Hundreds of people have been arrested for protesting Russia’s call-up of army reserve soldiers, a rights group said.

On the other hand, Vladimir Putin has removed Russia’s deputy defense minister for allegedly failing to deliver logistics and equipment to the war in Ukraine.

General Dmitry Bulgakov has been sent to new duties, the Ministry of Defense said.

Protests in various cities

Human rights organization OVD-Info reported that 724 people were detained in 32 Russian cities on Saturday.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered the mobilization of 300,000 troops to join the war in Ukraine. Reserve troops have been called for this.

Civilians with military training are enlisted as reserve soldiers. Besides, there are ex-servicemen in the reserve list.

Russia is believed to have deployed around 190,000 regular troops to fight in Ukraine.

But since Vladimir Putin’s announcement, protests have started across Russia.

According to Russian law, gatherings without a permit are prohibited.

Still, large-scale protests are taking place across Russian cities. 1,000 people were arrested for protesting earlier this week.

“I don’t want to go to war for Putin,” one man told reporters in St. Petersburg.

It is heard that some of those who were arrested on Saturday were given papers to join the army. At that time they were detained by the members of the security forces. The Kremlin had previously said it was being done within the law.

Moscow’s new law stipulates harsher penalties for absconding or non-compliance once enlisted in the army.

Vladimir Putin issued a decree on Saturday that says any soldier who surrenders, deserts the army or refuses to fight can be jailed for up to 10 years.

Vladimir Putin has also signed a law to grant Russian citizenship to any foreign citizen who enlists to serve in the Russian army for at least one year.

On the other hand, thousands of young people are trying to leave the country to avoid joining the Russian army. Long queues for emigration have formed at the borders of Georgia and Finland.

However, IT sector workers, bankers and media workers will not have to join the army, the authorities said.

Removal of Deputy Defense Minister

General Dmitry Bulgakov was replaced by Colonel General Mikhail Mizinstov, who had led the brutal siege of Mariupol by Russian forces, to oversee Russia’s supply system.

General Bulgakov was in charge of the supply system of the Russian military since 2088. Since the deployment of Russian troops in Syria in 2015, he has overseen the logistics system there.

But observers say he has been cornered in Moscow in recent times. Many blame him for the Russian military’s supply chain meltdown in Ukraine.

In recent months, Moscow has been forced to seek help from longtime allies North Korea and Iran for new munitions and drones.

The action was taken after a video of Russian recruits handing over discarded rifles went viral on social media.

Russian hardliners welcomed General Mizinstov’s appointment.

Many Ukrainians describe General Mizinstov as the ‘butcher of Mariopol’.

He also has UK sanctions against him for his role there.

During the Russian campaign in Syria, he bombed the city of Aleppo almost to the ground.

(Source: BBC Bangla)

(September 25)