'This is an escape and a protest': how Russians who fled from mobilization to Turkey live - ForumDaily
The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.
Переклад цього матеріалу українською мовою з російської було автоматично здійснено сервісом Google Translate, без подальшого редагування тексту.
Bu məqalə Google Translate servisi vasitəsi ilə avtomatik olaraq rus dilindən azərbaycan dilinə tərcümə olunmuşdur. Bundan sonra mətn redaktə edilməmişdir.

'This is an escape and a protest': how Russians who fled from mobilization to Turkey live

According to the Federal Customs Service, since the announcement of “partial mobilization,” more than 300 thousand people have left Russia. Journalists spoke with young people who escaped conscription to Istanbul, reports with the BBC.

Photo: IStock

Most refugees from Russia were accepted by Kazakhstan and Georgia. But many go further. For example, to Istanbul, because Russians do not need a visa to Turkey.

Konstantin

Moscow — Istanbul

“The mobilization took me by surprise. I am very afraid of being in the army again, of going to a war that I am against. I simply flew off on the flight that I found at that time - it was a flight to Istanbul. That’s how I ended up here,” says Konstantin, an IT specialist.

On the subject: 'I'd rather sit down than go there again': a former Russian contract soldier told how he fought in Ukraine

“I think that I may receive a summons because I served, I have a military specialty, I hold the rank of sergeant. I don’t feel the strength to change anything, I went to rallies for a long time, took part in various events, protest activities, posted leaflets, tried to communicate with my acquaintances and friends on this topic. But at some point I began to feel powerless because nothing was happening. Each time I felt more responsible for the words I say, for what I do. At that moment, I stopped connecting my life with the life of Russia, and I realized that I had to leave Russia,” he said.

Konstantin says that he is scared for the future, because at home he was sure that no matter what happens, he has a house, and he can find a minimum of money to eat and pay for an apartment, that he can find some kind of job.

“Now I don’t believe that things can change for the better. I'm tired of having to survive there all the time. As soon as I start to improve my life, something inevitably happens and throws me back. I'm tired of being afraid of the police and that these people can do anything to me. I am not protected in any way before them, neither by the law nor by anything else,” says Konstantin.

Now Konstantin says that he feels much calmer than in Russia, despite the fact that he has no confidence in his future. He says that his anxiety is gone, he sleeps well and “loves it”.

Sergei

Moscow - Vladikavkaz - Verkhniy Lars checkpoint - Tbilisi - Istanbul

Sergey, logistics manager, 31, immigrated from Russia for personal reasons. He did not like the position of power in relation to the world, as he himself said.

By military specialty, he is a shooter, he served in the guard of honor company for 8 months. He wanted to leave Russia earlier, before the announcement of mobilization, but he recently had a child, and there was no financial opportunity to do so.

“After mobilization was announced, I had to do everything in express mode: I packed sneakers, a couple of T-shirts, jeans into a backpack and went,” says Sergei.

In the Upper Lars area, he was stopped at a gas station.

“They took my passport and started saying that if I am a soldier, then I must serve my homeland, defend my homeland, although no one attacked it. Then he, a policeman, hinted to me that there was no need to go to the military registration and enlistment office. I asked him how much he wanted. He replied, “How much will you give?” I was surprised then - the policeman doesn’t even know how to ask for a bribe. We then drove in two cars until the traffic jam started: it was about 21 km from the border. The guys had folding bikes, I had a mountain bike - I needed time to assemble, and we split up,” says Sergei. — I drove for about 2,5-3 hours, because in the mountains it’s not clear whether you’re going up or down, you can’t see the horizon, you’re constantly pedaling. I got a blast of cardio. I got in line, it was unfair to those who were behind, but, as practice shows, man is a wolf to man. Everyone is worried about their own skin. Then I crossed the border. There were no problems at the border, there were a lot of abandoned bicycles and all kinds of vehicles.”

He says that Georgians and Ossetians who were traveling to Georgia through neutral territory loaded these bicycles and scooters onto their cars, sometimes 15 of them. “ It was like Indian cars loaded with several stories of suitcases. And people bought bicycles there for 50 thousand, which actually cost 5-10 thousand maximum,” says Sergei.

