Report: Economic Woes Drive Russian Brain Drain Increase

More educated Russians have been leaving the country for economic and political reasons since 2014, a new report published by the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) reveals.

According to The Moscow Times, researchers at the prestigious state university conducted interviews with Russian emigrants abroad and cited statistics from countries receiving them. Each year, an estimated 100,000 Russians immigrate to developed countries, around 40% of whom have a higher education, RANEPA said on Tuesday.

The report noted 2.7 million Russians currently live abroad, of which 1.5 million have kept their Russian citizenship, though the number of Russians outside of the country with a higher education does not exceed 800,000 people.

Previous reports have found discrepancies between the real number of Russians abroad and official data.

A quarter of respondents interviewed by the academy said that they left due to political reasons, including “disappointment after the 2012 elections and especially the events of 2014,” when Russia’s relations with Western countries deteriorated after it annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine.

Other respondents ascribed their departure from Russia to “a marked change in the economic situation after 2014,” including fewer opportunities for employment, career development and a reduction in salaries.

Of those that went abroad, approximately a third said they would never return to Russia, while about 50 percent said they would not exclude the possibility of returning back to Russia but saw no immediate opportunities to do so, the report said.