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Protests, arrests and tension in Russia over the recruitment ordered by Vladimir Putin: “I don’t want to be cannon fodder”

MOSCOW.- Russian opposition and anti-war groups called for nationwide protests against Vladimir Putin on Wednesday. after the Russian president ordered the “partial mobilization” of 300,000 reservists in order to reinforce the front in Ukraine. At least 1,300 people were arrested in various demonstrations in 38 cities, according to the NGO OVD-Info.

The Vesna Youth Democratic Movement, a Russian anti-war group, along with supporters of the imprisoned opposition alexei Navalny, called on the Russians to demonstrate until 7:00 p.m. (local time) in all cities and towns of the country to resist “dying for Putin”. Navalny called the invasion a failed criminal war.

Police officers detain a man in Moscow on September 21, 2022, following calls for a protest against the partial mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin.
Police officers detain a man in Moscow on September 21, 2022, following calls for a protest against the partial mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin.ALEXANDER NEMENOV – AFP

“We call on the Russian military in the units and on the front line to refuse to participate in the ‘special operation’ or surrender as soon as possible”, published Vesna in a statement on its website, where a telephone line was included so that the soldiers of the army can give up the war.

They don’t have to die for Putin. They are needed in Russia by those who love them. For the authorities, they are just cannon fodderwhere they will be wasted without any sense or purpose”, warns the text in reference to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The recruitment of Russian men “it means that thousands of our fathers brothers and husbands will be thrown into the meat grinder of war”said the anti-war coalition. “Now the war has come to every home and every family.”

The group asked to spread the word through their social networks so that people demonstrate in the main squares of the country, from Siberia to Moscow.

Russian police have already arrested more than 630 protesters across the country
Russian police have already arrested more than 630 protesters across the countryALEXANDER NEMENOV – AFP

At the moment the number of detainees by the police is at least 1311 people in 38 citiesaccording to the live count of the independent Russian human rights organization OVD- Infoalthough the number will predictably increase due to the calls for this afternoon.

A woman demonstrates against the announcement of the mobilization of Russians to Ukraine
A woman demonstrates against the announcement of the mobilization of Russians to Ukrainevesna

Accounts linked to the opposition in Russia, including those of the opposition leader Navalny, have released videos showing these first protests.

In Siberia and the Far East, dozens of people have been arrested when they gathered in the central square of the city of Irkutsk and in other capitals to protest Putin’s announcement. In Ulan-Ude, protesters were seen with handwritten signs reading “No to war! No to mobilization!” Y “Our husbands, fathers and brothers do not want to kill other husbands and fathers”as collected The Moscow Times.

“Hug me if you’re scared too”, a protester in the Siberian city of Tomsk, who was later arrested with 15 other people, had written on a poster.

Russian police have already arrested more than 630 protesters across the country
Russian police have already arrested more than 630 protesters across the countryALEXANDER NEMENOV – AFP

The Moscow Prosecutor’s Office warned that participation in the demonstrations or the mere dissemination of the calls could constitute a crime, after the first calls were published on the Internet.

The Public Ministry has stressed that these mobilizations have not been coordinated with the relevant authorities, who must give permission to any action of this type. The Russian authorities do not authorize any concentration contrary to government guidelines.

“It is clear that the criminal war is getting worse, deepening, and Putin is trying to involve as many people as possible in thisNavalny said in a video message from jail recorded and released by his lawyers. “He wants to stain hundreds of thousands of people with blood.”

Anti-war protesters protest in a square in Russia
Anti-war protesters protest in a square in Russiavesna

Navalny’s allies say that Russian society does not support the mobilization campaign.

It’s scary to see how a crazy bastard is destroying a country live on televisionsaid Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, exiled from Russia. “In military terms, the mobilization is hopelessly late and will not change anything in this lost war.”

The Russians should see it as a matter of “moral duty, survival and self-preservation” the act of standing up to the Kremlin, he added.

Putin ordered this morning in a recorded message that was broadcast on Russian television Russia’s first mobilization since World War II and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West that it was prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia if necessary.

Anti-war organizations called on Russians to demonstrate
Anti-war organizations called on Russians to demonstratevesna

the russian middle The Moscow Times reported that thousands of Russian men of draft age were trying to flee the country today, while others were looking for ways to avoid being sent to the front lines in Ukraine following the Kremlin leader’s announcement.

I don’t want to be cannon fodder a 30-year-old Muscovite told the newspaper, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Direct flights from Moscow to countries like Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan quickly sold outaccording to the outlet, while outbound flights to popular destinations increased up to eight times its price.

The tickets to Belgrade of Air Serbia, the only European airline apart from Turkish Airlines that maintains flights to Russia despite the embargo of the European Union (EU), They sold out for the next few days. Tickets to Istanbul and Dubai skyrocketed, reaching 9,200 euros.

Vladimir, a passenger who flew from Moscow to Belgrade on Air Serbia, speaks to the media upon arrival at the airport on Wednesday.  (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)
Vladimir, a passenger who flew from Moscow to Belgrade on Air Serbia, speaks to the media upon arrival at the airport on Wednesday. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)Darko Vojinovic – AP

“My brother is scared. We urgently try to buy you a plane ticket somewhere”, a Russian woman told The Moscow Timeswhose brother recently finished military service.

Why send us there? I think that all military campaigns should be carried out by professional soldiers and by those who voluntarily sign military contracts,” said another Muscovite. “What is happening now is the biggest failure in the history of Russia”he added.

Agencies Reuters, DPA and AP

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