Protests erupt in Russia’s Dagestan region over Putin’s mobilization orders

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Several videos posted on social media, which CNN geo-located in the Muslim-majority region of Dagestan, show women pleading with police outside a theater in the capital Makhachkala.

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“Why are you taking our children? Who attacked? It is Russia that attacked Ukraine,” he can be heard saying in the video. When the police officer leaves, groups of women shout “no war”.

In other clashes in the city, police can be seen pushing back against protesters, with people violently detained by police while others flee on foot.


The independent Russian watchdog group OVD-Info reported that several arrests were made, including that of a local journalist who was reporting on the day’s protests.

Makhachkala Mayor Salman Dadayev called for calm on Sunday, urging people to “not fall for the provocation of persons engaging in anti-state activities”.

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“I urge you not to commit illegal acts, each of which will be evaluated by law enforcement agencies for legal consequences,” Dadayev said, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.

In another video, filmed in the city of Andirei in Dagestan, a police officer is seen shooting his rifle in the air in an apparent attempt to disperse a crowd of protesters.

The protests come after Putin announced last Wednesday that 300,000 reservists would be drafted as part of an immediate “partial mobilization” to bolster his faltering invasion of Ukraine.
Although Russian officials have said it would only affect Russians with previous military experience, the decree itself lays out very broad terms, raising fear among Russians of a broader draft in the future – and ramifications for ethnic minorities.

“Ever since the mobilization began, we are really pushing people from those (ethnic minority) republics to go to war,” said Anton Barbashin, editorial director of Riddle Russia, an online magazine on Russian affairs.

“It looks like the mobilization is in a lot of disarray – people are being grabbed from universities,” CNN said. “It’s already starting to make people question the policy, like in Dagestan.”

The representative of Ukraine’s president in Crimea said that in Russian-occupied Crimea, the mobilization order has prompted Tatar men – members of an indigenous ethnic group – to flee.

“In occupied Crimea, Russia focuses on Crimean Tatars during mobilization,” representative Tamila Tasheva said on Ukraine’s Parliament TV on Sunday. “At present, thousands of Crimean Tatars, including their families, are leaving Crimea through the territory of Russia, mostly for Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan.”

Former Mongolian President Elbergdorj Tsakhia also urged Putin on Friday to end the war, saying Mongol civilians were being forced to fight in Russia.

“I know, since the beginning of this bloody war, the ethnic minorities living in Russia have suffered the most. Buryat Mongols, Tuva Mongols and Kalmyk Mongols have suffered a lot,” he said. “They have been used for nothing but cannon fodder.”

'I don't want to die for someone else's ambitions': men across Russia face mobilization

Anti-mobilization protests have spread across the country, with more than 2,350 people being arrested since the announcement, according to OVD-Info.

At a protest in the Far Eastern city of Yakutsk on Sunday, a crowd of women chanted, “Give our grandfather back!” Some residents in the Sakha Republic, where Yakutsk is the capital, have been appointed “accidentally”, despite not being eligible for mobilization, reflecting the chaotic roll-out of Putin’s order.

And Crimea is not the only place facing exodus; Military-age men across Russia are choosing to flee rather than risk their lives. Video footage showed long traffic lines at land border crossings in several neighboring countries and rising airfares and sold-out flights in recent days.

Four of the five EU countries bordering Russia have banned entry of Russians on tourist visas, while crossing lines from Russia to cross land borders in the former Soviet countries Kazakhstan, Georgia and Armenia. It was taking more than 24 hours.

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