Re: 2014-#177-JRL #24 Reuters: Putin’s Ukraine gamble hastens exodus of Russian money and talent.

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

Subject: Re: 2014-#177-JRL #24 Reuters: Putin’s Ukraine gamble hastens exodus of Russian money and talent.
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2014
From: Sergey Slobodyan <Sergey.Slobodyan@cerge-ei.cz>

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen the utterly ridiculous claim that recent Rosstat migration data proves existence of “exodus of Russian talent”:

“Russia’s statistics service data shows 186,382 moved abroad in 2013 and 122,751 in 2012, compared with 36,774 in 2011 and 33,578 in 2010. The true figures could be far higher, as they may not capture those who leave but remain formally registered in Russia.”

Statistics is like a bikini: what is reveals is suggestive, but what it conceals is vital. The hidden fact is that the exodus of Russian talent to, say, Tadjikistan has increased tenfold between 2011 and 2012, from 1,070 people to 10,281. Flow of people to Armenia went up by 398%, from 1,000 in 2011 to 4,980 in 2012.

What is driving “Russian high-net-worth individuals seeking a safe heaven” into countries that are so much poorer than Russia, other than a better climate? Perhaps the fact that since 2011, Rosstat is publishing data on individuals registered for more than 9 month, rather than for more than a year as was done in 2010 and before (http://demoscope.ru/weekly/2014/0595/tema01.php, in Russian). The result was a sharp increase in registered international immigration into Russia (191,656 in 2010, 356,535 in 2011, and 417,681 in 2012), as the people coming for less than a year started to be reported. Naturally enough, a year later, when these 9 to 12 months migrants started to leave, the registered outflow has indicated a dramatic increase noticed by Reuters.

Similar dynamics was observed in the official data for migration to Russia from outside of CIS (19,716 in 2010, 45,986 in 2011, and 53,726 in 2012), and from Russia to outside of CIS (12,372 in 2010, 14,206 in 2011, and 27,179 in 2012). The same sharp increase in in-migration registered in 2011, and in out-migration in 2012.

And BTW, the number of people leaving Russia for Afghanistan went skywards, from 14 in 2010 to 37 in 2011 and 99 in 2012. I guess Russians are desperate for a piece of that vibrant democracy.

Best
Sergey Slobodyan, Associate Professor, CERGE-EI