“People are afraid”: these Russians who flee to Turkey to escape mobilization

Rémy Trieau (in Istanbul), edited by Ophélie Artaud

Since Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in Russia, many reservists have decided to desert to save their lives. They started to leave the country by plane, heading for Finland, Georgia or even Turkey, where Europe 1 met them.

How many are they to refuse the call under the flags? Impossible for the moment to assess with precision the number of Russian reservists who are trying to escape the mobilization decreed by Vladimir Putin. There are of course the images of these cars in front of the border posts in Finland or Georgia. There are also testimonies, and many of these deserters chose to fly to Istanbul, Turkey. Europe 1 met them when they arrived at the airport.

“Flight prices have tripled”

In the arrival hall of Istanbul airport, Piotr looks a bit lost, but relieved. The 29-year-old computer developer arrives from Moscow with a friend and he still can’t believe he managed to escape. “We didn’t think we were going to make it. We really believed that at any moment someone was going to come up and give us a mobilization order. I like to tell myself that I would have surrendered if I had been mobilized, but of course I would have been terrified and I don’t know what I would have done until takeoff. It was very stressful.”

With a small suitcase each, Anton and Anastasia have also just landed in Turkey. “She was a little scared for me,” says the young man. “Not just a bit,” smiled Anastasia, relieved. Just married, they were lucky to find a place on a flight to leave their country. “People are afraid to receive their mobilization order. Flight prices have increased threefold. A ticket costs around 2,000 dollars,” explains Anton. Despite these high prices, all flights between Moscow and Istanbul are sold out until next week. And these young deserters do not plan to return to Russia.

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