At least 200,000 Russians have died in a week since President Vladimir V. Putin announced partial military mobilization after a string of setbacks in the war with Ukraine, according to figures provided by Russia’s neighbors. people left the country.
Mobilization could draw as many as 300,000 civilians into military service, from what Russian officials said was a pool of about 25 million eligible adults on the roster. conscription target.
Videos posted on social media platforms showed long lines of cars approaching border crossings in countries such as Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Georgia and Finland. Dissatisfaction with Mr Putin’s policies has been a rapid exodus and a series of protests across the country.
“I left because I disagreed with the current Russian government,” said Alexander Oleynikov, a 29-year-old bus driver from Moscow who had crossed overland to northeastern Georgia. He said many people he knew were against war. He called it a “tragedy” caused by “one mad dictator.”
However, given that Russia has borders with 14 countries ranging from China and North Korea to the Baltics, and that not all governments publish regular data on migration, the scale of the outflow is difficult to estimate. It is difficult to identify.
The Kazakh government on Tuesday said 98,000 Russians had entered the country last week, and Georgia’s interior minister said more than 53,000 had crossed into the country from Russia since September 21 when the mobilization was announced. increased from its normal level of about 5,000 to 6,000 to about 10,000.
Frontex, the European Union’s border control agency, said: statement About 66,000 Russian citizens took part in the block in the week ending Sunday, a 30% increase from the previous week.
These figures give some added credence to the scale of the exodus described in a report over the weekend by Novaya Gazeta Europe, an independent Russian newspaper based in Latvia. of the 261,000 men who left the country by Sunday.
There is also evidence that Russia may be trying to stem the flow of departures. On Wednesday, Russia’s Republic of North Ossetia imposed restrictions on cars arriving from other parts of the country. The republic’s governor Sergey Mengyairo said the ban was introduced after 20,000 people crossed the border in two days.
Some European countries such as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland have already imposed border restrictions with Russia, closing their doors to most Russian citizens. On Wednesday, the Finnish government announced it would adopt measures the next day to “significantly restrict” Russians’ travel to and through Finland, a popular entry point for other Schengen countries. did.
On Wednesday, the US embassy in Moscow, which had previously urged citizens to leave Russia, warned that people with dual Russian-American citizenship risk being drafted, in light of the mobilization move. He restated his position.
Russia is also cracking down on citizens trying to leave the country. On Tuesday, state-run news media reported that a man waiting to flee at the Georgia border had received a summons.
However, some analysts warn that the actual impact of Brexit is likely to be limited.
“Many young Russian men are leaving Russia en masse.” Australian Mick Ryan said military experts who commented extensively on the war in Ukraine. “But millions of other people will not have the means to leave Russia and escape the draft notice.”
Ksenia Ivanova contributed to the report.