David Kortava, a writer on the staff of The New Yorker, reports on the horrors of Russian filtration camps, where Ukrainian civilians are being sequestered—sometimes indefinitely.
Filtration, recently described as a “normal military procedure” by Russia’s U.N. Ambassador, has long been part of the country’s wartime playbook. The practice currently serves multiple, related strategic imperatives—among them, processing civilians for transfer to Russia, screening for combatants, gathering military intelligence, soliciting false testimonies of war crimes committed by Ukrainian soldiers, collecting personal data on the civilian population, and purging the occupied territories of residents insufficiently loyal to Moscow, according to Tanya Lokshina, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch.
Michael Carpenter, the U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, told Kortava that Russia is attempting to ensure a more “compliant, pliable population” in the Ukrainian territories it controls.
“Even if the initial aim of filtration was a limited military objective—disaggregating civilians and combatants—the process has quickly mushroomed into something grotesque,” Kortava writes. “Much of the male population in Ukraine’s southeast has been interrogated and released, interned, deported, disappeared, or killed.”
Photo caption: A filtration receipt issued to a Ukrainian citizen who was interrogated at camps in the Donetsk region. Image by Tako Robakidze/The New Yorker. Georgia, 2022.