Russians appetite for emigration on the wane – poll

RIA Novosti / Andrey Iglov
The number of Russians wanting to move abroad has dropped to an all-time low. Only nine percent of the population says they are having thoughts of emigrating. Conversely, the poll showed 81 percent have never thought of uprooting to another country.

The survey, which was conducted by the Levada Center last week, saw a two percent drop in those thinking of emigrating from when the last poll was conducted in September 2012. Two and a half years ago, 11 percent of Russians were interested in permanently moving to a foreign country.

The main reason for those wanting to move abroad in this year’s poll, was to improve their way of life. 30 percent cited the unstable economic situation in Russia, while just over a quarter wanted to secure a better future for their children.

Other less popular reasons included high crime rates in Russia, the current political situation and a lack of career opportunities at home.

The pollster’s director Lev Gudkov linked the shift in public opinion with the ongoing crisis in the Russian economy.

The first phase of an economic crisis is always marked by a decline in those wanting to protest or emigrate. However, I think we could expect a surge in protests in a year or two. This happened following the 2008 economic crisis,” the researcher said, speaking to the RBC news agency.

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Gudkov also noted that the majority of Russian’s who thought about emigrating were from wealthy Russian families.

They are quite special – they are educated, they have made fortunes and they possess funds that allow them to leave. They don’t like the lack of property security, the worsening economic climate or what they perceive are limitations to their personal freedoms. However, if things are tolerable, they will stay put. It is only when things become really bad that they will emigrate,” he said.