AfricanewsAfricans In DiasporaPoliticsWorld

Russia is Forcing African Students into War for Visa Renewal


Russia is coercing thousands of African migrants and students to bolster its war efforts against Ukraine, particularly in the Kharkiv region, according to assessments from European officials.

This alarming trend raises significant ethical and legal concerns, as it involves threats of visa non-renewal and deportation for those who resist enlistment.

Russia’s Coercion Tactics: Visa and Deportation Threats

Pressure on Migrants and Students

According to a Bloomberg report, Russian officials have been using threats of not renewing visas to force African migrant workers and students into the Russian Armed Forces.

The coercion doesn’t stop there; some workers have been threatened with deportation if they refuse to fight in Ukraine. This high-stakes manipulation has led many to resort to bribery to avoid conscription.

A Long-Standing Practice

A European official noted that Russia’s practice of forcing migrants and students into combat is not new and dates back to the early stages of the war.

This tactic highlights Russia’s ongoing reliance on human attrition to sustain its military campaigns.

Attrition Warfare and Prison Recruitment

Plummeting Prison Populations

Russia’s attrition warfare strategy has significantly impacted its prison population. In October, Deputy Justice Minister Vsevolod Vukolov announced a historic low in prison numbers, dropping from 420,000 before the war to 266,000.

This decline is attributed to the recruitment of inmates, who face high casualty rates due to their deployment in dangerous offensive maneuvers meant to protect more trained units.

Closing Prisons Due to Military Recruitment

Russia has recruited so many inmates that it has started closing some of its prisons. This large-scale recruitment of prisoners is a desperate measure to compensate for the severe losses in military personnel.

Global Recruitment Drive: Foreign Mercenaries

Targeting 21 Countries

Reports citing Ukrainian intelligence indicate that Russia has launched a global recruitment drive to enlist foreign mercenaries from at least 21 countries, including several African nations. These campaigns offer lucrative signing bonuses and salaries to entice contract soldiers.

Deceptive Recruitment Practices

Recruiters have also targeted migrants and students previously seeking employment in Russia, luring them with promises of lucrative work only to force them into military training and deployment.

High Casualty Rates in Russian Military

Unprecedented Losses in May

The UK Ministry of Defence reported that the Russian military experienced its highest casualty rate of the war in May, losing over 1,200 personnel per day. Since the invasion began, around 500,000 Russian personnel have reportedly been killed or wounded, though these figures are difficult to independently verify.

Putin’s Admission of Heavy Losses

At a meeting with foreign media in St. Petersburg, President Putin implied that approximately 10,000 Russian troops are killed or wounded each month, with Ukrainian losses purportedly five times higher.

Also Read: Russia Forms African Army as a Replacement for Wagner Group Mercenaries

Wagner Group’s Recruitment in Africa

Enlisting African Citizens

Reuters reported last year that the mercenary group Wagner had recruited several African citizens as part of a drive to enlist convicts from Russian prisons for the conflict in Ukraine. The news agency traced the stories of men from Tanzania, Zambia, and the Ivory Coast, highlighting the international scope of Russia’s recruitment efforts.

Significant African Student Population

Yevgeny Primakov, head of Rossotrudnichestvo, an organization focused on spreading knowledge about Russia abroad, stated there are currently 35,000-37,000 African students in Russia. This significant population has become a target for Russia’s coercive recruitment tactics.

Conclusion: Ethical and Legal Implications

The forced enlistment of African migrants and students into Russia’s war efforts raises profound ethical and legal questions. These practices not only violate international norms but also exploit vulnerable populations. As the conflict continues, the international community must address these abuses and hold Russia accountable.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button