‘How to break your arm’ searches surge as Russians flee homes to avoid going to war

Emily Brown

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‘How to break your arm’ searches surge as Russians flee homes to avoid going to war

Featured Image Credit: Pictorial Press Ltd / Asar Studios / Alamy Stock Photo

Google searches relating to how to break bones surged after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the partial mobilisation of reservists to fight in Ukraine.

Putin made his declaration in a televised address yesterday (21 September), in which he claimed the West wanted to 'destroy' Russia and had turned 'Ukraine’s people into cannon fodder'.

The president announced that 'mobilisation events' would begin on Wednesday, with Russia's reservists being called up to fight seven months after his 'special military operation' first began in Ukraine.

Putin made accusations about the West during his televised address. Credit: Frank Nowikowski / Alamy Stock Photo
Putin made accusations about the West during his televised address. Credit: Frank Nowikowski / Alamy Stock Photo

He explained: "We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience.

"Conscripts will obligatorily go through additional military training based on the experience of the special military operation before departing to the units."

According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who spoke after Putin's address, the order relates to 300,000 men across the nation.

In spite of Putin's claims about the West, Google Trends indicates people are willing to take extreme measure in order to avoid joining in the war as searches relating to self-inflicted injury spiked after his announcement.

In the seven days before the address, searches for 'как сломать руку' or 'how to break your arm' were very low from Russian residents using Google.

On the day of the address, searches suddenly spiked and remained high for the hours following. A similar trend was seen for 'how to break your arm at home'.

Searches for breaking bones spiked after Putin's announcement. Credit: Google Trends
Searches for breaking bones spiked after Putin's announcement. Credit: Google Trends

While some residents turned to Google, others tried to flee the country altogether, with flights reported to have started selling out after Putin appeared on television.

In an interview with The Washington Post, one man from Moscow claimed authorities had been 'chasing [him] since February' in an attempt to offer him a contract.

He claimed to have received a personal call from the military enlistment office, saying: “I was ordered to undergo a [health] commission tomorrow morning. So, I doubt I will be spared now.”

Russian residents also voiced their protests in anti-war demonstrations, which resulted in more than 1,000 people getting arrested.

Today (22 September) marks the full first day of conscription, with some reserves already having been called to report to enlistment offices.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Topics: News, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Ukraine, Google

Emily Brown
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