Recently someone asked me to comment on an article “Want to hurt Putin? Back a brain drain from Russia”. It’s a slightly edited version of my response.
From a personal perspective, I would be happy to support refugee quotas or immigration quotas for Russian in Europe or the US. One of the EAs from Russia even wrote a post on that. Right now, it’s even more challenging to get a visa to Europe if you have a Russian passport than before the war. Baltic states stopped issuing tourist visas for Russian, and Norway stopped issuing residential visas. I’ve been waiting for a UK visa for two months to attend EA Global and didn’t get it, probably due to rising concerns about issuing visas to Russian citizens. I’m not mentioning that it’s problematic even to pay a visa fee right now, because Visa/Mastercard stopped working in Russia.
But from a big-picture perspective, I don’t think the goals described in the article would be met by this kind of action:
The role of the IT sector in Russian GDP is negligible, ~1%. Putin relies on the army, repression mechanisms, and oil exports. Not on well-educated tech industry workers who can relocate and be welcomed in the West.
The state made multiple announcements that society is “cleaning itself” from traitors with Western values, who are relocating abroad right now. So Putin is even happy that these high-skilled people are leaving the country. Because it’s the same people who support independent media, join street protests, and ask for change. He doesn’t care about decreasing GDP, he cares about staying in charge.
Almost everyone who is working for the military is banned from traveling abroad. They can do it only 3-5 years after dismissal. Keep in mind that after 22 years of Putin’s regime the militaries are pretty loyal due to the negative selection processes.
Thanks for your inside view, Alex, really appreciate it! Your points seem reasonable and I no longer think this could help end the war sooner. Sorry to hear that you did not even get a visa to come to EAG London, that sucks! :/ If there’s anything we can help with, let us know! Thanks also for linking that forum post!