31.03.23 Expertise

The Exodus Year: Those Who Left, Those Who Stayed, and the Breakdown in Communication

Lyubov Borusyak
Lyubov Borusyak

Russian society, and particularly liberal Russian society, has been split into two distinct groups as a result of the 2022 wave of mass emigration: those who opposed the war and left and those who opposed the war and stayed behind. For almost a year, sociologist Lyubov Borusyak has been surveying both groups. In an article for Re: Russia, she summarises the results of several polling cycles. In contrast to prior waves of emigration, the 2022 outflux was political; for the most part, people refused to accept the start of military hostilities between Russia and Ukraine and left. However, many opponents of the war still remain in Russia. These two groups are similar in terms of education, attitudes, and lifestyle. The war provoked two contrasting reactions: some left spontaneously, ill-prepared, in essence fleeing, while others, usually those with access to fewer resources, appeared to freeze up. The majority of those who left were younger, better off (in terms of jobs, money, language skills, relatives or friends abroad), and less constrained by obligations. Only a small percentage of those who stayed are adamantly opposed to leaving. They provide various reasons for not leaving, including the ability to continue doing good things for the country and its people. However, they are unsure whether this will impact Russia's future. 

Both those who stayed and those who left have experienced a significant reduction in their ability to plan. Many people who have left have since relocated, some more than once. However, they have found solutions to the initial set of issues they faced and have been able to adjust to their new environment relatively quickly. They are well aware of the advantages that come with their situation, including greater freedom and security. They live out of their suitcases, but they are free. On the other hand, those who remained in Russia have grown more anxious and depressed. They have a keen awareness that they are marginalised and unrepresented within the public discourse in contemporary Russia. Their social silence serves as a source of even greater stress. 

Both those who departed and those who stayed behind share similar outlooks on the country’s domestic political situation and rely on similar sources for their information. Both groups consider leaving as the social norm. And this has put strain on their communication. Many of those who have stayed believe that those who have left hold them more accountable for the ongoing war and consider non-departure to be a deviant attitude. Attempts to articulate and comprehend collective and individual guilt and responsibility has led to even more tension. Those who remain have developed a hostage/victim mentality. Overcoming this tension and developing an ideology of solidarity between the two groups is crucial since both groups need each other's support.

The emigration wave in the immediate wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine was one of the central events of the past year. Russia has not experienced an emigration process of this size and scope in the past century. After the emigration boom of the early 1990s, Russia once again reverted to being a country with low emigration, far behind many other former Soviet republics. Even though as early as 2019, the Atlantic Council titled one of its reports ‘Putin's Exodus: The New Brain Drain’, the real ‘exodus’ was, at that point, still a way off. Opinion polls showed that a significant proportion of Russians, especially young Russians, were thinking about leaving (16% of those surveyed by the Levada Center in May 2019, and 22% in May 2021), but these responses merely reflected a general sense of discontent — most of those who said they wanted to leave did not actually intend to do anything to relocate. After February 24, 2022, the situation shifted — hundreds of thousands of people left Russia in a matter of a few months.

In April 2022, I interviewed 60 Russians who had left the country after the war broke out, and in August and September, I spoke to them again, adding more participants to the survey. This second wave of polling ended on September 21, the day before mobilisation was announced. So, in October and November, I spoke again with those who had left, including those who left after the announcement of mobilisation. In total, I conducted 201 interviews. I recruited respondents using a snowball sampling process: I published an offer of an interview or a link to the questionnaire on my social media, and other users shared it.

The current wave of emigration is political; the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine was what forced people to leave. But many of those who disagree also remained in the country. So I started interviewing representatives of this group as well. The survey carried out on 20-21 May 2022 included 500 people still in Russia. In a follow-up survey in November, 1,300 Remainers responded to the questionnaire over the same short period. And, I still received emails from those who have not yet had a chance to take part, even a long time after the call for participants. Clearly, those who stayed (that is, those who had not yet left — some of them were planning to do so) were acutely aware of their lack of representation within public discourse; they wanted to talk about themselves. According to these respondents, the interviews had a psychotherapeutic effect, helping them make sense of their own lives. 

The people I interviewed were of varying ages (18-60), and most had lived in Moscow and St. Petersburg before their departure. Among this group were representatives from the IT industry, researchers, teachers, economists and financiers, businessmen, humanitarian professionals, and so on. In the spring wave of polling, my respondents were spread over 15 different countries; in the autumn, that figure had risen to 26. Most of these new additions between April and September were European countries, the United States, and countries in Central Asia. Most respondents did not view the country of their current residence as a final destination. The share of people who had chosen to leave because of a direct threat of political repression was low (journalists and a few political activists). 

