Migration attitudes of Russian youth: a regional dimension





human (intellectual) resource of nation, deindustrialization of the 1990s, commodity-based economy, emigration of young professionals, regional specifics of migration processes


In the modern post-industrial world, human capital is the most valuable social resource and far more important than natural or accumulated wealth. Amidst economic crisis resulted in another upsurge in the outflow of predominantly young individuals, the problem of retention of human capital in modern Russia that emerged in the early 1990s is getting more acute. Russian deindustrialization as a result of economic reforms, resource-based economy coupled with the desire of the young people to get higher education diploma caused the problem of graduate unemployment. The current economy cannot handle such a huge number of university graduates. Low demand for highly qualified specialists forces many young specialists to seek out opportunities to use their skills abroad. Rising youth emigration rates may lead to the loss of the most valuable part of human capital. As statistical evidence cannot reflect the actual situation, strict procedures to estimate the migration flow should be introduced. Today migration policies are more targeted at migrant workers rather than emigration of Russians. After a quarter-century since the 1990s reforms, social modernization is still a big concern to Russia. In the context of socio-economic development of Russia, the potential of the Russian students is essential to the future modernization of the country. As regions play an important role in ‘anchoring’ young professionals in-situ, studying the regional dimension is a new challenge for researchers. The author gives an estimate of emigration potential and the likelihood of returning home after studying abroad. A comparative analysis of the settings of young migrants across three groups of regions (Russian periphery, Russia-EU border zone and Chinese border zone) is provided.