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Apparently that's the case in Russia. I imagine North Korea is on that list too. But are there some among the more liberal/democratic countries that can legally prevent a defense contractor (or someone else who might have seen state secrets) from physically leaving the country, in the absence of some [criminal] charges?

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    Russia still refuses to admit that it is in a war. During the Cold War, German regulations would have banned all sorts of civil servants from leaving in a crisis; they would have been reassigned for the war effort.
    – o.m.
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 4:15
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    @o.m. This is not a specifically war-time measure, but rather a relic of Soviet times, where people acquainted with state secrets were not allowed to leave the country for several years after the end of the job (where they had access to the secret materials). Of course, they were informed (and signed) about such a regime at the moment of employment. This was notably the case in armament and nuclear industry. I heard that Israel discourages traveling to certain countries for those employed at sensitive jobs - no doubt this is not an exception.
    – Morisco
    Commented Jun 14, 2022 at 6:52
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    I don't know about being prevented from leaving, but you are meant to notify the security clearance people anytime you wish to leave the country
    – mgh42
    Commented Jun 16, 2022 at 3:12

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