The Russian government has decided not to impose a general travel ban on able-bodied men, i.e. men fit for the armed forces. However, although they can leave the country, they no longer receive a new passport.
The travel ban applies to people who have already been called for military service and must report, Russian media write.
A number of Russian media reports that the Kremlin did intend to ban all able-bodied men between the ages of 18 and 65 from going abroad on Wednesday. But internal discussions are said to have arisen over the effect due to the country’s strong reaction to President Vladimir Putin’s recent decision to call up 300,000 reservists for the war in Ukraine.
Kremlin circles have reacted with shock to the unforeseen exodus of Russians since the announcement of the partial mobilization. Moreover, the mobilization organization soon turned out to be chaotic because the regional authorities responsible for implementation interpreted the instructions differently.
As protests against the mobilization erupted across the country, hundreds of thousands of Russians quickly crossed the border. About 66,000 Russians moved to EU countries, and almost all neighbouring countries had to deal with a huge influx of Russians that suddenly arrived at the border. For example, according to official information, 98,000 Russians have left for Kazakhstan, but according to the Novaya Gazeta, there are more than 260,000.
Georgia and Armenia also reported the arrival of more and more Russians. Other destinations of hastily departing ‘resilient Russians’ are said to include Belgrade, Istanbul, Baku and Dubai. The exodus is said to have prompted the Kremlin to waive the general travel ban.