Staunton, January 6 – Reflecting both the challenges of filling military quotas at a time of demographic decline and the growing sense of officials that laws don’t apply to them, the 2020 fall draft in Russia was marked by “massive” violations of laws and regulations, according to the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee of St. Petersburg.
The committee said that young men were forcibly detained at assembly points, dispatched to units in only one day, had their passports and mobile telephones taken away from them, and were deprived of the opportunity to telephone relatives or lawyers in the hopes these would come to their defense (vk.com/soldiersmothers?w=wall-23423049_22660%2Fall).
Vitaly Semyonov, a journalist for the SeverReal portal, spoke with both draftees and rights activists in Karelia and was able to document all the charges the Soldiers’ Mothers Committee of St. Petersburg has made. She also spoke with the military official overseeing the situation there: he denied everything (severreal.org/a/31026703.html).
But in a clear indication that there is no smoke without fire, several young men who were forcibly impressed were subsequently allowed to claim a deferment on health grounds and return to their families. That only happened, however, because of media attention. Otherwise, the military machine would almost certainly have run roughshod over the rights of draftees.