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1 in 3 Students Looking to Leave Russia – Survey

Pelagia Tikhonova / Moskva News Agency

One out of three Russian students have expressed a desire to leave the country in an unpublished Kremlin survey, the iStories investigative outlet reported Thursday.

Forty-four percent of the polled students described the state of affairs in wartime Russia as a “crisis,” while 32% described it as a “collapse/breakdown.”

Fear and anxiety ranked first at 36% when the students were asked to associate an emotion with Russia, according to iStories.

Just one-quarter named hope as the emotion they associate with Russia, while one in five chose resentment and disappointment and 12-14% chose respect, pride and trust.

Between 14-24% of students at most of the surveyed universities expressed the wish to leave Russia, iStories reported. This figure jumped to 58% at Moscow’s top-ranked Higher School of Economics (HSE).

Some 64% of the polled students approved of Russian President Vladimir Putin, compared to a national average of 80% who approved of him in April 2023.

The question was omitted in HSE’s survey, according to iStories.

More than 500 universities, including 30 in occupied Ukrainian territories, were involved in the poll, which was conducted on behalf of Russia’s presidential administration, the Education Ministry and the Science and Higher Education Ministry.

iStories said it spotted the survey’s aggregated results online.

The respondents were required to submit their answers by registering using their phone numbers or through Russia’s popular social network VKontakte, iStories said.

The survey was carried out between April 10-28 and is expected to continue into November 2023.

Russia has grappled with an outflow of young, educated people, particularly after its invasion of Ukraine sparked a mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of Russians abroad.

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