EThere is no reliable figure for the men fleeing abroad before Putin’s partial mobilization. But it is obviously too high for the Kremlin, otherwise it would not be taking countermeasures on the border with Kazakhstan. Conscripts are to be filtered out at the major crossing point for motor traffic; this has happened before on the border with Georgia.
Such measures not only work at the border itself, they also have a deterrent and discouraging effect. Affected Russians will think carefully about whether they want to attract attention as deserters in Putin’s police state.
No more direct flights
But Russia’s borders are also closing from the outside. Finland, which shares the EU’s longest border with Russia, is now ending entry on tourist visas. It follows Poland and the Baltic states. This means that Russians can only reach the EU by land with difficulty, and there have been no direct air connections for a long time.
Does that do Putin’s business? In a way, yes, because he no longer has to lock up his cannon fodder himself. But the Eastern Europeans are right: Russians entering the country are currently associated with considerable security risks, keyword agents. And besides, the whole Western strategy rests on the hope that Putin’s regime will cave in or collapse. This means that the pressure on the population is increasing.