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Russian IT Specialist Has Been Hiding in Freezing Forest to Avoid Army Conscription


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A Russian man who didn’t want to answer Putin’s call to arms and join his country’s war against Ukraine has been living alone deep in the middle of the woods for almost four months.

Adam Kalinin (alias) was against the war in Ukraine from the very beginning. He was actually arrested for two weeks and fined for displaying a banner that read “No to war” on the outside of his apartment building. But when Vladimir Putin signed a mobilization order calling roughly 300,000 Russian men to war against Ukraine, Kalinin knew he needed to find a way to avoid being sent to the front line. Financial issues, his friends, and the general idea of leaving his homeland prevented the young IT specialist from running to another country, so he did the next best thing he could think of – kissed his wife goodbye and hid in the middle of a freezing forest. He’s been living there for almost four months.

Photo: Adam Kalinin/Telegram

“Leaving would have been a difficult step out of my comfort zone,” the thirty-something man recently told the BBC. “It isn’t exactly comfortable here either but nevertheless, psychologically, it would be really hard to leave.”

The way Adam sees it, living off the grid is the best way to avoid Putin’s mobilization. If the authorities can’t find him to hand him the order in person, he can’t legally be called to join the war. He lives in a tent enduring temperatures as low as -11 degrees Celsius and survives on supplies regularly brought by his wife.

“If they are physically unable to take me by the hands and lead me to the enlistment office, that is a 99% defense against mobilization or other harassment,” Kalinin said.

Photo: Adam Kalinin/Telegram

Thanks to a long-range antenna tied to a pine tree, the IT specialist has an internet connection and can carry out his job almost as he did before moving into the woods, although he doesn’t have enough solar power to work full days.

Adam Kalinin’s wife helps him survive, regularly bringing him food supplies to a drop-off point where they are able to briefly see each other, and he then takes them to a safe place that he visits whenever he needs to stock up. As a lover of the outdoors, he had all the equipment needed to survive in the wild, but it would be tough for him to live the way he does without his wife’s help.

IT workers are currently exempt from military conscription, and Adam himself has not yet received his mobilization order, but he doesn’t want to risk it, especially since there are reports that the exemption has so far been ignored multiple times.

Photo: Adam Kalinin/Telegram

“We have a totalitarian state that has become so powerful,” Kalinin bemoaned. “In the last six months, laws have been brought in at an incredible pace. If a person speaks out now against the war, the state will pursue them.”

Adam, who describes himself as an introvert, says he doesn’t miss human interaction that much, although he does miss his wife and would like to spend more time with her. But, in the current situation, things are as good as they can be. One thing he realized since becoming a hermit is that the things that he care about before have faded into the background now.

“The things that seemed important before don’t have their power anymore. There are people in a much worse situation than us,” he said.

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