Might Russia now be experiencing its own ‘brain drain’ from amongst its best and brightest as a consequence of Putin’s war against Ukraine?
In an article for the Telegraph, Dr Jade McGlynn, author and academic at the Monterey Initiative in Russian Studies reports on the increasing disaffection of the coming generation towards the Putin regime and what that may spell for Russia and for the rest of the world.
The current disenchantment is not new:
“In 2012, this same demographic staged mass protests across Russia’s largest cities against flagrant falsification of elections. The state’s violent repression of these demonstrations marked a turning point in the Russian government’s inexorable slide from autocracy to dictatorship. The stifling intellectual atmosphere, combined with a stagnating economy, propelled a brain drain, with 44% of under-thirties wanting to leave Russia in 2019.
This figure has only grown over the last two years after the poisoning of opposition figurehead Alexei Navalny, crackdowns on civil society, and rabid xenophobia.”
Predictably, talent is now fleeing Moscow in search of a safe haven elsewhere and while the Kremlin resorts to blackmail, threats and scare-mongering to deter anyone else from leaving, the West could use this ‘bright flight’ to its own advantage:
“Right now the West is justifiably focussed on helping Ukrainians, who are the innocent victims of Putin’s war crimes. However, in their responses to these atrocities, Western governments should spare, if not help, Russia’s youth – for reasons of self-interest as much as morality. Every bright Russian lured away from home further weakens the Kremlin’s ability to develop ways to mitigate sanctions or to create new technology for a war of attrition against Ukraine. This way, the appeal of life in the West can be used as a weapon to defend ourselves and Ukraine.”
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: