Russia

Dobre

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These are the Russian men who were exchanged with Ukraine. It's striking how absolutely petrified they are of returning to Russia. They look like they are being led to the slaughter.

I think there's no winning for them. They will likely be blamed for losing.

I had a family member that was in charge of overseeing a bunch of Russian POWs after WWII. The Russian POWs got better, but they didn't want to leave. (Germany, I assume). Finally the word came down the pipeline that the Russian service members had to go. They were loaded onto a train back to Russia. My grandfather said they were jumping off the train as it left.
 

text_skate

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I think there's no winning for them. They will likely be blamed for losing.

I had a family member that was in charge of overseeing a bunch of Russian POWs after WWII. The Russian POWs got better, but they didn't want to leave. (Germany, I assume). Finally the word came down the pipeline that the Russian service members had to go. They were loaded onto a train back to Russia. My grandfather said they were jumping off the train as it left.
AFAIR some were sent straight to prison when they arrived back home.

Edit: here is a link to a interview in German "From KZ to Gulag"
With the victory over Nazi Germany, over five million Soviet citizens were also liberated from German concentration and forced labor camps. Under the Yalta Agreement, they were immediately forcibly deported to their homeland and put back into camps because Stalin considered them collaborators and spies.
The interview gives a good overview, also about reasons, why people were sent back to Soviet Union, although it was known they were seen as collaborators, the interviewee was able to use archives in Russia in 97 when they were still open to scholars

link (in German): https://www.bundesarchiv.de/zwangsarbeit/geschichte/displacedp/index.html
 
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text_skate

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Farida Rustamova reports, that Putin is on holiday while his country helds fake referendums and mobilises his citizens
maschine translated:
President Vladimir Putin has gone on holiday following the announcement of mobilisation in Russia.

This is according to three sources familiar with the president's schedule.

A video of Putin calling on Russians to the front was released by the Kremlin on the morning of Wednesday, 21 September. It was pre-recorded rather than broadcast live (at this time, 9am, Putin is usually still asleep). Later that day, Putin went to Veliky Novgorod, where he attended a technical school and a concert.

Immediately after the concert, my interlocutors tell me that Putin began a break in his public activities, which will last at least a week. In order to disappear from public space unnoticed, Putin has made many "canned videos" - pre-recorded bilateral meetings which his press office releases at convenient times to create the impression that the president is working incessantly. The first of the "canned goods" the Kremlin has already uncovered is a meeting with Vitaly Mutko, the head of Dom.rf and Putin's old "St Petersburg" comrade.

"The Kremlin plans to use canned goods at least until next Thursday, when the president has a visit to a major industrial region on his schedule, one of the interlocutors familiar with Putin's schedule knows.

Another source says that since last Wednesday evening, Putin has been resting "body and soul" at his Valday residence in the Novgorod region. FBK has detailed it: next to the main house of the official residence is a three-storey spa complex with a cryochamber, a mud bath and a float pool. There is also a hockey rink on the grounds, where the president likes to gather his friends and play hockey, says one source.

Going on holiday for a week without any connection at all is of course impossible for Putin. On Thursday and Friday he held telephone conversations with the president of Turkmenistan and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Also on Friday, the Kremlin's website published news of a meeting with members of the Security Council. However, the latter could also have been "canned", sources said.

But most interestingly, Putin did not attend Friday's Z-concert in the heart of Moscow in support of "referendums" in Ukraine's occupied territories. According to his press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the reason was allegedly work in the Kremlin.

When I asked whether Putin was on holiday and whether he was spending it at Valdai, Peskov replied in the negative.
 

Dobre

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AFAIR some were sent straight to prison when they arrived back home.
Thank you for the link. Putin, right now, is threatening a decade in prison for people who "voluntarily surrender."


----

The line at the Georgian-Russian border:

(I read earlier that there were reports of guys being refused exit at the Georgian border. Maybe contributing to this particular backup?)
 
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alexikeguchi

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The line at the Georgian-Russian border:

(I read earlier that there were reports of guys being refused exit at the Georgian border. Maybe contributing to this particular backup?)
I have been at this border crossing on the Georgian side, and it is usually backed up three days in that direction for truckers to get back into Russia. Looks like traffic is in the other direction now. My older son is currently in Yerevan, leaving tomorrow early AM, and he had some eyebrow-raising pictures of traffic into Armenia.
 

Dobre

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"All 59 men living in one particular village in Siberia's Kemerovo Region have been called up to fight in Ukraine, @novayagazeta_eu reports."

The source link, in Russian, is here:

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This post talks about the push to "get the numbers," regardless of age/health/etc. and about some people being sent back due to being unfit.

