Isolation and emigration: the “Levada-center” about the attitude of Russians to leave the country

The proportion of Russians, has declared his desire to emigrate in recent years does not change significantly and does not exceed 20% of the adult population of Russia. The number of those who “definitely wants” to go abroad for permanent residence in 2018 reached a peak in the last seven years — 61%. These are the results of a recent survey “Emigration” of the Russians, who on 4 February published an Analytical center of Yuri Levada. These sentiments have commented RFI Natalie Keen, head of Department socially-political researches “Levada-center”.

RFI: In December of last year on the question of the desire to move abroad, 61% of respondents replied — “definitely no”. This was 5% more than in 2017. Since 2011, the number of those who so firmly ruled out the possibility of a departure, and almost never exceed half. Why the increase in “undecided” with a negative answer to the question of emigration? It would seem that economic stagnation, falling incomes, the uncertainty of prospects should lead to the growth of “suitcase mood.”

Natalie Sharp: ‘Suitcase mood’ are, rather, a barometer. Our survey says about the readiness to emigrate, and the fluctuations in the attitudes of people who don’t like the life they lead. Whether it is a capital, major cities, peripheral towns and villages. Grown the indicator of the reluctance to go anywhere (80% — if the answer is “definitely not” to lay down the answer “rather no”) corresponds to the proportion of those people who are “polugrebennoi” lifestyle. In fact, according to our data, passports have only 20-25% of the population. Most of the people do not live very mobile. In addition, I think that played a role the fact that the last time the country lives in an increasing feeling of isolation from the rest of the world. Is implanted propaganda, and the sense of isolation grows.

However, mobilization of the rise of support for authorities that emerged after the Crimea, falling, and growing dissatisfaction with everyday life, the internal life of the country. The situation in this sense is changing. But emigration usually affect the most independent, active, young, educated and skilled part of the population that has the resources to even think about emigration. 2014 in this very thin layer was a real “brain drain”. I don’t have at hand precise statistics, but hundreds of thousands certainly have gone every year. Although it is a very fine city “self-made” layer that has opportunities and prospects to gain a foothold in the West.

The growth of “suitcase sentiment” always exceeds the actual emigration: if 15% say they want to go, then the answers to specific questions — “what are you doing for this and specifically plan”, it turns out that only some 2% that actually do.

Answers about the readiness to emigrate is more of an indicator of rejection of the political, social and economic realities and desires of some other imaginary life, and not a real desire or opportunity to emigrate.

Willingness to emigrate is strongest among young people: 41% of respondents aged 18-24 years on the question of the desire to move abroad answer “Yes, definitely” or “probably Yes”. At twice the overall rate for the sample (17%). How long have you commit such sentiments among young Russians?

Young this figure was in 2006 and in 2010 — about 40%. However, there is running the same scheme. Young more likely to want to go to learn, to work, and the reality of leaving is still very few. Among the active and educated urban youth, these sentiments are stronger. We also conducted a study in which simulated still not developed in Russia the middle class — through the selection of respondents with a high per capita income, residents of major cities, limiting the respondents age (under 40 years), educational level (one or two higher educations, academic degree). In this environment indicator (willingness to emigrate RFI) in the largest cities reached 40-45%. Especially on the eve of the 2011 protests, which in some sense was a splash immigration sentiment. The main push factors push factors (or, conversely, pull factors) for emigration was the social or legal protection, the desire to provide for themselves, their families and above all children normal conditions of life. This layer — the “proto-middle” class, which is not more than 5-7% of the population — more opportunities to leave and, of course, is “leaching”.

Young, who in his life still, and plucked the different plans, the idea of departure is more pronounced for many years, the entire period of Putin. Especially if they are politically active and opposed.

How much influence emigration in the absence of real political life in the Western sense of the word and legal protection? The respondents are asked specific questions about willingness-unwillingness to participate in politics and how do they feel protected by the law.

The bulk of the population has adapted to state arbitrariness and insecurity, although she is this unhappy. The proportion of people who feel protected by the law, is growing, but still is still about 40%. The majority of people living in the feeling of insecurity of their rights, inability to build long-term plans, he lives with anxious expectations of the worst. But it’s those people, who have no opportunity to go somewhere. They adapt to reality, renouncing their rights and from any action. The number of people who are willing and would like to participate more actively in public and political life does not exceed one-fifth of the population. This is the active part of the population — 20%, which is about emigration is more likely to think.

20% of respondents someone from relatives or friends emigrated in the last 2-3 years. How strange example is contagious, and for which categories of respondents?

We spent a whole study about emigration. I think the examples are more contagious again for an advanced, more or less successful urban environment, which has a high income, high qualification and retraining resources. It has overseas connection — friendship, kinship and even business. But between that environment and the rest of the population (same reference state, the inhabitants of the periphery, etc.) there is a very large gap. This gap between successful citizens who protested in 2011, and the bulk of the people who are showing discontent in local protests, but could not unite, since there is no real parties, no serious social movements that would help the apolitical part of the population to articulate their interests and needs and go into the action plan.

Therefore, the examples already emigrated, if valid, the proto-middle class and can say that the Pro-democratic and preliberal nastroennoy environment, which, according to the most marginal estimates, does not exceed 30% of the population.

The Russians perceive the “departing”? In General, your sample, one third refers to immigrants positively, the majority (56%) were neutral, and only 14% — negatively. Young people have a positive attitude prevails (45%). Any change in this attitude over the years surveys? Soviet stamps on those who left as “traitors” is completely eliminated?

We are, unfortunately, a question not previously asked, it will be necessary still to repeat. But I think it is too early to talk about ezitati Soviet stamps. That is hidden under the answer “neutral”, mostly repressed negative feelings that people do not want to Express openly and clearly in the negative. In this neutrality, there is also envy, resentment, and discontent. This answer not only means that people are free to do as they want. I think that the attitude of leaving has such envious, resentimente features. But it must still be checked. Soviet stamps do not seem to come to the surface, although now from deputies, public figures can also hear the phrase: don’t like it here, pack your bags and goodbye. This response dissatisfied and those who criticize government: well, whatever. So the Soviet cliché is preserved.
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