Russia and the flight of talent » Tech T100

Exempt from military service and give better mortgages... anything goes to avoid the flight of talent from Russia - Cinco Días

Marimar Jimenezfrom Cinco Días, sent me a message to see my impressions on the subject of the flight of talent in Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine and the economic blockade to which the country is being subjected, and yesterday he published his article entitled «Exempting of military service and give better mortgages… anything goes to avoid the flight of talent from Russia» (pdf) in which he quotes me.

The brain drain from Russia has been a constant for a long time and has been profusely documented, but it has intensified very noticeably since the arrival of Vladimir Putin to power, which tends to appeal to a populist and empty nationalism , and that it does not tune in particularly well with the well-educated middle classes who tend to leave the country in search of better opportunities.

The Russian education system has traditionally been of good quality, especially in the areas of technology and technology. However, the country offers fewer and fewer development opportunities for this talent, and their flight has long been defined as one of the main problems for its economy, now clearly intensified due to international sanctions.

The Russian tech industry is experiencing increasing difficulty in attracting and retaining skilled workers, all the more so at a time when its connections with the outside world are severed. Especially significant companies like Yandex, especially close to Vladimir Putin, are in crisis, have lost a large part of their value, are exposed to sanctions and could have liquidity problems. In the meantime, many Russian workers who used service platforms have lost their jobs, including content creators on Twitch and other platforms. Among Russians in the diaspora in other countries, far from the field of distortion that exposure to the Russian media entails, the diagnosis is clear and forceful: the fault lies exclusively with Vladimir Putin, and it can only continue to grow as long as the situation does not change. drastic way.

Below is the full text that I exchanged with Marimar:

Brain drain in Russia is not a new problem: since Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, and with particular intensity since his return to the presidency in 2012, between 1.6 and two million people have left the country for Western democracies. A drain on talent that especially affects academic, financial and technological workers as a result of an educational system that for generations has prepared its students especially well in technological and quantitative areas, and that for many experts was already one of the biggest problems affecting the Russian economy.

After the savage invasion of Ukraine, the problem can only get worse, because the population with the greatest access to training and education in Russia is the one that feels the most and is the most aware of the interruption of all services and information coming from abroad as consequence of international sanctions.

With a strongly devalued ruble, an economy in deep recession, strongly restricted individual liberties and a panorama of harsh international isolation, the value proposition of a Russian worker to stay in his country is, logically, less and less.

Unlike China, where isolation has been used to feed a whole series of companies that, as “local champions”, have taken advantage of the copying of Western ideas, the size of the internal market and the exclusion of competitors from outside the country, Russia has a problem of lack of internal alternatives beyond a few companies like VK or Yandex, which an autarkic perspective can only make worse.

In China, the population accepts government control because in return they have gained enormous economic progress, but in Russia it is the other way around, because what they have gained is an increasingly impoverished economy. In Russia, information control can keep the lower classes in the dark – and in the country – but not the more educated and more economically aspiring middle classes.

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