Moscow Dramatically Understating Number of Russians Emigrating, New Study Says
January 16 – Moscow’s Project Research Center says that the Russian government
is understating the number of Russians emigrating from the country by a factor
of six times, a conclusion it has reached by comparing the numbers Rosstat says
are leaving the country with the numbers of Russians other countries say are
some countries, the difference is even greater, but the factor of six is the
summary figure for the 24 countries Project experts examined. But the overall
figure means that far more Russians are in fact moving abroad than the
government admits (proekt.media/research/statistika-emigration/).
if the Project Center’s figures are correct, more than two million Russians are
emigrating each year now and not the slightly less than 400,000 Rosstat has
reported, a figure that would drive down the Russian population still further now
and by taking away many in prime child-bearing cohorts drive it down still further
in the future.
are several reasons why the figures diverge besides the obvious one that Moscow
doesn’t want to acknowledge the number is so large -- especially since a very large
share of them is younger and far more educated, a pattern that doesn’t hurt the
Kremlin’s resource-export economic agenda but is an embarrassment and further
reduces the size of the Russian population.
of all, various countries count emigres in various ways, with some including
those who may simply be long-term students or visitors and who may eventually
return to their own country. Russia doesn’t count such people, but others do.
Consequently, Russian figures would be lower.
Russia is not the only country that manipulates figures in this area. Some
countries like to present themselves as magnets which attract people from other
places, while others want to minimize the inflow or alternatively seek more
resources for dealing with immigrants.
third, in today’s globalized and interconnected world, emigration has changed
its meaning: A century ago, it was almost always unidirectional. Once someone
left a country, he or she almost certainly would never return. Now, the flow
often is reversed in response to economic and political change.
even allowing for those factors, the Project numbers are significant both as an
indictment of the Putin regime’s failure to make Russia an attractive place to
live even for Russians and as an indication that the problems with Russian
statistics are deeper than even recent criticism has suggested.