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“Military enlistment offices continue to burn. In addition to three yesterday several more caught fire: Svobodny (Amur region), Khabarovsk, Tselinny (Altai), Kamyshin, Kyra (Transbaikal). In Moscow military commissars will be accompanied by the police”


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Wisdom:

"Zelensky in Russian addressed Russian soldiers 1) promised to follow all rules regarding POW 2) not to reveal whether a person surrendered or was captured 3) not to give back a prisoner if he doesn’t want return to Russia."

 

reut

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According to some sources, corruption in Russian drafting offices has soared. They "charge" up to 2 million rubles (about $40,000) to falsify documents and have a man not drafted. Future Russian millionaires are now working in drafting offices.


Considering that this mobilisation is formally "partial" but nobody nowhere explained exact rules/or follows them + you can buy almost anything some people will get very-very rich and rich people won't go to fight, poor ones will.

And if you think all of russia is busy fleeing (many) or going on protests (not so many), some are busy trying to trick russia and insure future possible compensation:
 

Finnice

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Lots of Russians are crossing the Finnish borders now. Many of them are men fleeing from being sent to war, or at least that is what they tell to the media. Finland plans to restrict their coming or even close the border soon.
It is not an easy decision, though.
 

Ka3sha

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Lots of Russians are crossing the Finnish borders now. Many of them are men fleeing from being sent to war, or at least that is what they tell to the media. Finland plans to restrict their coming or even close the border soon.
It is not an easy decision, though.
Bided farewell two three of my closest male friends on Friday - they all left through Finland while it was still possible.
One of them has a place to live and relatives with residence permit there, so they should be okay for some time and will look for a solution for the future.

Georgian border takes literally days, Kazakhstan and Mongolia looks like more secure options, but still it take ages to get there from European part of Russia.
When Finland introduces new regulations on visas and entry (but I think by that time Putin himself will close the borders for all men from 18 to 50), we will only have only Russian-Norwegian border on far north
 

Finnice

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Bided farewell two three of my closest male friends on Friday - they all left through Finland while it was still possible.
One of them has a place to live and relatives with residence permit there, so they should be okay for some time and will look for a solution for the future.

Georgian border takes literally days, Kazakhstan and Mongolia looks like more secure options, but still it take ages to get there from European part of Russia.
When Finland introduces new regulations on visas and entry (but I think by that time Putin himself will close the borders for all men from 18 to 50), we will only have only Russian-Norwegian border on far north
Thank you! I really feel for all of the Russians, who do not support Putin and who do not want to fight his cruel and idiotical war. I am so two-minded in closing the Finnish border.
 

PRlady

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AFAIR some were sent straight to prison when they arrived back home.

Edit: here is a link to a interview in German "From KZ to Gulag"

The interview gives a good overview, also about reasons, why people were sent back to Soviet Union, although it was known they were seen as collaborators, the interviewee was able to use archives in Russia in 97 when they were still open to scholars

link (in German): https://www.bundesarchiv.de/zwangsarbeit/geschichte/displacedp/index.html
One of the best historical songs ever written, IMO, is called Roads to Moscow and tells this story in the voice of a Russian soldier. Worth hearing right now: https://youtu.be/vg1J3cZh0BI
 

Asli

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Thank you! I really feel for all of the Russians, who do not support Putin and who do not want to fight his cruel and idiotical war. I am so two-minded in closing the Finnish border.
I have empathy for them, OTOH many refugees from other countries are refused entry to Europe and die trying to reach it when they are in more hopeless situations than these young Russian men.
 

Asli

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There is a part of me that feels sympathy for people fleeing Russia now and there is also a part of me that wants to ask them were they alright with the war so long as it didn’t immediately affect them.
Does it immediately affect them even now, unless they are from one of the ethnic groups that are drafted disproportionately or are poor, in which cases they couldn't afford the journey+possible bribe anyway?

There is a chance that they may be drafted. As I said, I don't only sympathise but empatise, because given various political and cultural characteristics, this could have been my native country. If that were the case, I sure wouldn't have expected Europe to welcome every man of military age who has a chance of being drafted. Only those who were active opponents.
 
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Vagabond

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There is a part of me that feels sympathy for people fleeing Russia now and there is also a part of me that wants to ask them were they alright with the war so long as it didn’t immediately affect them.
It's complicated.


(Gifted article. Link valid for two weeks.)

In Yakutia’s isolated settlements, which often lack high-speed internet, Russian state television remains the most important source of news for many. Mr. Shadrin, the Yukaghir community leader, described the members of his Indigenous group — scattered in small villages across the vast region — as overwhelmingly supportive of the Kremlin. But after fielding panicked phone calls from mothers this week, he suggested that might change.

