A few years ago I moved into a brand new subdivision in Washington state in the US. About 50% of the homes in our neighborhood were occupied by families that had immigrated to the US from Eastern Europe. My direct neighbor on one side was from Ukraine, as were most of the other families. One family was from Romania. Needless to say, none of them had any intention of returning to their home country. I was given to understand that Ukrainians liked Washington state as opposed to other places in the USA because its climate and forested landscape were reminiscent of the old country.
I have not been able to locate the source of the story, but I recall recently reading a piece in a US monthly (I thought it was Atlantic Monthly, but couldn't find it on that website) that described how the countryside of Russia outside of Moscow, St. Petersburg, and a few other cities is rapidly emptying of people. A comment at demography.matters.blog posits that "We might be seeing the formation of permanently depressed zones in Europe, places where the labour force available just isn't productive enough for catch-up to take place, creating a self-perpetuating situation." As support for this hypothesis , "Into the Woods" is an MSNBC report describing depopulation trends throughout Europe. One point from that story that backs up the idea of emergence of permanently depressed zones is "One third of Europe's farmland is marginal, from the cold northern plains to the parched Mediterranean hills. Most of these farmers subsist on EU subsidies, since it's cheaper to import food from abroad." The marginal farmlands are likely to be abandoned, precisely because they are relatively unproductive. In these areas, it is a question of how long it will take for the elderly farmers to die off, as it is unlikely that many young people wish to stick around, even to receive a farm subsidy. Perhaps a partial solution to agricultural trade issues in Europe might be to have farm subsidies for properties in marginal farmland expire permanently on the death of the current landowner.
I think that another valid point made at demography.matters.blog is that in some parts of the the CIS the young people simply might not be able to leave that swiftly since they have to take care of the elderly population. I wonder, though, if entire families including the elderly might not make the trek westward. I would think even for an aged person with attachments to the homeland, a flat in an old East German apartment block would be preferable to say a rapidly disappearing village in the Carpathians. My Ukrainian neighbor brought his aged mother to the US.
Tne MSNBC article makes another point that supports the conjecture that major cities in Eastern Europe could avoid collapse; its author says "attractive areas within striking distance of prosperous cities are seeing robust revivals, driven by urban flight and a rising influx of childless retirees." Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, and perhaps Bratislava might fit into this category.