Russian economists estimate that 200,000 Russians have left the country since the beginning of the war.
Georgia’s BBC reporter, Reyhan Dmitry, wrote about the war-induced brain drain from Russia.
Eugénie Archipelago, a 23-year-old political graduate detained for participating in an anti-war protest the day after the invasion, is one of the Russians who went to Georgia.
“I realized that the best way to oppose the Putin administration is to immigrate from Russia. It is my responsibility to do my best to help the Ukrainians,” says Lyamin.
It is estimated that 25,000 Russians have come to Georgia since the beginning of the war.
You can see Russians struggling to find affordable accommodation in the capital Tbilisi, with their suitcases and animals in the middle of the city.
Exposure to Belarusian sanctions by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s support for Putin’s administration has accelerated immigration from the country.
Flights to Istanbul are expensive
Therefore, flights to cities such as Istanbul and Yerevan, the capitals of Armenia, and accommodation in these cities are very expensive.
“A one-way flight to Istanbul was more expensive than my and my wife’s monthly salary,” says Anya, who doesn’t want to name her.
It was the newly introduced “Rebellion against the State” law that persuaded Anya to flee.
Therefore, anyone who supports Ukraine can be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
“I remember telling me how my grandmother was scared in Stalin’s day. We are experiencing the same thing now,” explains Anya.
Most employees in the technology sector have the advantage of being able to work remotely.
“Leaving the country is the only way we protest and bring our talents and money. Almost everyone in my social circle has made a similar decision,” he told Georgia. Igor, the video game developer who arrived, says.
He feels less accepted in Georgia and will leave soon.
“Did not escape because APPLE PAY stopped working.”
Many Airbnb hosts refuse to give homes to Russians and Belarusians.
Talking to the BBC, a Belarusian couple described their experience as follows:
“We do not accept Russians and Belarusians, one host said:” You don’t have time for vacation, confront your corrupt government. “
Meanwhile, Igor disagreed with these statements, saying, “I think we’re fleeing Russia because Apple Pay has stopped working. But we’ve already lost everything and are just refugees, so it’s comforting. I’m not running away because of Putin’s geopolitics ruined our lives. “
Georgia land is still occupied
According to polls conducted in Georgia, 87% of Georgians see Russia’s war against Ukraine as if it had been opened to their own country.
Since Russia occupied Georgia 14 years ago, many Georgians have been uncomfortable with the arrival of Russian immigrants in their country.
Some are worried that Putin will strike again on a mission to protect Russians abroad.
This was an excuse for the occupation of Ossetia in southern Georgia in 2008.
Today, 20 percent of Georgia’s territory is still under Russian occupation.
But tech entrepreneur Lev Kalashnikov believes Georgia will benefit from the greatest brain drain in Russia’s modern history.
An immigrant named Yevgeny Lyamin has already begun to learn Georgian.
“I’m against Putin, I’m against war. I still can’t withdraw money from a Russian bank account, but that’s nothing compared to what Ukrainians are experiencing. do not have.”