This turned out to be the case during my visit to the city in May 2023. As is known, hundreds of thousands of Russian young men left their country in a hurry when Putin announced a partial mobilization in September 20222. And who can blame them? It is better and, above all, safer to be in a hospitable country like Kazakhstan than in a trench in southern Ukraine.
So in Almaty you see hundreds of Slavic young men walking through the city, often with a backpack. More than half a year after their departure, they make a relaxed impression. Of course, it is mainly those with sufficient resources who can afford this move. Or the IT people and others who can work remotely.
Meanwhile, rental prices for apartments in Almaty have tripled.
For these Russian young men, as well as for the hospitable local population, the end of the war, including the removal of Putin, cannot come soon enough.