Russian conscripts are leaving abroad, but where can they stay?

The week that President Putin announced mobilization, the number of Russians entering the EU rose sharply. There were 66,000, which is 30 percent more than the week before, says the Frontex EU external border surveillance agency. Most of them, 30,000, went to Finland.

The increase is entirely attributed to the reluctance among Russian men to be called up for the war in Ukraine.

On Saturday, it became clear that there are major differences within the EU as to whether these Russians are allowed to stay. Western European countries do not want to send back Russians who do not want to fight because they will be persecuted. Finland is working on rules to significantly limit the influx of Russians. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania believe that these refugees should stay in Russia to oppose Putin there.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister puts it this way:

Other countries are getting many more Russians. Estimates of the number of Russians who fled abroad after Putins announcement on Wednesday last week are up to 250,000.

In Kazakhstan alone, nearly 100,000 Russians crossed the border. Others left for Mongolia and Georgia, where they dont need a visa either. The question is how long Russians are still welcome in those countries.


According to Reuters news agency, Kazakh hotels and hostels are full and rents are skyrocketing, but the emigrated Russians may stay for now.

โ€œIn recent days, many Russians have come here,โ€ President Tokayev said in a speech. โ€œMost of them were forced to do so because of the hopeless situation. We need to take care of them and ensure their safety.โ€ Tokayev also said he wants to discuss the issue with Moscow.

At the same time, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is working to amend the Russians right to stay in Kazakhstan. The legislative amendment states that Russians with only a Russian ID must leave after three months. Russians with passports are allowed to stay longer, but the vast majority do not.


The border with Mongolia is also busy. โ€œWe had to wait 16 hours on the Russian side of the border, a Russian told Reuters.

I cant give my opinion, says a Russian who arrived in Mongolia. Another says he wants to visit friends:

A stay in the capital Ulaanbaatar offers backpackers in normal times. Now its full of runaway Russians. The owner had to send dozens of others away because there is no room left.

โ€œWe are not afraid. If other countries attacked Russia, we would fight for our country, one of the guests tells Reuters. โ€œBut why do we have to fight Ukraine?โ€

He wants to stay in Mongolia until the situation in Russia improves. For now, he is looking for work in construction. There is no indication that he and his compatriots should leave Mongolia.


Georgia has also faced an increasing flow of Russian refugees since President Putins mobilization announcement. The images of the long queue at the Russian-Georgian border went around the world in recent days.

The Georgian Interior Minister says that around 10,000 Russians are trying to enter the country every day this week. Last week, according to him, there were still 5,000 to 6,000 refugees a day, and as tourists, they can stay for a year.

โ€œThere are Russians coming into the country who never supported the war, but also Russians who still support their government and the war but just dont want to die for Putin or anyone else,โ€ said the director of an organization that helps Russian refugees against Nieuwsuur.

โ€œIts a dangerous group that you should keep an eye on. The Georgian government and the intelligence service are paying special attention to it. People dont want covert support for the Russian regime here.โ€