Many of my friends from Moscow are no longer in Moscow. Destruction of human capital in Russia.

Alexei Sorokin
4 min readApr 12, 2022

It’s not easy to objectively measure the damage that Putin inflicted on the country he’s supposedly “protecting” — Russia. But I remain of the opinion that he, with a flick of his finger, destroyed the nation he was responsible for governing; damaged the livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people for generations to come.

Every now and then you’d see an article about how the sanctions against Russia are useless or how the rouble regained the value it’d lost since the start of the war. The authors tend to write these stories with a touch of swagger — look, Russia outplayed the West!

Well, no. It outplayed no one. Its decayed villages will decay further. Its corrupt elites will continue to stay corrupt. Its rouble can’t buy shit. It will stay isolated for decades, missing out on innovations in science, medicine, and business (for the record — it has not produced much on these fronts when it had every opportunity to do so). Instead of raising many generations of well-educated, entrepreneurial-minded, multi-lingual young people, who could change Russia and the world alike, Russia’s human capital efforts will be forever focused on war-mongering, propaganda, and brainwashing about the country’s supposed high moral values and “own path”.

And I don’t say this because I am a delusional immigrant — trying to always dig up negative news about the country I left. If you read my stories, you’ll see that I don’t hate Russia. I am in shock and rage over the war it started and the blood it’s continuing to spill, but I don’t hate the country. I never have. I still have very close relatives and friends and I absolutely don’t want to see them struggle or go through hardships; I don’t get satisfaction from seeing how they’re lost and depressed.

Depressed and lost they are, no matter what their political views are. My father is depressed; my mother-in-law too; my Mom’s friends (my Mom is now in America); my friends, especially the ones who left their jobs in recent years to go into entrepreneurship, and who have young kids. Most are looking for a way out of the country. It’s a matter of time before they find it. It’s not always easy — there are visa, financial, and family constraints.

In fact, as I mention in the title of this article, the majority of my connections have already left. Many are in Dubai, some in London. Every single day I find out…

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Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day. https://runningwritingliving.substack.com/