Grigory Pasko: Russia’s Brain Drain

brighton033111.jpgIt would seem I had already become accustomed to the notion that there is practically not one single corner of the earth left where you can’t find a Russian person. From Australia to Iceland, from Brazil to Japan, we are everywhere, sometimes taking over like an infestation. In so doing it ought to be taken into account that I’m not speaking about tourists, but about those who have left Russia for abroad for a new “PMZh” – permanent place of residence. Если Вы хотите прочитать оригинал данной статьи на русском языке, нажмите сюда. Of course, many of those who have left haven’t yet become citizens of the countries they’ve taken a fancy to. But this is a matter of time and persistence. Of course, many were compelled to leave: the power structure in today’s Russia makes starting businesses and owning property very difficult apart from few rich men with a tenacity that wasn’t inherent even to the “birdlings of Dzerzhinsky’s nest“. For example, look no further than the burgeoning community of wealthy but frightened Russian men in London. But not only the rich leave Russia. To my surprise I have met with many working class Russian people in other countries, who had left to their new adopted homes not even knowing the languages of these countries.

Once in my blog I wrote on this topic. And, it is recalled, an argument ensued with one of the readers. He asserted that Russians began to leave Russia massively still under Yeltsin, while under Putin and his stability, on the contrary, the outflow of of human resources shrank.Let’s take a look at what the numbers say. According to official data 440.000 persons have left Russia in just the last 5 years:In actuality this number, most likely, is much higher, because those leaving, as a rule, don’t tell the chekists about their intentions.According to official computations around 100.000 leave the country per year:There are other conclusions as well. According to the calculations of head of the Accounts Chamber Sergei Stepashin, 1 mln 250 thousand persons have left Russia into emigration in recent years. This is only the official statistics, without accounting for daunshiftery [“downshifters”], who have leased out their apartments and gone off to meditate in Goa or Thailand, Gastarbeiters and others. For comparison: after the October overthrow of the year 1917 2 mln. citizens abandoned Russia. Sociologists confirm that emigrational moods today visit every second representative of the middle class. The Levada-Centre conducted a survey upon an order from the EU-Russia Centre, according to which 50% of Russians dream of leaving the country. Among moderate or active supporters of moving to the country 75% comprised people younger than 35 years of age. 63% of those surveyed wanted for their children to study and work beyond the border. (Source)It’s not hard to guess that in the main, it’s young, literate, able-bodied, enterprising people with initiative who are leaving. I won’t say that passive, lazy and insane people remain: people remain (are compelled to remain) also for various reasons.Not infrequently, those who have left become respected and famous people beyond the border, even Nobel laureates. Here is how some of them speak then about their motherland: “To remain in Russia was for me as good as spending life on a struggle with windmills, while work for me is a hobby and to waste my life on a rat race is something I absolutely did not want“.Why are people leaving Russia? «I can not name and designate any even remotely positive phenomenon in Russia for the duration of already 30 years now, -admitted an acquaintance to me. – Everything evokes nausea. The general state of collapse, the bureaucracy, the banditism, the never-ending war in the Caucasus».Yes, o ugly motherland [“rodina-urodina” in Russian–Trans.], how complex, to love such a hopelessly disgusting thing as you! It’s much easier and more pleasant to arrive at everything prepared and established.So what, to judge one’s acquaintances! For what? For seeking a better lot? Or because someone has the opportunity, and you don’t? After all, it’s not with billions that people cast off from the Russian wharf, but with a head and hands, striving for labor and understanding, for the respect of society and the law». This is one of the opinions.In recent times, the posting of one blogger, who has left Russia, is popular in the Russian segment of the internet.He, in particular, writes: «Russia is an evil, moreover – of a worldwide scale. Evil must be annihilated. Consequently, everything that is directed against Russia is a good….In general, to emigrate is much easier than this seems from Russia. To get a tourist visa now is not a problem, a residence permit – of course, is more complex, but here too there are different paths. As an example, if there are no provable grounds to ask for the status of a refugee – one can get a work visa to Australia or Canada; there, unlike in the USA, they give it automatically, if you gather the necessary quantity of points, given by profession (from a rather large list), education, knowledge of the language, age (the younger, the better), etc. Of course, nobody’s waiting for us anywhere with open arms, certain difficulties, especially at the start, will have to be overcome everywhere. But what is being spoken of is not getting into paradise. What is being spoken of is breaking out of hell. From a hell that in the foreseeable prospect is going to be getting ever worse and worse. By the way, a country and a people consistently standing up on the side of evil don’t deserve anything else.I still don’t know how my own personal destiny will turn out, will they give me asylum in the USA or will I have to look for another country for myself. I know one thing – I will not return to Russia in any event…»This post, I shall repeat myself, is very popular in the Russian blogosphere – hundreds of thousands of people have read it already. This means that the topic of departure interests people very much. Discussions of the topic of departure from Russia sound ever more frequently on the radio. Recently on «Echo Moskvy» they were discussing this topic and it was said: many Russians have a backup airfield abroad in the form of a house-apartment. Most often this is Bulgaria, Montenegro, Turkey, even Egypt and even Georgia. I myself have an acquaintance who has a little house in Montenegro. That is, if Putin and his brave oprichniki get completely beastly from impunity, then these people have where to leave to. And they’re not going to feel any pangs of conscience, because each one has a justification: to preserve their and their children’s health; to provide for a future for their children; simply to survive or to live out their golden years in a normal life…Be that as it may, but one thing is obvious: people are leaving the country. It is already not dear and their own to them. It is already a stepmother for them….What is funniest is that for Putin with Medvedev this country is also, judging by their attitude towards it, unloved.