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Moscow Says 100K IT Specialists Have Left Russia This Year

Russians fleeing mobilization in September and October formed massive queues at the country's border with Georgia. Valery Sharifulin / TASS

Around 100,000 IT specialists have left Russia this year, an official said Tuesday, following the start of Moscow's military operation in Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Young Russians fled the country in droves, especially those working in the IT sector and able to work remotely, sparking fears of a brain drain.

Some months later, the announcement of the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of men in late September triggered another wave of departures.

"Up to 10% of employees of IT companies have left the country and have not returned. In total, around 100,000 IT specialists are abroad," the minister for digital development, Maksut Shadayev, was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies. 

According to him, 80% of those who left continue to work for Russian companies remotely.

The minister did not give a reason for the departures but recommended not imposing "strict restrictions" on remote work to avoid "pushing them to seek work in foreign companies."

The majority of Russians who left have arrived in neighboring countries, such as Armenia, Georgia and Kazakhstan, but also Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

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