By FRANCESCA EBEL AND MARY ILYUSHINA THE WASHINGTON POST February 13, 2023
YEREVAN, Armenia — As Russian troops stormed into Ukraine last February, sending millions of Ukrainians fleeing for their lives, thousands of other Russians raced to pack their bags and leave home, fearing the Kremlin would shut the borders and impose martial law.
Some had long opposed rising authoritarianism, and the invasion was a last straw. Others were driven by economic interest, to preserve livelihoods or escape the bite of sanctions. Then, last autumn, a military mobilization spurred hundreds of thousands of men to run.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war has set off a historic exodus of his own people. Initial data shows that at least 500,000, and perhaps nearly 1 million, have left in the year since the invasion began — a tidal wave on scale with emigration following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991.