A few years ago, she landed a dream job as an adviser at Russia’s central bank in Moscow.
Prokopenko loved Moscow. The city was vibrant and beautiful — full of restaurants, music and culture. But by far, her favorite place was Meshchersky Park, a giant forest in the city, where Prokopenko would go running.
“It was my favorite place. I always felt really great in there,” she recalls.
But Prokopenko’s Meshchersky runs are a thing of the past. She left Moscow, as well as her job at the central bank, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Prokopenko now works at the German Council on Foreign Relations. Her focus is still the Russian economy — she publishes new analyses and data every week.
She says she’s glad to be there, but it isn’t home.
“I’m missing Moscow a lot,” she says. “I miss Moscow every day.”
Prokopenko is part of a massive wave of young Russians who have fled their country. Though hard numbers are hard to come by, hundreds of thousands are estimated to have left Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.
That has contributed to a reduction in Russia’s labor force.
According to one estimate, more than 1.3 million Russians under age 35 left the Russian workforce just last year alone, though that number could include other factors such as workers taking jobs not officially captured in statistics.
Russian demographics were terrible even before Putin’s stupid war drove people out of the country, not to mention tens of thousands of combat deaths.