Why would an engineer with any talent stay in Russia and work for 1/4 what they can get in Europe or the USA. A successful Russian poet, Irtenyev says he can no longer breathe freely in his homeland, because "with each passing year, and even with each passing day, there is less and less oxygen around." "I just can't bear the idea of watching [Vladimir] Putin on television every day for the next 12 years," the 64-year-old said of the Russian leader who has presided over a relatively stable country, though one awash in corruption and increasing limits on personal freedoms. "I may not live that long. I want out now." Irtenyev and his family have joined a new wave of Russian emigration that some here have called the "Putin decade exodus." Roughly 1.25 million Russians have left the country in the last 10 years, Sergei Stepashin, head of the national Audit Chamber, told the radio station Echo of Moscow. The chamber tracks migration through tax revenues. Russian nuclear physicist Vladimir Alimov, who now works at the University of Toyama in Japan, said he couldn't survive on the $450 monthly salary of a senior researcher at the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences. "Yes, I miss Russia, but as a scientist I couldn't work there with the ancient equipment which had not been replaced or upgraded since the Soviet times," Alimov, 60, said in a phone interview. "Here in Japan, I have fantastic work conditions. I can do the work I enjoy and be appreciated and valued for it, everything I couldn't even dream of back in Russia." The wave of emigration, which has included large numbers of educated Russians, has grave implications for a country of 142 million with a death rate significantly higher than its birthrate. A study published this year by the Berlin Institute for Population and Development called Russia a waning power and predicted its population would shrink by 15 million by 2030. Russia is seeing an emigration exodus - Los Angeles Times Brain Drain: Russian Scientists Packing Up Their Beakers And Heading West - All News Is Global | Brain Drain: Russian Scientists Packing Up Their Beakers And Heading West Not for the first time, Russian scientists are taking their considerable knowledge and moving abroad. Some of the brainy emigrants cite funding problems and Russian red tape as reasons to move. For others, heading West is simply a lifestyle choice. Even the Russians admit they dont have enought scientist to develope advanced technology such as the PAK FA is going to require.