Young Russians "would leave Russia if they could" according to new poll.

The According to a poll by Gallup, 20% of Russians said they would leave Russia if they could—a threefold increase from five years ago, and surpassing the previous record set in 2007, when 17% of Russians said they wanted to leave.

What may be especially worrying for Moscow’s officials, should they ever take public opinion into account, is that among the 2,000 people surveyed between June and October 2018, an “unprecedented” 44% of them were between the ages of 15 and 29.

In 2014, there was a surge of nationalism which saw the far-right ally towards Putin following the Winter Olympics in Sochi and the illegal annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, and only 7% of respondents said they wanted to leave.

Gallup suggest that President Vladimir Putin “has had a strong effect on Russians’ desire to emigrate”: 12%t of adults who approved of Putin's job performance would like to migrate, while 40 percent of those who did not approve of Putin would like to migrate.

“If these demographic losses turn Russia into the 'empty space' that President Vladimir Putin warned Russians about during his 2012 campaign, he may be at least partly to blame,” the analysis said, according to Reuters.

The United Nations warned of a demographic crisis in Russia, predicting it would lose 8 percent of its population by 2050, which could be even larger if there is widespread emigration.  

In 2018, Russia's population decreased by 87,000 people to less than 147 million, with rising mortality rates in many regions explaining the slump, Radio Free Europe reported.

The newspaper Kommersant reported how the Kremlin was keen to make up the shortfall in numbers by attracting Russian speakers from Kazakhstan, Ukraine and the Caucasus. However, that poses a risk of fomenting ethnic tensions.

A population decline will hurt Russia’s economy and its ability to project power abroad, according to an analysis by Stratfor published last month.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today. 

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

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