the public-facing facilitators of this migration. The content they create includes guidance on the best ways to get to Argentina, navigating the country’s healthcare system and society, and raising children in their new home.

Pepeliaeva now has 22,000 Instagram followers — a number that’s modest compared to some of the bigger Russian momfluencers in Argentina, like Tanya Kazakowa, whose follower count stands at around 600,000. Pepeliaeva said her Instagram following is enough for her to make a comfortable living. As Julia Lav, Pepeliaeva covers the typical subject matter of an average travel influencer, making money through sales of her how-to booklet, sold on her website for $132. Along with recommendations on “the coolest places in Buenos Aires and other major cities,” it gets into more niche content like “instructions for obtaining a residence permit and citizenship.” Pepeliaeva also details her experience of giving birth to and raising twins in Argentina.

The exact reasons for why Russian women would travel 15,000 kilometers to give birth in a foreign land is a hotly debated topic in Argentina. They vary from migrant to migrant, according to most of the influencers Rest of World spoke to. Some are looking to gain access to a non-Russian passport for their kids — the Argentine passport is relatively easy to obtain and allows for visa-free travel across 175 countries. Others are simply fleeing the war, the Russian government, or just looking for a different place to raise a family.

“I don’t speak about the war. My blog is about positive content.”

Regardless of their reasons, there’s one thing that all pregnant Russian women pouring into Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza Airport need: advice on getting around Argentina generally, and ensuring a safe pregnancy and delivery specifically. Social media is often their first port of call.


The perks for Argentina’s young Russian momfluencers go beyond the usual benefits of being an online celebrity. By providing Russian content to their audience of new arrivals in a faraway land, these influencers are fast becoming this community’s leading lights. Even with her modest following, Pepeliaeva said she has convinced and helped over 100 families to make the move — they comprise approximately 30% of her client base.

This content also drives a lucrative business. Influencers sell how-to booklets and monetize their content via niche ads catering to the twin challenges of migration and baby-care products. Online advice often translates into real-life paid events, like influencer Any Gonchar’s recent master class on lactation for pregnant and lactating Russian moms in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

Meanwhile, Ekaterina Nekrasova, known as @flyskybutterfly on Instagram, sells medovik, a type of traditional Russian cake, in Buenos Aires. She told Rest of World her customer base is made up of her nearly 4,000 highly engaged followers, many of whom are Russian mothers or mothers-to-be, craving a taste of home.

Influencer Tanya Kazakowa, known as @tanya.kazakowa on Instagram, told Rest of World that as a rule, “I don’t speak about the war. My blog is about positive content.”

Russian migration to Argentina follows similar trends to other migrating communities, such as people wanting to meet each other, whether online or halfway across the world, Reid Standish, a journalist and Russian Studies expert formerly based in Moscow, told Rest of World. Russian people, however, he noted, seem to be particularly skilled at community-building on social media.

“A lot of the economy in Moscow and Saint Petersburg is made up of digital marketing. It’s a particularly common job if you’re a Russian millennial living in the big city,” said Standish. Some of the more popular online courses offered by Pepeliaeva and Kazakowa focus on how to monetize Instagram. Their success underscores the self-perpetuating journey — from immigrant to influencer —  taken on by the newly arrived mothers-to-be.