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Nearly 4M Russians Left Russia in Early 2022 – FSB

Moscow Domodedovo International Airport. Mikhail Metzel / TASS

More than 3.8 million Russians have left the country in the first three months of 2022, according to data from Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) published this week. 

A total of 3,880,679 Russians traveled for work, business, tourism and private reasons between January and March.

Former Soviet countries saw significant spikes in arrivals after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Russians who fled out of opposition to the war were joined by those escaping rumored border closures, martial law and mass mobilization that have so far not materialized in the 72-day war.

It’s unclear how many of these Russians have since returned to their home country.

Georgia accepted 38,281 Russians in the first quarter of 2022, the FSB said, a nearly fivefold jump from the 8,504 Russians accepted over the same time last year.

A nearly fivefold increase was also seen in Tajikistan, where 40,054 Russians arrived this January-March compared with 8,857 in January-March 2021.

Estonia saw a fourfold increase (125,426) compared with last year (29,364). Fellow Baltic states Latvia (25,568 compared with 13,521) and Lithuania (48,197 compared with 41,838) saw slight increases.

Armenia saw a threefold jump of 134,129 arriving Russians from 44,586 over the same time last year.

The FSB reported a similar threefold jump for arrivals in Uzbekistan at 53,084 this year compared with 15,206 in 2021.

The number of Russians arriving in Kazakhstan doubled to 204,947 in January-March 2022 from 122,330.

The FSB reported a slight uptick in Russians traveling to war-torn Ukraine — 328,435, up from 316,286 in January-March 2021.

Egypt (351,926), Turkey (363,849) and the United Arab Emirates (263,519), which did not join Western airspace closures, were popular tourist destinations for Russians.

The highest number of arriving Russians were reported in Abkhazia (744,548), which is internationally recognized as part of Georgia.

The human rights organization Perviy Otdel reported this week that FSB agents have started asking the relatives of Russians who have fled the country to persuade the new emigres to return.

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