Thousands of men who could have been deployed to fight in Ukraine are attempting to flee Russia, in many cases by crossing the border by land, because flights to other countries that do not require a visa run out quickly.
After Putin's dictatorship declared a "partial" mobilization, 261,000 men departed Russia, equivalent to an entire army corps. The number of people who escaped is nearly identical to the number of people that Russian officials planned to gather to go to war in Ukraine.
People began to react unusually before the mobilization was announced in the Russian Internet domain. According to Google Trends, searches increased significantly for "How to break my arm?" "How to leave Russia?" "Where can I leave Russia without a visa?" and "Deferment from the army".
Who are these fugitives?
It is understood that mobilization will affect people who have already served in the military, have a military registration specialization, or have combat experience, and that conscription will apply to reservists.
Potentially, these are those who fought in the first and second Russian-Chechen wars, the Russian-Georgian war, and the Syrian war, as well as former fighters of illegal armed groups such as Wagner PMC. These are the potential recruits who flee to Europe and other open countries available to them.
What would it be like for civilized countries to assume responsibility and accept these terrorists?
Fleeing, fleeing, fleeing
All flights from Moscow to Istanbul and Yerevan were sold out within minutes of announcing the mobilization.
The situation quickly deteriorated as Russians fled overseas.
According to the Russian trip planning website aviasales.ru, flights from Moscow to the capitals of Georgia, Turkey, and Armenia, which do not require a visa for Russian citizens, were unavailable on Wednesday.
So, the overland option became the only choice. However, there are still physical borders via which to flee Russia.
There were long lines at checkpoints with Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. Of course, Russian fugitives did not move toward the Ukrainian border.
Those who cannot leave or fly away flee into the woods, while others attempt to cross the border on foot.
The motorway along the Georgian-Russian border has come to a halt. Cars have been being prevented from crossing the border by police in the unrecognized Republic of South Ossetia.
To cross the border, people must wait in a queue that can be up to 15 kilometers long and up to 20 hours long.
Euronews-Georgia met with Russian citizens entering Georgia at the Upper Lars border crossing point.
The vast majority of them avoid speaking in front of cameras. Those who do openly condemn Putin's action as "crazy."
A Russian who made it into Georgia claimed that "the line was ten kilometers long! I arrived early this morning and only just made it over the border.
But it's not that simple: Russian citizens who wish to enter Georgia must sign documents at the border acknowledging that Russia is an invader.
Military analyst Oleg Zhdanov reported this on his YouTube channel.
Russia and Georgia have not maintained diplomatic relations since the 2008 conflict. Hence there are no direct flights between the two nations.
Many people attempt to take a long detour to Georgia by passing through countries like Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, where entry visas are not required.
In light of this, the Droa movement and many Georgians are protesting the invasion of Russians.
According to the rally organizers, "the extraordinary flow of Russian residents into Georgia raises concerns about national security and the economy, and the country is unprepared to deal with the influx of migrants."
Russians are not welcome in Central Asia
Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan have emerged as prominent locations for the massive migration of Russian residents. This is defined by the fact that the geographical position of these nations, as well as the ability to enter without a visa, allows them to flee.
It is already known that approximately 98,000 Russians crossed the Kazakhstan border in one week, and the number is growing by the day.
Kyrgyzstan and several other Central Asian countries face a potentially disastrous situation.
Valentina Chupik, a migrant rights advocate, forced to flee Russia last year due to government pressure in connection with her human rights work, urged everyone to leave Russia immediately. She posted this on her Facebook page.
The return of migrants and the influx of Russians into Central Asia against the backdrop of Russian mobilization is fraught with the region's escalating political instability and economic hardship.
What is the European Union doing? It is closing its doors
Nine European nations, including Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark, Belgium, and the Netherlands no longer recognize Russian passports for tourist visas. Andriy Yermak, the head of Ukraine's Presidential Office, revealed this on his Telegram channel.
The situation in neighboring countries is exploding out of control. Apocalyptic scenes are already taking place on Russia's borders. Latvia has a different approach from the Baltic States and Poland.
Lithuania and Estonia have blocked their borders to Russian citizens entirely.
In an interview with PAP, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau clarified Poland's position. He says that allowing the Russians in is "very inadvisable" from a political and moral standpoint.
Other Russian neighbors, such as Finland and Czechia, share Poland's approach.
Finland has opted to block its borders to Russian "tourists.”
In contrast, Czechia has decided not to give humanitarian visas to Russian people fleeing mobilization, according to Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský.
Turkey and Germany welcome the exiles
"Russian deserters attempting to avoid partial mobilization can seek asylum in Germany." This was mentioned by German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser in an interview with the daily Allgemeine Zeitung. The information was distributed with a citation to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
"Anyone who bravely opposes Vladimir Putin's dictatorship and is thus at significant risk can seek refuge [in Germany] based on political persecution," she said.
She added that Germany has been hosting Russian dissidents hounded and threatened for months.
Justice Minister Marco Buschmann repeated Faeser's words. "Everyone who despises Putin and values liberal democracy is welcome in Germany," he wrote on Twitter.
There is a steady stream of Russian "tourists" at Istanbul Airport. Some tickets from Moscow have increased tenfold, and those who can afford it are paying up to £25,000 for seats on private flights only to exit Russia.
This is not the first time Europe has encountered mass migration, and the effects are well known. Aside from political destabilization and economic and social concerns, a significant number of Russian secret service agents can infiltrate European countries and enter all strata of society under the appearance of refugees. This approach by Russian intelligence agencies is extremely common. Therefore, Europe and its residents should consider their security before the influx of Russian fugitives.