Tickets for flights departing from Russia sold out quickly on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered 300,000 troops from the reserve to be called in immediately.
Putin’s announcement, made early this morning in a televised address, raised fears that some military-age men would not be allowed to leave Russia. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the recall would be limited to those with professional military experience, not just students or conscripts.
However, Google Trends data showed a sharp increase in searches for Aviacell, which is the most popular site in Russia for buying air tickets. Tickets for direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul to Turkey and Yerevan to Armenia, two destinations that allow Russians to enter without a visa, sold out today, according to Aviacell. Some indirect flights are also no longer available, such as flights from Moscow to Tbilisi, with the cheapest flights from Moscow to Dubai costing more than 300,000 rubles ($5,000) — almost five times the average monthly wage.