Sharp rise in demand for flights — and in fares — out of Moscow after Putin announces ‘partial mobilization’


According to Google Trends, there has been a sharp rise in people searching “Aviasales” — a leading Russian flight sales engine. The number has quadrupled in the last 24 hours.

A survey of one-way fares in coming days to Belgrade, Tel Aviv and Istanbul shows a doubling and tripling of prices.

Russian state carrier Aeroflot’s website showed that only business class tickets were available for flights to Armenia on Wednesday. According to Aviasales’ website late Wednesday, one-way tickets from Moscow to Armenian capital Yerevan were available Thursday for $4,241, with multiple stops.

Aeroflot said in a statement: “Due to inquiries from passengers and the media, we would like to inform you that Aeroflot Group airlines are operating as usual. There are no restrictions on ticket sales.”

The spike in demand for flights out of the country followed Putin’s speech on Wednesday morning, an intervention which threatened to escalate his faltering invasion of Ukraine. The “partial mobilization” of citizens means those who are in the reserve could be called up, and those with military experience would be subject to conscription, Putin said.

The Russian president announced the “partial mobilization” in a speech on Wednesday.


Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Russian television Wednesday morning that 300,000 reservists would be called up. Putin added that the relevant decree had already been signed and was in effect.
The flurry in online searches for flights out of Russia may indicate growing dissent over the Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine. On Monday, Russian pop legend Alla Pugacheva was the latest high-profile Russian to voice opposition to the war. She called for an end to Russian soldiers “dying for illusory aims that make our country a pariah.”

While Putin’s speech on Wednesday has serious implications for parts of the Russian population, it also sent further warning shots to the West. The president said he would use “all the means at our disposal,” and even raised the possibility of using nuclear weapons, if he deemed Russia’s “territorial integrity” to be threatened.

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