“Yesterday was just like February 24th.” Women from St. Petersburg talk about how they save their husbands, sons and brothers from mobilization in Russia

“Yesterday was just like February 24th.” Women from St. Petersburg talk about how they save their husbands, sons and brothers from mobilization in Russia
“Yesterday was just like February 24th.” Women from St. Petersburg talk about how they save their husbands, sons and brothers from mobilization in Russia

The authorities announced that they plan to send 300,000 men from different regions, including St. Petersburg, to the war. Refusal and evasion threaten with real terms – for this, in just a couple of hours, the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation was tightened.

After such news, many Russian families decided on what they had been postponing for the last six months – emergency emigration. “Paper” talked to three women whose husbands, sons and brothers are urgently leaving Russia to avoid participating in the war.

sent her son to Estonia

I have a son, he is 28 years old. He… Excuse me, I’m worried – yesterday I experienced another February 24th. He is fit for military service in wartime – this is the wording on his military ID. My son did not serve in the army for health reasons, and when he entered [в университет], military departments have already been abolished. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the armed forces. The son works in the IT field in St. Petersburg.

The day before, when everyone was waiting for the performance of the most important person, it was restless. We all live together: me, husband, son, daughter-in-law and little granddaughter, who is a year and three months old. We have [женской половины семьи] there was nervousness, and our men joked: you are such an alarmist, there is no need to hysteria in advance. I had a bad feeling, I said that on the eve of February 24 we [женщины] they were also worried, and the men assured us that all this [боевых действий в Украине] can’t be.

We went to bed with very heavy feelings, and woke up in the morning, turned on the TV, and when the performance began, everything inside me trembled. Because when you give birth and raise your child, no reasons in the world can force him to give.

According to officials, all comments and clarifications will follow within a day, so we thought that on the 21st, most likely, nothing new will happen. And they decided that the son needed to leave. The bride went with him. These fees … when you grab everything – children’s clothes, baby food – you rake it into a suitcase …

After February 24, we already had a plan. When it all happened in the winter, our whole family issued – fortunately we had the opportunity – by roots a residence permit in the Baltic states. As they say, we spread the straw here.

[У сына] there was only one task – to pass the nearest border on September 21, until something else was announced. Thank God, we live in St. Petersburg and here Estonia is only 180 kilometers away. My husband and I saw the children off and sat on pins and needles, waiting for them to pass the Russian-Estonian border and write back that everything is fine.

They crossed the border around midnight. The situation is absolutely calm. There was a long queue on the Russian side, in front of my son [около девяти вечера] there were about 40 cars. Questions at the Russian border were standard: is it carrying something that needs to be declared, and so on. Things were not checked. Thanks to the residence permit, they didn’t ask anything extra. The Estonian border generally took three minutes.

My husband and I are also planning to join. [к сыну и невестке]. But my husband has a business in Russia, and I help him. You [с интервью] found me in the office, where I am lined with acts of reconciliation. We need to complete some business, simply put a crown on a tooth. In a few weeks we will move out to the children.

The issue of returning to Russia is very painful for us. I myself am from the Baltic States, I once married a Leningrader. I have lived in Russia more than in my homeland, my whole life – family, friends, career – in Russia.

The soul is simply torn. I have always told everyone that I like living in Russia so much – such opportunities, such a career. And the last years of how we lived … it was just a fairy tale: what Moscow and St. Petersburg look like now, high-speed trains, traveling around the world … We were so happy …

But in Russia it is now dangerous for the lives of our men. Fortunately, my husband is 60 years old, he is on the verge of that plate that everyone is considering. And yesterday it dawned on me: what if this tablet is rewritten? and 60 suddenly turns into 65? Then my husband will be in danger. The choice between the life of loved ones and material goods is very difficult, but life always prevails.

Photo: Sergey Konkov / Kommersant

sent my brother to Finland

— My brother is 36 years old, he works in the IT field in St. Petersburg. Once he passed the military department, fit in category A.

We got worried on Tuesday, when we began to tighten the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation in relation to refuseniks and draft dodgers. I immediately contacted my brother and told him: “Pack your bags and leave.” At first he told me that I didn’t need to panic. I saw that it was also difficult for him to endure my condition. The next day, on a morning phone call, his colleague said that he had left in the direction of the Finnish border. My brother replied: “Capture me, I’m ready.” The decision was made in just a minute. On the same morning, everyone learned about the mobilization.

