Russian Tech Industry Faces ‘Brain Drain’ as Workers Flee

“We don’t have enough quality apartments for highly educated people with high salaries and high standards,” said Aram Shahbandarian, a former Google employee based in Yerevan who is helping many Russians move to the city. “Yerevan is cracking.”

Vahan Kerobyan, Armenia’s economy minister, said in an interview that as a country with a strategic relationship with Russia, it was not marketing itself as trying to pull companies out of Russia, but that if companies decided to move, it would work to accommodate them.

“The Armenian tech community is providing support to their Russian friends, and the government is very much worried about giving Russian companies a nice place that is not too expensive where they can work,” he said. Mr. Kerobyan estimated that 43,000 people had moved from Russia to Armenia, half of whom hold Russian passports and half Armenian passports.

Miro, a U.S. software company, chartered flights to Yerevan for its Russian employees and moved them into two hotels in the heart of the city, Mr. Kerobyan said. X-tensive, a software development company in Russia, has also moved its employees to the Armenian city because its primary client, ServiceTitan, was founded there, he said.

Miro has said publicly that it was moving its workers out of Russia. X-tensive did not respond to a request for comment.

Many of those workers may eventually move on to other places because visa restrictions require them to leave their current home after a certain number of days. Many are unsure where they might go. Others are planning moves to up-and-coming tech hubs farther away, such as Dubai and Lisbon.

Artem Taganov, founder and chief executive of a Russian start-up called HintEd, said he knew about 70 founders of Russian companies who, like him, had fled to Armenia. If entrepreneurs stay in Russia, he said, their companies can serve only the local market.

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