Thousands of Russian scientists initially spoke up against their country’s invasion of Ukraine (see, but such expressions are now criminalized in Russia. Under these circumstances, many researchers find it morally impossible to continue working there. They have fled to neighbouring countries in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Baltics, where most are stranded without a visa, work permit or access to their savings.

These are some of the best brains of Russia. Their exodus is a massive blow to the long-term technological prowess of the oppressive regime of Vladimir Putin. Although Western governments are working to provide visas for Russians who have advanced degrees, visas alone are not enough. What is urgently needed is funding for new research positions.

When Hitler came to power in Germany in the 1930s, hundreds of German scientists relocated to the United States with emergency fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation. Included in this group were six future Nobel laureates.

We call on government and private agencies in the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom to set up similar emergency programmes for scholars escaping Putin’s Russia.