Russian Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers parade in Red Square during the Victory over Nazi Germany Day military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2022. KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP Formerly reserved for Russian citizens, the Russian army is no longer very careful about the origin of its recruits. Anyone who can hold a gun is a good candidate for the “special military operation”, which has become an existential mission for Vladimir Putin. The day before the announcement of the “partial” mobilization on September 21, the mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of the Russian head of state, was already combing the side of foreign migrants seeking work in Russia, an estimated pool between 4 and 6 million individuals. On his personal website, Mr. Sobyanin thus announced the opening of a recruitment office for the Russian army in the center for migrants in Sakharov. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The “partial” mobilization decreed by Vladimir Putin, a military bet far from being won The latter, a vast administrative complex, is the obligatory passage of millions of immigrants from the former Soviet republics in order to to obtain – and renew every three months – the documents necessary to work in Moscow. From now on, this “one-stop shop for solving issues related to migrant jobs” – as the mayor of Moscow defines it – specifies: foreigners “who sign a contract with the armed forces of the Russian Federation will be able to obtain Russian citizenship, without long wait or administrative barrier”. The Sakharovo center, located nearly three hours from central Moscow by public transport, is notorious for its rude employees and endless queues. “Ending in a can of zinc” The Russian authorities do not fail, in parallel, to wave the stick. “Recruiters put pressure on immigrants who have been naturalized for less than ten years, telling them that they will lose their Russian passports if they refuse to serve in the army,” notes the Tajik human rights defender based in Moscow, Karimjon Yorov, who says he knows of several examples of Russian citizens from Central Asia being summoned and threatened by Russian military recruiters in recent months. Same story with Valentina Tchoupik, founder of Tong Jahoni, an NGO offering free legal assistance to migrants from Central Asia in Russia. Several dozen of them claiming to be victims of pressure have asked him for advice since February. None was, according to her, interested in the Russian recruitment offer. “Migrants can easily earn equivalent incomes by working on a construction site or in a courier service or in trade (…) Until recently, Russian citizenship interested them, but all have now understood that it is not it was more about getting a passport, but about ending up in a zinc box [cercueils de soldats] “Explains Ms. Tchoupik to World. You have 41.42% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.
Welcome! Log into your account
Recover your password
A password will be e-mailed to you.