Support The Moscow Times!

Official Data Vastly Underestimates Russian Emigration – Report

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

At least six times more Russians are leaving the country than officially estimated, a comprehensive study conducted by the Proekt news outlet said on Wednesday.

Proekt’s report highlights discrepancies between official data from the Rosstat federal statistics agency and data compiled by countries where Russians emigrate to. Rosstat estimates 377,000 Russians left the country in 2017, the latest period for which figures are available and a six-year record.

“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security counted six times more Russians arriving in 2017 than Rosstat recorded [leaving],” Proekt said. “Six times more people left Russia for 24 OECD countries, where foreign data is available, for 2016.”

OECD, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, groups 34 of the world’s leading economies.

Meanwhile, the UN ranks Russia as having the third largest number of people living outside its borders after India and Mexico — 10.6 million.

Proekt said an increasing number of highly-educated young Russians from the regions are leaving the country in search of better economic opportunities.

Official data from Rosstat underestimates the real number of Russian emigres because it only counts those who have officially canceled their registration in Russia — which most emigres don’t do.

The Civil Initiatives Committee, formed by Audit Chamber chairman Alexander Kudrin, previously estimated that in 2014, the real number of Russians emigrating abroad was between three to four times higher than Rosstat’s data.

That report also shed light on Russia’s brain drain, with both Russian and foreign data indicating the high level of human capital leaving the country.

A 2018 state-funded survey said that one in 10 Russians, including almost one-third of those aged 18 to 24, want to emigrate. A quarter of respondents named a relative or acquaintance who had moved out of Russia in recent years.

Rosstat’s 2018 migration data is expected in July.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more