Fri, 01 Dec 2023

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Central Asian migrants are accustomed to doing Moscow's dirty work.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of citizens from the countries of the region travel to the Russian capital and other major cities to take jobs as street sweepers, cleaners, construction workers, and on the front lines of the service sector -- employment Russians often shun.

Now it is Russia's military front in Ukraine that may be looming, with legal amendments passed by the State Duma offering a "simplified" fast track to Russian citizenship in return for a year of military service "in the armed forces of the Russian Federation, other forces, or military formations."

The context for changes in the legislation on receiving Russian citizenship came a day later, on September 21, when President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization to bolster the Kremlin's unprovoked invasion, after results on the battlefield took a turn for the worse.

The announcement and a vaguely worded presidential decree accompanying it has sparked panic, not to mention a surge in demand for flights out of Russia not seen since the first weeks of the war.

By the end of the day, more than 1,300 people had been detained at protests in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and more than 30 other cities, where many participants held up posters with the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag and chanted 'No to mobilization!' and "Russia without Putin."

WATCH: More than 1,300 people have been detained in Russia after rare anti-war protests were held around the country in the wake of President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial military mobilization.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Washington DC 20036

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