As tensions rose between Russia and Ukraine in 2022, Russian President Putin ordered the mobilization of soldiers to deploy more soldiers to Ukraine. However, many Russians defied that order and chose to flee the country. Up to half a million Russians have left to date, with as many as 100,000 deserters seeking refuge in neighboring Georgia. Despite the close relationship the two countries share, Georgia’s strained history with Russia, with the most recent war not too far behind, raises the question of how the deserting Russians will be received by Georgians.
DW reporter Oxana Evdokimova investigates the fate of these deserters in her documentary. How did they make the journey out of Russia, and what challenges did they face? And now that they’re in a foreign country, how are they faring, both socially and economically? Through interviews with deserters and locals alike, “Deserters: Escaping Russia” delves into the lives and experiences of those who made the difficult decision to leave their home country behind.