Residents of the Moscow metropolitan area and St Petersburg (71%) also formed the majority in  the survey of those who stayed. One-third of these respondents were under 33, 41% were aged 30-49, and 26% were over 50. In terms of profession, compared to the respondents who left, the share of those involved in IT, economics, and finance was significantly lower, while the share of workers within the humanitarian sector was noticeably higher. There were significantly more women than men. But this study makes no claims to representativeness. We do not know the size and structure of the general population, so it is impossible to draw a representative sample.

In this article, I will examine the similarities and differences between the people who have left and those who have stayed. They largely hold similar views and do not differ much in terms of education, profession, previous place of residence, or the ways in which their attitude to the events and their situation has changed over the course of the year.

To leave or not to leave: the fleeing and the frozen

When I asked respondents in spring 2022 what they had felt on February 24, these were very fresh and extremely emotional memories. Six months later, it would seem that this sharpness should have dulled, but it had not. Recalling that day, it was as if people were re-living the same feelings:

The unreality of what was happening (it was hard to believe that this was even possible!); fear for a close acquaintance in Kyiv and family, for relatives of their friends in Odesa; hatred towards the leadership of our country; despair at being unable to stop this, depression, insomnia, etc.

After a few days, fear about my own future arose: mobilisation, low quality of life, closed borders, and the new USSR. I remember feeling frightened and sad for my mother — she is a doctor, works hard, and does not deserve to live the rest of her life like this. 

And here are the memories of February 2022 as they were recalled in November: 

It overwhelmed me even more, although I don't have anyone else that [the war] could have affected. It was a kind of demented collective unconscious fear. It was in the air.

Those who had left and those who stayed experienced the same emotions: most often fear, dread (about three-quarters of respondents), less often — powerlessness, despair, devastation, depression (1/4), anger, rage, confusion, shame, and disappointment. 

The state violated the most basic, most core of all norms for this group of people — the need to maintain peace. As a result, a new norm began to form: we must leave. We cannot live here any longer. Over half of the spring respondents who had left had not thought seriously about leaving before, but ended up leaving within a few days or weeks of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, sometimes even within hours. There were those who had recently bought their own flat and started to settle in it, but had booked a plane ticket at the end of February and left the very next day. Almost half of those who had left said they had understood what was happening in the country earlier, and had thought about leaving in recent years, but stayed due to a sense of inertia. By the time they left, not everyone had a passport, let alone a visa, as many had expired during the pandemic. Therefore, they were faced with a limited choice of countries to which they could move. 

Fear was the main reason behind the desire to leave. Most of all, those who left and those who stayed were afraid of impending border closures and general mobilisation. It was a very scary prospect — to be trapped in a kind of mousetrap. But there were other explanations. More than 20 per cent wrote that they realised at that moment that Russia has no future. About a quarter of those who thought about leaving in the spring of 2022, but ended up staying, noted that they did not want to be associated with an aggressor country.

For many of those who had left, the horror of what was happening had made them want to flee as soon as possible, even without any idea of what they would do next. For a number of those who stayed, the reaction was the opposite: freeze, stop, think. They were, as it were, paralysed by fear. 

Many of those who had left went with their companies, who had relocated, so they were confident that they would be able to settle down safely. Others thought that their profession and level of training would make them in high demand abroad. This applied not just to IT workers but also to some of those in high or medium-level positions in business, finance, consultancy, and science, who knew English, and who had savings. As the follow-up interviews revealed, not all of those who had been optimistic about their prospects managed to find employment during the intervening period. Among those who stayed, there were more who doubted their abilities.

Those who left and those who stayed were clearly divided in terms of the burdens they felt: the sense of responsibility for ill relatives and elderly parents. Some of them were ill themselves. Some of those who left also had such issues. Among my respondents, almost no one had abandoned elderly parents: they had managed to find a solution to the problem, at least temporarily (making arrangements with other relatives, hiring help, etc.).

Another problem was age — many of those who stayed behind cited this as the reason. Almost all those who left noted that even at 50, it is hard to change one's life abruptly, to enter a zone of utter uncertainty and that after turning 60, this would be virtually impossible. The only exception to this was emigration to Israel, where those entitled to repatriation can receive help from the state, many people already have relatives there, and there is an opportunity to arrive into something other than an ‘empty lot’.

