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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

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    Partial mobilization in Russia: Refugee Russians must be welcome in Germany

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    Asylum seekers who now want to leave Russia have two goals in mind. They want to preserve their own lives and not endanger the lives of others. In short, they don’t want to be killed and they don’t want to kill. Which of the two wishes comes first for the mostly young Russian men is of secondary importance for the host country.

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    There are also no first-class and second-class war refugees. Neither among the Russians themselves, nor between Russians and Ukrainians, or among other refugees. So the argument, raised in part by Ukrainian voices, that Russian citizens who have sat quiet, who have not demonstrated, who have not demonstrated, should not be rewarded with asylum for their previous, passive behavior if they flee now, is not valid.

    Neither legally according to the legal situation nor from a purely humanitarian perspective can states and societies get involved with such concerns or demands. Every Oleg, Sergej, Alexei or Dimitrij who wants to evade the forced recruitment of a regime that is waging a war of aggression that violates international law is acting in the interests of war criticism, of peace.

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    They all act in the spirit of preserving Ukraine, whether that is at the top of their agenda, or further down their agenda, or of little concern to them. It is and remains a fact.

    Russia’s media are aligned

    For months, observers have been reporting that the majority of young people sent to the Ukrainian fronts have little idea what the Kremlin’s leadership is all about. Russia’s media has been brought into line, free expression of opinion is all but eliminated, draconian laws punish, if not thinking, then at least spreading ideas that displease the regime.

    Reprisals and imprisonment are threatened. The OSCE, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, has just criticized a “climate of fear and intimidation” in Russia.

    Now in Russia there is a concrete threat to personal life.

    Caroline Fetscher

    Apparently, the public brainwashing of the Russian state media worked as long as there was no widespread, concrete threat to private life. Now it is dawning on the population what the war can mean for them. It is getting serious. After the partial mobilization order, military buses and trains collect the young men.

    Families stand in tears along the way and on the platform. Mothers and fathers, sisters and younger brothers do not know whether they will see their son or brother alive again. Scenes like this show the Russians waking up, and the images of queues of cars at Finnish border crossings, the rush at airports, the escalating ticket prices.

    Once outside, the Russian refugees should be given the opportunity to better orient themselves politically. Access to reliable, oppositional sources, free discussion forums, democratic information offers should soon be standard equipment in these asylum cases. The intellect also needs food, and many people are probably hungry for it.

    Anyone who doesn’t want to get involved in the Kremlin’s criminal war of aggression must be welcome abroad. Everyone is one less who picks up a gun for it. And everyone can seize the opportunity to lead a more self-determined life in asylum. If the return becomes possible one day, that will also help a freer Russia.

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    Source: Tagesspiegel

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