Russia uses migrants who receive citizenship to dig trenches

"Why are these [migrants] needed there? To dig trenches and build fortifications."- Bastrykin said.

by Sead Dedovic
Russia uses migrants who receive citizenship to dig trenches
© John Moore/Getty Images News

Russian authorities are trying in every way to make progress on the front, aiming for a final victory, which does not seem very realistic at the moment. Russians have gone so far as to start using foreigners who have obtained Russian citizenship to help them in the conflict in Ukraine. Aleksandr Bastrykin, head of the Russian Investigative Committee, confirmed that many migrants who received citizenship refused to enlist in the army, but some were not successful in avoiding it.

"We have already caught more than 30,000 [migrants] who received citizenship and did not want to register for the military, put them on the register, and already sent about 10,000 to the zone of a special military operation," Bastrykin said, as quoted by Politico.

Bastrykin also revealed why they need migrants. What few expected is that their task would be to dig trenches and build fortifications. Russian authorities' intentions are clear: Every person is needed in this conflict against Ukraine. Russians do not want to sit idly by and watch the situation unfold; they want to use all the potential they have. Russians intend to proceed step by step in the coming period, planning offensives.

"Why are these [migrants] needed there? To dig trenches and build fortifications. We need good working hands for that. They are now joining the ranks of our rear units," Bastrykin said.

In addition, the Russians carefully monitor the situation inside the country, looking for migrants, both legal, illegal and illegal. Russian companies want migrants who will go to the front in Ukraine and help their army in the war against Ukraine. Vladimir Putin, as well as the military and political leadership of Ukraine, wants every person who is legally ready for war to go to the front in Ukraine. Historically, the Russians mobilized a large number of soldiers, not shying away from such moves, all with the aim of victory.

Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin© Marianna Massey / Getty Images

Already in November last year, information emerged that a Russian police raid focused on migrants in a shopping center near Moscow. At that time, the media highlighted that Russian authorities wanted to shift focus onto the migrant population to divert attention from more pressing issues. 

Temur Umarov, a Carnegie Moscow Center associate, revealed that the Russian political machinery feels nervous due to limited progress in the war and economic downturn after sanctions. Nationalistic rhetoric historically resonated well and had a strong public reception, with Vladimir Putin and his aides leveraging this strategy since the war's beginning. 

Migrants have faced huge pressure for some time, and this development deepens the crisis in Russia, fueling dissatisfaction among the population. 

Umarov stressed that the situation remains dire for migrants in Russia, especially those with dual citizenship. He also confirmed that the death toll was already high back then, and Russian authorities aimed to divert attention and reduce public anger over huge losses. 

Migrants in Russia are worried

Migrants in Russia mainly come from Muslim-majority former USSR Central Asian states, facing worsening treatment and feeling increasingly endangered. Putin is implementing radical measures to move Russia forward, regardless of consequences, known for his relentless pursuit of goals without hesitating to sacrifice everything. Threats received by migrants have been a red flag for them, shaping a growing perception in Russia that while Russians fight on the frontlines, migrants are launching attacks from the back.

It's interesting how easy it is to convince people of something that potentially isn't true if you conduct propaganda correctly and have people who can do that job for you. We still don't know what the reactions of people in Russia are to this war, given that it's difficult to access such reactions. Moreover, it's hard to expect individuals to openly speak about it and gather the courage to oppose the Russian government. 

However, if a situation like this persists, it's inevitable that there will be protests and that people will openly express dissatisfaction. Vladimir Putin has managed to pacify the masses so far and keep things in rhythm. However, if the crisis deepens further, Putin could face serious problems. Ukrainians are buying time by defending themselves, while on the other hand, the question is how much sanctions will affect the Russian economy and its people.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his people are calmly monitoring the situation, hoping that things will go in their favor in the coming period. The Ukrainian leader is an optimist when it comes to this war, believing that the Ukrainians have the strength to fight bravely in the coming period, and to achieve victory. It seems that a peace agreement is not an option, nor will it be for a long time.

Neither side wants a compromise, which raises the question of how long the war will last.