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Russia's new brain drain

Monday, November 28, 2011 - 02:07

Nov. 28 - Russia experiencing a new wave of emigration and brain drain as its best minds flee instability and stagnation, looking abroad for a 'breath of fresh air' and career opportunities. Sonia Legg reports.

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Russia's economy is growing and students from Moscow State University have good prospects. But it seems a lot still want to leave Russia. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) NIKOLAI MOSCOW STATE UNIVERSITY 2ND YEAR STUDENT, SAYING: "In my heart I would like to stay here in Russia - I was born here, I want to repay the debt I owe to my homeland, to make it better, but, realistically, I understand that scientists are not really valued here, that life in Russia can be really hard." Even those with good jobs already are keen to emigrate - Alexander Shishenin works for Mail.ru - Russia's largest search engine. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) MOSCOW RESIDENT AND MAIL.RU EMPLOYEE ALEXANDER SHISHENIN, SAYING: "I would like to try living abroad because I don't like how the political situation is developing, there is no party that represents the middle class. And I don't like how the economic situation is developing because there is no place outside of Moscow where you can possibly work for a normal salary." Recent polls suggest around 20 percent of Russians are considering leaving. The high cost of living, the poor quality of medical services and widespread corruption are often to blame. Moscow's Space Research Institute says Russia is missing an entire generation of scientists. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LEAD SCIENTIST AT MOSCOW'S SPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE, ALEXANDER ZAKHAROV, SAYING: "There is a certain age gap. There are too few people in the generation from around 45 to 50." Alexander Aginsky runs a consulting group that specialises in emigration and gives financial advise to wealthy Russians. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MANAGING DIRECTOR AGINSKY CONSULTING GROUP, LLC. ALEXANDER AGINSKY, SAYING: "There is this air of instability, and on the other hand there is this political and otherwise stagnation. A lot of my clients don't want to invest a lot of their money here - they want to invest it overseas. They don't want to send their kids to school here - they want to send them overseas." The prospect of Vladimir Putin serving another term as President isn't helping. Many fear under him opportunities will further diminish. Experts say this latest brain drain isn't about earning more money - it's about the inability to find a place in Russian society. Sonia Legg, Reuters.

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Russia's new brain drain

Monday, November 28, 2011 - 02:07