The Radio Svoboda website reported on Sunday that the Russians are recruiting labor migrants from Central Asia, not only men but also women, for the war they have started against Ukraine. “She-wolves”, as migrant women recruited in prisons call themselves, are sent to Russian shock troops, independent media report.
Coming from Kyrgyzstan Nurjamal has been working in the Khabarovsk Krai, located in the far east, for 10 years. Although she does not have Russian citizenship, there were several attempts to recruit her to go to Russia Ukraineoffering a job as a cook in Russian troops.
– They promised me 200,000 rubles ($2,000 – ed.) a month or a contract of 1 million rubles ($10,000 – ed.) for a year, said Nurjamal. – I refused, saying that Russia has its own citizens to fight in Ukraine. They asked: What difference does it make? You came here to work and you need money. I replied that I valued my life more than money, she emphasized.
Nurjamal says recruiters haven’t given up. They called her twice more from unlisted numbers, persuading her to go to Ukraine. The woman rejected these proposals. – However, despite the lack of Russian citizenship, many Kyrgyz citizens, especially young men, were recruited to participate in the war. The recruiters promise a Russian passport and one million rubles. However, most Kyrgyz workers reject these offers, and some even return to Kyrgyzstan to avoid the pressure they face to go to war, she said.
They recruit from prisons
Labor migrants came from Central Asia (there are several hundred thousand Kyrgyz in Russia alone), both those with Russian citizenship and those who did not, began to be recruited into the Russian army through the Wagner group, among others, in prisons. This also applies to women. Relatives of a jailed woman from Kyrgyzstan told Radio Svoboda that officials from the Russian Ministry of Defense visited the prison to encourage women to join the army. Olga Romanova, Russian journalist and defender human rights, said that many convicted women from occupied areas of Ukraine, as well as from prisons in southwestern Russia, were recruited to work in Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine. – About 50 convicted women from Donetsk and Snezhnogo, as well as at least 100 women from Russian prisons, were recruited, Romanova said in an interview for Nastoyashchee Vremya TV, which is independent of the Kremlin authorities, adding that such women “call themselves she-wolves.” They are not cooks, nurses or paramedics. They fight as shock troops.
Many Central Asian migrants in Russia are reluctant to talk openly about their involvement in the war due to personal concerns and family safety. Some people also fear that saying the wrong thing could result in deportation. Jumabek, a worker from Kyrgyzstan, told about cases where migrant workers were stopped on the street by police and placed in an “educational camp”, and a month later they were sent to war.
In August, there was a case in which a Kyrgyz man was forced to sign the appropriate paper while walking on the street. He said he would go to the camp after shopping, but instead he fled to Kyrgyzstan. However, most economic migrants do not understand the nature of the documents they are signing.
– Citizens Tajikistan and Uzbekistan without work permits in Russia are really under pressure, said Dzumabek. – And if a Kyrgyz citizen has a Russian passport, but has not registered for military service, he is taken directly to war. We don’t even find out about it because officials force them to sign contracts with a clause not to inform relatives about it, and their phones are confiscated, he added.
Main photo source: mil.ru