Sunday, October 29, 2023

Putin Claims Half of Russians who Left after Start of Ukrainian War have Returned but New Study Finds Only a Few More than 15 Percent Have

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 26 – Much has been made of a report in the Financial Times that slightly more than 15 percent of those Russians who had moved abroad following Putin’s launch of his expanded invasion of Ukraine, but many of the reports have failed to note that these returnees may not be permanent and that their share of the total is far less than Putin has claimed.

            In June, the Kremlin leader said that 50 percent of those who had moved abroad had in fact changed their minds and moved back to Russia ( But that figure has been called into question by new research by the European University Institute in Florence (

            That study, conducted by Emil Kamalov and Ivetta Sergeyeva, found that fewer than a third of those Putin suggested had returned have and that even among that number, many may have come back only temporarily to settle their affairs or see relatives (

            And that figure suggests that Russia is likely to be without many of those so-called “relocators” until Putin leaves the scene and Moscow’s policies change and that their number may even swell if there is the threat of mass mobilization or more talk about penalizing those who have gone abroad but seek to return. 

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