In general, those who have left are younger and more active, have in-demand professions, know another language (at least English), and do not have too many significant burdens. Many of the respondents who had left said that emigration was easiest for single young people or a relatively young married couple. 

In November, only 20% of the respondents who had remained were sure that they would stay in Russia, while 60% said they wanted to leave. However, as time passed, this goal has not been realised. The stated conditions for leaving were hardly realistic: 

[I am not leaving,] because I have no money, because my current job, which I like very much, is unlikely to be valued abroad. 

Maybe I will be offered an interesting job abroad, and maybe there will be a targeted invitation from someone who will support me. It's all in the realm of miracles. 

Only a small number of those who had stayed opposed emigration in principle. They did not understand why the government is entitled to deprive them of their home (every seventh respondent spoke about this) and why those who left often ask them why they stayed. They do not agree with the ‘new norm’, which says that people who do not agree with the war should leave. Finally, some believe that Russia's future depends on their professional activities (‘If we do not teach children, what will other people teach them?’).

People who have left: living out of their suitcases but free

Both the people who stayed and a significant proportion of those who left are experiencing a loss of control over their lives and a sharp contraction of their ability to plan for the future. Previously, people had a sense of what would happen to them over the next few years, so they bought homes with mortgages, had children, thought about changing jobs for something more interesting and lucrative, made plans for their children to go to university, and so on. But, now, many have no inkling of what will happen tomorrow and how it will affect them. As one of the respondents who left said, ‘I now have the planning capacity of a mouse’. Other respondents often described their vision for the future as ‘collapsed’, ‘shrunken’, or ‘reduced to days or weeks’. 

If a person relocated together with their employer or moved to another country with an offer for work (and this was a country where they wanted to live), if they are not worried about money for rent, and have access to medical care if needed, they are able to adapt quickly. In particular, they start learning the language of the country they are in. There were not many people of this type in the spring wave (excluding those that ‘relocated for work’). 

There were noticeably more people who had arrived in a country they had never thought they would be in, with practically no documentation and a very limited financial cushion. Some of these people then returned to Russia, at least temporarily (e.g. to get their documents sorted). Among respondents of the spring wave of polling, who had left Russia in the summer, one in five returned, but all said that if the situation worsened they would eventually leave again, better prepared. In October, after mobilisation was announced, none of these respondents were still in Russia. 

Some of those who had left, particularly those who were poorly prepared for their departure — had no substantial savings and no job outside Russia — felt very stressed and were in disarray. Many continued to work online for Russian employers but understood that this would not last forever, so they did not feel in control of their situation. Many people initially moved to countries where they did not intend to stay for long and were looking for an opportunity to move elsewhere (most often to Europe). They were literally living out of their suitcases. In the time between the two surveys, around two-thirds of my spring respondents had switched countries, and some had moved several times in the interim. 

Those who had settled somewhere they had decided to stay gradually began to settle in, and to feel more confident. Their lives were becoming more and more measured. This was especially the case for those living in countries where residence permits can be obtained relatively quickly or where one can live without them for a long time. Their emotional state improved greatly, and they now display a certain confidence when talking about the present and the future.

The autumn wave of emigration faced many of the same problems. It was easier for those leaving in the second wave because they already had many friends and acquaintances who had successfully gone through the same issues. At the same time, they had to compete for work not just with locals but also with their compatriots who had already found jobs. And, accommodation prices have surged practically everywhere. Nevertheless, the experience of the previous wave, if the respondents’ acquaintances had been successful, helped them to believe in their own success. 

A very important advantage afforded to those who had left was a sense of freedom and security, much greater than that they had experienced inside Russia, alongside a lack of fears of repression. Many of those who left spoke about this: ‘I am still having difficulties with work and money, but at least here I have started to breathe freely’; ‘as soon as we crossed the border, we switched off our VPNs, and we felt the fear starting to dissipate’. 

The motif of breathing easily, of the air shifting from stale to fresh, was also quite common in responses. On the contrary, among those who stayed, respondents wrote that they ‘couldn't breathe’, ‘it was impossible to breathe’, and ‘the last straw would be some stupid law that forbids breathing’. 

