36-year-old Dmitry succeeded: he managed to get a plane ticket to Kazakhstan, he says over the phone. The ticket of his life. If he passes through the customs gates at the airport of his native Yekaterinburg this afternoon, the Russian army will no longer be able to send him to Ukraine to kill people he considers friends rather than enemies.
But Dimitri is now suddenly suspicious. “I can’t leave without my wife and daughter,” he says. Although that was the plan. He will now leave, while he still can, his family after that. But leaving his wife and daughters in a country at war scares the sports nutrition salesman so much that he no longer dares to flee. “I’m scared and confused, I don’t know what to do.”
A week after President Putin announced the mobilization, millions of Russian men are at a loss. Join the messy flight to another country or stay home with your loved ones despite the danger of packing? time is passing. Russians fear that Putin will close the border to adult men. Perhaps as early as Friday, when Putin addresses the Russian parliament and is expected to announce the annexation of four Ukrainian provinces – since then, according to Putin’s laws, war will break out on Russian soil.
Will the fugitives reach the border in time? Some are setting up their airlifts themselves now that scheduled flights are sold out. For example, a group of Moscow friends are looking for people who want to help pay for the rent of a plane they want to fly to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, on Friday. Meanwhile, tens of thousands are joining Traffic jams with waiting times of days.
Tension in traffic jams is increasing. “People are standing in the cold wind without food and drink,” said Aldar Irinzhinov, an activist who helps people flee to Georgia from the Russian province of Kalmykia. Some people ran out of gas and pushed their cars to the border.”
The Russians learned in recent days that Putin lied to them about the partial nature of the mobilization. It does not seem true that only “specialists” with “recent military experience” are called. Welcome men who have never served in the army in recent days Fill order. He also called according to local Russian media: the disabled, pensioners and students.
Go get your bags
Sonya from Saint Petersburg believed that her husband was safe, because he could hardly see anything with his left eye, and therefore he was exempt from military service. But on Sunday she heard that a friend of hers had been called an exemption. It turns out that other friends were on the run. “I thought this was going in the wrong direction,” Sonya says. My husband and I decided he should leave immediately. He said he would finish installing the new bathtub, but I said, ‘Go get your bags!
Her husband and friend now stand in line for miles on the border with Kazakhstan. “He estimates it will take another day,” says Sonya. It should be in time before the borders close.”
Social media chat groups inform people about the fastest flight options and bureaucracy needs by country. The number of Gids naar de Vrije Wereld channel members on Telegram has crossed 100k in a few days.
The Kremlin says it is not interested in mass exodus. “Let the mice run away with their tails between their legs,” said Ella Pamfilova, head of the Russian Election Commission, who is close to Putin. Then we’ll have an easier time on the ship. And the vast and majestic Russia is not a sinking ship, but a mighty and powerful ship heading straight for its goal.
People who do not trust
Meanwhile, the authorities are taking measures to keep people within the borders. The army set up a mobile recruitment point on the border with Georgia. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov blamed local officials for the “inappropriate calls” to assuage concerns about mobilization.
But the Russians, a people who do not trust their government, continue to flee. Basang from Kalmykia said goodbye to his wife and children a day after Putin’s announcement. He jumped in a friend’s car and threw his bike in the back. When he got into the traffic jam before the border, he got down and ran on his bike to the customs point. “Everything went very quickly, there was no time to be afraid,” he says.
Basang from Georgia said that in his village in a poor Buddhist province where the Russian army has been recruiting soldiers extensively since the start of the war, nearly all the men have been mobilized in the past week. He crossed the border by bike and is now looking for a home so that his wife and children can come too. Then his parents, he hoped.
Getting to Georgia wasn’t just a convenience. “I lifted a heavy weight off my shoulder, but my worry for my family and friends didn’t go away.”
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