Over 1,300 Russians arrested in protests against Putin's "partial mobilization" order

Police detaining a person in Moscow on Sept. 21 for participating in a demonstration against the mobilization order. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP via Getty Images

Over 1,300 people have been detained for holding protests on Wednesday against Russian President Vladimir Putin's "partial mobilization" of reservists for the invasion of Ukraine, according to OVD-Info, a Russia-based human rights organization that monitors political persecution in the country.

Why it matters: Hundreds of people organized demonstrations in at least 38 Russian cities, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, against the order in violation of Russia's anti-protest laws, which outlaw unsanctioned rallies.

  • It's the largest wave of demonstrations to erupt since the start of the invasion, when over 1,700 Russians were detained during anti-war protests in February.

One-way flights out of Russia to neighboring countries have either completely sold out or have skyrocketed in price since Putin's mobilization announcement.

  • The flights indicate Russian citizens may be attempting to flee the country to avoid being subject to the mobilization order, which may increase fears surrounding closures to the Russian border that broke out at the invasion's start.

By the numbers: Flights from Moscow to Istanbul were sold out for most of this week and the weekend, while tickets were going for "172,188+" rubles (or around $2,805) for Friday on Turkish Airlines' website Wednesday morning.

  • As of Wednesday morning, tickets offered on Aviasales — Russia's most popular air travel booking site — to the capitals of Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan could not be bought for earlier than Friday, said the RBC Group, a Moscow-based media group.
  • Fights on Aeroflot, Russia's flagship airline, from Moscow to Dubai were unavailable until Sept. 28 and going for 110,565 Rubles (around $1,800).
  • Aeroflot and S7, another Russian airliner, said they were not limiting ticket sales in response to the partial mobilization, according to an analytics resource on the Russian air transportation industry.

The big picture: Around 300,000 reservists will be drafted for the war in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said after Putin's address.

  • Shoigu also disclosed that nearly 6,000 Russian soldiers have died in Ukraine since the start of the invasion, though U.S. officials have estimated that around 15,000 Russian troops have been killed.
  • Putin announced the partial mobilization after the Russian military suffered major territorial reversals in south and northeast Ukraine from counteroffensives.
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