Recruitment & Government Offices Set Ablaze Across Russia


Since Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced draft plans for the war in Ukraine, preceding Russian authorities forcing what could end up as hundreds of thousands of new troops into battle, 17 incidents of arson at Russian recruitment centers and government offices have been recorded, per the independent Russian media outlet Mediazona.

Protests are unfolding around Russia, with over 2,500 detentions already tabulated just since the draft plans were unveiled. Dagestan, which is in Russia’s west, is among those regions where protests are unfolding. The locale is comprised of a mostly Muslim population, and among Russian soldier deaths by region confirmed by Mediazona, Dagestan has the highest, although the outlet notes their numbers don’t cover all Russian soldier deaths in Ukraine so far. The mobilization plans for Putin’s war could provide a pretext for targeting marginalized groups like the people of Dagestan and areas with sizable indigenous populations. Police in Dagestan engaged in violence against demonstrators, per available info, and arrested at least 100 just on Sunday. Locals also fought the police per available footage, some of which shows a group of women pulling a detained man from officers’ grasp, with government officials engaging in what appeared like emergency efforts to quell unrest.

“There was screaming and mass hysteria. Honestly, the police were extremely violent in trying to disperse us. Pulled us apart, threw people on the ground—basically, weren’t very cordial. One girl got pepper sprayed,” a woman named Madina, who participated in demonstrations, told Mediazona. “The men had it the worst. They were tased and kicked. There was actual fighting.” A national legislator from the region met with local officials in a gathering a press release said “was dedicated to discussing questions in regard to the mobilisation proceedings, paying close attention to the responsibility of the local military recruitment center in performing careful and thorough selection of those eligible to be drafted.”

Russian citizens are also attempting to flee the country, and hundreds of thousands already left, per reports — but authorities are trying to limit the ability of everyday Russians to evade the draft in such a manner, although officials supposedly won’t be pursuing extradition for Russians who made it out but would otherwise be subject to the mobilization. An official in Russia’s North Ossetia region, which borders Georgia, said those trying to leave could expect potential draft orders. (Detained demonstrators have also received such orders in recent days.) “Citizens of the Russian Federation who are wishing to leave the country but are subject to enlistment will receive summons at the border with Georgia,” the official stated. The FSB, which is the successor agency to the KGB, also got involved. The Russian land border with Georgia has recently seen substantial, days-long lines, with available flights out of Russia to areas that wouldn’t require time-consuming paperwork sold out.