Wednesday, November 27, 2019

More Russians have Now Fled Putin’s Russia than Did from Lenin's after Bolshevik Revolution

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 23 – More people have now fled Putin’s Russia than fled the Bolshevik revolution, and just like their predecessors, the new exodus consists of the more educated portion of the population, a trend that once again will have the most negative consequences as a Russia of the future seeks to recover from the Putin period.

            The exact number of people who have left in these two periods is a matter of debate because of problems in counting the various flows after 1917 (On this, see among others, W. Chapin Huntington, The Homesick Million: Russia-Out-of-Russia (Boston, 1933.) and both that problem and difficulties in deciding how permanent any departures are now. 

            But the number who left Russia after the Bolshevik revolution numbered around two million. Now, Russian officials concede, two million of the most highly educated Russians have left during Putin’s second term alone (

            Added to the number who left between 1991 and 2013 and those who are less well-educated, the size of the current “Putin emigration” is far larger than the one the Bolsheviks triggered, although some of the new group unlike the overwhelming majority of the former may see themselves less as emigres than as people who move in response to opportunities.

            But while that may motivate most of those who have chosen to leave – and this number is far larger than from other post-Soviet states Moscow commentators love to talk about the depopulation of – many undoubtedly view going abroad as an increasingly good idea given how much worse things are becoming in Putin’s Russia. 

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