Workers in the technology industry have the lowest unemployment rates in the world. Mechanics that extend into digital life, such as programmers, data scientists, or cybersecurity experts, are increasingly needed in modern societies, multiply job opportunities, and often lead to above-average conditions. An opportunity for Russian specialists to enjoy and leave their country en masse.
According to the Russian Electronic Communications Association (RAEC), between 50,000 and 70,000 cyber experts left Russia in March. It is estimated that they may have another 100,000 this April. “The second wave is stopped only by the fact that the tickets are expensive, the available living space has increased, no one is waiting for the Russians and there is no financial connection, it is impossible to carry out transactions. “But the second wave will come and, according to our forecast, 70,000 to 100,000 people will leave in April,” Sergei Plugotarenko, director of the Duma SAR, told.
According to Report The Russian Association of Computer and tion Technology Companies, the Russian technology industry, employed about 1.8 million professionals in 2020. The war could have driven almost 10% of them out of the country in just two months if the RAEC forecasts were met. Something that the Kremlin was trying to stop, with fraud and fraud.
Russia has never been a technically friendly country. After political revolutions in the early 2010s, such as 15M, Occupy Wall Street, or Arab sources, the Kremlin’s policy was to short-term cut any digital services. The case of VK creator Pavel Durov is paradigmatic. Russian Facebook, Which refused to provide data about its users to the county security services. This led to his expulsion from the company and self-relocation. Today the entire group (which includes the three most frequently used social networks in Russia) is led by Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man in domestic politics, an EU-sanctioned oligarch. For Yandex Russian GoogleNot much better.
We estimate that 70,000 to 100,000 people will leave in April.
Russian Electronic Communications Association
This type of policy has led to Russia and its cities being at the bottom in terms of creating and attracting investment for its startups, which is one of the best indicators of the viability of the country’s technology industry. Russia has, for example, one of the most advanced in the field of artificial intelligence 346 According to consulting firm Tracxn, startups. For comparison, the US has 12 378; United Kingdom, 2850; China, 1820; Germany, 1334; France, 1043; And Israel, 992. Even Spain, which has severely reduced research and development investment since the financial crisis, is significantly ahead of Russia. 585 Artificial Intelligence Startups
This contradicts the fact that Russia has the highest rated training center in the world, such as the Skolkovo Innovation Center in the Moscow region, also known as. Russian Silicon Valley. Or St. Petersburg Technological UniversityWhere Durov and most of the Telegram team trained, the messaging app he created after leaving Russia, which today has become one of the most widely used services of this type in the world.
Stick and carrots
The confrontation between the hostile environment and highly valued professionals long before the war led to a brain drain from Russia. The 2018 academic papers indicate that political concerns, the prospect of higher wages abroad, and difficulties in starting a business forced Russian technicians to go to greener pastures or were very supportive of doing so, especially among young people. For them, the war was just the last push.
“When we heard that the war had started (February 24), we thought it was time to leave, but we can wait and see what happens. We bought tickets on February 25 and left. “You do not need to think much,” said the specialist Agency Associated Press. “On February 24, it was as if we woke up to this horribly different reality,” said another programmer who went to Uzbekistan.
On February 24 it was as if we woke up to this different horrible reality. We were afraid of calling
A Russian programmer who went to Uzbekistan
As the head of RAEC told the Duma, in a few hours the range of options that Russian technology workers could leave was reduced. More than 30 countries have closed their airspace to Russia. Specialists with work visas from European countries or employees of large multinational companies have taken advantage of this option to leave Russian territory in the early hours. Others resorted to the route of the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, offering them the means in the hope that they would stay and not just use them as a platform from which to jump to other countries.
Sanctions and the flight of its workers threaten Russia with technological backwardness and heavy reliance on China. The Kremlin quickly stopped the brain drain to target its main concern, dismissing these professionals as well as students of related professions (such as mathematics or telecommunications engineering) from compulsory military service. He also approved tax breaks for technology companies until 2024, such as loans that can not exceed 3% interest or assistance to their employees to access mortgages. Russian agency Interfax.
But in addition to carrots, the Kremlin also pulled out a stick. Engineers, programmers and data scientists trying to leave the country through the expected “unstoppable second wave” of RAEC interrogations and arrests.
“There were six of us for the flight, but when two of them uttered the words ‘software tester’ and ‘online platform’ while talking to the guards, they were immediately sent to the room for questioning,” said the programmer. Testimony collected by specialized media TechCrunch. Another specialist confirms that the guards, when they learned of his profession, confiscated his electronic devices with the promise that they would return them as soon as he returned.
Another programmer from St. Petersburg, who flew to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, revealed that during interrogation he was able to see the monitor screen on which the guard entered the data. It was an Excel sheet with different fields. “The table contained the names of all the respondents, their telephone numbers, addresses and their attitudes towards the situation in Ukraine,” he recalls.
elDiario.es contacted Microsoft, Google, Meta and TikTok to ask about their employees in Russia, but all preferred not to be given specific details about their actions in this regard.
Support networks for Ukrainians
The plight of Russian technical workers who were relocated to the former Soviet republics due to international sanctions runs counter to attempts to facilitate the integration of their Ukrainian counterparts. one of them IT4 UkrainiansContributed by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the organizer of a popular technology exhibition held in the Catalan capital with other companies such as Cionet.
Its aim is to group job offers in the sector, which can be fulfilled on the one hand by workers working from the country and, on the other hand, by the professionals themselves who are looking for employment in European technology companies.
“Currently what we see is that there are many companies that want to help and offer work to one, two, three people. Our concern is how much they can do for this job and their long-term support in their social field, in training, in language. We are trying to create a platform where we can hire these people and make them available to companies that can offer these positions in projects that last for several months, ”explains Bruno Mendes, head of technology at elDiario.es. Sionet.
Source: El Diario