Brain Drain

More bad news for the future of Russia’s economy: Rosbalt reports on the phenomenon of “brain drain” from Russia. That is highly skilled workers needed to drive innovation are fleeing Russia en masse.

What the researchers found is that the lack of competitive salaries and poor working conditions are contributing “to the ongoing “brain drain” from the country.

According to the report titled “Emigration from Russia at the end of the 20th to the beginning of the 21st century”, “the number of Russian citizens living abroad today is much higher than the figure of 1.5 million people officially passing as emigrants.”

“…1.5 million are those who hold Russian passports, came to the Russian consulate, and stood there to be registered.” However, added the director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations [Evgeny Gontmakher], “a lot more Russian citizens live there without coming to the Russian Consulate and not being registered, that is why they are not present in Russian statistics (of emigrants), they appear to live in Russia.”

The Moscow Times reported:

The real number of Russians emigrating abroad is between three and four times higher than official data, according to a report published by Russia’s Committee of Civil Initiatives.

Official U.S. data for 2014, for example, registered 4.7 times as many Russians immigrating to the country than Russia’s state statistics agency Rosstat, with the same tendency apparent with Germany (5 times higher), Spain (19 times higher) and the Czech Republic (20 times higher).

Gontmakher compared the situation in Russia with that of India, and says that Russia does not compare favorably.

Highly skilled Indians at one time traveled en masse mainly to the US. They created there the foundations for entire sectors, IT, for example. Now, however, there is quite a large return [home] of the Indians, because India has established a number of points of real development. On returning home from the US, an Indian specialist receives a salary that is not inferior to what he received in the US, while he lives in his native, familiar environment. And the flow (of specialists) is now going in the opposite direction. The same situation is taking place in China.

Russia, meanwhile, continues to lose highly skilled professionals as the working conditions in Russian research institutes continues to deteriorate. “Words and appeals to return are one thing, but real conditions are another,” stated the expert.

But it’s not just poor working conditions or bad salaries. There is a real lack of opportunity for people to improve their lives. Innovation is not encouraged. And even if you do invent something patent rights are highly questionable, with little recourse in the courts if someone does steal your intellectual property. Who would stay in such an environment?

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