Russians who fled military draft begin to return home

Russians who fled military draft begin to return home
Russians who fled military draft begin to return home. Image: Evgenii Sribnyi/

The Moscow Times has reported that Russian men who fled military draft have begun to return home due to the impossibility of earning a living abroad. 

After Vladimir Putin announced the military draft of Russians in September 2022, thousands draft-age men sought to escape the country by crossing into one of its bordering nations. However, finding work in a foreign land has often been a major challenge for them. 

Pavel, 21, explains that he and his brother were unable to find a job in Kazakhstan and therefore after three weeks in the Central Asian country, he decided to return home. He adds that they initially “fled because of the general panic” but that the failed trip had cost them 100,000 rubles ($1,650). 

The Kremlin itself acknowledges that 700,000 men left Russia in under two weeks following the announcement of mobilisation. But according to recent statistics the flow has now reversed in direction with it seeming that many men have been influenced by official commitment that no more will be drafted to fight in Ukraine. 

On Monday 7 November, Putin told reporters that “mobilisation is complete” and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu stated last week that the goal of calling up 300,000 reservists has already been achieved. 

 It is unknown whether or not those who fled will face some type of punishment or sanction for having done so. Influential Russian lawmaker Andrei Klimov last month stated that those who evaded mobilisation by fleeing the country could, on their return, be designated “foreign agents” – a derogatory Soviet-era label which comes with a series of onerous financial declarations. 

Meanwhile experts have predicted that it is possible that Russia is forced to draft more soldiers later in the winter. Whether or not this will trigger another wave of migration, given the challenges for Russians seeking work in neighbouring countries, is yet to be seen.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article, do remember to come back and check out the EuroNews247 website for all your up-to-date European news stories.