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Monday, February 25, 2008

Kozlovsky #2

Other Russia reports:

A legal case for alleged draft dodging has been mounted against an opposition activist in the Russian city of Kirov. As the Sobkor@ru news agency reported on February 19th, the target of the case is Denis Shadrin, a leader of the local branch of the United Civil Front party.

On Tuesday, Shadrin’s mother received a call from the local prosecutor’s office, and was instructed to appear as a witness for a hearing involving a criminal case initiated against her son. The lead prosecutor told her that the case was being mounted after Shadrin refused to accept an enlistment notice on several occasions.

Shadrin recounted a different story, explaining that he had not been visited by any officers from the military enlistment office, and could not have refused a summons. In his opinion, the staff of the Leninsky district enlistment office were using threats to coerce people into serving as witnesses and signing off that others had renounced their enlistment notices.

Furthermore, Shadrin explained that he was not fit for military service for health reasons, as he suffers from scoliosis. Corresponding documents were recently forwarded to the enlistment office.

Denis Shadrin has been targeted by his Kirov prosecutors before. In 2007, a different criminal case charged the activist with “forcible assertion of right”. Consequently, a misdemeanor charge was launched. On February 1st, 2008, the case was suspended for lack of evidence by a magistrate of the Kirovsky oblast judicial district.

Shadrin’s prosecution adds to joins a growing number of instances where opposition activists are illegally threatened or conscripted into military service. February 20th marked two months since Oleg Kozlovsky, a leader in the vocally anti-Putin Oborona (Defense) youth movement was taken by plain-clothes officers outside of his home and sent to serve in the army. Kozlovsky, 23, was first moved to a district enlistment office, then to an army assembly point, and finally shipped to military base number 11291 in the Moscow oblast. Two days later, he was moved again, this time to an air base in the Ryazan oblast. After his case was put before military prosecutors, he was able to file a request for a required medical examination. He was then taken to a garrison clinic, where he was deemed “fit with restrictions” for military service.

Oleg Kozlovsky had completed training courses for the Russian reserves as a student in Moscow State University, and was legally exempt from serving. Nonetheless, he was enlisted as a common soldier and must now serve for one year. Other members of Oborona, as well as notable politicians and human rights activists believe that Kozlovsky was conscripted in retaliation for his opposition activities.

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