After Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Wednesday calling for a mobilization of civilian reservists to fight the Russia-Ukraine war, airline tickets leaving the country have sold out as many Russian men attempt to leave before they are drafted.
Thanks to the high demand for airline tickets going to Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia – countries that allow Russians in without the need for visas – most flights out of the country have sold out after the announcement of Russia’s partial military mobilization, according to Reuters .
As bus stations and airports are crowded with people attempting to leave the country, human rights groups also say that people were at transportation hubs handing out draft notices to eligible people, with street cleaners and homeowners associations being mobilized to spread the notices to other citizens, The Daily Beast reported.
Among those being mobilized are some public workers and medical staffers, including one private clinic that found its whole staff drafted for the war. The degree reportedly has a “classified” clause that allows Russia to not release numbers on how many people have been drafted.
Putin’s announcement of a partial military mobilization, where 300,000 reservists are immediately being called up, has proven to be deeply unpopular with Russians, prompting many to protest the mobilization despite a potential 15-year sentence against them.
“Today Putin mobilizes people, tomorrow he will employ nuclear weapons, our job is to help those who do not want to serve,” Valentina Melnikova from the Union of Committees of Soldiers’ Mothers of Russia said.
Many of those who are qualified for being drafted have expressed opposition to the war, with over 15,000 middle-class professionals from Russia in a Telegram group called “Border Control” that gives them information in real-time for avoiding the draft.
“Unfortunately, this is my war, although I never asked for it: victims of this war are my people, I have been helping suffering people; and the bastards who started this war are my enemies, ”Anton, an IT expert attempting to escape Russia, said.
“Run away, there will be nothing good in Russia for a long time. This is not a betrayal, this is your survival, ”Alexander Koryakin, an IT tech who was able to escape to Armenia on Wednesday.