About one in every 10 Russians wants to emigrate from the country, a recent poll has shown, and while few seem to be actively pursuing their wish, the number is significant because it represents mostly young and educated professionals.
Among those who said they wanted to leave Russia, 47 percent were motivated by the chance of a higher living standard and better wages abroad; 14 percent were attracted by greater opportunities for career advancement; and 12 percent said they wanted better social protection, the state-run VTsIOM pollster said in a report released Monday.
The question on why Russians would want to leave the country allowed for multiple answers, and political disagreements with the government were not listed among the responses.
The total number of those wishing to emigrate, 11 percent, has remained largely unchanged in recent years after spiking at 16 percent in 1996, according to previous polls published on the VTsIOM website.
VTsIOM head Valery Fyodorov said the "number of potential emigrants is fairly stable: It's about the same as it was in the 1990s," with few fluctuations noted between the presidencies of former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin and his successor Vladimir Putin, Kommersant reported.
"Both under Yeltsin and under Putin, there have been grumblers who believe that everything is bad in Russia and that they need to leave, yet they do nothing to bring this about," Fyodorov told Kommersant.
But Alexei Grazhdankin, the deputy director of the independent Levada Center pollster, said "11 percent wishing to leave is a big number," even if only 1 percent indeed emigrate at some point, Kommersant reported.
Potential emigrants are "as a rule, young people," Grazhdankin was quoted as saying. This figure is unlikely to grow much because the majority of people outside of Moscow and a handful of other major cities "lack the resources [and] professional skills to emigrate," he told Kommersant.
The number of Russians who had little interest in emigrating stood at 88 percent in the latest poll, about the same as in previous years, according to the VTsIOM website.
While the report provided no information on whether that number correlated with respondents' political views, a poll by the Levada Center released earlier this month showed a similar number of Russians — 87 percent — approved of Putin's policies.
The latest VTsIOM poll was conducted between June 28-29 among 1,600 people in 130 cities and towns in 42 Russian regions. It gave a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.