Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has reported that 261,000 men had left Russia after the announcement of “partial” mobilisation in the country, our source in the Presidential Administration tells us.
Discussions on closing the border for men of military age began in the Presidential Administration on Wednesday, 21 September, when law enforcement agents had started reporting the numbers of men leaving the country. According to our source, the last report by FSB from 25 September stated that 261,000 men had left Russia in the period from Wednesday to Saturday evening.
Novaya Gazeta. Europe’s source in the Presidential Administration doubts the authenticity of FSB’s data, seeing as FSB’s border service has never “worked this quickly before”. According to the source, back in spring [the officials] relied more on the data received from phone operators, which comes in much later.
Nevertheless, “the mood in the Presidential Administration is that the law enforcement and the Ministry of Defence will be able to convince Putin to close the borders before it’s too late. This is how we currently approach the situation [in our work],” the source said.
Furthermore, “higher officials don’t have any meetings with the president scheduled for the second half of September. At the beginning of September, they met [with the president] several times a week,” the source explained, commenting on the claims made by journalist Farida Rustamova. On 24 September, she reported, citing sources, that Putin had gone on a week-long holiday after the announcement of mobilisation.
Another interlocutor of Novaya Gazeta. Europe in the Presidential Administration claims that they have not yet seen a draft of the presidential decree on closing the border.
Previously, several media, citing their sources, reported that the Russian government was planning to close the borders for men of military age after the end of the “referendums” on joining Russia in the self-proclaimed Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics”, the Russia-occupied Kherson region of Ukraine, and the occupied parts of the Zaporizhzhia region. According to IStories, all Russian men subject to mobilisation will be prohibited from going abroad starting from 26 September.
The Verstka outlet does not name a specific date, however, it reports, citing a parliamentary source, that the borders will be closed before Vladimir Putin’s address to the Federation Council (the upper house of the Russian Parliament) on the subject of annexation of the territories where the “referendums” are currently being held. According to Verstka, the address will take place on 30 September.
Meduza, citing a source in the Presidential Administration, claims the borders will be closed on 28 September, only after the end of the “referendums”. However, the situation could change “if there’s a mass outflow”. According to Meduza, the development of the situation depends on the assessment of the “power block” (i.e. Russia’s Ministry of Defence, secret services, and law enforcement) and Vladimir Putin himself — he is allegedly certain that the “referendums” and mobilisation should be conducted as soon as possible.
Yesterday, 25 September, it was reported that several citizens that meet the criteria of the “partial” mobilisation and are trying to leave Russia were given out notices at the borders, according to which they are not allowed to leave the country — based on a military commissariat decision. There have been reports of at least five such cases.