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In Istanbul, fleeing Russians mull next step of self-exile

Thousands of Russians fearing the political and economic fallout of the Ukraine war have fled to Istanbul, with most planning to travel on to Europe or former Soviet republics. 
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Twenty-seven-year-old financial analyst Alexi and his girlfriend were among the protestors who flocked to Moscow’s Pushkin Square Feb. 24 to decry Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, only to face heavy-handed police. They felt they had to leave their country and did so two days later, joining tens of thousands of compatriots fleeing abroad. 

“That we were in such small numbers at the anti-war protest and the harsh response of the police … made me think that we cannot change anything. We realized it was not going to be good for us and made a decision right there to leave Russia,” Alexi told Al-Monitor in Istanbul. 

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