Leave or stay? How mobilization influenced the life plans of Paper readers – survey results

After the announcement of “partial mobilization” Russia, according to various sources, left from hundreds of thousands to a million people. Research Department “Paper” I decided to evaluate what part of our audience has left or thought about leaving over the past month and a half, and who and why is still staying. We asked readers about the same at the beginning of the mobilization.

The survey on November 2–3, 2022 included 969 people; On September 23–26, 849 readers answered our questions. We show how the situation has changed during this time.

Between the two waves of our survey, there are slight differences in the eligibility criteria. In September, when it came to mobilization, we asked questions from men, conscripted women, and women who have a male partner; in November there were no restrictions.

But this did not lead to significant shifts in the sample: in September, men accounted for 38.4% of the respondents, and in November, 34.7%. However, these results are indicative of trends rather than exact changes in the proportion of respondents who responded one way or another.

According to our data, we can roughly estimate the scale of the mobilization wave of emigration among our readers. One in five left Russia this fall, and most of them left after 26 September. Every fourth is going to leave.

The share of those who are sure that they will not leave has significantly decreased: now there are a little more than 5%. So far, more than a third of the readers who responded are not going to leave, and at the end of September, almost half answered this way. In total stay in Russia and are not preparing to move 63% (and it was 76.6%).

As before, we asked the remaining ones to clarify how free their choice is. The most popular answer – refusal to emigrate due to lack of money – at the end of September was chosen by half of the readers, and now – less than a third. Seems to be, move mobilization forced to leave some of those who previously refused it due to lack of money.

Almost a third answer that they do not want to leave Russia. But to a more detailed question why only 8.7% chose the option that they have no reason to leave.

In response to the question about the reasons for staying in Russia, economic and bureaucratic ones prevail by a wide margin: possible problems with work, language, money, legalization abroad. Approximately a third of readers (of those who do not plan to leave) in Russia hold a job, social connections or property. A quarter say they stay (including) because of relatives.

17 people (1.8% of all respondents and 4.2% of those who remain) as the main reason wrote about love for St. Petersburg, homeland, native culture. Another common option is the desire to finish my studies at a university. At the same time, 7% of respondents study at the university, but only for some of them study or the desire to get a diploma is the main reason to stay in Russia.

Several people replied that they were staying out of stubbornness – they did not want to leave the country to the “thinkers”, “a bunch of crazy people”; a few need treatment, which in Russia is included in the CHI. Someone does not leave because of animals that cannot be taken away or attached.

We asked them to name the main reason for their choice and those who left or are preparing to leave. In an open question where it was necessary to write an answer, many limited themselves to the word “war” or “mobilization”, but many wrote about problems with work (“If you go to work at McDonald’s, at least not in Russia”), about the inability to travel and keep your usual lifestyle (at the same time, for someone, the desire to keep it is, on the contrary, a reason to stay), a common option is moving after a partner, including marriage with a foreigner.

We also offered a number of ready-made arguments. Among them, the most massive reason was ideological: inability to come to terms with the state ideology on an everyday level. This option turned out to be even more important than fears about mobilization. Half of those who left or plan to leave said they were afraid of reprisals (including new anti-LGBT laws).

Among those who decided in favor of leaving Russia, more than a third have not yet left. A third – believe that they left Russia for yearsonly 15.5% still believe that they left “for a month or two”, and few answered that they were going to return.

We again asked readers if they thought the mobilization would continue. Like last time, the vast majority, about 97% of the respondents, are sure of this.

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