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Putin spotlights brain drain’s decline, says many skilled specialists returning

The president invoked Russia's system of grants that, according to him, is effective

MOSCOW, February 27. /TASS/. The brain drain of Russia’s best specialists is ebbing, while the government for its part will continue to create conditions for attracting highly qualified, skilled labor, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS in an interview for the project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin."

He is certain that the government must do its utmost to take care of first-class specialists.

"We have just developed a vast system of grants. It encompasses not only the IT segment, but also the high-tech industry in general. And it works well. Take a look at how many people are coming in. There is an influx now," he emphasized.

While touching on the brain drain, Putin quoted a Russian adage: "Fish tend to search for better waters, while people look for better places to live."

"Top-notch specialists and employees look for better places to employ their knowledge, capabilities, and skills. Wherever the pay is better, that is where they go. It is as simple as that. Consequently, the government should create conditions to attract first-class specialists," Putin stated.

Putin said he sees two scenarios: "Either we isolate ourselves," he said, hinting at the way things were in the Soviet Union, "grab hold of them and don’t let them out, saddle them with some extra liabilities, or create conditions and pay better."

The president said it was a no simple issue.

"Civil aviation began to pay decent salaries because it needed foreign experts, which resulted in a labor market imbalance. It affected military pilots who eagerly began to leave the armed forces, flocking to work as co-pilots in civilian airlines," he explained. This problem required a thorough analysis and pay raises anyway. One of the ways of doing that in Russia today was through grants.

The head of state said that many skilled specialists had returned to Russia after spending some time working abroad. He shared his impressions of meetings with scientists, and among them were recipients of grants and megagrants.

"They are very interesting people, interesting guys, with good work experience both in our country and abroad. Many of them have a strong desire to return. And we are bringing many of them back, we are creating conditions for them and setting up laboratories, along with offering them special salary packages," he said. The Russian leader noted that what he found quite interesting and encouraging was, "Not only do they themselves want to work, but they also want to bring along our young people and postgraduates, and create scientific, research and industrial groups from them."

Putin remarked that such plans turned out to be successful in different fields: genetics, biology, digital technologies, artificial intelligence, and robotics.

Also, he paid attention to the development of such companies as and Yandex.

"They [Russian companies in this line of business - TASS] did not exist in the past, but now they do. And they compete well, even with large global companies, such as Google among others. This proves there is progress," he stressed.

Episode 5 of the video interview is available at