Support for Mr. Putin “was off the charts” in rural Yakutia, Mr. Shadrin said. “Now I think a sobering-up is starting to happen.”

At one reindeer herding enterprise, he said, four of the 20 herders had already been drafted. Among the Yukaghirs, he said, he already knew of seven men who had been called up, and he expected the number to rise as hunters and herders return to their villages and receive summonses. The total population of the Yukaghirs numbers about 1,600, he said, including just 400 men between 18 and 45.

To be sure, the vast majority of Russians aren't reindeer herders, but the Yukaghirs are emblematic of a larger problem.

Meanwhile:
Long lines of vehicles were seen at a border crossing between Mongolia and Russia on Sunday as people fled the Kremlin’s call-up of hundreds of thousands of reservists for the war in Ukraine.

The head of a checkpoint in the town of Altanbulag told AFP that more than 3,000 Russians had entered Mongolia via the crossing since Wednesday, most of them men.
“Many of those coming do not have international passports. People with international passports might prefer to head for Minsk, for example and then fly somewhere from there.” (Not the European Union, which banned flights last year.)
While there are no direct flights between Russia and Georgia, Russians have been travelling indirectly to the former Soviet republic via countries such as Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

At the Russia-Georgia land border, traffic has intensified overnight between Wednesday and Thursday, van, a Russian driver, told Reuters.

“Yesterday before midnight you could cross the border much more quickly," he said. "After midnight, either lots of cars arrived or the border guards started to work more slowly."
In one sign of friction, a few Georgian business owners have started requiring Russian customers to confirm they don’t support President Vladimir Putin — verbally or in writing.

Dedaena is one of the establishments to have implemented what they term a “visa policy.”

Russian citizens who want to enter the bar must fill in an online form and agree to a list of statements, such as “I condemn Russian aggression in Ukraine.”

Visitors are also asked not to speak in Russian or “engage in political discussions while being drunk,” according to the online form.
 

MacMadame

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There is a part of me that feels sympathy for people fleeing Russia now and there is also a part of me that wants to ask them were they alright with the war so long as it didn’t immediately affect them.
I see parallels to the Vietnam War in the US. In the beginning, very few were against the war and if you said anything against it, you were considered by many to be unpatriotic. But as more information started to come out and more young men were being drafted, more and more people woke up to what was going and their opinions changed. (We had many young men moving to Canada as well, often via illegal immigration.)

I guess we could rail against people for not figuring things out earlier but at least they've woken up now.
 

Asli

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I see parallels to the Vietnam War in the US. In the beginning, very few were against the war and if you said anything against it, you were considered by many to be unpatriotic. But as more information started to come out and more young men were being drafted, more and more people woke up to what was going and their opinions changed. (We had many young men moving to Canada as well, often via illegal immigration.)

I guess we could rail against people for not figuring things out earlier but at least they've woken up now.

I don't think these two cases are alike. Probably most US citizens couldn't even show Vietnam on the map at the time. Russia and Ukraine are neighbours and have had the closest cultural and economic ties throughout their history. Millions of Russians have family in Ukraine. Today Russians have the internet and could have entered "Ukraine war" on Google.
 

caseyedwards

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Thank you! I really feel for all of the Russians, who do not support Putin and who do not want to fight his cruel and idiotical war. I am so two-minded in closing the Finnish border.
If the border is closed you help the war against Ukraine! Even if the men are bad fighters in Ukraine they still prolong the war because there will be self preservation killing. Purely defensive acts against Ukrainian army! I see now pro Ukraine argument for closing borders
 

PRlady

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I don't think these two cases are alike. Probably most US citizens couldn't even show Vietnam on the map at the time. Russia and Ukraine are neighbours and have had the closest cultural and economic ties throughout their history. Millions of Russians have family in Ukraine. Today Russians have the internet and could have entered "Ukraine war" on Google.
Agreed. Americans thought the Communists were trying to take over Vietnam at the height of the Cold War - and they were! (Took a long time for people to realize that national independence movements are not just about taking sides in big-power conflicts.)

Ukraine wasn’t perfect given endemic corruption but it was showing the way down a road Putin never wanted his people to see. Add to that irredentist dreams of empire. Still, Russians had little excuse for not seeing this war for what it was from the beginning, especially big-city people who traveled and knew Ukrainians and personally.
 

