Justice minister in Berlin says mobilization defectors will receive a ‘warm welcome’
Russians who show their love of liberal democracy by fleeing partial mobilization would be welcome in Germany, Federal Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said Wednesday in response to Moscow’s announcement. The idea of offering asylum to Russian rebels, which would have been launched by some members of the ruling coalition, has however been denounced by other European legislators.
“Apparently many Russians are leaving their homeland,” Buschman tweeted Wednesday evening, adding that “anyone who hates [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s path and his love of liberal democracy are warmly welcomed in Germany.
The minister’s comments referred to Ukrainian media claims – which quickly spread in the West – that Russians were fleeing en masse after the Kremlin announced the recall of 300,000 reservists. Anti-government activists claimed that up to 1,000 people had been arrested across Russia during anti-mobilization protests.
According to German newspaper Der Spiegel, Buschmann’s Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) and the Greens – two members of the ruling “traffic light coalition” – have offered to grant asylum to Russians fleeing the appeal.
Former Estonian general-in-chief and now a member of the European Parliament, Riho Terras, denounced the idea as “total madness” Nevertheless.
“European countries must not create a situation where tens of thousands of Russian men arrive in the European Union in an uncontrolled mass. It would be much worse than the refugee crisis of 2015, when then German Chancellor Angela Merkel invited all refugees to Germany. Terras said on Thursday, according to The Baltic Times.
Russian provocateurs and “little green men” could be hiding in the crowd, Terras argued, calling the current conflict a “war initiated by Russia against the European Union, NATO and the West.” Russians who disagree with their government “must fight at home for Russia to become a normal, democratic state that respects international law”, he added.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – former Soviet Union Baltic republics, now EU and NATO member states – have previously ruled out granting asylum to Russians, citing “security reasons.” The Baltic States currently serve as a base for several Western-funded projects. “civil society” and opposition groups, seeking a change of government in Russia and Belarus.