3:00 p.m., September 18, 2022
More than seven months after the start of the Ukrainian conflict, the signs of feverishness on the part of the Russian authorities are spreading more and more in broad daylight. The case of Ivan Fedotov, 25, goalkeeper of CSKA Moscow, the Russian ice hockey team, who is due to appear before a court in Moscow on Tuesday, is emblematic in this respect. Silver medalist at the Beijing Olympics, he was to join the famous Philadelphia Flyers team in the United States last July. When the country is moved by his fate, the authorities explain themselves by affirming that the young man wanted to escape the compulsory military service for men from 18 to 27 years old.
The accusation is all the easier since CSKA Moscow is historically linked to the army. “The vast majority of high-level athletes escape compulsory service, explains Lukas Aubin, specialist in Russia and sport at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris). Athletes are indeed considered as very important patriotic elements to promote Russia abroad. »
But because of the war in Ukraine, the country has been excluded from major international competitions and Putin is trying to fight back. “The case of Fedotov, which should not however be generalized, has become a symbol, and his departure would have been a snub for Putin, especially since the player had signed for an American club”adds Lukas Aubin, author of Geopolitics of Russia (The Discovery, 2022).
The Russian authorities have decided to ban the activities of the Jewish Agency
The case of Ivan Fedotov is part of a more general context of all-out repression which is unprecedented. “ A law was passed in two days last March that criminalizes any person or organization spreading false information, underlines Katia Roux, advocacy officer at Amnesty International France. Opposing the war in Ukraine is one of them. » The Jewish Agency in Russia, an official and independent organization responsible for promoting and facilitating the immigration to Israel of Russian Jews, has been paying the price since last July.
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The Russian authorities decided to prohibit the activities of the Agency on their territory under the pretext that it would have violated the privacy of many of their fellow citizens. A new hearing will be held again on Monday. “The Jewish Agency had so far been spared, but Russia was annoyed by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who last February called the Russian attack in Ukraine a “serious violation against international order”. , and she shows her muscles”, deciphers Judah Ari Gross, journalist at Times of Israel. In fact, according to him, “the Russian authorities are alarmed to see the so-called brains leaving the country”. According to this newspaper, 30,000 Russian Jews have left the country to settle in Israel since the invasion of Ukraine.
Ivan Fedotov was officially sent to the depths of the Arctic Circle to perform his military service while awaiting trial.“It is obviously an admission of failure compared to the initial objective which was to use the athlete to shine abroad, comments Lukas Aubin. This athlete now serves to challenge the West. »