Staunton, August 10 – Some Russian commentators have suggested Vladimir Putin has benefited by allowing those Russians unhappy with his policies to leave the country rather than remain at home and protest. But there is little to suggest protests would have occurred had emigration not happened; and the real costs of the emigration are high, Igor Eidman says.
People are afraid because of the repressive actions of the regime, the sociologist-commentator says, and “the majority of potential emigres aren’t prepared” to take the risks engaging in protests entails. And so they aren’t making a choice “between emigration and heroic resistance” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=62F3F1C3DC22A§ion_id=50A6C962A3D7C).
Instead, they are going abroad rather than continuing to live lives of quiet desperation inside the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, the regime is suffering from real losses in taxes, potential draftees, and skilled workers needed for the recovery and development of the Russian Federation.
Eidman does not address what this balance in costs and benefits may mean in terms of Moscow’s continuing willingness to allow most Russians who want to leave the opportunity to do so. But his argument is likely to convince at least some in the Putin regime that the time has come to impose strict limits on emigration.
That some officials may already be drawing that conclusion is suggested by others. (On that possibility, see in particular, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2022/08/putin-likely-to-follow-lukashenkas.html.)