In St. Petersburg, 11 migrants were served draft summonses by the military enlistment office on the spot just as they became Russian citizens, the St. Petersburg police department reported.

The announcement, which has received more than two dozen laughing reactions, came with an embedded video of the ceremony. It was shared by the St. Petersburg police on its official Telegram channel on Dec. 20.

The police did not specify the original nationalities of the migrants, only describing them as being from “neighboring countries.”

The ceremony took place in the building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation in the Kalininsky district, with representatives of the military registration and enlistment offices in attendance.

According to the announcement, military representatives served the summons after the migrants “swore to comply with the Constitution and legislation of the Russian Federation, the rights and freedoms of its citizens, to be loyal to Russia, respect its culture, history and traditions, to fulfill the duties of a citizen of the Russian Federation for the benefit of the state and society, including to defend the freedom and independence of the Russian Federation.”

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On Dec. 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree that simplifies the naturalization of Belarusian, Kazakh, and Moldovan citizens, a move criticized by Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean as a way to recruit “canon fodder.”

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Since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia has attracted a number of economic migrants from other post-Soviet states – primarily Central Asian nations – due to the relatively better economic prospects.

Russia has been covertly mobilizing Central Asian migrants since the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, according to an investigation by Meduza. Migrants were promised Russian citizenship through military service or coerced into fighting through threats of deportation for those already naturalized.

In October, The Moscow Times reported that police had raided mosques to forcefully mobilize the Muslim minorities in the country.

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The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) described the incident as part of Russia’s “ongoing efforts to target naturalized migrants for crypto-mobilization efforts and to placate the Russian ultranationalist community” in its Dec. 20 update.

The ISW noted that while Putin tried to publicly maintain an inclusive rhetoric, there has been a dividing sentiment on immigration issues inside the country, which “may trigger further interethnic and interreligious conflicts.”

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