MacMadame

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robably most US citizens couldn't even show Vietnam on the map at the time.
And they could point out Ukraine before this conflict started? These are the same people that can't label all the states in the US -- where they live. :lol:

I didn't say they were the same but that there are parallels in how people reacted once they could see the war impacting them or people they knew and also as proof of atrocities became known.

It tickles me a bit that I just watched a YouTube video that made the same point. It must be something in the air. ;)
 

Dobre

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To be sure, the vast majority of Russians aren't reindeer herders, but the Yukaghirs are emblematic of a larger problem.
Yakutia is the place where, per the link I posted in my previous post, mobilization apparently had to be temporarily halted because so many people were sent to report who were unfit and/or so far outside the recommended demographics that they had to be sent back.

I have empathy for them, OTOH many refugees from other countries are refused entry to Europe and die trying to reach it when they are in more hopeless situations than these young Russian men.
Dead is dead. There is no hope once you are dead. My feeling regarding the countries that are taking in Russian draftees is that it means there will be fewer creatures caught in a trap & prepared to kill Ukrainian citizens in order to survive. Also fewer people to be sucked into the hateful actions that the Wagner group and the Russian military are espousing. It's true that it also means there may be fewer people inside Russia to speak out against these horrors and try to stop them. But I think it's largely wishful thinking to think that someone who is fleeing the country is going to stand up and change the current regime if forced to stay behind. Once again, more likely they will be dead.
 

text_skate

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Dead is dead. There is no hope once you are dead. My feeling regarding the countries that are taking in Russian draftees is that it means there will be fewer creatures caught in a trap & prepared to kill Ukrainian citizens in order to survive. Also fewer people to be sucked into the hateful actions that the Wagner group and the Russian military are espousing. It's true that it also means there may be fewer people inside Russia to speak out against these horrors and try to stop them. But I think it's largely wishful thinking to think that someone who is fleeing the country is going to stand up and change the current regime if forced to stay behind. Once again, more likely they will be dead.
It also could mean a lot of problems for the countries which are taking them in. Once they're there in safety, waiting for asylum, not allowed to work, they show their anger towards the countries, that took them in, have an destabilising effect. In EU they are allowed to demonstrate, they can even rally for Russia.
I'm not sure, what's the best. Probably for each and every country a different strategy. Sometimes I wish, the young and angry men stay in Russia and show their anger towards the government.

Thread by Minna Alander on visa debate:
https://twitter.com/minna_alander/status/1574293167385583619
...
In order to be on top of things, two things must be kept in mind in Europe when seeking solutions: 1) Russia’s habit of using its citizens present in other countries as a pretext for aggression against those countries
2) if many of the people are not against the war/Putin as such, what will their impact be both on the host countries and on the situation in Russia No easy solutions and European countries should weigh both views carefully in order not to undermine each other
 
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text_skate

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interesting essay by Peter Pomerantsev in the Guardian:
Putin’s threat of nuclear war may backfire, too. It’s meant to intimidate the west and Ukraine but it can upset his own people more. If there’s one thing Russians fear more than Putin, it’s nuclear war – and now he’s the one bringing it closer. For both the elite and the “ordinary” Russians who I’ve spoken to recently, the calculation is about whether the risk of going against Putin is bigger than the risk of sticking with him. So far, rebelling has seemed the bigger risk; does the nuclear topic change that? Much depends on how the international community reacts. We need to show that the closer he gets to a nuclear threat, the more devastating the reaction will be: military, economic and diplomatic. He will even lose China.
 

reut

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I guess we could rail against people for not figuring things out earlier but at least they've woken up now.
They didn't, they don't condemn war, they don't condemn their country and their soldiers to be ruthless torturers & killers, they just don't want to die.

I didn't say they were the same but that there are parallels in how people reacted once they could see the war impacting them or people they knew and also as proof of atrocities became known.
For a huge part of russians "people they knew", including close family members, were under impact of this war from day one. Yet they chose to be blind and deaf. First proofs of atrocities, for example, of Bucha massacre, became known in the first days of April.
 

reut

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My feeling regarding the countries that are taking in Russian draftees is that it means there will be fewer creatures caught in a trap & prepared to kill Ukrainian citizens in order to survive.
russia has over 140 million population, we're talking about tens of millions of eligible men. This "fewer" won't be even felt by russia, they will just take someone else instead. While inside those countries, especially smaller ones like Georgia or Armenia this "rain of men" will be felt almost immediately.

Not surprised at all by this:
More and more reports are appearing that Russians are sent to war immediately after being drafted, without any training or equipment.
 

text_skate

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Singer Alla Pugacheva has left Moscow for Tel Aviv.
According to Izvestia, the singer flew to Israel with her children without a return ticket.
 

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