Russian hockey player arrested after negotiating his transfer to the United States
Russian hockey player Ivan Fedotov, Olympic medalist goaltender, was arrested by police on Friday and escorted to the military enlistment office as he was to leave for Philadelphia where he had just signed a new contract. He is suspected of having wanted to escape his military obligations at the time of the war in Ukraine.
Ivan Fedotov, Russian hockey star who won a silver medal at the last Olympics, was arrested by the Russian army on Friday after signing a million dollar contract with an American team, the Philadelphia Flyers. He was sent to an army enlistment office at a naval base in the Arctic near St. Petersburg.
Revenge after leaving CSKA
Considered the best goalkeeper in the Russian-Chinese hockey league, he is accused of trying to dodge the conscription process as Russia tries to recruit soldiers to fight in Ukraine. A charge that his lawyer denies. The affair is interpreted as revenge, as Fedotov was playing for CSKA, a club with close ties to the Russian army, its name meaning Central Army Sports Club.
According to his lawyer, he was transferred to a military hospital. « If I understand correctly, because of the stress, he had gastritis, the latter told a Russian press agency. Ivan feels bad. He says he does not have full medical assistance. » The player reportedly suffered severe stomach pain due to the stress caused by the arrest. He is currently at the naval post in Severomorsk.
“It looks like a typical case”
“At the moment, we cannot say exactly how things are going, continues Alexei Ponomarev, to the Russian media Match TV. He was in the hospital, but for some reason he was not listed like the other patients. « Neither we nor his parents were allowed to see him. Recently, the military police entered the territory of the hospital. I introduced myself to them, said that I was a lawyer and I I asked what problem they had come for. They turned around, got into the car and made no further comment until they entered the hospital grounds. »
« Judging by the last contact with him, he is not feeling very well. He says that he was given some kind of injection, which he does not know. He was told that it was prescribed by a doctor. He doesn’t look very well. I can’t compare with yesterday’s condition, but it looks like a typical case (implying poisoning), » Ponomarev added. The lawyer assures that this disease would have been used to then send him to a military establishment, which deprives him of any contact with the outside, while Fedotov is equipped with a laptop.
« He did not realize that the USSR is on its way back »
State media Fontanka reported the arrest: « He was just arrested ‘for escaping the army.’ He didn’t realize that the USSR is on its way back, » they reported. The site explains that the police department of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region received an official arrest request from the military prosecutor’s office, which stated that « there are sufficient grounds to consider Fedotov a draft dodger. In the Army. »
Fedotov would face a potential violation of Article 328 of the Penal Code « escape from military service or alternative civilian service » for which he could face up to two years in prison. For his part, his team in Russia ignored the situation. A CSKA Moscow spokesman told Reuters he had nothing to do with the case: « At the moment Ivan Fedotov is not under any contractual obligations with our club. »
A case that worries his future club
The hockey player would indeed have arbitrarily and illegally terminated his contract with the Moscow hockey club CSKA by choosing to join the Philadelphia Flyers. According to hockey world sources on Twitter, CSKA Moscow have since issued an official statement on the incident which reads: « We have learned this information from Fontanka. We are sure that the relevant authorities will resolve this situation. »
The news has already sparked controversy on Twitter, with Brandon Sommermann, a writer for various Philadelphia sports team fan accounts, tweeting: « Thought it might be a problem when Ivan Fedotov signed with the Flyers To add to that, I thought about it because Ivan Provorov, who normally goes back to Russia to train in the off-season, didn’t this year. »
Bill Meltzer, a contributor to the official Philadelphia Flyers website, tweeted: « We are trying to get more information about Ivan Fedotov’s detention in Russia for ‘escape’. This is something that could affect a lot more. than the Flyers goalie case. »