Brain drain from Russia: who benefits from it?

Elizabeth Smith

“With this crazy conflict, Putin is shooting himself in the foot. The biggest losses will not come from the conflict, but from a deep economic crisis in Russia,’ says Ilya Kashnitsky, associate professor at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Population Dynamics in Denmark.

Brain drain from Russia

Confirming that Russia fears a brain drain from the war is one fact.

The Russian government exempted young tech workers from compulsory military service, offered them advantageous mortgages, exempted tech companies from income tax, rent and inspections, and gave them access to cheap loans.

Russian leaders hoped that the technology sector would accelerate economic development. And, more recently, support post-pandemic recovery.

But Russia has suffered a severe brain drain in the technology sector since the war broke out at the end of February.

In the following four weeks, between 50,000 and 70,000 workers in the sector left the country, the head of a trade association said in a report submitted to a Russian parliamentary committee.

How many people left Russia

Between 70,000 and 100,000 more people are likely to leave, said Sergey Plugotarenko, director of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC), told the state news agency Interfax. “It is clear that emigration is happening at a pace we have never seen before,” said independent demographer Alexey Raksha.

Jean-Christophe Dumont, head of the OECD’s international migration division, said the volume of people leaving Russia had not previously been a cause for concern for the government. “This situation is now definitely changing the rules of the game and several countries are seizing the opportunity.”

Israel has created a fast ‘green route’ for refugees from Ukraine and Russia. “Almost as many Russians as Ukrainians have moved to Israel since the beginning of the war,” Dumont said, adding that Israel targets people working in robotics, aeronautics and nanotechnology.

Read also: Putin’s war: what are the real and alleged targets of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

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