Thursday, August 17, 2017

When Does Putin Build a Wall?

The reason the Soviets put up the Berlin Wall was that a brain drain of the east's best and brightest was flowing to the West there and starting to hurt, and was an embarrassment to the Communist rulers. Russia is again experiencing a brain drain:

Among the many problems [Russia has] with its population, one that gets little notice outside Russia is the sharp decline in the working age (15-64) population. The drop began in 2010 when there were about 103 million working age Russians. Unless something drastic happens to reverse the situation the working age population will continue to decline by at least half a million people a year until the 2050s.

The current sanctions and police state government have made it worse. Since the Ukraine related sanctions hit in 2015 Russia has lost over two million more workers it cannot afford to lose. About a million of those were actually foreigners who came to fill jobs there were no Russians for as the economy still showed promise. But the decline of oil prices after 2013 followed by sanctions and more official hostility to outsiders sent these skilled foreigners home. At the same time many skilled Russians left and that continues.

When does Putin build a figurative and literal wall to keep his people inside Russia?