Russia is vast, the largest country in the world by land mass. And, it is also one of the world’s largest nations by population, with almost 150 million people. It is also a nation which is controlled by one leader, and essentially one political party. The government system, among other things, has led 20% of Russians to say they want to leave Russia.
According to a new Gallup poll, the 20% figure is a record. Among the major reasons is Putin himself. Of those who approve of his job as president, only 12% of those questioned said they would like to leave Russia. OF those who don’t approve, 40% would like to migrate out of the country. As Putin’s job approval rating has slipped, the percentage of people who would like to leave Russia has risen. According to Gallup: “Looking back over time, between 2008 and 2013, Russians’ desire to migrate slowly increased, while approval of Putin’s job performance slowly decreased.” Gallup says the Sochi Olympic Games and sanctions by the West drove Putin’s ratings back up. However, that was temporary. Gallup researchers wrote:
This enthusiasm about Putin and the country lasted for a couple more years, and then desire to migrate started to go up, and in 2018 it reached the highest point in the last 11 years — 20%. At the same time, Putin’s approval started to go down — dropping in 2018 to 63%, which is the lowest level in the past five years.
Where do Russians want to go? The research shows mostly to strong democracies. In rank order, Germany 15%, the U.S. 12%, Japan 5%, Canada 5%, Spain 5%, and France 4%. Notably, these are all relatively rich nations.
Gallup says there are essential “implications” to the study. Russia’s workforce is shrinking, and its population is aging. Putin needs to keep more people happy about staying in Russia, or he will run short of the people required to run a robust economy.