Youth Activist Says FSB Behind His Army Stint

An opposition activist who was drafted into the Army despite a medical exemption has been released from active duty after spending six weeks confined to hospital, he said Thursday.

Oleg Kozlovsky, the 23-year-old leader of the Oborona youth group and a fixture at anti-Kremlin rallies, said he would seek 100,000 rubles ($4,160) in compensation from the Defense Ministry.

Kozlovsky said his ordeal was a plan by the Federal Security Service to keep him from organizing and participating in rallies during State Duma and presidential elections.

"It's the old Soviet tactics at work," Kozlovsky said.

The FSB could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Prosecutors had begun investigating the incident, Kommersant reported.

Calls to military prosecutors also went unanswered.

Kozlovsky said a policeman and two plainclothes law enforcement officers stopped him outside his Moscow apartment building on Dec. 20, a national holiday dedicated to the security services on which opposition rallies had been planned.

He said he accepted their invitation to a local enlistment office, near the Izmailovskaya metro station, to answer a few questions, believing that the process would take only a few minutes.

But enlistment officers explained that he was being inducted into the army immediately. Kozlovsky's protests that he was medically exempt were ignored.

A statement from the Moscow military district office at the time defended the decision, saying Kozlovsky's medical claims had been examined and rejected and that he was illegally trying to avoid service.

A Defense Ministry spokesman refused immediate comment.

Police officers then bundled Kozlovsky into a commandeered minivan, and he was ultimately transported to a military base in Ryazan.

After three days of tests at a Ryazan hospital, beginning Dec. 25, supported Kozlovsky's complaints of a physical condition, he was moved to a hospital in Moscow, where he was told he would be released "in a matter of days."

But he waited over a week, until March 3, the day after the presidential vote, before he was released from hospital. It was then another day before army officers signed his release papers, too late for him to take part in the Dissenters' Marches.

"I would definitely have taken part in the march," Kozlovsky said.

Kozlovsky said that, in addition to the Defense Ministry, he would also like to sue the FSB over the affair, particularly as police at the enlistment office told him the plainclothes officers who met him Dec. 20 were FSB operatives.

"The problem with that, as ever, is that there is no proof of FSB involvement," he said.