On Tuesday (8/8/23), Russia accused Ukraine of tricking elderly Russians into setting recruitment centers on fire. The Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia further claimed that Ukrainian fraudsters are inciting elderly Russians to halt the war. Allegedly, the elderly Russians are pretending to be bank employees or police officers to gain access to these centers. Moscow has yet to provide evidence, and Ukraine has yet to respond to the allegations.
By the end of July, over 30 recruitment centers had been attacked. Since Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops to Ukraine in February 2022, military registration and enlistment offices have been attacked. However, the string of arsons has increased after the Russian government recently changed the conscription age. Some changes include raising the recruitment age to increase the number of men eligible for military service. The bill, which has since been signed into law by the Russian president, also raised fines and tightened the rules for anyone trying to evade enlistment. Before the conscription process changed, all healthy Russian men aged 18 and 27 were required to serve a mandatory 1-year military service. As of now, the upper age limit for enlisting is 30 years!
On Wednesday, a 76-year-old Russian was detained after being captured by cameras throwing Molotov cocktails at a recruitment center in Vsevolozhsk, located east of St. Petersburg. The 76-year-old man was later released on Thursday. He was to appear in court to face property destruction charges. However, according to Fontanka News, he was found dead in his apartment. Authorities believe the man committed suicide after contemplating the severe punishment he could face. Earlier, Russia’s interior ministry had warned perpetrators that attacks on military registration and enlisting offices are punishable by up to 20 years in jail.
Although none of the attacks have resulted in serious injuries or damage, Russian authorities have launched criminal investigations to cease the arson attempts.