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iStories: Russian officials instructed to recruit bankrupts, migrants, and unemployed for military service

The office of the presidential envoy to the Central Federal District (CFD) has crafted a strategy for regional officials to enlist migrants, individuals facing bankruptcy, debtors, the unemployed, and other vulnerable segments of society into the military, iStories report.

In a communique dated October 3, 2023, addressed to Alexander Plyaskin, the head of the regional division of the Russian National Guard, it was disclosed that Igor Shchyogolev, the presidential envoy to the CFD, has tasked them with “providing regular updates on the government's efforts to engage citizens in signing contracts with the Russian Armed Forces, following the established protocol.”

The document, now in the possession of the publication, outlines 22 specific categories of the population that Russian authorities are prioritizing for deployment in the conflict with Ukraine. It also includes a dedicated form for individuals to complete.

Here are some of the categories:

  • Individuals who have committed minor or moderate crimes that are under preliminary investigation.
  • Citizens released from places of detention with outstanding or unrepealed convictions.
  • Individuals on preventive records with local police precincts (Ministry of Interior).
  • Individuals with significant debts in enforcement proceedings (Federal Bailiff Service).
  • Individuals declared insolvent (bankrupt) or undergoing bankruptcy procedure (Federal Tax Service).
  • Individuals officially not receiving income and not making tax payments throughout 2022 and the elapsed period of 2023 (Federal Tax Service).
  • Individuals registered with the Employment Service agencies (Public Employment Centers).
  • Individuals who visit Government Services Centers in order to join military service under contract (Government Services Centers).
  • Foreign citizens subject to deportation or expulsion (Ministry of Interior).

Vladimir Putin ordered a significant increase in the staffing of the Russian army back in August 2022. However, despite emphasizing recruitment through contracts, authorities have not achieved the desired results, the publication notes.

Russian authorities have also been busy conducting raids to recruit citizens from Central Asian countries for deployment to the war in Ukraine. In May 2023, Putin signed a decree amending the law on granting Russian citizenship to foreigners and stateless persons. According to these amendments, such persons can now acquire citizenship in a simplified manner after signing a contract for military service. This rule also extends to their family members. In late October, it became known that investigators in Moscow had initiated 22 criminal cases related to the evasion of military service by natives of Central Asia.

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