My brother left things in a suitcase, took a taxi to the roundabout, after which he and his colleagues crossed the Finnish border in a car. The good news is that he has a five-year Schengen.

We were very worried, we were afraid how they, two guys of military age, would manage to cross the border. And they are also traveling with some kind of micro-suitcase … At first, we thought that they would say that they were going shopping. Then we urgently booked tickets for them. The legend was this: my brother flies through Helsinki, and his friend just gives a ride.

As a result, they crossed the border without problems. They were not asked questions other than the purpose of the trip. There was almost no queue at the Russian border, they quickly passed it, literally in half an hour. But there was a long queue in front of the Finnish one, although the crossing also took an hour and a half. They let everyone through.

Already in Finland, they booked a hotel and sat down to think about what to do next. My brother has documents for repatriation to Israel. Of course, he did not plan to leave so soon, nothing was ready for this. According to the rules, this should be done by all family members. He has a wife – now they will decide how to reunite them.

I also have a spouse. He doesn’t get caught in the first wave [мобилизации], but under the second, if it is, it falls. I am very worried, but he is trying to remain calm and is not ready for the “evacuation”. Therefore, for our family, the issue of emigration still remains open. We still have a mother … In general, this is a very difficult step. For six months we have been gathering our thoughts about how to proceed. But I would also like to leave the country because of my husband.

For me in these six months there were three terrible dates. The first is February 24th. The second – when the news about Bucha appeared. After the first week, I was in a state of suspended animation for two weeks. Then we kind of perked up a bit, so to speak. And Bucha happened. It also knocked me out for about a week. The day before yesterday, when the news about the amendments appeared [в Уголовный кодекс о наказаниях за нарушения, совершенные в период мобилизации]I became very anxious, and when everything happened on the morning of September 21, it ceased to be operational at all.

I am very glad that my brother left, I felt a little calmer. Of course, this is a terrible feeling that everything has come to our house. In principle, I did not distance myself from this conflict, I understood that it would affect everyone. Now I feel that this will come to my family, and I am very scared.

I guess I’m not yet psychologically ready to emigrate. I have been following the political agenda for many years, I understand what is happening, I went to rallies – and I always chose Russia. But I can’t do it anymore. I have a child, a boy. We have no future here.

Hope we can get out. My biggest fear is that at some point my husband will simply not be released. It will be a disaster.

organizes emigration with her husband to Israel

— My husband is 37 years old, he works in IT. In St. Petersburg, he has a big business associated with this area. According to a military ID, he is in reserve and belongs to category B. This is a limited military service. After listening to the conversations of friends, various arguments of relatives, and also knowing that it is impossible to believe that, as the authorities say, certain people will be taken away, we decided to urgently leave Russia.

Yesterday [21 сентября] It started out awful, feels like February 24th. My husband is the most rational person. Yesterday, for the first time, I saw how depressed he was by this news and, in general, by the inevitability of terrible changes. At first we rushed about for a long time, but then we quickly decided that we needed to go as soon as possible.

The biggest problem we faced was buying tickets. We were going to leave for Israel anyway, we had already bought tickets for October 19th. Buy [билеты] on September 21, it was unrealistic: either expensive, or routes with a large number of transfers. And I began to look at absolutely all options for the next few days.

Now the route is as follows: through Krasnoyarsk to Bishkek, from Bishkek to Istanbul, and from Istanbul already to Tel Aviv. Tickets were sorted out in front of our eyes. Aggregators stopped working several times. There was a sense of hysteria. In the end I was looking [билеты] directly on the airline’s website. And when the page for the purchase opened, I immediately took what was.

I monitor the telegram channel “Border Control”, where people talk in real time about the situation at the border. There is also a very good Ark project, which also contains a lot of useful information for those who want to leave urgently, including to Israel. My biggest fear is that things might change in the coming days. Very worrisome.

Since we have already planned emigration, we have both a place where we will live and work options. My spouse can work remotely and I hope he can also keep his business in Russia. First [в Израиль] he will go, my son and I will arrive later.

What I experienced yesterday was like February 24th. The only difference is that then it was like a nightmare and seemed like a total nightmare. It was hard to realize how everything that happened applies to your family. Yesterday I realized that all this has crept up to us so close that there is no more time.

What do we know about mobilization in Russia?

On September 21, Putin announced “partial mobilization.” What is known about its progress? What happens at the borders and how to legally avoid mobilization?

read

NEXT Special Operation in Ukraine: Aid to Ukraine, World Bank