Despite the political crackdown, the number of people who say they want to leave Russia for political reason remains low, and if presidential elections took place today, three voters from four would vote for current President Vladimir Putin.
According to a poll by VTSIOM, a state-funded polling agency, 13 percent of Russians want to leave the country, and most for economic reasons. Political reasons, including government policies and human rights violations, were mentioned for the first time.
Sergey Nikitin, the head of Amnesty International in Russia, said currently only small numbers are leaving for political reasons and there is no mass political exodus. A few dissidents have arrived in Estonia too.
VTSIOM's head, Valery Fedorov, said political discontent is mainly driven by the opposition's mantra, that Russia has become a completely totalitarian nation. He said many are unhappy with the sanctions and the relationship with the West, but have nowhere to flee to.
Neeme Raud, ERR's man in Moscow, said Putin's rating continues to be high, even according to the most independent studies.
Leonid Butov, a senior researcher at the Russian Academy of Science, told Raud the first symptoms of political dissatisfaction appeared in 2012 when the Russian Parliament began passing laws to strengthen patriotism and unambiguous thinking.
Butov said the number of those unhappy with Russia's politics is still small, but is likely to grow as the economic situation and political instability begin to outweigh patriotism, which the state is trying to strengthen.
Editor: J.M. Laats