Open the borders for Russians refusing military service!
Putin's attempt to conscript young Russian citizens to fight in Ukraine is failing. In the few weeks since conscription was announced, more than 700,000 Russian citizens have fled the country..
This new wave of refugees has gone mostly to Kazakhstan, Georgia, Mongolia, Armenia and Uzbekistan, countries where Russian citizens can enter without a visa. These countries have declared that those refusing military service in Ukraine can remain indefinitely.
Hundreds of thousands more Russian citizens are expected to seek exile in the next few weeks.
Those European countries which don't have borders with Russia and Ukraine have so far provided only marginal support to refugees from this invasion. They have no excuse to refuse protection to Russian citizens who refuse to fight for Putin.
The EU countries bordering Russia and Belarus have mostly stopped issuing tourist visas to Russian citizens, and restricting entry to those who hold tourist visas from other ‘Schengen space’ countries. This makes it impractical for most Russian passport holders to seek asylum in Europe, since there are no direct flights from Russia or Belarus into the EU. In other words, despite their rhetoric of support for peace activists in the Russian federation, Western countries are helping Putin to force young people into the Russian armed forces. That means more death, rape and suffering of innocent Ukrainians.
Every young Russian citizen who refuses to be cannon fodder for Putin's imperialist adventure helps the Ukrainians to expel the invaders! It is better to welcome these Russian citizens who refuse war, than to see them killing Ukrainians or being killed for an unjust cause.
The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine (ENSU) supports the armed and unarmed resistance of the Ukrainian people and opening European borders to all refugees from the Ukraine invasion. We also support those in Russia and Belarus who are sabotaging the imperialist war machine, and calling for the withdrawal of all Russian troops from Ukraine.
The resistance to Putin war has up to now been almost entirely concentrated in Ukraine, an inspiring mass fightback which has surprised the world with its courage, tenacity, solidarity and determination.
From the beginning, demonstrators in Russia have shown enormous courage, but remained small in number. After the invasion, more than 17,000 Russian citizens were imprisoned or fined for protesting against the war, with some sentenced to many years in prison. Several thousand more have been arrested in the last two weeks, for protesting against conscription.
Protests are particularly strong among the country’s non-Russian nationalities, who are more likely to be conscripted than the white Russian majority. Their opposition to Russian aggression against Ukraine is informed by their own experience of the racist and imperialist character of the Russian state and the prejudices of the country’s majority.
The proportion of Russian citizens emigrating to avoid conscription in the last few weeks is already 15 times higher than the proportion of US citizens who emigrated to avoid fighting in the Vietnam war, over a more than 10 year period.