Part of Buryats who like Contractnik (Contract soldiers) who fought in the Russian army in Ukraine returned to the capital Ulan-Ude last weekend, according to the human rights group Free Buryatia. The rest reached other cities in Russia.
The soldiers broke their contract last month, according to Alexandra Garmazzhapova, head of the human rights organization, after some of their wives demanded the local governor return their husbands from Ukraine. They said they were “morally and physically exhausted”.
The return of Buryat soldiers is a sign of growing discontent in the bankrupt republic over the large number of dead soldiers from Buryatia. Due to the lack of jobs and low wages in Buryatia, many Buryat youths are forced to look for work in the army.
In recent months, according to Garmazzhapova, 500 Buryat soldiers knocked on the door of her organization because they did not know what they were doing in Ukraine and did not want to continue the fight.
It took the naysayers a lot of effort to cancel their contract. Some of the soldiers who were on their way home were brought back to the Luhansk region, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatists. There they were held in a camp and pressured with threats to appear in court.
There were also reports from other regions of Russia that left soldiers refusing to continue fighting in Ukraine. According to the independent website media area About 500 National Guard personnel from the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic returned home shortly after the start of the war. They were supposed to be used to maintain order in the areas occupied by the army, but instead orders were given to take part in the (unsuccessful) storming of Kyiv.
After the protests, the guards were allowed to go home from their superiors. Officially, the National Guard, a type of security force directly under President Putin, is allowed to operate only on Russian soil. However, as soon as they got home, the returning guards were promptly kicked out for “refusing to carry out orders”.
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