The goalkeeper of the Russian ice hockey team Ivan Fedotov has been arrested on suspicion of evasion from military service. He has already been deported to the Arctic Circle and assigned to a unit of the Russian Navy.
The 25-year-old goalkeeper of CSKA Moscow was arrested last Friday at the Koeptjsino ice stadium in Saint Petersburg, the local news site discovered. Fontanka.ru† He was then sent to a military recruiting office, where he became unwell. An ambulance took Fedotov to the hospital. Fedotov’s lawyer Alexei Ponomarjov for ‘stress-induced gastritis’. The keeper disappeared from the radar on Saturday and no one knew where he was.
Until Sunday evening the Russian state news agency TASS reported that he would probably serve on the Arctic island of Nova Zemlya. On Monday morning, Russian sports journalist Alexei Sevchenko showed on his Telegram channel a photo of Fedotov in the city of Severodvinsk, which is said to have been taken in the northern region of Arkhangelsk.
“At the moment Ivan is in naval training in Severodvinsk. You can’t say he’s downright depressed. I hope he can train and stay fit,” Sevchenko wrote. In the photo Fedotov is actually visible.
Lawyer Ponomarjov says he has no information about Fedotov’s current health condition. According to the lawyer, he has been brought before a military medical committee for an examination. The hockey player said he has official documents, stating that he “had problems with the spine and feet from childhood”. The committee allegedly ignored his complaints.
The Arctic is not a popular region for Russian recruits to serve because of the cold and darkness of winter. Some are sent there for punishment, such as political dissidents. The chance that Fedotov has to go to Ukraine to fight is not great. Russian law prohibits the use of conscription in war zones.
A Russian journalist asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov to respond to the case “from a human point of view” today. But he did not heed that. “There can be no human comments here, there is a law here,” Peskov said. “We have a military duty by law. Therefore, emotional comments are absolutely out of place here.”
President Vladimir Putin, who sent troops to Ukraine in late February, ordered an appeal in May for nearly 135,000 conscripts to turn up.
CSKA Moscow has traditionally been the army’s ice hockey club. As a result, the players are officially military, perhaps a reason why Fedotov was arrested and sent to the barracks, Russian media suggest. Evasion of military service is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Military service is compulsory for men between the ages of 18 and 27 in Russia.
It is striking that Fedotov’s contract with CSKA ended on April 30. Fedotov signed a trial contract with the Philadelphia Flyers in the United States in May after being selected in the 2015 Entry Draft. That is a selection procedure for ice hockey players, born between January 1, 1995 and September 15, 1997. General manager Chuck Fletcher of the Philadelphia Flyers said he was aware of the reports of Fedotov’s detention. “We are investigating the situation.”
The US National Hockey League has cut ties with Russia over military campaign in Ukraine, though it has not banned several dozen Russian nationals from playing on US teams.
Fedotov led CSKA Moscow to the KHL championship title last season and the Russian Olympic team to a silver medal at the Beijing Games early this year. It is not clear whether Fedotov’s detention and removal to the military is related to his intention to travel to the US next fall.
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