Since the beginning of the war, Russia has taken to your territory over one million people from Ukraine, including from the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”, including at least 200,000 children. Ukraine calls it forced deportation and demands to return its citizens to safe areas of the country. The Russian authorities ignore these requirements and report on providing Ukrainians with housing, food, and one-time social payments of 10,000 rubles each.
At the same time, Ukraine insists that its citizens in Russia are offered only unskilled and low-paid jobs. Against this background, the media appeared information about the resettlement of Ukrainians in remote regions of Russia, as well as about their passage through the so-called “filtration camps”– checks for loyalty to the Russian regime.
Filtration camps on the Russian border
Maksim* lived with his wife and three children in Mariupol before the start of the war. After several weeks of regular shelling and living in the basement, he and his family and about 200 of their neighbors took to the streets with a white flag. They were met by the military of the self-proclaimed “DNR”. At first, people, according to him, were settled in a local hospital, and later they were transferred to one of the villages – to the border with the self-proclaimed “DNR”.
“We arrived there, registered in the register of arrivals from Mariupol and immediately registered for further evacuation. I heard about filtration camps. I don’t know what they meant, but, for example, they checked me for tattoos, whether I belonged to some military formation, its history [просили рассказать]looked at the phone. It was still on the way from Mariupol“- recalls Maxim. Later he and his family were sent to Taganrog.
The passage of the so-called “filtration” was confirmed by three more DW interlocutors, who were taken out of Ukraine to Udmurtia, Primorsky and Perm Territories. They asked not to publish their detailed stories and names for fear of possible persecution.
They all talked about the same thing: filtering is short conversations about politics, checking the body for tattoos with Ukrainian national symbols, checking the phone. Two of the interlocutors confirmed that they had not experienced violence. in the filtration camp. Another said that he witnessed the beating of a young man, but he does not know the reasons for this.
Filtration camps in Ukraine
Earlier, the media reported that filtration camps operate when Ukrainians are taken to the territory of the Russian Federation. But Olga* was filtered when leaving Novaya Yalta towards Berdyansk. Her family – parents and younger sister – left Mariupol in their car in the hope of getting to safe areas of Ukraine.
Before the start of the war, Olga went to school. Her father worked as a loader, and her mother was seriously ill. With the outbreak of war, the woman stopped walking. The conversation with Olga was conducted with the consent of her parents.
“In that camp, first there was a checkpoint, and then the filtration booth itself, followed by another checkpoint, which lets through further. Our turn came two days and two full nights later, already at 11 pm the car was launched last. We checked everything that was possible, each pocket and every bag. Filtration starts at the age of 14, my sister is 12, so she didn’t go for filtration. Mom didn’t go then, she was left in the car with her sister. My dad and I went together,” Olga recalls.
According to the girl, the filtration booth was divided into two rooms – she was in one, her father was in the other. Olga was fingerprinted, documents were scanned and her phone was checked. What happened in the next room with her father, she did not hear. They were released within minutes of each other. Her father later told the family that he was hit on the head while checking the phone. Subsequently, the man, according to his daughter, was diagnosed with atrophy of the optic nerves.
“Even when we were standing in line for filtration, the DPR members had dinner. Of course, we listened to their conversations. They discussed what they could do with people who did not pass the filtration. One said that he had killed 10 people on the spot, and then “I didn’t count. Buses with these people were brought in without a queue. Before us, a man and a woman entered the filtration, as I understand it, a husband and wife. This man came out alone. His wife was not released, she did not pass. He was told to go further and that’s it,” Olga remembers.
When the girl first spoke about her experience on social networks, a stream of insults and criticism fell upon her. “We received threats even to specific addresses,” she says. Today, her family does not disclose their whereabouts. Her father and mother are undergoing treatment and at the same time are waiting for paperwork to receive financial assistance.
Export of Ukrainians from Russia to Europe
how Russian authorities said, the export of Ukrainians is carried out jointly with the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Security Service, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Transport, Rospotrebnadzor. Hundreds of points of temporary accommodation of citizens in hotels, boarding houses, airports, railway and bus stations have been created in the regions.
To work in such places recruit United Russia volunteers and volunteers. In addition to them, the so-called “unofficial” volunteers are helping the Ukrainians. As a rule, they help them to leave the territory of Russia. There are more than 11 thousand participants in their Telegram chats today. DW spoke to the coordinator of one of them. The interlocutor asked not to be named for security reasons.
“There are people who decide to stay in Russia and this is their decision. Then a long-term interaction with all government agencies begins. If people want to leave, they leave as quickly as possible. The worse the set of documents, the more difficult it is to leave. The situation is regulated in a non-linear way, but so far there is an opportunity to leave with internal Ukrainian and even expired documents,” says the coordinator of one of the help chats.
In some cases, according to the interlocutor of DW, the departure may be counteracted at temporary accommodation centers. Earlier, the permanent representative of Ukraine in Crimea, Tamila Tasheva, said that “the Ukrainians in Russia are being deprived of their passports and issued a temporary asylum document, thereby imposing a ban on leaving.”
“In points of temporary accommodation, people are often offered to issue a large number of documents at once. If people have already applied for temporary asylum, they will not be released from Russia at the border. Before leaving, they must write a waiver of this temporary asylum. All this can be resolved It is important to say that this is not a clearly built system and a lot is decided on the ground,” the coordinator of the volunteer project believes.
Speaking about the situation with the filtration camps, DW’s interlocutor claims that each of them has different conditions and a different level of violence. The reason for this is again the lack of a clear regulation of actions. “Depending on where people encounter it, it can be a very different experience – from conversation to violence. We know different stories, bad ones too,” says the project coordinator.
No job, no money
DW interlocutors whom transported from Ukraine to Russia, most of them talk about intentions to stay inside the country. All of them live in temporary accommodation centers, receive three meals a day, wait for months for paperwork to be completed and to receive the very promised 10,000 rubles.
“There is no work here. It seems that the administration is somehow trying to help, but it’s all dragging on. The youngest child is one and a half years old, the baby food is over, we feed him some kind of porridge. Shoes, in which they were in Mariupol, they arrived in it. There are no proper shoes for me, I go tattered. They brought some things for the children, they took what came up,” says Maxim, who was transported from Mariupol to Taganrog.
According to the coordinator of the “unofficial” volunteers, they do not keep statistics on the number of Ukrainians taken out of Russia for their and their own safety, but nevertheless, their number goes into the thousands. “I have a feeling that this is for a long time. Even if they stop shooting tomorrow, people don’t care nowhere to go back. They don’t have a home,” DW’s interlocutor says.
*Names have been changed for security reasons.