Military recruiters raid Novatek’s construction yard in Murmansk

A file photo of Novatek’s Kola Yard construction site of in the village of Belokamenka. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP via Getty Images)

A thorough search was conducted in the premises of the Belokamenka LNG Construction Center and several foreign workers sent directly to the local military draft office.

The raid was conducted by officers of a regional military investigative unit along with representatives of the police and the National Guard (Rosgvardiya), the Belokamenka51 social media page informs.

The purpose was to hunt down foreigners with Russian citizenship that have not enrollment in the armed forces.

The law enforcement officers reportedly searched through the whole yard, including the construction units and shops located in the area. Several individuals that had not undergone conscription were identified and they were subsequently sent to military commissariats for enrollment.

All inspected individuals were warned about consequences of violating Russian migration laws. They were also informed about possibilities for military service, Belokamenka51 reports.

Several thousand employed at site 

The Belokamenka LNG Construction Center is currently the biggest industrial plant in the Kola Peninsula. Several thousand workers are employed in the building of gravity-based platforms for Novatek’s LNG projects.

According to a local social media site, there were about 2,000 workers at Belokamenka in spring 2023. In the course of summer that year, the number was reportedly to increase to 17,000.

A big number of foreign workers have been employed at Belokamenka since Novatek started the project in 2017. Most of them have been from China, India, Turkey, as well as Central Asian countries.

However, following the start of Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, a significant number of the foreigners are reported to have left the yard.

Russia is in dire need for more soldiers for its bloody onslaught on Ukraine, and major efforts are made to recruit warriors.

Recruiters seeking young men in several areas of North

The raid at Belokamenka follows several similar police actions across the region.

“The protection of the Motherland is a constitutional duty and obligation of every citizen of the Russian Federation and this is embodied mainly through military service,” representatives of the Russian Northern Fleet said after raids on local market places across Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions.

The military recruiters have also appeared on street corners in north Russian towns stopping young men and checking their papers. In Aleksandrovsk, a closed navy town north of Murmansk, representatives from the Investigative Committee of the Northern Fleet entered cafés, cantinas and shops checking ID-documents.

Similar raids are conducted across Russia. In early July, the National Guard (Rosgvardiya) reportedly discovered more than 2,000 violators of Russian migration legislation in a raid in St.Petersburg and Leningrad region. It is likely that many of them were recruited for Russian military service.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: CSIS warning Inuit leaders about covert foreign investment in Arctic, documents show, CBC News

Norway: Oasis No More? Svalbard and Contested Arctic Strategies, Blog by Marc Lanteigne

Russia: Moscow continues to push for BRICS science centre at Svalbard, The Independent Barents Observer

United StatesUniversity of Alaska Anchorage to lead center of excellence, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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