Ahead of the Russian 2024 presidential election campaign, the Russian authorities are trying to avoid unpopular mobilisation efforts inside the country, turning their eye to foreigners, the British Defence Ministry reported in a daily bulletin on Sunday.
Online ads were noticed in Armenia and Kazakhstan, offering contracts with the Russian Armed Forces with the first payment standing around €4,800 and salaries starting at €1,825. The UK ministry also noted that ethnic Russians in north Kazakhstan are enticed to join the Russian army.
Since May 2023, Russia has been actively recruiting migrants from Central Asia, promising them fast-track citizenship and high salaries. The British intelligence adds that at least six million Central Asian migrants reside in Russia, which are likely seen by Russia as potential recruits.
It is particularly reported that Uzbek migrant construction workers had their passports taken away upon arrival in Mariupol and were persuaded to join the Russian army.
In late August, reports emerged that migrants could not file citizenship applications without signing a contract with the Russian Defence Ministry in the Kaluga region. At least five such cases are currently known, while human rights activist Tatyana Kotlyar said that there must be many more of them.