Several recent questions have focused on banning visas for Russians traveling to Europe or North America (or other "western countries") - see here, here, and here. The main justification is that Russians that can afford travel abroad are wealthy and penalizing them would put pressure on the Russian government to withdraw its army from Ukraine (see, e.g., here or this answer).
The question is about statistical data that would allow to evaluate this assumption. In particular:
- Which income group in Russia can afford to study and/or travel abroad? Are they "rich" or more middle class (i.e., what fraction of Russian population they represent)?
- What are the incomes of this group in comparison to their western peers and other third-world countries. E.g., are Russians studying in the US or Europe are richer/poorer than their Indian or Chinese counterparts? This should be preferably split between those who pay for their study and those who receive scholarships.
- How the income group mentioned in the first bullet compares to that in western societies. I.e., are studying abroad and international tourism more accessible to middle class and poor westerners than to their Russian counterparts?
Quotes from the cited materials:
“We have seen many Russians travelling for leisure and shopping as if no war was raging in Ukraine,” Borrell said. “Member states considered that we are not business as usual. It cannot be business as usual.”
The theory is that a tourist visa ban would affect the more affluent communities, which have more clout and influence on the government.
Because studying abroad is seen as a form of extreme privilege in the Russian Federation, a student visa ban is similarly seen a sanction on luxury goods. Cutting off access to this (thought to be) luxury good among the most privileged Russian elites would also be in line with the intent of the sanctions.
If true, it would be an effective additional sanction measure.