Friday, March 18, 2022

More than 200,000 Russian Citizens have Fled Russia Since Putin Began His War in Ukraine

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 13 – Since the start of Putin’s war in Ukraine, more than 200,000 Russians have fled their country, the largest number in such a short time in history and an exodus of young and talented people, not only in journalism but in the IT sector, that is likely to hurt the Russian economy even more than the current sanctions regime.

            Except for some high profile cases, this massive outflow has passed with little notice because Moscow does not release data on it, because far from all of it is political, and because most of it is going, at least as a first step, to the countries where planes are still flying from Russia and where Russians don’t need visas (с-начала-войны-россию-покинули-до-200-тысяч-человек and

            A large fraction of those departing are people who work in largely apolitical areas like IT where people can no longer do their jobs. The exit of IT professionals is especially serious because Russian experts say that the country is already suffering from a shortage of more than one million of them. Those leaving are adding to that number (

            Many of the new Russian emigres are going to Armenia, Georgia, and Central Asian countries. These are unlikely to be their final destinations: many will undoubtedly move on to Western countries or to places on the Pacific rim; but they can’t get to the latter easily directly and so the former Soviet republics are way stations.

            What makes this massive upsurge so striking is that polls show the number of Russians before Putin’s war in Ukraine who wanted to live abroad had been declining over the past decade. In only two or three weeks, that has been reversed (

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