Several videos posted on social media showed CNN Geo pleading with police outside a theater in the capital Makhachkala, located in a predominantly Muslim region of Dagestan.
“Why are you taking our children? Who attacked who? Russia attacked Ukraine,” they can be heard saying in the video. Groups of women start chanting “no war” and the police officer leaves.
Other clashes in the city saw police pushing back against protesters, people being violently detained by police and others fleeing on foot.
The independent Russian watchdog OVD-Info reported several arrests, including a local journalist who had covered the day’s protests.
Makhachkala Mayor Salman Dadayev called for calm on Sunday, urging people “not to succumb to the provocations of people engaged in anti-government activities.”
“I ask you not to take illegal actions, each of which will be evaluated by law enforcement agencies for legal consequences,” Dadayev said, according to Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
Another video, filmed in the city of Endre in Dagestan, shows a police officer firing his gun into the air in an apparent attempt to disperse a crowd of protesters.
“Since the mobilization began, we’ve actually seen a greater motivation to send people from those (ethnic minority) republics to war,” said Anton Barbashin, editorial director of Riddle Russia, an online magazine on Russian affairs.
“The mobilization there seems to be in great disarray — people are being pulled from universities,” he told CNN. “It’s already like in Dagestan, people are starting to question the policy.”
In Russian-occupied Crimea, mobilization orders have prompted Tatar men — members of an indigenous ethnic group — to flee, Ukraine’s presidential representative to Crimea said.
“On the territory of occupied Crimea, Russia is focusing on the Crimean Tatars during mobilization,” representative Tamizha Tasheva said Sunday on Ukraine’s parliamentary television. “Currently, thousands of Crimean Tatars, including their families, leave Crimea across the Russian border, mostly to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan.”
Former Mongolian President Elbergtorj Sakya also urged Putin on Friday to end the war, saying Mongolian citizens in Russia were forced to fight.
“I know, since this bloody war started, ethnic minorities living in Russia have suffered a lot. Buryat Mongols, Tuva Mongols and Kalmyk Mongols have suffered a lot,” he said. “They are nothing but cannon fodder.”
According to OVD-Info, anti-mobilization protests have spread across the country, and more than 2,350 people have been arrested since the announcement.
Demonstrators in the Far Eastern city of Yakutsk on Sunday chanted “Give back our grandfathers!” A crowd of women chanted. Some residents of the Sakha republic, of which Yakutsk is the capital, have been “wrongfully” conscripted, though not eligible for mobilization, which explains the chaotic roll-out of Putin’s order.
Four of the five EU countries bordering Russia have banned Russians from entering on tourist visas, while queues to land from Russia to the former Soviet states of Kazakhstan, Georgia and Armenia are said to take more than 24 hours to cross.