Financial analyst Andrei Movchan, whose name has often appeared in Novye Izvestia in recent years, moved with his whole family from Moscow to London, thereby confirming the trend of the last decade - the unrestrained "brain drain" from our country. If the Bolsheviks 100 years ago dealt with Russian intellectuals in two ways - by forcibly escorting them abroad on the so-called "philosophical ships" or simply destroying them in prisons and camps, then the authorities of modern Russia act somewhat more humanely, creating such conditions for the life of creative elites. that there is only one way left for them - emigration. Here is what Movchan himself wrote on his blog about this - this publication has collected about two thousand likes:
“I was taught at the university - “Before telling “how”, tell “why”. And for good reason - "why" is often very difficult to define, but equally very useful.
Why did we leave for England? That is, why did they leave and why to England, and not, say, to Thailand or Oklahoma?
The answer will be long, but I'll start it, as usual with us Jews, with the question: "What is it?"
The question “why did they leave” in Russian sedentary culture really has some kind of metaphysical meaning. The attachment to the land in Russia is akin to sexual and family and is just as patriarchal (only in the matter of departure, the state performs the male function, and its inhabitants do the female one). The question “why left” in Russia is as sacramental and accusatory as the question “why did she give” in traditional culture: both can be justified either by higher motives (great love, great fear or big money, in Russia a big love for big money is not condemned), or frank divine... (but what to take from her!). Departure can be either "married", or - for sausage (remember the "sausage" emigration of the 90s?), Or - a form of escape (exchanged a bully for Luis Corvalan is good, the flight of brothers or, for example, the President of the Bank of Moscow is bad, but and this and that - flight), or - betrayal, betrayal, dirty baseness of the corrupt hireling of the Anglo-Saxons.
When you get to England, you immediately come across a culture of territorial promiscuity. Here the majority have either arrived or are about to leave. They go a lot - to Europe, Australia, India and Indochina, Africa (mainly in South Africa), China, etc. "Why", like "why" here has a simple and obvious answer that does not imply shame or drama : because I wanted to. They are going to change places; where the work is more interesting; where the climate is better; where taxes are lower; in search of an interesting culture.
In this sense, my answers will also be "English". Why did we leave? Because they wanted to. And we wanted it for many reasons.
Firstly (not in order of importance, it is difficult to prioritize here), in Russia every year it becomes more and more stuffy. Not that we personally were suffocating (we could afford internal emigration as well), but the general feeling of stuffiness in the air hanging in the air did not leave a frenzy. These are also outdated exhaust and emission standards. These are news feeds (oh, what a joy not to read the stream of information about who else was imprisoned and who else we had a fight with!) And street billboards (Park Patriot, XY Years of Victory, Tank Biathlon and etc.), and the echoes from friends or from the tape are the statements of dignitaries, and talk shows that the older generation watches, and so on. These are generally communication standards (where in Russia they write “we warn you about criminal liability for tax evasion”, in England it says “thank you for paying taxes”). This is not horror yet (in general, everything is still quite cute, if you do not do business or politics), but this is the smell of future horror.
Secondly, Russia is increasingly becoming a colony (internal, if you will), and Moscow, as the ambitions of the metropolis become stronger, more and more resembles the capital of the colony - a kind of Bombay from the times of colonial India. It is comfortable, sometimes luxurious and often funny, but never seriously. Seriously - somewhere else. In Moscow, you can either make money with those in power, or serve them - other types of business are unprofitable compared to their counterparts in other countries (which does not prevent you from doing them with a profit for yourself, but one way or another you have to flee abroad until the losses that you outweighed the state or partners, did not start collecting). I have long owned a business that operates globally, and more and more I needed to be where things happen, and not where macro processes are heard only by distant echoes. London is the financial capital of the world. If you can claim to be effective in finance, you need to be able to communicate with those who "do" them not from the distant outskirts of the galaxy, but on the spot.
By the way, from the point of view of culture and art, London, of course, is also the heart of the world. Theaters, museums, concert halls, educational programs cannot be compared with those in Moscow for all the Moscow diversity. By the way, this is one of the reasons why, when leaving Russia, we did not go to our beloved Cyprus or to the south of Spain. One, but not the only one: in Spain - taxes, in Cyprus - there are no universities.
Thirdly, the light did not converge on business. My children are not going to do business - they went to their mother, they are busy with medicine and science. Neither one nor the other is really left in Russia (and there is no need to tell me, I know, and my children already had the opportunity to compare in practice). None of my children are going to return - it will not work to collect them back to Russia, but you can try it in England. My youngest needs to go to school. I no longer want to look at what the Russian school is turning into, with teachers mired in an imposed bureaucracy, the endless threat of introducing religious education and the demand to "raise patriots" and I will not give it to my son. Private schools still retain a good atmosphere in places, but compared to good schools in England, this is still not even the 20th, but the 19th century. What I see in the English program is incomparably more modern, adequate, effective. And networking, which is obvious here and includes children from a wide variety of cultures, is not welcomed in Moscow and lacks diversity.
Fourthly, as one of my acquaintances aptly said, “it is not we who are leaving, it is Russia that is leaving from under us”. In Russia, few of my friends and acquaintances remained. My only cousin and her children are in Paris; my sister is in Frankfurt. My wife's brother and family are also in Paris. My business colleagues are in Cyprus and the United States. Friends - some in America, some in Spain, and of course many in England. In recent years, it has become very difficult to go against the road, especially since Europe is so small - from London to Brussels by train for 1.5 hours, you can meet with friends from Germany for a walk in Holland, a plane ticket across Europe costs 15 euros. Still, the size of Russia plays against you.
Fifthly, no matter how funny it may seem, I'm tired of the fact that the color TV in my window works only 3 months a year, and 9 months there is black and white. Here in London there is greenery all year round, the streets are clean (you don't need to wash your car after rain), even in January, locals walk in the green grass of parks in their jackets (they just put on a scarf). In London it is possible and very cool to walk around the city 12 months a year. In Moscow, it is either dirty, or stuffy, or cold, and often “two out of three”. Here I live 45 minutes at a leisurely pace from the center and almost never ride - I walk all the time, there are more than 20,000 steps per day. It would not have occurred to me to go downtown in Moscow.
Sixthly, and these are already pragmatic considerations, England has created a rather unique tax regime for people like me: in fact, I can not pay taxes on income for many years if I don’t introduce them into the UK. In Russia, I do not have such an opportunity (just as there is none for those who could also enter Russia - I consider this a great omission of the Russian authorities); real estate in London is expensive, but staying in Russia I would give more in taxes, even under the new preferential “five million” rule. Not that England doesn't want to collect taxes; it just wants to attract those who will provide consumption and create taxpayers for generations to come. So the society is strengthened by emigrants.
If these six answers are not enough, I am afraid I will have to give one more - the seventh. We just really like London - old-fashioned, crazy (more on that in the following chapters), eccentric and eclectic, and at the same time very "home". We love him. Perhaps this is the most honest answer (and in the "Russian" sense of the question too). Perhaps that's why we got into it so easily: but how we got out is the topic of the next chapter".