What Is a Filtration Camp

by Olha Povaliaieva
Tuesday, May 10, 2022
What Is a Filtration Camp

Occupation station for a forced, long, and humiliating verification of the identity of a Ukrainian person before forced deportation to Russia o evacuation. People are under the muzzle of Russian guns for days

As of May 9, the Ministry of defense of Ukraine recorded the forced deportation of 1.186.000 Ukrainians to Russia. Documents are taken away from Ukrainians and taken to forced labor beyond the Arctic Circle, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan.

On March 1, Mariupol was surrounded by invaders and has been under blockade ever since. At the end of March, Russian troops captured part of the city and began deporting the surviving residents through the filtration camps of the so-called DNR to Russia. There are 4 filtration camps along the perimeter of the city. Those Ukrainians who are forcibly taken to Russia, and those whom the Ukrainian authorities managed to evacuate from the city, and those who are trying to get out of the Russian occupation on their own — are forced to go through these identifications and checkpoints.

According to Yevgeny Yaroshenko, an analyst at the KrymSOS public organization, the Russian military is checking their phones to see if various chats or other content have been deleted, as well as the phone numbers of servicemen. There are fears that a particular spy program is installed after connecting the phone to the computer.

"According to eyewitnesses, more attention is paid to men: they are undressed, examined for patriotic tattoos, bruises from rifle butts, or marks from wearing body armor. They are also thoroughly interrogated with the use of violence. Often the Russian federal security service officers are involved in this."

"They are looking specifically, as far as I understand, for the military. All their questions were: do you know anyone from the civil service, from the military, from the police, the Ukrainian Security Service, customs. In this regard. When checking one girl, a police officer, it turned out that she was a participant in hostilities. I don’t know where she was taken," says a Ukrainian who passed the filtration.

Aliona Luneva, advocacy director of the ZMINA Human Rights Center, says there is information that those who do not pass the filter are killed.

"There has been some anecdotal evidence among those who have been filtered that the Russian military is talking about killing people who are not filtered. In general, they do not follow them. This information is still needed and should be checked, of course," Aliona Luneva.

Those who have passed the filtration are given the appropriate certificate. And often, these people are also forced to obtain a passport, either the so-called L/DNR or a Russian one. And then they are forcibly sent to Russia.

"What happens to them next depends on the region they’re in. For example, in Tatarstan they are not involved in work, in Kamchatka or in the Amur region — they are involved. They have already found work there. In some cases, paid for work, in some cases not paid", Pavlo Lisyansky, human rights defender and founder of the Eastern Human Rights Group.

Now civilians of Mariupol are forced to go through filtration in order to get passes from the occupying "authorities" to move around the city. It is carried out in the Russians' local "district police departments" controlled.

"Without this pass, being on the street is at least risky, formally prohibited, because you can be arrested. The Russian military commandant's office is in charge there. And the consequences of all this are, in general, unpredictable," adviser to the mayor of Mariupol Petro Andryushchenko.

A short dialogue with a girl who went through a filtration camp and was able to escape from the arbitrariness of the invaders. For security reasons, we are not revealing her name.

“As a result, we were brought to Bezymennoe. There was a camp here, it was in the form of a tent city, where we had to spend the night. It was very difficult. We were photographed as if we were some kind of criminals: full face, profile. They took fingerprints, took away our phones, what they did with them, I don't know. All documents have been checked. They entered us into the database. They said that we had no way back — not to Mariupol, nowhere. And they even threatened that we needed to flee not only to Zaporizhzhia but also further to Europe because they would catch up with us anyway.

- And who told you this? Are they ordinary women, men, or military personnel?

- These were the military personnel who were in this camp. Therefore, we had to spend the night, one might say, at gunpoint. Of course, they gave us a cot, they gave us porridge, a cup of tea. Of course, we did not die of hunger there. But we even went to the toilet under escort.

- So you were like prisoners?

- Well, you can say that. There was a constant fear. I’m used to trusting our Ukrainian military, but here, it turns out, a completely different country, threats… I don’t even know how we survived that night.

This filtration camp is a model of what Russia plans to do throughout Ukraine. Here it — the Russian peace.

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