Remainers: between a rock and a hard place

The fear among the war’s opponents who remain in Russia has not receded. It has often intensified over time: they follow media news reports which show the regime getting stricter and the position of the remaining dissenters becoming more and more precarious. Meanwhile, those who have left and those who have stayed access practically identical sources of information (Meduza and Novaya Gazeta, less frequently Dozhd, YouTube channels).

When asked under what circumstances they might still choose to leave the country, the remaining dissenters most frequently cited fear of mass repression (17%), an even more repressive regime (11%), a credible threat to their lives and the lives of their loved ones due to military action in the country, or the outbreak of civil or nuclear war (8% each). These fears are very strong, with many respondents describing persistent depression and visits to psychologists, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists. The topic of suicide, which was absent in spring, appeared in the autumn survey. ‘There is no way out. The only other way out is suicide’; ‘I am already contemplating suicide’. 

However, many of those who left also talked about seeking psychological and psychiatric help, albeit for different reasons. First and foremost, these respondents worried about being out of place, not finding a job, and experiencing financial difficulties. Some were heavily affected by the words of their teenage children that their parents had destroyed their lives. 

Some of the remaining dissenters are deleting their social media accounts. Most keep them active but are wary of not only writing posts related to political issues but also leaving comments or sometimes even just liking posts. Social networks have become more of a source of information for them than a place to express their feelings and opinions. This, in turn, has often caused even more stress, especially when people see that they are being reprimanded by those who have left, including opinion leaders and respected figures. One of the main characteristics of the dissenters who have remained in Russia is their extreme vulnerability. Many feel caught between a rock (fear of what the authorities may or may not do) and a hard place (reproaches for not leaving, of supporting the special operation by paying their taxes, of not expressing their attitude to what is happening and of not actively confronting the regime). 

Half (51%) of those who stayed have had to justify their reasons for staying to their acquaintances. The remaining dissenters have to justify themselves for violating the new norm — ‘If you don't agree, leave!’. This norm emerged in the spring when most opposition media and prominent politicians left. Most of the remaining respondents had some (if not the majority) of their friends and acquaintances leave the country at that time.

Fear of repression, including potential threats against their life, is the most common explanation for the severity of their situation and, at times, hopelessness. At the same time, almost none of these respondents had acquaintances who had been subjected to reprisals, and for the majority, these threats were still hypothetical in their nature. Those who remained silent, afraid to raise their voices openly, at least on social networks, afraid of persecution, feel unrepresented and excluded from social life. That is why they responded so readily to the invitation to participate in an anonymous survey, where they could safely speak out about their grievances, express themselves as a group, and demonstrate that not all dissenters have left Russia. 

Of course, this ‘social silence’ should not be absolutised. There are brave people who write what they see and think publicly. But not very many remain. Those who have remained in Russia most often explain their violation of this new norm (of leaving) as the result of a lack of resources (on average, those who have left have more disposable income) and their obligations to others (basically — we would love to leave and not violate this norm, but we are not able to):

I would leave Russia within twenty-four hours if I had somewhere to go and something to do. 

I can't afford to move my animals and mother, and I can't leave them. 

I would leave, but my age. Who would be waiting for me and where? 

If a lot of money suddenly dropped out of the sky, we'd leave. And never come back. 

In the autumn, a new motif emerged: the powerful taboo against talking about relatives dying as a condition for departure began to break down.

The main justification for staying in Russia was the opportunity to do something useful for the country and the people, but not for the state (84%). Most often, this involved jobs useful to people and society (education, medicine, NGOs, law) (24%), volunteering, support of NGOs, assistance to Ukrainian refugees, moral support for people, including relatives (17%), educating the public, and campaigning among doubters (13%). And only 3.5% named civic and political activism, or even ‘quiet protest’ as justification, with some noting that this was now impossible. 

Teachers and educators are convinced that another generation will be lost if they hand over children and students to supporters of the current situation. The idea being that as long as it is possible, they need to do their jobs honestly and impart the proper, humane values to their audiences. Few wrote exactly where they volunteer and what foundations they support. But many consider this activity very important given its relative safety: 

Right now, I mainly donate money to help refugees and people in difficult situations. 

I support independent press in my city, and send donations and targeted help to refugees.

Many respondents felt it is important to provide moral support to those who are in amore difficult situation than they are themselves. Back in the spring, many of those who remained in Russia felt guilty of a degree of political snobbery: they did not consider it necessary to deal with those who held different opinions to them, whereas, as they realised now, it is necessary to try to convince those in doubt, to draw them over to the side of good. This theme has persisted into the autumn: 

I talk to people, even strangers. Someone will reflect on this. The water grinds the stone. 

