All of the young Russians who escaped to Kazakhstan, a neighboring country, to avoid being drafted to fight in Ukraine, one day want to return. They simply are unsure of the exact date.
The largest city in Kazakhstan, Almaty, is a popular destination for Russians trying to dodge conscription. A 25-year-old Muscovite there told NBC News that she felt “extremely sad” because she “loves Russia” in reality. “I might be here for two or three months. I’m not sure.
The young Muscovite, like the other apprehensive exiles NBC News spoke with, asked that his identity not be used because he is afraid of the repercussions of disobeying President Vladimir Putin’s order to report for service.
Before leaving three weeks ago, the young man worked as a juggler and a street performer. He claimed that he is already missing Mother Russia.
I don’t want to participate in it.
He spoke in shaky English, saying, “I can’t tell you anything about my future because I see, like, only in two weeks, two weeks farther.”
An influx of men of military age has been seen in Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Georgia since Putin’s announcement of a military mobilization last month to support his forces in Ukraine. Putin announced on Wednesday that Russia would establish martial law in the four Ukrainian regions it had illegitimately annexed a month earlier, as his military fights to hold onto its holdings in the face of Ukrainian advances.
The Muscovite responded, “Well, first of all, because of this conscription business going on in Russia right now. But primarily because Russia started to seem alarmingly uneasy. Being creative is quite difficult.
It was either “always be anxious or to leave,” then.
The Muscovite claimed that although many of his compatriots continue to support the fighting in Ukraine, he participated in demonstrations against the military operation.
Another man, who wished to remain anonymous, came in Almaty with a huge backpack containing everything he owned.
I don’t want to participate in it, he declared. His parents “wanted me to go,” he claimed.
Having already hitchhiked over a significant portion of the globe, Dmitry claimed to have discovered that “if you speak with the people you don’t need tons of money.”
But he would never permanently depart from Russia. And although he refrained from making any predictions about what would occur, he believes that the “critical situation” that Russia is currently in will soon come to an end.
He said, “I believe maybe two months or three months, I will go home.”
Putin has assured his citizens that after the military has enlisted 300,000 more soldiers, the draft will soon be finished. The last independent pollster in Russia stated that although public support for Putin is still robust, it has been impacted by the partial mobilization.
According to the Levada-Center pollster, “more than half the nation feels apprehensive about it.” He stated that their main worry is “that their spouses, their sons might be recruited.”
According to psychotherapist Nikita Rakhimov, who created a Telegram site for the expanding community of Russians eschewing conscription, there is no assurance that those who have gone will be greeted with open arms upon their return.
Rakhimov stated as he sipped coffee in an Almaty park, “Many who have left have already been labelled ‘traitors for Russia’ by their loved ones.”
Many Russian families have been torn apart by the argument over the conflict, he claimed, with younger members more likely to be against military intervention in Ukraine while their parents are still committed to Putin.
Rakhimov remarked, “This is what they are told by their relatives. “Putin is adored by many individuals.”
He recalled a Russian who left his country after becoming trapped between his Ukrainian wife, who insisted that he “hate all Russians,” and his parents, who labeled him a traitor for not supporting the fight. It has also ended marriages, he continued.
He declared, “His mind is about to explode.”
He claimed that while some of the exiles planned to remain in Kazakhstan, others saw it as a “trampoline” to another country in Europe. However, he claimed that the majority only plan out two to three weeks at a time.
Rakhimov stated, “They don’t know what to do. They desire to return to Russia, but understandably are unable to do so at this time.