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Russian students vote with their feet

According to statistics, approximately 5.4 million people left Russia from 1989 to 2002, and the emigrants’ average age has become significantly younger.

This new wave of emigration of the country citizens is conditioned not by political factors as it was formerly, but by economic, social and psychological factors, this wave is by no means going to decline. The scope of the phenomenon can be judged about based on the investigation carried out between 2004 and 2005 by Svetlana Frolova, Ph.D. (Philosophic Sciences) from Saratov University.

The investigation involved 152 students (21 male and 131 female) aged 19-21, who were studying subjects such as “Psychhology”, “History”, “Mathematics”, “Service and Tourism”. The applied methods were questionnaire survey, interview and various tests.

All the participants were split into three groups: the first group – the students who want to permanently reside and work abroad; the second group - the students who want to permanently reside and work in Russia; the third group - the students who want to permanently reside in Russia but with an opportunity to learn or work abroad. The first group turned out to be the most numerous, the second group being the least numerous one.

For many students who wish to go abroad emigration is rather similar to a dream as only few of them are undertaking specific steps to put their intention into reality. Thus, only 52 percent of potential emigrants know the language of a selected country, the rest 48 percent do not know it at a sufficient level and are not trying to learn it. Twenty countries were cited as possible locations for future permanent residence. The six leaders are as follows: France (23 percent), USA (16 percent), Germany (16 percent), Spain (16 percent), England (12 percent), and Italy (12 percent).

Only a quarter of the students wish to permanently live and work in their native country. Along with that, only a few believe that emigrants actually leave their homeland in a difficult period.

The inclination towards emigration has no sexual differences – male and female are equally subjected to emigratory intention. The wish to live in a different country is reinforced by the idea of opportunitites to earn more money and to best satisfy their social and everyday demands. Along with such pragmatic expectations, the opportunity to get new impressions quite often appeals to the students.

For the students oriented towards “temporary emigration” the first place is occupied by knowledge related causes: “to learn the language”, “to see the world”, “to have the opportunity to get to know the culture of a different country”, etc.

The attitude towards emigration is affected by inclusion of a person into the native culture and adoption of traditions inherent in it. In the group of students who have no emigratory intention, Russian folk fairy tales were picked out as the first stories perceived in childhood. But in the group of students who wish to permanently live abroad, the preference lied with author's fairy tales that influence a child’s world view in a different way then folk tales do.

For part of the students with emigratory intention, the chance to go to a different country for permanent residence seems the way to “avoid solving” emergent difficult situations in real life. Such attitude towards emigration as a means of escaping difficulties has also been supported by a rather aggressive “advertising” of easy west-European and American mode of life on Russian television and other mass media booming in recent years.

Nadezda Markina | alfa
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