A video is making the rounds on the internet in which the protagonists are a Russian officer and conscripted Russians who have no military training. In the video, which has also been republished by the Guardian, the Russian officer can be heard telling them that before they are sent to the war front they will be trained for two weeks. “The games are over, you are soldiers now,” he says.
“Why do you scream like women? Fuck off and let me talk. Games over. Three days here and then you leave. Two weeks of training and you will go to your Units,” adds the soldier according to another source.
‘Unfortunately I signed’: Russian anti-conscription protesters forced to frontMikhail Svetin expected to be arrested for his participation in the protests in Moscow against the sending of hundreds of thousands of reservists to Ukraine. But what he didn’t expect was what would be given to him roadmap to go to the front.
Hours after Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday the mobilization of 300,000 men and women, Mikhail, a 29-year-old musician, went to demonstrate on Arbat Avenue. Like about 1,300 other people across the country, he was arrested.
“I was waiting for the usual (procedures): arrest, police station, court”said the young man, who was contacted by AFP by phone yesterday Thursday. “But when they told me, ‘Tomorrow you will go to war’ (…)” it was a surprise, he said.
According to the government organization OVD-Info, which monitors the protests across Russia, Svetin is not the only protester ordered to the police station after his arrest, and Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov ruled that there is nothing ” illegal’ in it.
Swetin says that after his arrest, officers took him to a separate room where they wanted him to sign a summons to go to an army recruitment center.
““Either you sign this or serve ten years in prison”“, they threatened him, emphasizes the 29-year-old who opposes the attack launched on February 24 by Russia against Ukraine.
On Tuesday, on the eve of partial conscription, Parliament approved heavy prison sentences for those who refuse to join the army or desert. However, this legislation has not yet entered into force. Swetin refused to sign the warrant, on the advice of his attorney, and was released Thursday at 5:00 a.m.
However, police warned him that Russia’s powerful Investigative Committee, which is in charge of major criminal investigations, would be informed of his refusal and that he would face “big problems”.
“Unfortunately I signed”
Andrei, who turned 18 last week, also took part in the protests in Moscow on Wednesday. He was also arrested and issued a summons.
But unlike Swetin, the teenager signed the document under “threat”, a digital copy of which AFP was able to review. “It was clear that I could not escape (…) I looked around and decided not to resist“, said the young man contacted by AFP by phone. “Unfortunately, I signed.”
However, Andrei has just started his studies at the university. And the Kremlin, as well as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, had assured that no students would be called up, as Russian forces spoke of reservists with specific skills or military experience.
Andrei, who is still looking for a lawyer, finally decided not to go to the conscription office at the appointed time, 10 a.m. on Thursday. And he doesn’t know what the consequences will be. “I haven’t told my parents anything yet”says, “they will worry.” “I’ll tell them when I have a better idea of what’s going to happen to me.”
‘Send Putin to the front’ demand Moscow protesters after ‘partial conscription’
At the same time, the reactions continue demonstrations of Russian citizens in various parts of the country, from the time that Vladimir Putin announced “partial conscription” on Wednesday, in order to strengthen the guarding of the occupied territories in Donbass and southern Ukraine.
People took to the streets of Moscow, reaching a few kilometers from the presidential residence, to express their opposition to the new decree, while in videos released, protesters can be seen shouting “send Putin to the front”.
Simultaneous demonstrations were held in other cities, such as Irkutsk in Siberia, Ulan-Ude in the Russian Far East, as well as Khabarovsk and Yakutsk.
At the same time, according to data from Amnesty International, more than 1,300 arrests of protesters, who expressed their opposition to the Russian president, who, in fact, according to what has been leaked, they will be compulsorily sent to the Ukrainian front.
At the same time, a resolution in the Russian language against conscription, entitled “Against partial and total mobility”, created in change.orghad gathered on Wednesday, a few hours after Putin’s speech, more than 140,000 signatures.
Over 7,000 people entered Finland yesterday
Meanwhile, the vehicle crossing in Finland from its southeastern border with Russia was still thick today, the border guard told Reuters, adding that the number of Russians entering the country yesterday, Thursday, was more than double that of the previous Thursday.
Finland is considering barring most Russians from entering its territory as traffic from its eastern neighbor surged on Thursday after the Russian president declared Vladimir Putin partial conscription.
“There’s still a lot of traffic this morning (…) maybe it’s picked up a bit since yesterday,” Thursday, a Border Patrol spokesman said this morning.
About 7,000 people entered from Russia yesterday, about 6,000 of them Russians, which means 107% increase compared to the same day a week ago, according to the Border Patrol.
Three people applied for asylum yesterday. None had applied for asylum last week, he added. Finnish border crossings remain among the few entry points into Europe for Russians after a string of countries closed both their physical borders and airspace in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The queue forming today was the longest at the busy Vaalimaa border crossing, reaching around 500 meters and longer than those on the same day in previous weeks, the spokesman noted. The queues were too “larger than normal” at the second largest border crossing, that of Nuiyamaa, according to the Finnish border guard.
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