Young people want to leave Russia

41% of Russians aged 18 to 24 would like to move to live abroad. This is evidenced by a poll by the Levada Center. Most often, young residents of large cities expressed their desire to leave. And also citizens interested in politics.
At the same time, sociologists note that the amount of Russians who dream of emigrating has not changed significantly in recent years. There are much more of those who are not ready to leave – 61% stated that they are against moving to another country.
Sociological studies show that real emigration has also grown younger. If in 2001 the share of emigrants from 15 to 34 years old was 30-40%, then in 10 years – 40-50%, according to the report of the Higher School of Economics. It happens due to the popularity of studying abroad, the requirements of the host country, and the dictates of the market.

But governmental sociological agency VTsIOM has absolutely another point of view.

A similar poll by VTsIOM last year showed similar sentiments, but the numbers were lower. Only 10% of Russians expressed their desire to leave the country. A third of them are young people. And this was the highest figure in the last seven years.

“It would be completely wrong to interpret the answers of respondents, especially young people, today as“ escape from the horrific Russian reality, ”commented Stepan Lvov, head of the VTsIOM research department. – This is evidence of the growing openness of our youth in relation to other countries, and maybe even a challenge to the outside world.

So this kind of data actually is used as a tool to discuss the situation in Russia. And how does it happen? Two both Kremlin-oriented sociological agencies have almost the same survey, but the results are completely different. How?

I’ve set up a little experiment. I do understand that it is not quite professional, but it was very curios.
I had a conversation among my acquaintances. From 23 to 28 years old with higher education. I did it in a little more detailed manner. I only had 9 respondents. I am not a sociological service or media outlet, and I do not have the resources to conduct a professional survey. But I have a trusting relationship with these people, so I can be more confident that they are telling me the truth rather than giving the answer that I supposedly want to hear. Moreover, it was more possible to understand what exactly stops people from changing their place of residence. During the process I realized that this question should have been asked differently.

I started with a question that sounded like this: “Would you like to leave Russia?”
3 out of 9 answered “yes”. Not such a shocking start. But even this does not reflect the full picture.
Then I asked the rest of them why they did not want to leave Russia. Two responded that they do not know a foreign language, therefore they are afraid of the linguistic barrier. When I was taking the TEFL / TESOL (teaching English as a second oral language) certificate, I studied materials on the British Migrant Adaptation Programs, which were aimed at helping migrants to learn a foreign language upon arrival in the UK. I told them about it and after that my question sounded like this: “Would you like to leave the country on condition of assistance in learning the language of the country of arrival?” And two more people added their approval. Total 5 out of 9 after just a little refinement. Although such a program is actually quite common in developed countries. So you feel it, right? They actually do want to change the country of living, but on some conditions.


I will not steal your time to tell what was done with the others, you will guess easily. But my final version of the question sounded like this: “Would you like to leave Russia and move to a more developed country, if you are provided with assistance in: learning the language of the country of arrival, seeking employment, assistance with accommodation and assistance with resolving the visa issue?” The result speaks for itself – 7 out of 9. The most interesting thing is that they simply do not know that all these ways of assistance actually exist in most migration programs in developed countries.
The 8th person agreed too, but would not go before his child reaches the age of 3 years. In fact, only one person replied that he refuses.

But I do believe that even this question does not demonstrate the opinion about if people approve the policy of the government even sociological surveys are being used for it here. It should be asked straightly. And I’ve asked those people the question “Do you approve governmental actions in Russia of this year?”

9/9- “no”

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