Bei protests in Russia More than 1,300 people have been arrested against the partial mobilization ordered by President Vladimir Putin. The civil rights portal OVD-Info counted more than 1,350 arrests in 38 cities in the country on Wednesday evening. According to this information, 556 demonstrators were taken into custody in St. Petersburg alone, and more than 500 in the capital Moscow. The authorities initially gave no information about the arrests.
In Moscow, people shouted "No to war!" or called for a "Russia without Putin". Photos and videos show how police officers roughly grabbed the mostly young demonstrators and dragged them into buses. From there, those arrested were taken to police stations. “Why are you serving Putin? A man who has been sitting on his throne for 20 years,” a protester in St. Petersburg shouted at the police officers. "I'm afraid for myself and for my brother, who is 25 years old and has done his military service," one protester told AFP journalists, "he can be drafted."
Prosecutors face up to 15 years in prison
There were similarly large protests in the days immediately after the Russian attack on the Ukraine given on February 24th. In Tomsk and Irkutsk in Siberia, in Yekaterinburg in the Urals and in other places, isolated people took to the streets. They held up placards with the colors of the Ukrainian flag and slogans such as "No to mobilization!".
In Moscow, before the demonstration, the authorities had expressly warned against participating: the public prosecutor threatened up to 15 years in prison. Since the beginning of the war against Ukraine almost seven months ago, the Russian government has been taking tough action against members of the opposition and opponents of the war, including stricter laws. At the police stations, those arrested were charged with a variety of offenses, including resisting the police and discrediting the army.
Had on Wednesday morning President Putin ordered partial mobilization in a television speech. A total of 300,000 reservists are to be drafted to fight against Ukraine. Those affected by the "partial mobilization" represented just over one percent of Russia's total "mobilization resource". Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu put this number at "more than 25 million" Russians and said 300,000 reservists were now being called up. But this is not a "one-off" action, he added. It is now used to "consolidate" the "contact line", i.e. the front - and to "control" the areas behind it.