His name is Ivan Fedotov and he is the goalkeeper of the Russian national ice hockey team.
He was arrested and sent to the Far North to do his military service, which he wanted to escape in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine.
The risk for him of ending up on the front line is indeed very real.
Olympic vice-champion in Beijing, 25 years old, Fedotov played this season for CSKA Moscow, with which he won the Russian Championship (KHL).
Last May, Ivan Fedotov signed a contract with the Philadelphia Flyers, one of the NHL franchises waiting for him in the next few hours.
"He says he was given some kind of injection, which he doesn't know about."
- his lawyerhttps://t.co/55ycgTPBod
— TVA Sports (@TVASports) July 2, 2022
The TASS news agency and the player's lawyer reported that Fedotov was sent to Severomorsk, in the Murmansk region in the Far North, where there is a major naval base.
Difficult, however, to navigate: the reference Russian sports newspaper Sport-Express and the media Fontanka reported for their part that the player had been sent to the city of Severodvinsk, in the neighboring region of Arkhangelsk.
According to several media, the player was arrested Friday evening in Saint Petersburg (north-west), because suspected of having wanted to evade military service, in the midst of the conflict in Ukraine.
According to these media, Fedotov was admitted to a hospital after his arrest, because he said he felt unwell, which his lawyer Alexei Ponomarev confirmed.
His relatives already evoke the thesis of a possible poisoning.
"Right now, we can't say exactly how things are going.
He was in the hospital, but for some reason he wasn't listed like the other patients.
Neither we nor his parents were allowed to see him, Ponomarev explained.
Recently, the military police entered the territory of the hospital.
I introduced myself to them, said I was a lawyer and asked what problem they had come for.
They turned around, got into the car and made no further comments until they entered the hospital grounds,” said the lawyer, unconvinced by the official explanations.
“Judging by the last contact with him, continues the adviser, he does not feel very well.
He says he was given some kind of injection, which he doesn't know about.
He was told it was prescribed by a doctor.
He doesn't look very well.
Everything to escape terrible Russian military service
For his part, the spokesman for the Kremlin, Dmitry Peskov, affirmed that “the obligation to do military service is included in Russian law” to close the debate.
Compulsory military service, lasting one year, is very unpopular in Russia in the face of fear of hazing, the prospect of boring jobs, and, now, the fear of being sent to Ukraine.
Many Russians, often actively helped by their parents, multiply the strategies to escape it by paying bribes, obtaining medical exemptions or thanks to their studies.
The opposition also accuses the authorities of instrumentalizing military service to punish critics of the Kremlin by sending them in particular to remote areas where the work is particularly arduous.
This is the case, for example, of Rouslan Chaveddinov, an activist close to the imprisoned opponent Alexeï Navalny, who, in 2019, was taken handcuffed to the archipelago of Nouvelle-Zemble, in the Arctic, a former site of nuclear tests invaded by polar bears due to global warming.