Digest of Movement of Conscientious Objectors Russia

February 2024

Movement of Conscientious Objectors Russia, 29.03.2024

Dear and beloved, hello everyone. This is Artyom Klyga from the Movement of Conscientious Objectors. In February, we closely followed legislative initiatives and the judicial practice of Russian courts. Today in our digest, we will talk about the new maximum age for mobilised soldiers; about the possibility for a partner to marry a deceased serviceman or servicewomen; about changes in the sphere of alternative civilian service and about new restrictions for Russian “foreign agents”. Enjoy your reading!

Continue reading Digest of Movement of Conscientious Objectors Russia

Digest of Movement of Conscientious Objectors Russia

January 2024

Movement of Conscientious Objectors Russia, 2.3.2024

Hello friends! This is Artem Klyga from the Movement of Conscientious Objectors with the first digest of 2024. In January, authorities actively recruited foreigners for the war and intimidated young people with the army as a separate liability. MCO’s questions were raised before the  Russian delegation reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva. And the Supreme Court’s decision to ban LGBT was legally enforced.

The procedure for recruiting foreigners for the war is being simplified

On New Year’s Eve, the police in St. Petersburg conducted raids against migrants to force them to sign contracts with the Ministry of Defense of Russia. Those who refused to sign the contract are expelled from Russia along with their family members through a court decision for violating migration rules. This practice began to develop in 2023, but in January, it was formalised by a presidential decree. Vladimir Putin determined that now foreign participants in the war will be able to obtain Russian citizenship without the need to comply with requirements for the length of residence, knowledge of the Russian language, history of Russia, and the basics of Russian legislation. Putin’s decree also allows considering applications from individuals who are pursued criminally, serving sentences of imprisonment, or have unserved or unexpired convictions. This step will lead to the continuation of the so-called hidden mobilisation by the forces of foreign citizens in Russia in a difficult economic situation.

The authorities continue to threaten the army as liability for dissenters

The public threat of the army as a sanction is becoming commonplace. Despite the fact that many public figures in Russia try to portray military service as an honorary duty, in practice, the army increasingly intimidates youth with opposition views. For example, the head of an organisation dealing with internet censorship, although formally not holding any government position, Ekaterina Mizulina, has repeatedly threatened young Russian artists from the 2000s generation with the army as a liability. Due to her active actions, the most famous Tik-Tok blogger, Daniil Milokhin, was forced to emigrate from Russia to the UAE. In January, with the participation of Mizulina, the Russian authorities detained two musicians for performing in nightclubs in the nude. For this, each of them not only received administrative arrest but also military conscription notices. The Movement of Conscientious Objectors separately verified this news and provided public explanations on how to proceed with such received conscription notices.

Russia reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

The Russian delegation in Geneva reported to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The Movement of Conscientious Objectors submitted a report reflecting the militarisation facts occurring in Russian schools. The representatives of Russia answered questions formulated based on our conclusions. In particular, a question was asked about the Talks about Important Things, a weekly lesson introduced in 2022 to justify Russian aggression in Ukraine to pupils. We also asked about the Hero’s Desk project, under which top students from schools were placed at desks with the image of a deceased soldier of the Russian army. Additionally, we asked questions about the state budget expenditures on patriotic education amounting to 46 billion rubles and a new history textbook in which the facts of Russian history from the 20th-21st centuries were significantly altered. The Russian delegation evaded answering the latter questions.

The decision to ban the LGBT public movement has come into force

In January, our work became significantly more complicated. The Supreme Court decision banning the so-called LGBT public movement came into force in Russia. And although the Supreme Court decision was eventually published, some state television channels claimed that MCO is a structural unit of the LGBT public movement. This complicated our ability to accept donations from Russian citizens in rubles. Financing extremist organisations in Russia is a serious criminal offence. At the same time, in Russia, the first administrative and criminal cases against activists associated with the LGBT community have already been recorded. The case from Saratov gained widespread attention – a girl was sentenced to administrative arrest for five days for wearing earrings painted in rainbow colours.

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Movement of Conscientious Objection Russia (MCO): Digest January 2024

Two years after the start of the war: PRO ASYL and Connection e.V. criticise asylum rejections of Russian refusers

Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL: press release, February 21, 2024

Two years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) continues to reject Russian refusers and obliges them to return to Russia. Connection e.V. and PRO ASYL are alarmed by the BAMF’s reasoning, which ignores the risk for Russian refusers of being recruited in a war that violates international law.

Continue reading Two years after the start of the war: PRO ASYL and Connection e.V. criticise asylum rejections of Russian refusers