In the United States, we enjoy the right to peacefully assemble and protest under the First Amendment. In Russia, however, there’s no such thing. That’s why outspoken Putin critic Alexei Nalvany has been poisoned and imprisoned for years under Putin’s regime, and it’s related to how the Kremlin recently brought down the hammer on local (St. Petersburg-area) officials, who wanted to overthrow the Russian president over his imperialistic Ukraine war that’s sending Russia down the tubes. Yet after Putin announced his call-up of 300,000 reservists (since so many of his troops have either been killed or self-injured in Ukraine), citizens didn’t take this news sitting down.
Protesters flocked to the streets in Moscow, St. Petersberg, and many smaller cities. Law enforcement arrested them in droves, and some of them reportedly received even worse news upon arrival at police stations. As one woman relayed to The Moscow Times, she and her husband were arrested following their participation in an anti-war protest, and in the process, she observed how the detained men received draft papers from a recruiting officer on the scene:
“There was a military recruiting officer who gave the detained men draft notifications,” she told The Moscow Times.
“When the first person was asked to go to a separate room, we did not understand what was going on — but when he returned with a draft slip, we just started crying.”
The move is tantamount to a death sentence, given how ill-prepared Russia’s initial troops were for battle in Ukraine. The situation has only grown worse, with apparent video footage showing called-up reservists lined up to fly away from their homes.
11,000 kilometers from Ukraine 🤯 https://t.co/jjwxx8YO1m pic.twitter.com/bSMUam7Oek
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 22, 2022
There’s no possible way that these men are trained up for war, and as it turns out, a decent chunk of them don’t want to fight for Putin’s cause. As one Russian sergeant told The Guardian, he received the call and immediately decided to leave the country. He leaves his wife (who will soon give birth) behind, and he purchased a one-way ticket to a southern border city. From there, he planned to drive into Kazakhstan within hours. “I have no idea when I’ll step foot in Russia again,” he declared, given that he’d face jail for evading the call-up. Still, he preferred to take that risk rather than “letting Putin turn me into a killer in a war that I want no part in.”
(Via The Moscow Times & The Guardian)