Friday, July 21, 2023

Recent Emigres from Russia Remain in Close Contact with Their Compatriots at Home, New Study Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 16 – Kremlin propagandists do everything they can to present the Russians who have left their homeland since the start of the expansion of Putin’s aggression in Ukraine as radically different than Russians who have not left and increasingly cut off from the latter and certainly without any influence on them.

            A new study by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung confirms that the emigres do differ from those who have not left in that they are more likely to be professionals, more politically active and more opposed to the war in Ukraine (  and

            But this study, which involved surveys of more than 2,000 emigres in some 60 countries also found that the emigres remain both personally connected to friends and families back home and politically influential on the domestic scene through Internet publications and social networks as a result of their continuing political activity in emigration.

            According to the poll, some 57 percent of all Russian emigres continue to speak with Russians in the Russian Federation frequently; and their contacts suggest that Russians in Russia are paying close attention to what the emigres are saying, an indication that this emigration may play a larger role in Russia’s future than many assume.

            If that is the case, then those in the West who would like to see Russia change in a positive direction should view the new emigres as an important political resource, both as a source of information about what is going on and how Russians in general feel but also as a means to change the weather as it were in Russia itself.

            One of the most intriguing findings of the poll is that the decolonization of Russia and an end to its imperial self-concept and actions are extremely important for many immigrants. “Russia must undergo decolonization,” stop looking down at people outside of Moscow, and end the “elder brother” syndrome characteristic of many Russians to this day.

            Such views are not always reflected in the statements of the leaders of Russian émigré organizations; but if they are as widespread among the emigres as the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung suggests, then they are likely to become increasingly influential as the leadership of these groups passes from earlier emigration waves to the latest one. 

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