Where Have All the Men in Moscow Gone? | The New York Times

Across the capital, there are noticeably fewer men at restaurants, stores and social gatherings. Many have been called up to fight in Ukraine. Others have fled to avoid being drafted.

by UKCHP_Admin

MOSCOW — Friday afternoons at the Chop-Chop Barbershop in central Moscow used to be busy, but at the beginning of a recent weekend, only one of the four chairs was occupied.

“We would usually be full right now, but about half of our customers have gone,” said the manager, a woman named Olya. Many of the clients — along with half of the barbers, too — have fled Russia to avoid President Vladimir V. Putin’s campaign to mobilize hundreds of thousands of men for the flagging military campaign in Ukraine.

Many men have been staying off the streets out of fear of being handed a draft notice. As Olya came to work last Friday, she said, she witnessed the authorities at each of the four exits of the metro station, checking documents.

Her boyfriend, who was a barber at the salon, has also fled, and the separation is taking a toll.

“Every day is hard,” acknowledged Olya, who like other women interviewed did not want her last name used, fearing retribution. “It is hard for me to know what to do. We always planned as a couple.”

She is hardly alone. While there are still plenty of men in a city of 12 million people, across the capital their presence has thinned out noticeably — in restaurants, in the hipster community and at social gatherings like dinners and parties. This is especially true among the city’s intelligentsia, who often have disposable income and passports for foreign travel.

Some men who were repulsed by the invasion of Ukraine left when the war broke out; others who oppose the Kremlin in general fled because they feared imprisonment or oppression. But the majority of the men who have left in recent weeks were either called up to serve in the military, wanted to avoid the draft, or worried that Russia might close the borders if Mr. Putin declared martial law.

No one knows exactly how many men have departed since Mr. Putin announced what he called his “partial mobilization.’’ But hundreds of thousands of men are gone. Mr. Putin said Friday that at least 220,000 had been drafted.

At least 200,000 men went to neighboring Kazakhstan, which Russians can enter without a passport, according to the authorities there. Tens of thousands of others have fled to Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Israel, Argentina and Western Europe.

“I feel like we are a country of women now,” Stanislava, a 33-year-old photographer, said at a recent birthday party that was attended mostly by women. “I was searching for male friends to help me move some furniture, and I realized almost all of them had left.”

[Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/10/19/world/europe/russia-moscow-army-draft.html]


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