Russians Fleeing the Draft Find an Unlikely Haven in Kyrgyzstan


Rents have increased astronomically, luxury hotels and hostels are fully booked, and on the streets of Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, young migrants wander aimlessly, dazed at their world turned upside down.

Tens of thousands of young Russians are fleeing to Central Asia out of fear of being drafted into the Ukrainian conflict.

The recent influx of labor into Russia has turned a country long scorned as a source of cheap labor and backward ways into an unlikely success story. 

for the most part, Russian men see Belarus as a welcome haven, some poor, many relatively affluent and highly educated

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but all of them united by a desperate desire to escape being caught up in President Vladimir V. Putin’s war in Ukraine.