The survey indicated that U.S. sanctions against Russia may be having an impact on where citizens want to live. File Photo by Yuri Gripas/UPI | License Photo
April 4 (UPI) — A new survey Thursday showed that 20 percent of Russians want to leave their country permanently — the highest number in more than a decade.

The survey added that more than twice that amount (44 percent) of citizens between the ages of 15 and 29 said they’d like to leave the country.

Pollster Gallup said the results may be troubling for the Kremlin because the country is already experiencing a population decline. The United Nations has said it expects Russia to lose 8 percent of its population by 2050.

Gallup said President Vladimir Putin’s job approval has had a strong effect on Russians’ desire to migrate. Top destinations include countries in the European Union (40 percent) and North America (16 percent). They’re most likely to name Germany and the United States if they name a specific destination.

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Putin has made efforts to increase migration from other nations and encourage more births in Russia.

“Despite the government’s efforts to encourage more births in Russia, even more births now will not solve the country’s workforce shortfalls in the near future,” Gallup said. “To that end, the country is starting to look outside its borders to shore up its declining population.”

Another poll Thursday showed most Russians (62 percent) support the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea five years ago, but do not support an occupation of eastern Ukraine. The survey was conducted by Moscow’s Levada Center and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

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The poll also found 58 percent believe Moscow’s foreign policies have made the economy worse, while 64 percent said it made living standards worse.

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