Google term 'how to break arm' spiked in Russia after Putin's televised conscription order

Russia's president has said conscription would only affect reservists, but Russia's defense minister later altered that order
Russia Ukraine
Posted at 9:20 PM, Sep 23, 2022

Google Trends results show that in the hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin's televised speech warning Russian reservists that they could be called up to battle in the Ukraine invasion, the term "how to break an arm at home" spiked dramatically on the search platform.

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke after Putin's national address and altered that order saying 300,000 men with "previous military experience" would be called up,Newsweek reported.

The news led to a heightened exodus of Russians via air and ground, with Finland mulling a possible ban on Russians entering the country amid increased border traffic.

RELATED: Finland says border traffic with Russia is increasing, mulls barring entry for Russians

The term "how to break an arm [or hand] at home," which is translated to English from the Russian "как сломать руку в домашних условиях," signaled the possibility that Russian men could take some drastic actions to avoid conscription and battling Ukraine in the deadly invasion.

According to Google Trends, the term showed no results before Putin's speech, which means that results for the search were so nominal that it didn't register.

Trends data settled at zero for the previous seven days before the speeches but after 2 a.m. ET on the day that Putin's address began, searches for the term shot up dramatically.

In the belligerent speech, Putin warned NATO countries that Russia might use "various means of destruction" if threatened, which was taken as a nuclear threat by world leaders.

While Google is not banned totally in Russia, it is banned in Russia-occupied eastern Ukraine.

Russia recently levied a $377 million fine on Google's parent company for not regulating content that the country prohibits.

Facebook and Instagram are reportedly blocked in Russian-occupied regions.