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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Russian soldiers who mutinied against Syria deployment face 20 years

Le Figaro just broke this important story in French. What I have published below is the Google Translates version, so please alert me to translation correction and improvements in the comment section but I find it readable enough, and so important, that I am putting this out in the raw form first.

This story will only increase the stress on the "anti-imperialist," especially my friends at Veterans for Peace. They just passed a resolution, Stop All Foreign Intervention In Syria, at their recent national convention that was very supportive of Assad and didn't mention Russia. Will they support the action of these Russian soldiers or will they support the ones who obey and fight for Assad?

Russian soldiers mutinied against their deployment in Syria

These soldiers, who learned their destination the day before their departure, according to their lawyer may up to 20 years in prison for not following the orders of their superiors.

By Roland Gauron
Published on 09/24/2015 14:32

They learned at the last minute the object of their mission. These Russian soldiers refused to be deployed on the Syrian front, reports the website Gazeta.ru. They were part of a detachment of twenty men, all considered promising by their superiors. In late August, they are sent to Novorossiisk on the edge of the Black Sea. They thought to fight in eastern Ukraine, where other Russian military operate with hiding. Only last Wednesday, a senior teaches them the final destination: the Syrian port of Latakia. Boarding is scheduled for tomorrow. The duration of the mission, it is not specified. The majority of Detachment objects. Four soldiers even tried to assert their rights before a military prosecutor. In vain.

"We do not want to go to Syria, we do not want to die there, reflects one of the concerned Aleksei N., told the Russian news site. Since the beginning of the mission, there was a lot of quirks and innuendo. "Indeed, when it usually takes several weeks to obtain weapons, the soldiers would have received upon arrival their equipment, explain the military. During their training, their superiors have warned them: they will face an unfamiliar environment and to high temperatures. They will not have the right to put one foot outside their base. They also learn what to do and give answers to if captured by the enemy.

Today, these refractories are under pressure. According to their lawyer Ivan Pavlov, quoted by Radio Free Europe, they face up to twenty years in prison for treason. "They are required to follow orders, of course, but they must be clear and legal so they can ensure that this fight is theirs, says the lawyer. If men are sent somewhere without knowing their final destination and, at the last moment they learn that they are sent out of Russia, it is undoubtedly a violation of their contract and the law. "In Without written mission statement says Ivan Pavlov, if a member were to be killed, his relatives would receive no compensation. Before the outcry over this testimony, the army would seek to return the soldiers involved in their units.

According to the Kremlin spokesman, no complaints from military feared being sent to Syria has been received by the Council for Human Rights of the Kremlin, which had also been seized by the military and their families. And, because Moscow does not recognize the presence of Russian soldiers from troops of Bashar Assad. But in a context of growing tension with the West, many Russian citizens were charged with high treason, espionage or divulging state secrets in recent months. Another customer Ivan Pavlov, a former engineer of Russian military intelligence , was sentenced to 14 years in jail for high treason. To believe the FSB, he had disclosed "information about Russian intelligence activities in space" in an application letter sent in 2010 to a branch of the Swedish Ministry of Defence.
The Daily Beast has an excellent article on this:
Russian Soldiers: Don’t Send Me to Syria

23 Sept. 2015
By Anna Namrsova
Putin’s next undeclared war in the Middle East has already pushed Russian civil society to defend contract soldiers who don’t even know where they were headed to fight.

A group of Russian contract soldiers have refused to go on “an assignment,” as their army command referred to it in the papers they received about their secret deployment. The document did not have any return date. To their astonishment, the soldiers learned, nearly at the last minute, the country for their final destination was Syria. The scandalous case is now being investigated. The soldiers were threatened with severe punishment for their disobedience—a charge of state treason, their lawyer Ivan Pavlov told The Daily Beast, punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Russia.

“All the soldiers are asking for was a clear official order, so their widows would be paid compensations if they get killed abroad. Soldiers have a right to demand proper paperwork, they should always do that before they depart, otherwise their families would not receive a ruble,” Valentina Melnikova, head of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, a Russian organization representing the troops’ families, told The Daily Beast.
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