As Newly Mobilized Arrive In Ukraine, More Russians Want To Find Out How To Surrender – OpEd


Between 28 November and December 4, the latest week for which figures are available, 66,000 Russians turned to Yandex to ask “how to surrender,” a figure six times what it had been in recent weeks although down from the all-time high in April and May when 130,000 Russians did so each week, the editors of Vyorstka say. 

The independent media outlet says that this growth in numbers “corresponds with the arrival of large groups of those mobilized for the front and reports about significant losses among them” and likely reflects the interests of both them and their families in any means available to save their lives (

It also is taking place at a time when there have been more reports in Russian media about prisoner exchanges, actions which certainly signal to Russians that those who surrender are not lost but may eventually be able to return home alive, something that might not be the case if they continue to fight.

Such interest in surrender must be of concern not only to Russian commanders in the field but to the Kremlin as well given what it says about the state of mind of the Russian population and soldiery. But another trend, reported by Moscow’s Kommersant newspaper, may be even more worrisome at least in the long term.

According to the paper, the number of Russians seeking to purchase property abroad has risen by 2.3 time since 2021 and even by 1.7 times since the pre-pandemic year of 2019, an indication that many who have moved abroad or are thinking about it because of the war may not plan or at least want to have that option (

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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