On December 12, the Astana court cleared the detention of Mikhail Zhilin, a 36-year-old Russian citizen, according to the press service of the specialized examined court of Astana.
The agency refused to give any other details of the case.
According to Novaya Gazeta Europe, Zhilin has been serving in the Russian Federal Protective Service (FPS) for 18 years. He left Russia on September 26 when President Vladimir Putin announced so-called partial mobilization. Russian authorities accuse him of illegally crossing the border. If convicted, he might be sent to jail for two years in Russia. Moreover, he may be accused of desertion which carries a 15-year prison sentence.
Zhilin’s wife Ekaterina said that it was their common decision to leave Russia with her husband and two kids. She also noted that Zhilin understood that the authorities weren’t letting him out of the country and his decision to cross the border into Kazakhstan was illegal. Later he was detained by Kazakhstan’s border guards. He applied for the status of a refugee, but Kazakhstan refused to do so.
Radio Liberty reported that Zhilin was a shift commander in the communication department of FPS in the Siberian Federal District. Since he had direct access to state secrets, he was not allowed to leave the country.
On December 2, a court in the Abay region pronounced him guilty of illegally crossing the state border. He was sentenced to six months in jail with probation and must be exiled from the country. However, on December 6, Zhilin tried to leave Astana toward Armenia. Given that Russia has already put him on a wanted list, Kazakhstan’s authorities detained him again at Astana International Airport.
On September 21, Russia announced the partial mobilization that caused a huge exodus of young Russians to neighboring countries including Kazakhstan. At the time, the country promised not to turn over these people.