“I walked past the line, not very pleasant words and threats were shouted at me from the line, it was all unpleasant to hear. I responded to rudeness with rudeness, probably so as not to get eaten. Man is a wolf to man - this is the law, apparently, in our country. But at the same time there were a lot of people in line who helped each other. I stood in line at the second tunnel - it’s about 1 km from the border with Georgia,” he says.

He explains that the problems in the tunnels, which are crowded with people and cars, are associated with exhaust from vehicles - it was reminiscent of a gas chamber, many people had headaches, someone lost consciousness.

Sergei and his friends stood in line for 14 hours.

“ We have put together a company of strong and daring guys. We did not let through those who wanted to drive along the side of the road, we were busy systematizing the queue, in which conflicts occurred. There were no fights with me, because every person could be reasoned with, everything could be explained. But because of fatigue, everyone was on edge. I think if there had been some kind of incident, there would have been an explosion - a mass fight,” says Sergei.

He bought a ticket to Istanbul in advance for $270. Now Sergey is in Istanbul, but he wants to apply as a refugee to Germany or the USA.

“You can still find work, even sweep the street. There's nothing wrong with that. The main question is to be able to feed the family. “I have negative feelings about the war, this war is not domestic, but aggressive,” says Sergei. — This war is not only against Ukraine, it is a war against its own people. I have a feeling that this is genocide against the Russian people within the country. We already live poorly, not richly. The best cure for patriotism is travel. In 2014, my wife took me to Turkey for the first time on vacation, then we traveled around Europe. I was in Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic. And there is no “decaying West”, as they say on TV.”

Emil

St. Petersburg — Helsinki — Istanbul

“When I passed all the borders, I went out, lit a cigarette and caught myself thinking that this is the smell of freedom,” says Emil, a musician.

Emil says that when it was announced that the Finnish border would be closed, he left for Finland the same day. After he crossed the border, his girlfriend bought him a ticket to Istanbul.

He says that there are several dangers and reasons. Although he does not have a military ID, Emil still feared that he could be stopped on the street and handed a summons. He says that all over the city this happened very chaotically. He was afraid that all borders would soon be closed and full mobilization announced.

When the war began, he followed the news very actively, but he realized that this was not productive, and he did not know which news to believe. He believes that neither state nor opposition news can be trusted.

“I don’t know what to think, you know? I have friends from Ukraine. I generally love people. This is a very big game, big money. A lot of people are making money. It has always been this way, and it’s hard for me to imagine what the final plan will be. I don't have any position. It would be dishonest on my part to express it, since I do not deal with this issue, I do not study it. I hear criticism of each other from all sides. I don't know how it should be. I know that death and murder are very sad and tragic,” he says.

Dmitry Shurov and Anna Klyannikova

St. Petersburg — Istanbul

“We were traveling on a train on the night of February 23-24. At this moment, my friend from Kyiv writes to me and says that they are being bombed,” says Dmitry Shurov, an artist.

“When we returned to St. Petersburg and began to work a lot, Dima went to work, and then the doorbell rang. We weren't expecting anyone. I went up to look through the peephole - there were two policemen standing there with walkie-talkies, ringing the doorbell. I immediately started writing to Dima that the police were here. He is an artist, he has a lot of oppositional paintings. The subject matter is very political. I couldn’t open the door and let them in, because we have these pictures hanging everywhere. We quickly decide to buy a ticket, and Dima flies to Turkey,” says Anna.

“Anya tells me to leave, my parents tell me not to leave, not to selfishly abandon my family. I had constant swings. I am very glad that I listened to Anya and left first, and she left after me. We absolutely do not regret being here now,” says Dmitry.

Anna studied to be a military doctor, she says that she studied for herself, for general development. She said that she did not have a calling to work in medicine.

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“Istanbul is very interesting. I really like the city. It is very imbued with different stories, different people. Here you can get lost, become completely different,” says Dmitry.

“It’s a big plus that we won’t get lost everywhere. But I really feel sorry for doctors, for example. They need to prove their diploma, etc. People who worked well are now losing everything and going nowhere. It’s easier for us craftsmen. I realized that we will survive anywhere,” he said.

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