‘Russia is recruiting exchange students’
The recruitment of African exchange students in Russia is becoming increasingly common at present, with host universities playing an important role, according to Times Higher Education and others. For instance, the Southern Federal University in the town of Rostov-on-Don, near Ukraine, is said to have recruited 2,500 African exchange students. The university threatened to withdraw their scholarships and raise their tuition fees if they would not go to fight. The students, many of whom are destitute, were allegedly bribed with sums of up to four thousand dollars.
In November, the first exchange student was killed in the Donbas during a battle against Ukraine. According to Times Higher Education, this was a 23-year-old Zambian who was studying nuclear technology in Moscow only two years ago. He was arrested for unclear reasons and sentenced to nine years in prison. In prison, he was forced to enrol in the army after which he was immediately sent to the front.
Russian students and exchange students are not drafted (in Dutch) until the age of 27, according to the declared partial mobilisation, but are allowed to sign up for military service. Some 100 university campuses are now said to have opened military training centres where recruits are being trained. Many Russian universities are spreading President Vladimir Putin’s war propaganda. They force students to attend lectures and dismiss critical academics. (HOP, PvT)