Staunton, Nov. 13 – A minimum of 10 Tajik immigrant workers have disappeared from the streets of Russian cities over the last six weeks, and their relatives assume and fear that they have been impressed into the Russian military, especially after the deadly clash between two Tajiks and Russian soldiers in Belgorod in mid-October (tass.ru/armiya-i-opk/16067353).
The relatives of the missing men are furious because several Tajiks, including those two, have been killed in Russia and because the Tajikistan government instead of taking up their cause has kept silent, apparently unwilling to infuriate Moscow or further enflame the situation (cabar.asia/ru/propavshie-bez-vesti-tadzhikskie-migranty-okazyvayutsya-v-rossijskoj-armii).
Worse, the Tajikistan embassy in Moscow has acknowledged receiving reports about the disappearances but no claims that the migrant workers have been impressed into the Russian military to fight in Ukraine. The Russian government for its part has said nothing about the entire incident.
Tajik human rights activists like Karimdzhon Yorov are certain that at least part of the migrants who have disappeared were recruited into the Russian military by a combination of deception and compulsion. One migrant speaking anonymously told CABAR that he had been told he’d get his passport back only after he served in the army.
Yorov says the number of complaints reaching him about the impressment of Tajiks, typically directly at their places of employment, has skyrocketed and that he is certain that far more than ten Tajiks are now being forced to fight for Russia in Ukraine. Such actions violate both Russian and Tajik law, he stresses.