Staunton, Oct. 11 – Members of the numerically small peoples of the Russian North and Far East say that the mobilization of large percentages of their young men, an effort that is prompting many of these youths to flee the country, not only violates the Russian constitution and Russian law but will accelerate the demise of their nations.
That is because the departure of so many men in prime child-bearing age groups, either by forced service in the Russian army fighting in Putin’s war in Ukraine or by flight to escape that fate, will further depress the birthrates of these already small peoples and put them on the road to extinction.
That fear is highlighted in a press release from the Indigenous Mothers of the Russian Far North that has been released today by the Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, Gender Justice and Peace (globalallianceofindigenouspeoples.com). The description that this release gives of what is going on far from Moscow or other urban centers is harrowing.
Mobilization, the press release says, has been “carried out indiscriminately in both large and small rural villages without regard to the size of the ethnic and male population and without considering the rights of indigenous peoples. Thus, in addition to those eligible for military service, many who are not, have been mobilized all across the Arctic and Northern regions.
“In the Komi Republic, 181 people were mobilized from the Bogorodsk settlement” which has only 700 residents. That means that 26 percent of the village was taken. In the Evenk district of Sakhar, 50 of the 138 men between 18 and 35 were mobilized. And among the Even, “men have been taken from their reindeer herds by helicopter,” the release reports.
Meanwhile, it continues with stress, “according to eyewitnesses, there has been practically no mobilization among the residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg.”
The press release continues: “In order to avoid mobilization, some Indigenous men are also fleeing the country. Thus, two men from Chukotka have crossed the Bering … Other destinations include Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Turkey, and other countries. The loss of these men entails irreparable losses for all Indigenous peoples.
“The long history of discriminatory policies in Russia, starting from the time of early colonization, has already led to the losses, partial and sometimes total, of the traditions and languages of the Siberian Indigenous peoples. The loss of such a huge number of men in the current conflict with Ukraine will lead to even greater irreversible consequences for the ethnic minorities of Russia.
“The challenges faced by the Indigenous peoples of Siberia still remain unseen by the global community,” the press release concludes. “We strongly urge all the governments concerned, the United Nations and world community, women groups and concerned individuals to turn their attention towards the gross violations of the international rights of Indigenous peoples of the Russian North and ensure their safety, security for all times to come.”
Window on Eurasia — New Series