President Vladimir Putin's "special military operation" in Ukraine has caused a mass departure of Russians who are against the war or worry that life may become tougher under the stress of multiple Western sanctions.
Up to 200,000 Russians have fled their country since the beginning of the conflict on Feb. 24, based on estimates by Russian economist Konstantin Sonin.
Even before its invasion of Ukraine, Russia was already trying to prevent highly skilled workers, which include some of its brilliant scientists, from leaving the country.
A 2019 report entitled "The Putin Exodus: The New Russian Brain Drain" released by Washington D.C. think tank Atlantic Council calculated that as many as two million Russians had moved to Western democracies and other destinations since 2000, when Putin first became president.
Russia has already established a repatriation program for skilled workers since 2007.
"The further development of this program and additional benefits to attract highly qualified Russian specialists from different spheres is being discussed," the Industry and Trade Ministry said on Monday, according to a report from Reuters.
The ministry did not give additional details concerning the benefits, but it said that the present program includes the cost of moving compensation, six months of unemployment benefits and other financial incentives.
Izvestia, a pro-Moscow newspaper, quoted sources close to the Putin administration as stating that specialists were showing interest in coming back to Russia due to the pressure they are facing in Western countries over the invasion of Ukraine.
According to Alexander Sergeyev, president of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a huge number of scientists have left Russia when Western sanctions were enforced in 2014 following Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
"It's difficult to assess the scale of the losses, I believe they are large," Sergeyev told a news conference, the Interfax news agency reported.
"Competing for science with the whole world is hard. We need to liberate scientists' initiative, creativity, give them the opportunity to work easily in [Russia]. It is necessary to introduce benefits, increase the financing of science, so that it provides, in addition to prestige, normal material conditions."
The newest incentive program comes as Russia seems to be responding against Western sanctions. The country has warned that it would limit exports of agriculture products to only "friendly" nations. (Related: GLOBAL SHOCKWAVE: Russia announces plans to ban commodity exports following Western sanctions.)
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is the current deputy secretary of the country's security council, said many nations rely on supplies of food from Russia, and that the country’s "priority in food supplies is our domestic market. And price control" he told the Telegram on Friday, April 1.
"We will supply food and crops only to our friends. Fortunately, we have a lot of them, and they are not at all in Europe and not in North America," Medvedev said, adding that they could pay in both rubles and their national currency "in agreed proportions."
Medvedev noted that Russia will not supply any of their products to countries it deems as "enemies."
Watch the video below to know about the global impact of sanctions on Russia.
This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.