Russian Security forces detained over 1,300 citizens across the country on Wednesday as people demonstrated in response to President Vladimir Putin’s order to reinstate the draft for the first time since World War II.
According to OVD-Info, an independent Russian human rights media project aimed at combating political persecution, over 1,311 people from 38 cities were being held by late Wednesday evening. Russia’s anti-protest laws prohibit “unsanctioned rallies”.
Irina Volk, an official for the Russian interior ministry issued a statement in which it was claimed that forces had stopped attempts at “small protests”:
“In a number of regions, there were attempts to stage unauthorized actions which brought together an extremely small number of participants. These were all stopped. And those persons who violated laws were detained and taken to police stations for investigation and establish their responsibility.”
Growing protests against military mobilization in St Petersburg, Moscow, Yekaterinburg and many other Russian cities tonight.
Russians prefer watching the war on TV. Getting HIMARSed in person in Kherson isn’t attractive at all. pic.twitter.com/nmHbUad6wk
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) September 21, 2022
After Putin’s announcement on Wednesday that the nation would immediately be calling up 300,000 reservists, especially those with military training, to fight against Ukraine, one-way flights out of Russia began selling out quickly, even as prices began to skyrocket.
The Vesna opposition called upon citizens to protest stating, “Thousands of Russian men, our fathers, brothers and husbands, will be thrown into the meat grinder of the war. What will they be dying for? What will mothers and children be crying for?”
The prosecutor’s office in Moscow warned against demonstrating against the draft advising that protesting could be met with up to 15 years in prison.
One student, Vasily Fedorov, who wore a pacifist symbol on his chest, said, “Everyone is scared. I am for peace and I don’t want to have to shoot. But coming out now is very dangerous, otherwise there would be many more people.”
A 60 year old resident who decline to identity himself said, “I came out to the rally planning to participate, but it looks like they’ve already arrested everyone. This regime has condemned itself and is destroying its youth.”