This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
One in five Russians say they would leave their country if they could, according to a new poll by Gallup.
The Washington-based pollster said on April 4 that since 2014, the percentage of working-age Russians who say they would like to move has at least tripled.
It said that among those aged 15-29, the number of people who would like to migrate jumped to 44 percent from 14 percent, while 22 percent of those between the ages of 30 and 45 would like to move, up from 7 percent.
“Although young people typically are more likely to want to migrate — as they are the most mobile within a population — the 44 percent of the youngest Russians who want to move is unprecedented in Russia within the past decade,” Gallup said.
Migration is becoming an issue in Russia after the country’s population declined in 2018, the first drop in a decade.
Disillusionment in Russia has been growing amid the country’s economic struggles.
Real incomes have declined in recent years, while sanctions from the United States and the European Union over Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and lower oil and gas prices continue to hurt the economy.
Gallup said that those who want to leave could be as just as large a concern as the how many.
“While not all of these Russians will move, the higher desire in recent years should concern Moscow,” Gallup said.
“Larger potential migration numbers could accelerate the population decline, and losses could potentially exceed the 8 percent of the population that the United Nations currently projects Russia to lose by 2050,” it added.
Disenchantment with President Vladimir Putin also appears to be at the center of why so many Russians would like to leave their home country.
The survey’s results show that 40 percent of those who disapproved of the Kremlin’s current course would like to migrate, most often to a country within the European Union.
Gallup said 40 percent would choose the EU as their migration destination, mainly Germany. Some 16 percent would choose North America, mainly the United States.
“Russia would be well-served to look hard at why so many more Russians would like to move away in the first place, and look for ways to not only retain them, but to entice the Russians who may have already left to return,” Gallup said.