Ukraine War: As Putin announces conscription, 'How to break an arm at home' tops Russian search trend on Google
There have also been reports of widespread panic among Russians on social media. Due to high demand, limited plane tickets out of Russia reached exorbitant prices and quickly became unavailable
New Delhi: Google searches for “how to break an arm at home” skyrocketed in Russia after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation of the population to fight in Ukraine. The Russian president stated that the call-up would only apply to reservists and would go into effect on Wednesday.
Following Putin’s speech, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the mobilisation of 300,000 troops with “previous military experience.”
According to Newsweek, a Google search for “как слoмат руку в мускo услови,” or “how to break an arm at home,” went viral in Russia, which fueled speculation that some Russians were going to great lengths to avoid fighting in Ukraine.
According to Google Trends, the phrase “how to break a leg” (как слoмат ноy) had also grown in popularity.
Google Trends assigns a score of 0 to 100 to search terms over time, with 0 representing the least interest and 100 representing the most.
According to Trends data, there had been no searches for “how to break a hand at home” in the previous seven days at 2 a.m. ET, when Putin began his address. This is not to say that no word searches occurred; rather, the number was so small that the data could not be quantified.
That figure had risen from 100 to 38 by 4 am, indicating a significant increase in searches for the phrase.
According to media reports, protests against the partial mobilisation are planned for Wednesday evening at 19:00 local time in Russian cities. Protests against Putin’s invasion of Ukraine have previously been violently suppressed.
There have also been reports of widespread panic among Russians on social media. According to National Post, due to high demand, limited plane tickets out of Russia reached exorbitant prices and quickly became unavailable.
Some people had already been turned back at Russia’s land border with Georgia, and the website of Russia’s state railway company had crashed due to the large number of people looking for ways out of the country.
The Russian railway website page rzd.ru was still inaccessible as of noon on Wednesday.
During the war, the Serbian capital, Belgrade, became a popular Russian tourist destination. Up to 50,000 Russians had fled to Serbia since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where many have established businesses, particularly in the IT sector.
Russians do not need visas to enter Serbia, which is the only European country that has not ratified Western sanctions imposed on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.
Putin stated in his speech that the partial mobilisation “will be fully adequate for the threats we face, namely defending our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the safety of our people and people in liberated territories.”
He warned NATO members that Russia possesses “various means of destruction,” presumably nuclear weapons.
Putin added that, “If our country’s territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all available means to protect Russia and our people.”
On Tuesday, authorities in four partially Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine announced a referendum on whether to formally join the Russian Federation.
On Friday, voting will begin in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia, but Western powers have rejected its legitimacy.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, spoke out at the White House, condemning what he called a “sham referendum” that was “manipulated.”
“Let me be clear, if this occurs, the US will never recognise Russia’s claims to the allegedly annexed part of Ukraine,” he added.
With inputs from agencies
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