In Petersburg, police have searched the homes of activists, as well as the home of Sota journalist Victoria Arefieva. The security forces broke down the door to Arefieva’s apartment, seized electronic devices belonging to the journalist and her sister, and detained her for forty-eight hours on suspicion of making a phoney bomb threat to the St. Petersburg City Court, Sotawrote on Saturday, September 24.
In addition, searches were conducted at the homes of persons implicated in the case of the Vesna Movement activists Yevgeny Fateyev and Valentin Khoroshenin, whom a court has banned from “engaging in certain activities.” The security forces also visited the home of activist Pallada Bashurova, against whom two “telephone terrorism” investigations have been launched, OVD Info reports. Yevgenia Litvinova, a member of the Petersburg Human Rights Council, was also detained in connection with a “telephone terrorism” case.
New protests against mobilization scheduled for September 24
According to Sota, the searches are connected with protests, scheduled for September 24, against the “partial mobilization”; law enforcement agencies thereby are attempting to prevent their coverage in the press. Vesna, a democratic youth movement, called on Russians to engage in a new round of protests in the wake of the first wave that occurred on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement. “Mogilization [“grave-ization”] is actively going on all over the country. Soon thousands of our men could go to the front. We can and must oppose it!” Vesna said in a statement issued on September 22.
According to the online human rights project OVD Info, on September 21, the police detained more than 1,300 protesters in thirty-nine cities across Russia. Most of the arrests occurred in Moscow and Petersburg. In some police departments, the detainees were handed summonses to the military enlistment office right on the spot.
Just for balance. Today, in the supermarket, I quietly eavesdropped on the conversations among the saleswomen (these were two different conversations). Irritated and indignant, these middle-aged women said that the members of parliament [who quickly passed laws enforcing Putin’s mobilization] should go to war themselves.
On the bus. A middle-aged woman in the front seat yells into the phone, not mincing her words. She says that there is a panic at work, that they have seven days to keep the guys from getting drafted. This was followed by instructions for direct action. The young fellow sitting with his back to her listened attentively, while the girls opposite him could not have cared less.
Source: Friends-only post on Facebook by a trusted source and occasional contributor to this website, identified here as “AR” for future reference. Translated by the Russian Reader
This hurts a lot. I console myself with the fact that, as in private life, the most vital and beautiful thing is the process itself, when you are initially in a hole, but you fight to make things better. But can I please go back to the time when I have to confront myself, and not a crazy autocrat with a nuclear button?
I try to shift my focus from irritation towards Russians who support the war, and the collective Europe playing along [sic], to endless love. First of all, to people who are in Russia and are not afraid to speak out against the war. I am glad that I am living at the same time as you. Of course, we are far from being Iran, where people take deadly risks for their beliefs. But we’re cool, too. We’re doing what we can. If everyone in Russia were like us, the war would have ended today. Now, when it is important to support myself, I console myself with this thought, and I advise you to do the same.
Source: Friends-only post on Facebook by a grassroots activist in Petersburg, identified here as “JA” for future reference. Translated by the Russian Reader
On the evening of September 21, in Petersburg, as in other cities, a protest was held against the mobilization of Russians for the war in Ukraine. The protest was called by the Vesna Movement. The protesters gathered at 7 p.m. on St. Isaac’s Square.
Riot police vigorously detained protesters, beat them with batons, dragged them on the ground, and put them on their knees. According to OVD Info, at least 444 people were detained in St. Petersburg.
Bumaga has put together a photo chronicle of the first popular protest in the city in the last six months.
Conscription Notice Russia. This channel was created to inform the residents of Russia about the delivery of conscription notices in our city! [sic] Write here with information about which addresses conscription notices in Russia are being sent — @maks_ge
“Prospect Mira. A conscription notice was just served to a man approximately 40-45 years of age. He was strolling with his wife and dog. Then they [the police?] went up to some young guys sitting on a bench and had a chat with them.”
“They’ve already started handing out conscription notices at the factories in the town of Gatchina in Leningrad Region.”
“The Gazpromneft filling station at Amurskaya 15A. Two men got into a scrap, and the attendant called the police. The cops came and gave them tickets. They threatened the men, saying that tomorrow, other people in uniform would come visit them at home — I think they meant the military conscription office.”
Source: Screenshot of the Telegram channel Where Draft Papers Are Being Handed Out — Russia. The channel was created on August 13, but only started posting on September 21. It already has over ten thousand subscribers. Thanks to VL for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader
Well, my prognosis was mistaken. I underestimated the regime’s vileness and meanness. As the supreme ruler declared a partial mobilization, the local military enlistment offices issued decrees concerning all reservists without exception.
This is totally fucked up. For example, “temporary residents must depart for their legal place of residence.” Accordingly, millions of unregistered men or men registered at their temporary residences in large cities must leave for their hometowns or home regions. Accordingly, all these millions of men are “lawbreakers” — they can be seized in dragnets, blackmailed with prison terms, locked up, beaten up, and anything else that our cops do with our citizens. When [the cops] are faced with passive resistance, they will indiscriminately rake in whomever they catch.
These people will certainly “engage in combat,” but that will happen later. What matters now is filling the quotas.
Putin has announced a “partial mobilization.” Only time will tell how “partial” it is, but it is already clear that the mobilization will affect many people. What options do those whom the Kremlin wants to mobilize have?
Become cannon fodder.
Go to jail.
Illegally flee the country. If you fail, you go to jail.
Go underground. If you fail, you go to jail.
Go underground and become a guerrilla. You could also go to jail.
I do not consider legal ways to avoid mobilization, since the rules of the game can change at any moment, and those who were not subject to mobilization yesterday will be subject to it tomorrow.
The choice isn’t great, but there is a choice.
Source: Ivan Astashin, Facebook, 21 September. Mr. Astashin is a former political prisoner and human rights activist who now seems to be living in exile in Berlin. Translated by the Russian Reader
In the kitchen of a communal flat:
— Soooo, you live closer to the front door, don’t open it to anyone. If they come, tell them there are no men living here.
— I’ve been dodging the draft for so long I don’t even remember how to do it anymore. I’ve had so many chronic illnesses since then. Do you think it will help?
— At my work, a friend of a friend of a friend of a colleague is offering to drive [men] to Finland for 50 thousand rubles [approx. 855 euros]. Any takers?
— He’s definitely going to Finland? That’s too cheap somehow. What if he takes you to the military enlistment office?
— My pop says that he would volunteer himself, but he’s already sixty-seven, they won’t take him. But he’s weird that way. He never goes to the welfare office, because he believes you have to have pride: he didn’t work all his life to ask the state for something in his old age! His pension is 25 thousand rubles a month [approx. 440 euros].
— Maybe he is also one of those people who have nothing, and who donates money to buy socks for soldiers?
— No, he believes that we have the strongest army and does not give them a kopeck. He says the people asking for that money are scammers.
Source: Friends-only post on Facebook by a veteran human rights activist in Petersburg, identified here as “NN” for future reference. Translated by the Russian Reader