Game companies have started to massively evacuate their employees from Russia in the wake of the declared mobilization. According to the latest reports, some studios use charter flights to take staff out of the country.

What happened?

  • On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the so-called “partial mobilization”, preparing to send around 300k people (mostly, men) between the ages of 18 and 50 to Ukraine.
  • The government and the country’s Ministry of Defense initially claimed that the mobilization will only affect people with actual combat experience or the ones with certain military registration specialties.
  • However, the military commissariats started massively handing out mobilization summonses to men in different regions, including the ones with several underage children or the ones who had never served in the Russian army.
  • The declared mobilization eventually sparked rare protests, with the police arresting hundreds in different cities across the country.
  • People started fleeing to Georgia, Finland, Turkey, Armenia, Kazakhstan, and other countries. It caused collapses on borders, with multi-kilometer traffic jams. 
  • There are also reports that the Russian government might soon close the border to all men of military age, so they could only fly out of the country with special permission from the military commissariat.

How are game companies trying to evacuate their employees?

  • As reported by Russian business newspaper Kommersant, game companies started massively taking out their staff from the country in the wake of the declared mobilization.
  • According to one of the sources, one studio even bought out a charter flight to evacuate around 100 male workers with their families. Another source told the newspaper that this is not an isolated incident.
  • A lot of companies also started asking Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development to include them in a special register of accredited IT companies, whose employees could get a deferment from military draft.
  • However, these workers must have a “relevant higher education”, which significantly reduces their chances of not being mobilized, given that many people work in the IT industry without a professional degree in this area.
  • The games market is in a state of panic. “All our managers, artists, and game designers, which account for the two-third of every studio’s headcount, are at risk,” one source said.
  • In the past few months, the studios that left Russia understood their employees’ desire to stay in the country, but now they realize that leaving someone in Russia means they can be mobilized.
  • Some foreign game companies that previously suspended their operations in the region and refused to hire employees from Russia are now reportedly accepting people again to help them flee the country.

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