Russian Exodus Grows Amid Fears Kremlin May Restrict Borders for Mobilization-Eligible Men

Russian Exodus Grows Amid Fears Kremlin May Restrict Borders for Mobilization-Eligible Men

access_time2022-09-26 11:53:46

Russian men and their families flooded to the border over the weekend as speculation grew that the Kremlin may bar mobilization-eligible men from leaving the country.

Witnesses reported hours-long lines at the main airport in Moscow and at land crossings into Kazakhstan and Georgia as reports spread that those subject to the call-up may be banned from leaving as soon as this week.

The government sought to assure people that the rules of the “partial” mobilization that President Vladimir Putin declared Sept. 21 would be enforced after stories of ailing, old or otherwise exempt people being conscripted went viral on social media.

Putin late Saturday decreed a deferral for some students at state vocational schools and universities, after the Defense Ministry’s assurances failed to calm the public. Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament, on Sunday promised an “individual” approach to each complaint received, reiterating assurances from some regional governors.

But the Federal Security Service, or FSB, has begun stopping men from leaving the country on the orders of military commissariats, Russian lawyer Pavel Chikov, who advises on conscription cases, said in his Telegram channel Sunday. He posted photos of two notices handed out at different crossings on the border with Kazakhstan.

Meduza news website and exiled tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s media group over the weekend cited unidentified people saying that men of conscription age will be barred from leaving the country after the staged referendums on annexation in occupied Ukrainian territory, which are set to end on Tuesday. Similar reports of an imminent border closure circulated in the days after Putin ordered his troops to invade Ukraine in February, though no such restrictions were imposed then.

Small, scattered protests against Putin’s mobilization have broken out across the country. Police detained about 828 people in 35 cities at protests as of Sunday evening, according to the OVD-Info monitoring group.


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