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Russia’s Tatarstan Bans Reservists From Leaving as Mobilization Underway

A checkpoint at the entrance to the Kazan Higher Tank Command School. Yegor Aleyev / TASS

Authorities in Russia’s republic of Tatarstan have prohibited all residents in the military reserves from leaving the region, according to a government order published Wednesday. 

The order follows President Vladimir Putin's decaration of a “partial” military mobilization for the war in Ukraine.

“Officers, warrant officers, midshipmen, sergeants, foremen, soldiers and sailors of the reserve…are temporarily prohibited from traveling outside their district (city),” the Tatarstan government's document reads. 

The ban on movement is a part of Tatarstan’s effort to maintain good relations with the federal government by fulfilling the Kremlin’s manpower requests for the war in Ukraine, Tatar political expert and journalist Ruslan Aysin said. 

“Tatarstan always has to prove to the federal government that it is the best region…and can fulfill all orders from Moscow,” Aysin told The Moscow Times.

This was echoed in comments by the head of Tatarstan's spokeswoman, Liliya Galimova, who said at a press conference Wednesday that the Turkic Muslim-majority republic would fulfill Moscow’s mobilization needs “on time.”

Tatarstan's new movement restrictions also require business owners to ensure that all employees in the reserves report to enlistment offices, with administrative fines for non-compliance.

According to The Moscow Times’ sources, all eligible employees of the Tatarstan-based Kazanorgsintez plant, one of Russia’s largest chemical producers, received summons to local enlistment offices when they arrived at work Thursday. 

“I think Tatarstan will choose an easy route and mobilize [mostly] employees of state enterprises…and residents of small towns and villages where people basically have no rights and are heavily dependent on the government and have nowhere to hide,” said Aysin.

A total of 300,000 Russian reservists are expected to be called up for military service nationwide under the partial mobilization, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. But the real number of people to be drafted is classified and could be much higher, some experts fear. 

While Tatarstan officials are yet to confirm how many men from the republic of 3.5 million are due to be mobilized, Aysin estimates the number to be between 5,000 and 6,000.

At least 131 servicemen from Tatarstan have been killed in Ukraine since February, according to a tally by the regional news outlet Idel.Realii, an affiliate of the U.S.-funded RFE/RL outlet. 

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