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Draft-evading Russian FSO major deported back home from Kazakhstan could face almost two decades in prison

Source: Meduza

The Kazakhstani government has deported a Russian Federal Protective Service officer for crossing illegally into the country from Russia. Like hundreds of thousands of other draft-eligible Russians, Major Mikhail Zhilin fled abroad earlier this year after President Putin announced a widescale mobilization to reinforce Moscow’s invasion forces in Ukraine. According to Zhilin’s wife, her husband was not extradited at Russia’s request but deported for a border-crossing violation. Nevertheless, he is charged in Russia with felony counts of illegal border crossing and desertion — offenses with maximum penalties of two years and 15 years in prison, respectively.

Zhilin’s current whereabouts are unknown. His family is trying to locate him and find a defense attorney.

Thirty-six years old, Major Mikhail Zhilin worked at the FSO’s Special Communications and Information Center in Novosibirsk, where he reportedly had access to state secrets. His wife told journalists that he has wanted to resign since 2014. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, leaving the Federal Protective Service has become “impossible,” she says.

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