Ruslan forcibly conscripted, sent to Arctic base: Russian opposition leader Navalny

WION Web Team Russia Dec 26, 2019, 12.25 PM(IST)

Alexei Navalny and Vladimir Putin Photograph:( AFP )

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Navalny said his key aide Ruslan Shaveddinov was detained by police at his Moscow flat and went missing only to resurface in Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has hit out at President Vladimir Putin over an alleged forcible military conscription of one of his allies to a remote airbase in the Arctic.

Navalny supporters said the incident amounted to "kidnapping".

Navalny said his key aide Ruslan Shaveddinov was detained by police at his Moscow flat and went missing only to resurface in Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean.

Shaveddinov phone SIM was disabled, Navalny informed.

The opposition leader said the activist who had earlier tried to appeal his conscription on medical grounds managed to make a phone call using someone else's phone.

The opposition has accused the Putin government of Soviet-style political suppression in which detainees were sent to a remote area. It said that Ruslan has been sent to a base where only professional soldiers serve.

Shaveddinov lawyer Arkady Chaplygin said that nobody does military service by conscription at Novaya Zemlya. 

"People who serve there are professional soldiers. Military activity in Belushya Guba is mostly about some scientific military studies. There is no place for a conscript there. Effectively Ruslan was sent to a labour camp in exile to serve his time," Chaplygin said.

Ivan Zhdanov, Russian opposition activist said: "We fully understand that Ruslan's kidnapping is a part of the strategy aimed to pressure the Anti-Corruption Foundation.

"It also includes freezing accounts, personal court cases against opposition activists following the summer protests, constant searches in the offices of Alexei Navalny and across Russia," Zhdanov added.