Russia’s best and brightest are leaving the country in record numbers

Russia’s best and brightest are leaving the country in record numbers. By Yvonne Lau.

Estimates put the number of people who left because of the war at 300,000 to 3.8 million. The exact number is still unknown.

A recent survey from non-governmental organization OK Russians says that the average age of Russians who left the country after Feb. 24 is 32 years old, while 80% of them have a higher education degree.

And as the war approaches its six month anniversary, the country is experiencing a second wave of outward migration, as individuals and families who needed more time to wrap up their lives are now leaving.

And although the estimates vary widely, this year’s mass exodus from the country is comparable to the initial emigration out of Russia when the Soviet Union collapsed and 1.2 million Russians left in 1992 and 1993.

Russia’s current, large-scale brain drain of young, skilled and educated citizens, could decimate sectors from journalism, to academia, and technology, experts say. …

Since February, over 1,000 global companies have curbed their operations in Russia, curtailing job opportunities and access to goods and services for Russians. Inflation soared to nearly 18%, while real wages plunged 7.2% in April.

In the first quarter of this year, the number of Russians living below the poverty line surged to 20.9 million — 14.3% of the population … Former Putin aide Andrei Illarionov told the BBC in April that this number could double or triple as the war continues.

As a result, young people in Russia are generally more opposed to the war than other demographics because they envision an uncertain and unstable life ahead, experts say.