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Russian Authorities Resort to Raiding Hotels to Catch Draft Dodgers

Sergei Vedyashkin / Moskva News Agency

The Russian authorities have resorted to raiding hostels and hotels in search of men who may be eligible for military service as part of the country's "partial" mobilization, according to multiple media reports. 

Two Moscow locations of the Travel Inn hostel chain were visited by the police last week, according to a report by broadcaster RTVi, which cited a hostel representative. 

At one of the hostels, all guests eligible for military conscription were rounded up and sent to an enlistment center where men with prior military experience had their passports confiscated and were ordered to report back with their belongings the next day, according to the broadcaster. 

Similar round ups have been taking place in other Moscow hotels and hostels for at least two weeks, according to information obtained by news outlet VPost. 

Hostel and hotel searches have also been carried out in the city of Vladivostok in Russia's Far East, according to VPost-media. 

"[The police] came to us and to our competitors as well. We have a lot of people from other cities [staying with us] since mobilization began; perhaps, they are running away from it," a hostel manager in Vladivostok told VPost-media. 

Under Russian law, all hostels and hotels in the country are legally obliged to provide the Ministry of Interior with information on all their residents.

The recent searches suggest that the Russian authorities are working to integrate various government databases to step up mobilization efforts and to crack down on draft dodgers, according to Russian digital rights watchdog Network Freedoms. 

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