The authors of Atlantic Council’s reports “Putin’s Exodus: The New Russian Brain Drain,” believe that a new wave of emigration from Russia is increasing because of political and not economic reasons.
According to the authors, emigration from Russia has been going on more than 15 years. Under Vladimir Putin between 1.6 to 2 million Russians left the country. At the same time, more have left since 2012 than during the first eight years of Putin’s presidency. 45% of those who left the country have a bachelor’s degree, and 37% have a master’s or doctoral degree, the report says.
40% of those who responded to the survey cited the general political climate as the reason for leaving Russia; 33%- lack of political rights; 32%- the problematic economic situation and lack of opportunity to realize their personality; 29%- political persecution; 26%- difficulty finding work; and 24%- problems with the quality of education.
Experts emphasize that the Kremlin allows everyone to leave the country in order to to reduce the number of those who disagree with the authorities inside the country. The West “should be more willing to accept Russian immigrants, a valuable resource for promoting democracy and a free economy,” summarized the report’s authors.
The report was prepared by the Director of the Eurasian Center Atlantic Council John Herbst and Sergey Erofeev, a lecturer at Rutgers University, New Jersey. The report is based on the results of a survey of four hundred representatives of recent Russian emigres and subsequent conversations in focus groups in the US, UK, and Germany. The report was presented on February 21st in Washington.