April 15, 2024

Columbus Post

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A mediator in sending Indians to the front in Russia

Published

Death instead of work A mediator in sending Indians to the front in Russia

He promises to work somewhere in Russia, but instead Indians die in the war against Ukraine. The job broker from Mumbai knows no crime.

Ann Gunter
Van
  • Indians find themselves in the middle of the Ukrainian war against their will.

  • Suspicious middlemen promise them jobs in Russia in exchange for good money.

  • Instead of signing employment contracts, the men unknowingly join the Russian army.

  • Now India's Ministry of External Affairs has also intervened and expelled 20 “trapped” citizens from Russia.

  • A Mumbai-based middleman confirms he was duped.

“The main advantage of joining the (Russian) army is that you get a special ID card from the government that gives you priority everywhere. “You can apply for Schengen visas for European countries and permanent residency in Russia,” Faisal Abdul Mutalib Khan says to the camera as he walks through St. Petersburg.

The Mumbai-based man uploaded the video on YouTube last September. It is aimed at Khan's companions who are looking for work. Mohammed Afsan, 30, also saw this and paid Khan the equivalent of 3,000 francs as an agency fee to secure a job as a guard in Russia.

“I sent 35 people to Russia”

Khan et al

Khan and the “special identity card”: “It can also be used to apply for Schengen visas for European countries.”

Screenshot Youtube

After all, Khan assures in the promotional video: “There is no war here. The fight is on the border, that's where their army is. They need someone who can take care of the front of house and they need manpower for that. But Afsan, a young Indian from Hyderabad, finds himself in the middle of the war and ends up dying on the front line in Ukraine.

Families of other men in similar situations also refer to Khan and his middleman firm Babavloksodar.

“I sent a total of 35 people to Russia,” Khan confirmed to “The Indian Express” newspaper. Especially since Russian “agents and supervisors” assured him that Indians would not be stationed at the front, he defends himself by saying that “he too is a victim”.

Still online

“What happened after these men reached Russia is beyond my control,” Khan said. At the same time, he says: “The risks associated with the order are clearly indicated in the agreement. Although they should not be stationed at the front, there are risks in participating in military operations in a war zone.

He does not want to deceive anyone or put anyone in danger. “All my videos of me explaining the work people in Russia have to do are still online.” He did not remove it because he knew no crime.

A network of dubious intermediaries

Mohammad Asfan was one of the many Indians who were unwillingly caught up in the war.

Mohammad Asfan was one of the many Indians who were unwillingly caught up in the war.

Private

Khan's brokerage advertises low-paying jobs in Dubai, Serbia, Croatia, Germany and Singapore. From July 2023, Khan sought out deliverymen and taxi drivers in Russia.

He then promised people a starting salary of 40,000 rupees (424 francs) for a job in the Russian army. In return – and a broker's fee of 3,000 francs – they agreed to work for the Russian army.

Khan is not just a dubious middleman luring job seekers with false promises of high-paying jobs in Russia – it's a whole network operating from many countries.

19,000 Nepalese in the Russian army

Once the foreigners reach their destination, they are forced to sign contracts written in Russian, unknowingly agreeing to serve a year in the Russian army or go to prison.

India's Ministry of External Affairs has announced that it is trying to free about 20 citizens trapped by the Russian army.

According to reports, 15,000 men from Nepal have joined the Kremlin's army – voluntarily or against their will. Most of the recruits come from poor villages where there are no jobs.

Last week, a video of seven Indians from Punjab traveling to Russia as tourists went viral on social media. Accordingly, they were then forced to sign documents to fight a war against Ukraine.

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