Russian police raid Russian cities once again to serve draft cards to men who meet the criteria for “partial” mobilization, announced by Vladimir Putin. Police officers are stopping men at metro stations in Moscow, waiting near entrances to apartment buildings, “combing” shopping malls in other cities, and even taking homeless people to military enlistment offices. The Insider describes some of the illegal raids on Russians.
On October 14, the Telegram channel “Beware: news” published a collection of photos and videos shot by witnesses about raids near metro stations in Moscow.
Police officers handed draft cards near Maryina Roshcha, Novokosino and Alekseevskaya stations and also checked documents of men near Shchukinskaya metro station. Some people were taken to police cars. In some places, lines formed at the entrances to the metro because of the raids.
In St. Petersburg, a local resident filmed a policewoman and two men in civilian clothes waiting for men to come out of house No. 68 of the Polustrovo Park residential complex. According to her, they had been standing there since 7:30 in the morning to serve draft cards to all eligible tenants. The video was posted by Baza on its Telegram channel.
“Tell me, do you have a conscience?”
Other places in St. Petersburg are also being raided. Police officers along with men in civilian clothes have been blocking entrances and handing out draft cards since early morning, particularly at the Kalina Park and Polyustrovo Park residential complexes. According to Baza's sources, it is almost impossible for men in those apartment complexes to leave their homes without a draft card.
The fact that the police conduct raids is confirmed not just by numerous videos and photos posted online. Kirill Kabanov, a member of the Human Rights Council (HRC) under the President of Russia, says that employees of the Moscow City Telephone Network company approached him. They said the police were rounding up everyone near the Shchyolkovskaya metro station in Moscow who didn't have a certificate of exemption from military duty.
“Near the Shchelkovskaya metro the worker referred to above was detained during a raid on draft dodgers. According to him, they grabbed everyone and said that there should be a certificate of exemption... I’d thought the stories about the raids were fake, but I was told otherwise by people I know personally and whom I fully trust. I will ask the chairman of the HRC to apply to the prosecutor's office for a legal assessment.”
Senator Andrei Klishas, head of the Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building commented on the incident on his Telegram channel:
“Each such signal should be checked, and in case of confirmation the actions of the officials who authorized such “raids” should be given a legal assessment.”
He said the rights of citizens were not in any way restricted in the country, all constitutional rights and guarantees, including the freedom of movement, were in full force. He also reposted a message with a call to “mobilize, above all, the person responsible for the raids and his accomplices,” as “their invaluable experience will come in handy on the battlefield.” The Senator called this approach correct.
Komsomolskaya Pravda, a pro-Kremlin newspaper, cited some experts as saying that reports on social media “about alleged police raids on Government Services Centers, restaurants and hostels, street patrols, and people from housing management companies dropping draft cards into mailboxes” were fake.
Information about raids in Russian cities as part of Putin's mobilization have appeared before. A few days ago, the police raided a number of hostels in Moscow looking for men eligible for mobilization, as managers of these hostels told RTVI.
Travel Inn hostel on Mendeleevskaya, which the police raided for mobilization
According to the newspaper, on the first day the police were looking for citizens aged 25-35 years old, while on the second day for those up to 45 years old. As a result, two residents aged 27 and 30 were mobilized, while another one “is being prepared for departure.” Several people were also taken from another hostel.
“They took away the passports of those who had served in the army and told them to come the next day with their things. Those who hadn’t served were let go.”
Kholod learned that the police took the men from the hostels to the mobilization centers in the Viktyuk theater and the Moskino Molodezhny cinema theater. The newspaper also notes that the men were not given their passports until they had signed the draft cards. Some of them were issued summer military uniforms at the theater and then taken to training in the Patriot park.
In September, police raided the Olkhon shopping center in Ulan-Ude. People of Baikal reported citing eyewitnesses that the police began to “clean up” the building from the first floor and reached the last, fourth, floor. They ordered the male visitors and vendors to stay where they were until identified. In the gym on the top floor, the police blocked the exits so that no one could leave. Meanwhile, Buryatia is one of Russia’s leading regions in terms of the number of mobilized men. According to The Insider's source, the mobilization has hit the republic's small villages especially hard: “They are combing through the villages. People say many men are being taken away, regardless of the criteria. In our village of 400 people, 20 men were taken away.”
On October 9, activists of the Food Instead of Bombs project informed of police raids on homeless people in Moscow, after which they were issued draft cards and taken to military enlistment offices. Homeless people told the activists that when they came to the Hangar (the place where homeless people can get warm and eat) on October 8, the police arrived there too. They took away people's passports, loaded them into cars and took them to a military enlistment office where they were issued draft cards. From there they took them to a call-up center. Those who were over 50 years old were let go.
Police raids on citizens for military conscription, which have become more frequent, are illegal. The government portal Obyasnyaem.rf reported it is prohibited to serve draft cards on the street. Russians asked whether a police officer or military enlistment officer could fill out a draft card on the street before handing it to a citizen. The answer said that all draft cards must be issued in advance and certified right at the military enlistment office.
“A draft card must be issued in advance, signed by the military commissar and certified by the seal of the military enlistment office.”