Yes, among my colleagues and family, I express my opinions, and perhaps someone will start to slowly doubt that this is all good, while people who are also against the war might see that other people around are normal. 

I have a social media audience of sorts. I always encourage people there to check any information. I do so myself and share what I find with people. The worst crimes are the ones that are kept quiet. 

It becomes a way for people to stabilise their own psychological state, to reduce stress — helping others in any way they can, they believe they are doing something useful and necessary.

Mobilisation: deepening the gap

After the initial shock, the next step is a kind of habituation, a routinisation of life. Yes, life will never be the same, but it goes on. This applies to representatives of both groups. Those who had arrived in another country in the first months were predominantly focused on settling down. Later, some respondents began to actively participate in political events in their new countries; as many as a third became involved in volunteering, helping refugees, or supporting them financially. There were those who had started doing this in Russia and continued their activities after their departure. 

The routinisation of this new life, including a return to civic engagement, occurred in late spring and carried through to early autumn 2022 among the respondents who had stayed. They were getting used to the new way of life, to its new patterns. But then mobilisation took place, the emotions of the early spring returned, and it became clear that anything could happen next, so there was no room to relax. Fears grew once again. Although two-thirds of the respondents who remained had expected mobilisation, they had regarded it as a hypothetical possibility. And when it materialised in reality, the majority were taken by surprise. A new wave of panicked departures ensued.

Those who left also thought that life was becoming more clear-cut. Most respondents travelled to Russia for business or leisure without any sense of fear. But after September 21, tensions rose. People began much more actively than before to get rid of their Russian property; they now considered it dangerous to travel to Russia. Some of my spring respondents returned to Russia in the summer, but after September 21, they left once again. The habits of the new circumstances were rudely disrupted, and a return to how it was is no longer possible.

Those who left and those who stayed: a breakdown in communication, the issue of guilt

According to various criteria (reaction to the outbreak of war, political views), there is little difference between those who left and those who stayed. Both groups are in a difficult situation, although the reasons for this are different. Both have experienced a year of great stress caused by circumstances in which they did not want to find themselves. For both groups, life has changed dramatically, and there is now no going back. It would seem that, politically, they represent a united group in which mutual understanding and harmony should prevail. But, unfortunately, this is not always the case. Sometimes the dividing line is the issue of collective or individual guilt and responsibility on both sides.

My respondents who left did not speak much about this. Almost none claimed that those who stayed were more guilty or responsible than they were. For the most part, they did not consider themselves guilty either: ‘We did what we could. We probably could have done more, but it's not entirely clear what specifically’. 

More than a third of those who had left have suffered as a result of disagreements with their loved ones (parents, relatives, friends) concerning their political position. Sometimes contradictions escalate to such an extent that it could be considered a kind of civil cold war. There were respondents who tearfully recounted what dreadful words their closest relatives bestowed on them because they had left Russia. The word 'traitor' was a relatively mild option. One heard: ‘You are a whore for the West’. 

This was very hard for the respondents. In some cases, this led to a complete breakdown of relationships. In others, it was temporary, with a re-establishment of communication via the Internet and of conversations on neutral topics after a few months. There were cases of young people leaving without telling their parents. This happened both in the spring and autumn, after the start of mobilisation. In the first instance, the issue was the very fact of departure; in the second — unwillingness (in the opinion of relatives) to defend the motherland. Some were condemned by friends for taking the easy way out (escape) out of selfishness, for not trying to do something useful, or for choosing to shirk responsibility for what was happening.

The issue of collective guilt and responsibility is much more acutely felt by those who stayed behind. Many of them are convinced that the responsibility is levied against them alone. Who is levying this responsibility? Those who ask them why they are not leaving — the question itself is perceived as a reproach. Sometimes hints or overt remarks by acquaintances — that it is immoral to be in Russia when it is waging war, that you are supporting the war with your silence and taxes — are perceived similarly. But much more often, the trigger is some discussion on social media about the right and wrong ways to act if you remain in Russia. Those who stay are acutely sensitive to statements from those who have left, who condemn the lack of open opposition to the war in Russia, and consider this as tacit support for the invasion from those who have stayed behind. Most dissenters who remain are extremely cautious, so they see this stance as a direct accusation against themselves. 

