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Russian opposition to Putin’s mass mobilization grows – POLITICO

Opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization of 300,000 more troops to fight in Ukraine continues to grow after two prominent Russian politicians raised concerns and local police arrested hundreds of protesters across the country. country.

Valentina Matviyenko, head of Russia’s upper house of parliament and a close ally of Putin, said on her social media on Sunday that she was aware of reports that some men, who were not eligible for the draft, had been called upon to fight. Vyacheslav Volodin, Russian State Duma speaker and another prominent politician, also raised concerns about people who did not meet the criteria for conscription and were invited to fight in Ukraine.

“Such excesses are absolutely unacceptable and I consider it entirely right that they trigger a strong reaction in society,” Matviyenko wrote on Telegram, the social media network.

Although these two leading Russian politicians did not oppose Putin’s mass mobilization, their comments come as more than 700 people were arrested, collectively, in Moscow and St Petersburg on Saturday during widespread protests against the military escalation. In total, about 2,000 people were arrested last week for their opposition to military mobilization.

On Saturday, local police moved quickly to disperse protesters, some of whom were aligned with the opposition political party led by now-imprisoned Alexei Navalny. In both Russian cities, those involved in the marches shouted slogans such as “we are not cannon fodder” and “Putin in the trenches” before being arrested, according to independent national media.

It’s unclear, however, how successful those protests will be in response to Putin’s decree on Wednesday that hundreds of thousands of reservists would be called up. Under Russian law, almost all men between the ages of 18 and 65 are eligible, but Moscow has said certain professions, including banking and the media, will be exempt from the draft.

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