More than 1,300 Russians who took to the streets to protest against the partial mobilization order were detained in several Russian cities. About 1,000 people are from Moscow and St. Petersburg. Many of them were beaten before being put into police vans and taken to unknown destinations.
The independent protest monitoring group OVD-Info announced that, according to information collected from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been detained by Wednesday evening, The Guardian reports. Of these arrests, at least 502 were made in Moscow and 524 in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city. Unauthorized rallies are illegal under Russia’s anti-protest laws. A Russian Interior Ministry official, Irina Volk, said police blocked attempts to stage “small protests,” according to Russian state media. “In a number of regions, there have been attempts to organize unauthorized actions that brought together an extremely small number of participants,” Volk claimed. This, although video footage from major cities showed many people gathered for protests.
The Vesna opposition movement called for protests, saying: “Thousands of Russian men, our fathers, brothers and husbands, will be thrown into the meat grinder of war. What will they die for? Why will mothers and children cry?”
The Moscow prosecutor’s office warned that those who organize or participate in the protests risk up to 15 years in prison.
On the Facebook group “It’s time to leave – all about emigration”, which I recently wrote about as a platform where Russian citizens are looking for the best options to leave the country, there are now more and more questions about the possibility of fleeing Russia.
“I am against mobilization! Only if the first will be sent (to war – n.r.) deputies, drunks and drug addicts. Leave the boys alone!!!”, a woman wrote in a comment on a Telegram channel.
Russian men rush to flee the country
Meanwhile, huge queues of cars formed at almost all land customs of the Russian Federation. More and more Russian citizens want to leave the country, a day after Vladimir Putin decreed partial mobilization. At Russia’s border with Finland, Finnish customs officers reported an “exceptional number” of Russians crossing the border into Finland overnight.
Thousands of Russian men of legal age were thus trying to leave the country as early as Wednesday evening, shortly after the announcement of the partial mobilization. “I don’t want it to be cannon fodder,” a 30-year-old Moscow man told The Moscow Times on condition of anonymity.
Tickets for direct flights to destinations in Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan – Russia’s neighboring countries for which Russian citizens do not need a visa – sold out quickly.
Thus, on Thursday, a “one-way” plane ticket to Yerevan ended up being sold for $2,621, while a one-way ticket to Dubai cost $2,784.
Russian laws restrict free movement only when general mobilization is decreed. So far, the Kremlin has not made any decision regarding the border closure.
#Breaking: just in – The traffic jam at the border with #Russia/#Finland has pilled up to 35KM and is rising by the hour, it is the only border who is still open for Russian civilians with shengen visas, after #Putin announced he will send 300.000 new troops to #Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/EOJ1346qDO
— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) September 21, 2022