Russians google “how to leave Russia” while waiting for Putin’s surprise national speech

Google searches for “how to leave Russia” spiked on Tuesday as Russians awaited a surprise speech from President Vladimir Putin, according to a report.

The number of searches for information on exiting Russia peaked around 6 p.m. local time. Aside from searches for “how to leave Russia”, searches for “rejection from the Russian army” peaked around the same time, according to Google Trends data, as reported on Mozhem obiasnit’s Telegram channel (We can to explain).

“The Google search index for the phrase “How to leave Russia” peaked on Tuesday. This happened against the background of news about the upcoming mobilization and referendums in the unrecognized republics. The peak of requests was data at 6 p.m. according to Google Trends,” the report said.

The Telegram channel also noted that most of the searches were conducted by Russians living in the Khabarovsk region on the country’s southeastern front. Khabarovsk is a city bordering China.

Google searches peaked shortly after it was announced that Putin and Sergei Shoigu, the Russian Federation’s defense minister, were scheduled to deliver a surprise national address on Tuesday. However, the speech was later postponed to Wednesday.

It was not specified what they would be discussing during the speech, but the announcement comes amid rumors of upcoming mobilization plans and referendums in the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Earlier that day, the Russian State Duma introduced the concepts of mobilization and war into the Russian Federation’s Criminal Code, which passed its first reading in July. The new concepts now strengthen criminal liability for disobeying a military order, desertion, evasion of duty and loss of military property when committed “during the law of war, in time of war, or in conditions of armed conflict or hostilities,” Holod magazine reported.

Along with the concepts, the State Duma also introduced criminal liability for voluntary surrender and looting. Russian soldiers who voluntarily surrender to enemy forces face between 3 and 10 years in prison. Looters can be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

The new concepts would apply to current Russian military personnel, reservists, contract soldiers and conscripts.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Strategic Development and National Projects Council via videoconference at a residence outside Moscow, Russia, July 18, 2022. Reuters/SPUTNIK

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