Accusations from prominent figures hit particularly hard. Some long-time émigrés have told those who have stayed that they have no right to live the same life as they did before, to go to concerts and theatres. If you live in an aggressor state, you have no moral right to entertain yourself while thousands of civilians in a neighbouring country are dying. This causes particular resentment among those who remain, given that they see dozens of announcements of performances by Russian artists in various countries and reviews of these events on their feeds. ‘They are allowed, and we are not? After all, life is much scarier and harder for us’. Sometimes there are suggestions from experts that those who remain are merely hiding behind a facade of inability; in reality, they lack the determination and initiative to act. Those who have stayed behind perceive such statements as attempts to make them feel guilty about what is happening, relieving those who have left of the burden of this guilt. There may not be too many direct accusations of this sort, but reposts of such articles and the quoting of fragments online creates an impression that most of those who have left hold the same opinion. This is why the issue of guilt and responsibility elicits their increased attention, a desire to justify themselves, and sometimes to go on the offensive. 

In response to the direct question, ‘Do you agree with the opinion that people remaining in Russia bear collective guilt and collective responsibility?’ only 15% of those remaining responded ‘yes’ or ‘definitely yes’. The remaining 80% did not think so, with 60% answering with a firm ‘no’. Respondents do not agree that their guilt and responsibility are higher than those who have left: only 8% hold this view, while 88% have the opposite view.

Those who remain in Russia do not subscribe to ideas of collective guilt and rhetoric of responsibility. Most believe that the blame lies not with ordinary people like them but with those who started it all — the government, the president, supporters of the regime, and participants in the special operation: 

I am not responsible for the actions of the government. I did not elect them. I voted against them. 

Only those who can influence the situation without mortal danger for themselves and their loved ones are responsible. 

The people who stay believe that very little depends on ordinary people. At the same time, they believe that they could do something useful for the country and others (almost 90% of respondents), but they have absolutely no influence on what is happening in Russia: 32% of respondents said they could, 29% said they could not, while the majority found it ‘difficult to respond’, selected by 39% of respondents. Those who remain consider themselves victims or hostages, not perpetrators. They write about this very emotionally:

People who do not have a choice or a voice cannot influence the situation, therefore they cannot be responsible for it. 

We cannot do anything, the fear and memory of 1937 are paralysing.

In several cases, referring to statements that those who remain, even the dissenters, are like Germans in Germany in 1943, the respondents change the perspective: 

We are like the Jews in Nazi Germany. 

The Jews could have left the Reich in time. But not all of them had the financial means and ended up in Auschwitz. Are they responsible for ending up there?

Respondents argue that if collective guilt and responsibility exist, they must apply equally to those who stayed and to those who left. If only because the events which are now taking place were a long time in the making. And if this is the case, then there is no difference between those who left and those who stayed. 

Those who have left also feel as though they are victims, but not hostages. They are sustained by the sense that they have demonstrated agency by leaving, thus expressing their dissent against what is happening. At the same time, many of those who have remained, they feel, have not demonstrated their position in any way and are, therefore, more responsible. In the current situation, breaking free from this ‘symbolic captivity’ is necessary: it allows you to act, not just to suffer in silence. This real or hypothetical accusation is countered by many of the remainers with the argument that they simply do not have enough resources to leave or have specific burdens which prevent them from doing so. In any case, acceptance of the position of victim means stripping oneself of subjectivity, abandoning it, and therefore abdicating responsibility. The circumstances for many of the remaining dissenters are such that this position seems quite legitimate. 

In their questionnaire responses, a number of those who stayed in Russia attempted to reconcile the two sides, to indicate that they belonged to the same group — the group of dissenters, within which there were no radical contradictions. Many are disgusted by these internal squabbles: 

Both those who left and those who stayed are laying into each other, shifting responsibility to each other, which makes no sense at all. 

We are all in trouble, and we are all in the same boat. There is no point in looking for collective culprits among the victims. This is how the guilty will remain without blame. 

A possible solution to the issues of communication between the departed and the remaining dissenters is articulated aptly in this last quote. Although the position of victim does not imply action but merely legitimises helplessness, those who have left and those who remain need to stop blaming each other. It is much more important to move the debate forward in a more constructive direction: to talk less about who is to blame and more about what should be done in the present situation, both by those who have left and those who stayed, in accordance with their capabilities. Experts, specialists and public figures can play a key role here. Analysis is needed of the missteps that have been made in the past, of what is the right thing to do now and how to proceed in the future. Accusations, lectures, and attempts to pin the blame on others are utterly unproductive.