Hundreds of thousands of professional workers, many of them young, have left Russia since its invasion of Ukraine, accelerating an exodus of business talent and further threatening an economy targeted by Western sanctions.
See: Russia’s economy has adjusted to sanctions. That doesn’t mean Moscow is winning the financial war.
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Those leaving the country include tech workers, scientists, bankers and doctors, according to surveys, economists and interviews with emigrants. They are departing for countries including Georgia, Armenia and Turkey. More are expected to follow.
A mid-March survey by OK Russians, a nonprofit helping people leave the country, estimated that around 300,000 workers had departed since the war started in late February. While precise counts of the number of people leaving Russia aren’t available, some economists have reached similar conclusions about the scale of the outflow. Around 500,000 people left Russia in 2020, according to Rosstat, Russia’s statistics agency.
“The people who are either leaving or planning to leave are highly educated and generally young,” said Elina Ribakova, deputy chief economist at the Institute of International Finance. “This is your most productive part of the labor force that is disappearing.”
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a top regional development bank, expects the Russian economy to contract 10% this year.
An expanded version of this report appears at WSJ.com.
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