September 27, 2022

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A one-way ticket to escape the terror of mobilization: what will happen to these Russian “refugees”?

As images of “partial” Russian mobilization proliferate, questions about it pile up, and one wonders what to do with the millions of Russians fleeing the country.

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Beyond the pictures, fashionable discussion topics are more straightforward: “Which countries to visit without a visa?”, “How to cross the Caucasus border on foot”, “How to leave the country?”.

So it is enough to go around the most recognized search engines and social networks in Russia to understand the options of flights from the country.

It is difficult to stop the bleeding and close the borders

Researcher David Dubay, who holds the Raoul-Tandurant Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, said the question of how to manage Russia’s borders strongly if more people managed to flee was more difficult, after all.

David Dubay is a resident researcher at the Raoul-Tandurant Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies.

Screenshot Raoul-Tundurant chair

David Dubay is a resident researcher at the Raoul-Tandurant Chair in Strategic and Diplomatic Studies.

“Russia is so big that it is very difficult to control at the base,” the researcher explains.

Yet despite the flights and legal means to leave the territory, Putin is probably focused on the war and things are going very badly.

“It’s hard to say why he didn’t try to close them. Maybe he reduced the risk of seeing the ambiguous consequences of immigration…» he explains.

Researcher in residence at Raul-Dandurand Chair Julien Toureille says the spill poses many dilemmas for the international community, but also many opportunities.

“If the position of the neighbors seems to provoke a certain uneasiness, there is still within the Western bloc a strong impulse of humanitarian obligation to welcome these people.”

He says these “leaks” could serve as tools of propaganda against Putin.

“They demonstrate that the Russian people do not fully support war. We can counter Putin’s rhetoric that Russia is facing an existential war against itself and its people.

Even so, Mr. Dube emphasizes the limited usefulness of such a text.

“We can no longer assume that Putin thinks rationally. He has a rigid demeanor that is completely disconnected from reality,” he explains.

Treat “fuggers” as refugees and welcome them?

For Genevieve Dufour, full professor and director of the Postgraduate Program in Applied International Law and International Politics (DIPIA) at the University of Sherbrooke’s Faculty of Law, the answer is yes.

Genevieve Dufour, Full Professor and Director of the Postgraduate Program in Applied International Law and International Politics (DIPIA) at the University of Sherbrooke's Faculty of Law,

Screenshot Faculty of Law – University of Sherbrooke (UdeS)

Genevieve Dufour, Full Professor and Director of the Postgraduate Program in Applied International Law and International Politics (DIPIA) at the University of Sherbrooke’s Faculty of Law,

“If these people are fleeing in fear of their lives, they can certainly apply for refugee status. However, the grant of status will be done on a case-by-case basis,” he explains.

Mrs. “The fugitives do not automatically benefit from this position,” Dufour notes, “but in any case, given what we’ve seen of the repression of those who oppose mobilization for political reasons, we can say with certainty that those who oppose the war put their position in jeopardy,” he explains.

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So should Canada welcome more people? Again Mrs. Dufour answers in the affirmative.

“Canada supported the G7 Declaration Asylum for dissidents fleeing Russian political repression. In the latter, “We are concerned that Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has been accompanied by ever-increasing domestic repression in Russia. […]. We will provide protection to Russians persecuted by the Russian regime in accordance with our national laws and requirements.

For 72 hours, Russians rush to airports and borders to flee a country plunged into the depths of a conflict that has just begun.

Mobilization and ethnic cleansing

Beyond the question of “Fukkers”, the mobilized population seems to be mostly aligned with ethnic minorities, regional disparities and above all an attempt to contain the anger of the Russian ethnic majority.

An example of students forcibly mobilized from a university in the Mongolian region of Buryatia has been widely shared on social media.

For David Dubay, it is necessary above all to see the logical approach of Russian power.

“It’s not completely foolproof to go to some less-informed region and mobilize. We want to mobilize groups that are less related to Ukraine in terms of ethno-cultural similarities,” comments the researcher.

Nevertheless, since the beginning of the war, the participation of minorities has led some experts to think that Moscow’s power is using this opportunity to add internal ethnic cleansing.

Julien Tourel recalled that he could also be the subject of investigations that could include those who have been speaking out against Russian abuses since the beginning of the conflict.