Sunday, February 12, 2023

Fewer Russians Say They Want to Emigrate Now than Did a Year Ago, Surveys Find

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 9 – In December 2021, 20 percent of Russians said they would like to live and work abroad, a percentage that fell to 15 or 16 percent in December of 2022, according to Russian and international polls. But in both cases, the share wanting to do so was only about half of what it was in developed countries elsewhere.

            While polls in authoritarian and especially totalitarian countries are notoriously unreliable – people aren’t likely to give answers to pollsters they don’t know that will likely get them in trouble – both the downward trend since Putin began his expanded war in Ukraine and the fact that Russian figures are lower than those elsewhere are striking.

            (For these data sets, see, and

            These figures suggest that the desire among Russians to emigrate has been exaggerated by an overreading of the numbers of Russians who have left to avoid mobilization to serve in the war in Ukraine and that Kremlin propaganda about the problems of Western countries may be having an effect as well.

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