Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pandemic Depressing Share of Russians who Want to Move Abroad Permanently

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 7 – The share of Russians who have no desires or plans to move abroad has risen slightly since last year to 82 percent, with the percentage saying they were thinking about it falling three percentage points since 2019, according to a new VTsIOM survey (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=10431).

            As before, the older Russians are, the less likely they are to consider emigrating, with 90 percent of those 60 and over rejecting the idea compared to 60 percent among those aged 18 to 24. In the last cohort, however, 38 percent said they were thinking about the possibility of moving abroad at least in the abstract.

            But according to the sociologists who conducted the survey, only 11 percent of those thinking about emigration have taken any serious steps in that direction, down six percentage points since 2017. Those who are thinking about emigrating say they are motivated by a desire for a better life or by dissatisfaction with the political and social systems in Russia.

            Just over half of all Russians – 51 percent -- view emigration as “dishonest and unpatriotic.”  Again, older Russians are more likely to hold that view than younger ones. Seventy-one percent of Russians aged 18 to 24 say individuals should live wherever they are most comfortable.

            Finally, VTsIOM reported that the share of Russians who believe their co-nationals are thinking about emigration has declined three percentage points over the last year from 32 percent to 29 percent, with the remainder divided between those who think the number of potential emigres has increased and those who don’t have an opinion or won’t give one.

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